Ephesians 5:25-26 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”
Love is not just a principle it is a practice and one of the biggest tragedies in the Christian home today is the failure to demonstrate selfless love. Husbands are called by God to reveal His love in the home through the vehicle of marriage. Their failure to do so often stems from a basic lack of trust, fear or ignorance to exercise faith in the Word of God. We may want to blame our disobedience and lack of love on our wives but the call to love does is not founded on our wives performance but on God’s plan. This failing to exercise faith in the Word of God is what robs many marriages of the miracle that God intends. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God, so men I call you to hear His Word to you today, Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Three times in this passage we are commanded to “love our wives” and the Greek reveals that this is agape love. This is sacrificial and selfless love of not based on conditions but God’s call. This is the love based on her best interests, built around her needs not her actions. A love that is centered on the sacrifice, not self, because those are the actions of Jesus towards the church. What if as husbands we would take the lead and exercise his faith in God’s plan for marriage? Love is the key to being a spiritual leader in the home. Success is not defined by a wife’s submission but a husband’s sacrifice, for a wife’s submission is simply a response to her husband’s sacrificial love for her. A husband who lovingly yields his priorities and goals to serve and sacrifice for his wife is a spiritual leader. Today more than ever marriage is under attack because it is one of the most powerful pictures of God’s love. Where are the men willing to fight for their wife, what if Matthew 20:28 become the standard men carried and the cry we shouted as we battled for our brides: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Marriage wasn’t just God’s good idea it was His gift and a husband’s love for his wife is not a response but a reflection of his worship because loving my wife should reflection obedience not obligation. God has called us to lead with love, it was Joshua who said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He was not only the leader but understood that spiritual leaders serve. As we think of leadership when sin entered the first marriage it was Eve that took the first bite…but God came looking for Adam, he was the leader.
Today we are called to a relationship where we lead first with love, Jesus didn’t wait for his bride to say I love you first He took the initiative. Jesus Christ suffered torture, ridicule, betrayal, and death, all to rescue His beloved, His sacrifice of love provided her with security. Today God is still issuing the same call that he gave to Hosea 3:1 “Go, show your love to your wife.” Hosea, like us, could object or obey, he could have presented his case and what a case he had, she was a harlot! Yet God called him to lead her with love. Today we honor Christ when we imitating his humility and service in a relationship of love with our wife. As you lovingly practice servant leadership toward your spouse, you will find your deepest needs met.
Have you told your wife you love her today? Better yet, have you showed her? As you answer that question I want I want you to ponder this one “in what ways did Jesus demonstrated His love for His bride?” Here are a few to ponder and practice:
- Holiness -Jesus’ highest goal for His bride, the church, is holiness. Every husband should love his wife, not just to make her feel good, but to help her become more like Jesus. When a husband aims to bring both himself and his wife to a greater level of spiritual maturity, together they will follow in the footprints of Jesus.
- Worth the time – Jesus recognized that every relationship requires constant renewal, refining, and restoration. Every husband and wife relationship demands a continued stream of care. Jesus put forth the effort and if we are going to enter into the sacred contract of marriage we must be willing to expend a great deal of energy.
- Shared suffering – Jesus assumed similar pains, conditions, and realities with His bride, the church. A great husband is willing to assume similar living conditions, problems, and human realities along with his wife. The husband should not try to live above the everyday realities of his wife, but share what they have in common.
- Celebrate the Good News – Jesus saw His bride as a means of bringing good news to the surrounding communities. The Lord knew that the good news of forgiveness, eternal life, and abundant life would best be promoted through the life and ministry of His bride, the church. Similarly, husbands and wives make a great promotional team for the presentation of Christ’s life examples and purposes. When a husband and a wife share a ministry of love, reconciliation, and service they drawn closer together as the demonstrate Christ.
- Value – Jesus saw His bride, the church, as possessing incalculable wealth, beauty, and dignity. Every husband who views his wife as one who is as valuable as precious jewels will cherish her every minute of every day. Seeing your bride as Christ does means seeing the potential not the problems.
- Investment- Jesus saw to the growth of His bride, the church. The Lord promised, “I will build my church and the gates of hell (All evil opposing forces) will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18). Every good husband works diligently to build his wife up spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically willing to invest his life in her.
- Care – Jesus removes diseases from His bride, the church. Every new husband carefully tends to the smallest of colds for his beloved newlywed. However, after decades of marriage many husbands are apt to just tell his wife to take an aspirin and go to bed. Jesus took time to deal with the disease not dismiss it.
- Protect – Jesus continues to protect, preserve, and prevent harm from coming to His bride, the church. Loving husbands go out of their way to protect their wife from any unnecessary discomfort.
- Beauty – Jesus consistently admires the beauty and the worth of His bride, the church. A considerate husband is willing to constantly remind his bride of how beautiful she is. The husband’s ministry of affirmation, commendation, and thanksgiving assures His wife of His love.
Christ is your example of servant leadership. When the disciples had a recurring problem with questioning who’s in charge, who’s the greatest, and who’s second in command, Jesus taught them by becoming a lowly servant and washing their feet (John 13:1-15). Then he said “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17). Today would you lead with love, would you wash your wife’s feet?