Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How To Be A Man: Love Like Christ

Love takes more than words. It takes time, effort, and most of all...heart.

I have been amazed, of late, at the number of women who have been told by their husbands, their families, and their churches that they are to submit to their husbands in obedience to Scripture. This same instruction is reinforced over the airways of certain television and radio programs. However, while scriptural, the implied meaning of these well-meaning souls is that the woman is a slave to her husband, his whims and needs, with no rights or respect of her own. Some even take this to an extreme that the woman is to submit to ALL men in authority over her, including her pastor, church elders, and others.

But I'm not here to talk about what that Scripture means for women, my purpose here is to show the flip side of that same passage as it pertains to men. First, let's look at the actual wording of the scripture in question:
Ephesians 5:21-33 (KJV)
21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Now, let's review. In this paragraph that begins the whole thought process on submission by admonishing us all to submit to each other in the fear of the Lord, we see several verses devoted to how husbands AND wives are to relate to each other. Let's count them, shall we?

Commands to the Wives:
  1. Wives submit to their OWN husbands AS TO THE LORD. (emphasis mine)
  2. Wives are subject to their husbands in everything, just as the CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO CHRIST!
  3. Wives need to see that they reverence their husbands.
Okay. Three times in this paragraph Paul commands and reminds us that wives are to submit, be subject to, and reverence their husbands...BUT, what about the rest of that passage? Who is it talking to? Could it be---HUSBANDS? (That sounds better if you say it out loud in your best "Church Lady" voice.)
"Could it be...HUSBANDS?" Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

So...what does Paul tell the husbands to do? I'm glad you asked. Let's take a look!

Commands to the Husbands:
  1. Husbands are to be the head of the wife AS CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY!
  2. Husbands are to be the SAVIOR of the wife just as Christ is the savior of the church.
  3. Husbands are to love their wives AS CHRIST LOVES, and are to GIVE THEMSELVES FOR HER! 
  4. Husbands are to "wash her" and "sanctify her" through the "water of the Word".
  5. He is to present her as "glorious", without "spot or wrinkle", being her holiness.
  6. He should love her as he loves HIS OWN BODY, nourishing and cherishing her LIKE CHRIST DOES FOR THE CHURCH.
  7. He is to become "one flesh" with her--abandoning his own parents in favor of her.
  8. And again, reminding men to love their wives as themselves.
Oh. Wait. The men have EIGHT commands and the women only have THREE? What happened to equality of the sexes? Why do the men have so many more then the wives? Well, the simple answer is because the Spirit, as he inspired Paul to write this, knew that men take things to the extreme. We like to read verse 22 and make sure we put our wives in their place when then dare to buck up against us and our selfish agenda.

Yeah, I said that. When we don't get what we want because our wife dares to confront us on it, we like to "Bible whip" her back into shape and remind her that her place is barefoot, pregnant, and silent in the kitchen! But a thorough reading of this later half of Ephesians 5 seems to reveal that the love we have for our wives doesn't come from her "submission" and obedience to our will and whims, but rather the opposite. Her submission and obedience comes from OUR Christ-like love for her! Christ's love is a sacrificial love, an abased love, a love that is tender, caring, and supportive!

Our love for our wives is to mirror the love Christ has for us. He GAVE HIMSELF for us. Literally. He laid down His life on a cross and died for you. When was the last time you laid down your life and died for your wife? When was the last time you laid down your own personal wants and desires in deference to her? When did you crucify your own passions and needs to lift hers up?

Christ did not come and demand our submission. He offered Himself through love, giving us His righteousness (when our own was filthy rags and would condemn us to hell) so that we could made pure and holy. Christ never "Bible whipped" us when we got out of line. Instead, He forgave us...even while on the cross where OUR sins put Him. Christ is more concerned with helping each of us reach our full potential for the Kingdom of God than in how we dress or what we eat. Are you doing everything you can to help you wife grow into the woman of God that she needs to be? Or are you more concerned with making sure she has YOUR supper on the table and YOUR beer in your hand?

How does your love for your wife reflect the love of Christ for you? Are you "washing (pouring out over)" her with the Spirit and the Word? Are you praying over her and "sanctifying (setting apart)" her to God's special purpose? Do you care for her and nourish her with your own love and adoration? No matter what she's done, do you always present her in the light of perfection...not just to others, but to yourself? Is she still held in the same awe as she was when she first walked down the aisle to your side to say "I do."? How are you loving your wife? Try loving her with the heart of Christ. You might be surprised at how her "submission", "obedience", and "reverence" increases as she sees, feels, and flows in the love that supports her and lifts her up instead of beating and holding her down.

Love like Christ.
"...Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her."


  1. I am so glad I married you! Awesome word, honey!

  2. REALLY good stuff! Makes me miss your preaching. Can I copy a sentence or two and paste in my status with the link? Oh AND if a wife is a slave to her husband, then husbands are slaves to Jesus!!

    1. Sure, Robin! And you are absolutely right. He should be following Christ so closely that all his wife will see is the light of the Lord shining through him to her.