“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, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33 (NIV).
This week completes our study in “Communication, Sex & Money.” I don’t know about you but this study has provided me with a lot to chew on. Some of the topics, we covered in previous studies but there was some new stuff that has been hard to wrap my mind around. Hopefully, that is a sign of growth and learning.
One thing that was not new or hard to understand but, for me, hard to put into practice relates to the scripture above. We are called as husbands to love our brides as Christ loved the church. All of us can explain how Christ came, lived a sinless life, suffered incredible cruelty, died on the cross, was buried in a tomb and then rose on the third day. But trying to relate the love that Christ had for us to being that husband is not an easy task. Nothing worth much ever is.
For starters, there is the multiple times during each day that I have to focus on Jesus and put down the “Me Monster” (M2) that wants to rule everything. M2 never sleeps, is never willing to just sit back and wait for his turn or ever considers what is best for my bride. M2 wants it now, his way with no questions asked. So every time I take my mind of the cross, M2 starts to wreak his selfish destruction.
That is why it is so important for us to be in The Word daily, multiple times each day, and to pray “without ceasing” for ourselves and each other. Bro. Rufus challenged us as men a couple of weeks ago to find a small group of men that you can pray with and for daily. Have you?
Ed Cole says there are four things that are required to love a woman as Christ loved the Church:
- Time. How much time do you spend with your bride? We are all busy but the truth is we make time for what we want to make time for. Are you making time to spend with your bride on a regular basis?
- Humility. Are we as husbands striving to be selfless in our marriages? Christ came as a servant. Can we love our brides as Christ loved the church without seeking to serve? The answer is no, we must put others, especially our brides before ourselves.
- Patience. It’s ironic that we can be patient with others, especially strangers but when it comes to our families and especially our brides, we can have zero patience. It’s obvious that Christ is patient with us, we must return that patience to our earthly priorities.
- Prayer. Goes without saying. Jesus sure did a great deal of communicating with the Father. But are you praying WITH your bride on a daily basis? If prayer produces intimacy, praying with your bride will take your relationship to a level you can’t reach on your own. The Holy Spirit doesn’t stop at the bedroom door.
Easier said than done but that is no excuse. We are to be men of our word. As husbands we should strive each day to love our brides as Christ loved the church. We are called to glorify God with our lives.
“Men glorify God by loving their wives.” Ed Cole
I know this is an area of my life that I need to improve. What about you?
It is an honor for me to call you “Brothers” in Christ. We must be more than a “Book Club.” We must be men willing to put action behind our beliefs. We must be men of our word grounded in The Word.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 (NIV).
We must run to the cross daily!