…the way Christ loves the church.
Don’t you just hate those controversial titles that sound absolutely shocking and horrible and then you go to see what it’s all about and it’s nothing? I sure do, but I usually pay attention anyway. Why? The same reason writers write them. It’s a good hook, an easy way to draw in a reader. We want to know what’s behind the statement and in the end we are often disappointed because there was nothing to it (which is probably why the shock value is added in the first place). But the thing about my statement above is that it should be shocking even with the rest of the statement. We like to show ourselves grace by saying that we aren’t perfect and God doesn’t really expect us to actually be able to do these things He commands in Scripture. We’re wrong when we do that. God gives us grace and helps us to show grace to others, but He also expects us to grow, to mature, and to transform into the likeness of His son.
And for husbands, that means sacrificing of ourselves so that we can provide for, take care of, and even better our wives. “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 his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25-28
Our leadership at home can have a tremendous impact on the well being of our spouses. Unfortunately, far too often I expect my wife to be available for my needs and wishes. I expect her to give up of her own desires and to sacrifice of herself so that I can have more time for fun, better food, freedom for work and for projects, and rest. This dynamic has a negative impact on her spiritual development. Although every person is responsible for their own faith, husbands are responsible to provide for the spiritual development of their wives. This means that you consider her needs, her growth, her holiness, her transformation into the likeness of Christ and you make adjustments to your schedule and your priorities. Not because Valentine’s Day is coming, but because Christ set the example and we are called to follow.
I need to also say this: Despite my shortcomings, when my wife loves, supports, encourages, and even follows my leading during these times, I am a better father, husband, and friend because of her.