Husbands, Love Your Wives!
Happy New Year! Welcome to the year of our Lord, 2,017. What do you suppose God has in store for us in this brand new year? Where will He lead us as we seek to be His faithful servants?
Did you stay up to see in the New Year? I cannot remember the last time I was awake to see the clock make that change. I found out a long time ago the New Year was going to get here whether or not I saw it come in.
I believe that God has a plan for Green Valley Church of God in this new year. I believe He will lead us to be part of the building up of His people and the extension of His Kingdom into new hearts and lives. There is plenty of work for us to do. I encourage each of you to seek His guidance to become a source of light to others. Get involved in the outreach of the church.
Proclaim God's love and Lordship and become the witness He calls each of us to become.
As we begin this new year I want to get back to our study in Ephesians. We will pick up in the last part of Ephesians 5. I am backing up to verse 15. Paul writes:
15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NIV
Ladies the admonition to you is clear and concise. If you are married you are to submit to your husband as to the Lord. You can balk against this all you want. You can claim that Paul had a problem with women. You can claim that this was just a convention of society at the time. However, in this passage of Ephesians 5 specifically verses 22 to 24 and verse 33, it clearly states the message to wives. You are to submit to your husbands out of reverence for Christ. You are to respect your husbands. If the Bible is the Word of God and not just a collection of good advice you must accept it as it is given.
How do you respect someone? It is in the way you speak to them and in the way you speak about them. It does not consist of pointing out their shortcomings and failures.
When you speak about your husband, is it in a way that builds him up and encourages him to be the best he can be? Or does your speech tear him down and belittle him?
Wives, you need to respect your husband; you need to submit to them as to the Lord.
I did not say it. I have sometimes wished Paul had not written it. However, it is clear in the Word of God.
And now, what did Paul say to husbands? Ladies, you can take a nap. Wake up once in a while to be sure he is still listening, but do so with the greatest respect. Just kidding. You need to hear this as well.
Verse 25: “Love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” NIV
Husbands are to be ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their wives.
Husbands, although the admonition was for the wives to respect their husbands, you might also consider how you speak to and about your wife as well. Loving them has a great deal to do with how you come across to them. Respect may not be as great a need for your wife as it is for you, but you need to show her respect as well.
How does Christ love us? Does He bully us and continually accuse us of falling short of His will and plan for us? He does not.
The enemy of our souls is our accuser. Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, on the other hand is our advocate. He is our Helper, our Encourager.
This is what we are to be for our wives.
The next time you find yourself complaining that your wife does not submit to you, you may want to ask yourself if complaining is to be your role in her life. Are you her accuser, or are you her advocate?
Is your desire to see her submit to you coming from your desire to bring glory to God, or from your desire to get your own way and fulfill the desires of your flesh?
This goes back to Jesus' comment about getting the log out of your own eye, before you try to get the splinter out of hers.
Husbands are to be partners with God in helping the church, and their wives in particular, to become the “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”; The spotless Bride of Christ.
The husband's responsibility in the marriage relationship is to love his wife. This means you care so much for her that you are willing to lay down your life to protect her and to assist her as she strives to be the person God wants her to be. You will sacrifice for her.
Husbands and wives are to be partners in promoting the kingdom of God. Ideally this has always been God's plan for the marriage relationship. Sin has corrupted this part of our lives as it has corrupted all other parts of our existence.
Husbands are to take the lead in setting the goals and directions the family is to take. Especially in the spiritual area of life. Many times, it is the wives who have had to take on this responsibility until the husbands see the need to submit to the Lordship of Christ.
I read somewhere that what women need most is to be loved. On the other hand, what men need most is respect.
If your spouse is not meeting your need, the way to get that need fulfilled is not to badger, complain, and insist that your spouse change. Rather, concentrate on fulfilling your role in the relationship and seek to meet the need of your partner.
This is how God loves us. He does not stand over us and crack a whip to get us to shape up. He comes as the still small voice, loving us and speaking forgiveness to our souls as we confess our failures. He gently calls us to repent. He loves us into submission to His will and purpose for our lives.
He demands to be respected, but not in a harsh belligerent way or a whining, complaining way. He is patient, kind, gentle. He does not continually complain about our shortcomings, but gently nudges us in the direction we need to go.
Wives will be much more willing to follow us as we follow the Lord, if we are indeed following the Lord.
Wives will be much more willing to submit to our leadership when husbands are submitting to the Lordship of Christ. When we are putting our wives needs above our own, they will respect our leadership and follow us where we lead.
Notice I said they will submit to our leadership. We are not the lord of our wives and children. We are to be the leaders who are demonstrating to them how to live in submission to the Lordship of Christ.
As long as you are just trying to get your wife to do what you want her to do for your own selfish reasons, she is unlikely to submit to your leadership. If you are demonstrating selfish behaviour, she will most likely follow where you lead and be selfish herself. When you demonstrate that you are following Christ, she will be more likely to follow where you lead.
Wives submit to your husbands and give them the respect they need. Husbands love your wives and submit to the Lordship of Christ.
Did you notice that just before Paul told the wives to submit to their husbands he told everyone to submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord. We are to be leading each other to a closer walk with the Lord. When your brother or sister cares about you, they will lead you in the way we all should go. Honor Christ as Lord. Love and respect one another out of reverence for the Lord. Husbands take the lead in loving your spouse. Take the lead in following Christ. Be the spiritual head of your home.
Husbands, love your wives.