Here is part of of this weekends message to Husbands! From Harvest Church.
The Husband God Created You to BE…part 2.
The first lesson we need to learn is…
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…
Husbands, the most important thing we must do for our wives is LOVE THEM. Now you may be think, ‘well, duh, Jay. Of course we’re going to love our wives.’ And that may be so. But let me ask you, ‘What do you mean when you say your love your wife?’
Do you love her because she looks good, because she satisfies you? Do you love her because she gets your dinner ready for you, manages your laundry, takes care of your kids, keeps the house clean? Do you love her because she’s fun to be around, because she still makes your heart go pitter-patter or your palm sweat?
Well, that’s great if those things are true, but what about when things aren’t going so well? In the midst of an argument. When she shrinks your new shirt. When she backs into another car in the Giant Eagle parking lot. When stress from the job builds up, when your day is an absolute disaster.
You see, we can love our wives over the daily things in this life. We can love our wives when everything is storybook and wonderful. We can love our wives when we feel like loving our our wives. But the love we see here in Paul’s command isn’t about an everyday, feels good to be married love. No, this love is an agape love. In the greek, (yes, I pulled out the greek on this one) the word used to define this love is Agape. Agape love is God’s love. It’s the love that is used to describe the love that God has for his people. It’s a love that is unconditional, not based solely on a feeling or emotion. It’s a choice to put the needs of the other person above our own needs, wants, and desires. God’s love is a sacrificial love, a love willing to give up everything for the sake of the person whom the love is intended.
Paul says, that we husbands are to love our wives in the same manner of love that Jesus demonstrates when he surrendered his life for the sake of the church. Jesus died on the cross because he loved us. And I don’t think it was an emotional, butterflies in the stomach kind of love. He chose to died because he chose to love us.
We talked about this a little bit when we looked at Philippians 2, a couple of weeks ago. Philippians is another letter that Paul wrote, this time to the church in Philipi. In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul writes that our lives should reflect the qualities of Jesus Christ, who put aside his wants, who considered others more highly than himself, and lived as a servant, humbly, obediently, and for the sake of you and I.
Jesus’ love, led him to a place where he laid it all down for the sake of the one he loved, the church. He served the church, putting the needs of the church before his own wants.
Husbands, can you say you have an unconditional, sacrificial love for your wives? Are you able to set aside your own agendas, your own wants, your own desires, your hobbies, your interests, your ambitions, your own personal preferences for the sake of your wife? Gentleman, that’s what it means to love your wife.
The second thing I think we husbands need to think about and respond to is…
To Make Her a Radiant Wife
Look with me at verses 26 & 27. Not only does Jesus choose to love the church, but he goes so far as to glorify her and make her radiant. What does radiant mean?
Radiant means, ‘a sending out of light; shining or glowing brightly:’ Because of his love, and through his death, Jesus makes the church holy by cleansing her with his blood, bringing to her forgiveness. Jesus makes the church something that becomes more splendid, excellent, and wonderful. We become more than who we were. We go from a messy clump of sin to a holy people. The church goes from a gathering of brokenness to a glorious picture of God’s grace and mercy. And now the church stands before God as something glowing in holy radiance.
But how often do we find ourselves complaining about our wives to our buddies? We say things like, “She’s driving me crazy. It’s always ‘honey do this, honey do that.’” We talk about their failures, shortcomings, and mistakes justifying our anger, selfishness, and pride. We sit on the couch or locked up in our garages, or busied with our interests while they assume the responsibility of raising our kids, managing the house, folding the laundry, washing the dishes. And we too often fail to say we’re sorry when we hurt them with our words, our actions, and our egos.
Husbands, when was the last time you did anything to bring glory to your wife? When was the last time you did anything to honor her for who she is, your glorious bride? If you are loving your wife as Christ loved the church, you will want to do all that is within your ability to make your wife a radiant wife; presenting her before God as one who is holy, praising her and glorifying her because you have chosen to love her.
As husbands, we are charged with the privilege of loving our wives is such a way that we are constantly building them up, celebrating their gifts, and praising them before God.
And that brings us to the third thing we need to consider as we understand what it means to love our wives.
To Love our Wives the Way We Love Ourselves.
Verses 28 says, ‘…husbands, ought to love your wives as your own bodies…’
There isn’t any one of us that wouldn’t care for his own body. We feed it, wash it, care for it. We try to keep it healthy; we watch what we eat, we exercise. We do our best to make it presentable; we shave, we dress. And none of us would do anything to purposefully hurt ourselves.
Paul is saying, in the same way that we care for our bodies, we should care for our wives. The time and effort we put into caring for ourselves, our interests; we should be putting into how we care for our wives.
This is more than the obvious things like providing a house, food, clothing. Paul is teaching us to step up and lead your wife. We are to feed and care for our wives in all things, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
What Christ does for the church comes with significant spiritual implications. He doesn’t simply lay down his life and move on. No, Jesus has lived his life as an example of how we as husband are now called to live. In loving his church, he led her, taught her, showed her what it means to follow God, to seek holiness, to care for others, and to send her out.
Husbands we are to lead our wives, caring for them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is providing for the temporal needs of our wives and our families, but also the emotional. It’s loving them and supporting them through the faith journey that God is leading them on. It’s supporting them; their dreams, their hopes, their desires. It’s building them up as they fulfill their roles of wife and mother. It’s seeing their strengths and weakness and not exploiting them but completing them as the suitable helper.
But most important, caring for them is to lead them spiritually. Praying for them and with them. It’s being the leader that puts God first in his life and the life of his family. Practically speaking it’s making the worship of God a weekly priority, making the church and serving God of the highest importance. It’s talking about God with your wife and children, and allowing them to see you reading the bible, praying to God, and living your life to glorify God first. It’s leading them by involving yourself and them within the life and ministry of God’s church; using the gifts and talents for the purpose of being obedient to God. It about speaking words of truth, praising God with your mouth, and curbing the words that are hurtful, unkind, vulgar, and inappropriate. It’s setting an example, a Godly example, through your actions, your words, and your life.
Marriage is a glorious part of God’s plan for his children. He created it to bring joy and pleasure to a man and a woman. He created it to be the fulfillment of our own being, our lives. But it becomes all the more glorious when we as husbands see the importance of understanding and living out what it means to BE a husband.