I recently worked through Joshua 24:15 where he states, “But as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” I made a quick comment regarding male leadership within the concept of a family and, apparently, God wanted that to sink in. I’m getting married soon and the thought of leading her and my family is daunting; however, we have the perfect passage to tell us how to lead our families. It’s how Christ led and loved the church. (I’m not going to get anywhere near the wife portion of Ephesians 5; men, I’m speaking directly to you.) If we’re not married yet, we still need to learn to love in the way Lord commands.
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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, 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.”
I cannot imagine a passage of scripture more convicting and more daunting as a male. I know we often like to point to the verses prior and tell our wives (or future wives) to submit; however, when we follow that path, we miss the point of Christ.
First, we are to love our wives as the Christ loved the church and died for her. I constantly struggle with trying to comprehend how much Christ must love me to be tortured and hung on a cross to die for my sins. It’s insurmountable. I know I haven’t been able to describe the amount. Yet, as a male I am called to love my wife in the same way Christ loved me. Am I willing to sacrifice myself, my feelings, everything I am to love my wife? Would I hang on a cross like Christ to love my wife? I can’t even put into words how much I am to love my wife, but I know that I’m not there. It’s only through the grace of Christ that I am able to love her at all. My prayer is that God would teach me how to love like him so that I may love my wife the way she deserves.
Second, we are to wash our wives with the word and to present her holy and blameless, without any blemishes. Do I make sure we read the Bible together? Do I make sure that we talk about scripture? Is it a part of our daily lives? It’s our responsibility as males to wash our wives with the word. This is so we can present her holy and blameless. It’s not just sharing the word with each other, but have I put our relationship through the word of God? The things we do have a profound impact on the cleanliness of my wife or girlfriend. I will be married soon and this verse has amazing but difficult implications on our purity. It’s my responsibility to check what I watch, what I say, and how I touch my girlfriend. It’s our job as the males to take responsibility for our purity. If, in my relationship, we continually fail to meet God’s standard of purity, then that is something I will answer for on judgment day. Am I creating an environment where my girlfriend is pure and blameless? Or am I causing her to sin and ruining her purity? Is the television we watch pure? How about the music we listen to and our conversations? I know that when I stand before God I want him to say, “Well done, my faithful servant, you led her well!” How am I leading my girlfriend or wife?
Third, we are to love and care for our wives just as we do for our own bodies. Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 in verse 31. When we marry, we are one flesh. We see that anything we do to our wives, we do to ourselves. This echoes the entire passage. If we love our wives, we love ourselves. Why would I want to tarnish my body? That’s what I do when I cause my girlfriend to be impure.
Weirdly, I ran across a sermon about this exact passage today (one day after I wrote this devotional). It’s by Matt Chandler at Village Church in Dallas, Texas. Sermon.
Devotional Author: Ryan Knuth