Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for April 23rd

True Love

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.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Perhaps there is no word in our modern parlance which needs more interpreting than this word "love." It is used to describe everything from sordid sexual passion to patriotic emotion. But here it is defined for us in a very illuminating phrase which is set in apposition to it. The apostle does not merely say, Love your wives just as Christ loved the church, but he goes on to describe what that love is: …and gave himself up for her. That is what love is! That is the way a husband is to submit to his wife. He gives himself up for her. It does not mean he is to give in to her, for that is her role toward him. If he did that, he would be subjecting himself to the wife as the wife is supposed to subject herself to the husband. But his form of subjection is different. It is not to give in, but to give up — to give himself up for his wife. No husband is playing his proper role in marriage until he learns to give himself up to his wife, to open his heart to her, to share his emotions and dreams, his thoughts and disappointments, his joys; to fully expose himself to his wife. And there is nothing that makes a woman happier than to know that she fully enters into her husband's life.

The apostle holds up to us the example of Christ. His self-giving was deliberate and purposeful. Our Lord did not give himself up for the church without certain objectives in mind. The husband is to give himself up for his wife in order that he might make her holy. That means to be put to the proper use. The Lord Jesus gave himself up on the cross in order that the whole church, those who would be redeemed by his grace, might be put to the proper use for which God intended man and woman. This is also to be the goal of the husband. He is to give himself up for the wife in order that she might fulfill her womanhood, her purpose.

Notice that the apostle points out that the instrument by which the Lord makes the church holy is the word, by the washing with water through the word. By the Word of God, by talking to the church, by telling it things, by opening up its eyes to the understanding of reality — that is the way the Lord sanctifies his church. The same is true in a husband-and-wife relationship. It is the husband's talking to his wife which makes it possible for her to fulfill her role as a helper and a beautifier. He must, therefore, give himself up in this sense, share with her, discuss with her, and talk about things. Even though there may be obstacles to communication, he must find a way around them, for his responsibility is to open up and share with her.

Father, grant to me the willingness and the grace to be obedient to the Lord Jesus who is with me in every circumstance and every relationship of my life, regardless of what the other person does. Amen.

Life Application

As a husband, am I loving my wife sacrificially? As a wife, am I receptive to my husband's love?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Husbands and Wives

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