Thursday, January 20, 2011

I have said this before and will say it again: there are sections of the Bible that I wish where just left out. Why? Because they mess with me and cause me to see how much I need to change in order to be the man I am supposed to be (and really the man I want to be).

One of these sections is found in the letter to the church in Ephesus - the section about how husbands are supposed to love their wives (chapter 5). Take a minute to read this. Here are the highlights......

I am commanded to love my wife like Jesus loved the church. Notice the statements that Paul makes to illustrate what this looks like:
  • I must give myself up for her; my needs are really secondary to her needs. I have to spend time thinking about her needs, understanding her needs and filling her needs. (Note this means needs not wants. This also is sometimes tough to figure out...)
  • I need to be about the work of helping her cleanse sin from her life.
  • I need to be about the work of making her more holy; not just rooting out the sin, but also aiding in replacing it with behaviors that lead her toward Godliness. I need to helping her become "radiant"; holy and blameless.
  • I need to love her like I love myself, which necessitates that I spend as much time thinking about her as I do myself. It also means that I need to feed her and care for her (physically AND spiritually).
You know what frustrates me even more - my wife is not directed to to any of this. She is not directed to love me like herself. She is not directed to think about me and my physical and spiritual life. She is not directed to aid me in my holiness. Her only directive is to follow: respect and submit (OK, that is hard too...).

I am DIRECTED to be the SPIRITUAL leader in my family. I am directed, and therefore will be held accountable for, leading my wife into Godliness. She still has a choice to make in the matter, but I CANNOT relegate this to someone else or another organization (for example her Bible study leader if she has one or to the church and its programs). I, ME, MYSELF will be responsible for this.

Notice one more thing - there are NO conditions on this directive. Paul puts no caveats or exception clauses in this section. Whether you like your wife or not, whether there are warm fuzzies between you, whether she meets your physical, sexual or emotional needs - no matter how you feel, you still are directed to love her and think of her spiritual well being.

This messed with my mind the past few days. Wrestle with what God is telling husbands in this passage. Put yourself up to the light of this truth and ask: Am I really thinking about my wife and her welfare? Am I leading her in a path toward Godliness? Do I spend more time thinking about me and my needs and expect her to fill them?

Guarantee it will mess with you...........

PS: Wives, you will be held accountable for how you follow. Think about that too!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A friend of mine from church got some pretty bad news last week - his 8 year old daughter has cancer. Obviously the news came to mom and dad as a total shock and set their world spinning. As I read their emails and updates on the daughter's care page, my heart was broken for this family and for this young girl. The pain of seeing what their daughter has to go through and not really knowing what the future holds is incredible.

Deep down inside, when we see things like cancer, we understand that this is not right; something is wrong with this picture. This is not the way it is supposed to be. Something is messed up.

These emotions spring from our built in understanding that this is not the way that God created the planet to work. He created it with beauty and perfection; not with the ugliness and ravages of imperfect cancer cells. He created it with life; not death and destruction. We don't have to "drum up" these emotions; we intuitively understand the gap between what is and what should be; the gap between the design of beautiful perfection and ugly sin.

The apostle Paul talks about these emotions in his letter to the church in Rome. He says this:

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved....

Nature groans. We groan. We groan while we wait for this sin filled world to be bought back (redeemed) and restored to perfection; to a place where God himself in the incarnate Messiah will dwell Himself. Looking forward to that day, waiting for this world as our bodies to be made new again, give us hope and allows us to be delivered (saved) from the overwhelming pain that these types of situations bring.

Join me today praying for Sydnie and praying "maranatha" - even so Lord Jesus come; come and redeem this sin cursed fallen world and her body. Come and deliver her from the effects of sin - heal her body.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time to assess, analyze, re-prioritize and make some changes. It is always good to think about your life's trajectory, the habits you have formed, the things that bug people around you that you have been too lazy to do anything about, etc.

I find that the beginning of the year is a good time to do this, a good time to take account of the things that I do in my life. I mentally put them in a scale and analyze if they are redemptive, in line with what God would have me do. I find that often there are things that I do that are not redeeming. There are things that I spend my time on that really don't move me forward in my pursuit of fullness of life in Christ. When I identify them, I have to be intentional about confessing them and through the power of the Spirit, open myself up to change.

Join me in my pursuit of this. Make this a year when you identify something in your life and commit to the process of change.