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!

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