As a single person, I tend to skip over sections of Scripture about marriage. Oh sure, I’ve read them, but they just don’t seem to apply to me yet. If I really think about what I just wrote, it doesn’t make much sense. All of God’s Word should be applicable to me. There is always something that I should be able to learn, always. The passage I want to talk about today fits into that category. It is about how husbands and wives should treat each other. Some of you are married and will benefit greatly from these verses. However, if you’re single, don’t stop reading. Don’t just skip over this portion of Scripture; there is something for us to learn here as well. It’s not something that we should learn now and remember for later. It is something that we should learn now and apply now!
Let’s jump right in. I love how The Message translates Ephesians 5:21-28; it lays it all out there.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to His church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as He exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything He does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
I believe this attitude applies to all kinds of relationships – parent/child, siblings, boss/employee, friends, and of course husbands and wives. It is incredibly difficult for anyone to live like this, to have this kind of love for others, to put someone else’s interests above of our own. How much more so for those of us who are chronically ill?
It is easy to become self-focused. Our bodies demand it of us. We need to be aware of what is going on with us in order to survive. Yet, Christ calls us to look to others. It is easy to let others focus on us; they worry about us and care for us. Yet we are supposed to give of ourselves to them! I understand how difficult this is. We get tired. We are short with our words because we are in pain. We do what we need to do to get through the day. Unfortunately those we love the most often get the worst side of us. We feel like we don’t have to pretend with them and let our guard down…and sometimes we just let them have it!
So what can we do? How can we possibly be obedient to the Word of God in the midst of sickness and pain? We can’t. It’s as simple as that. On our own, in our own strength and in our own flesh we will fail miserably. However, we can have victory in this area. We can live as Christ lived and love as He loves. When Christ returned to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit can transform our lives. He can do things in us that we could never do ourselves. He can help us to be like Jesus. It’s so simple; all we have to do is ask. We have to be willing to be obedient to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.
God is calling us to be like Christ. Are you willing to answer that call?
"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." – Philippians 2:3-11, NLT
© April 16, 2013