“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
– Ephesians 5:25-33
Sacrifice – it’s a word that most of us would rather not hear in this day and age. We, speaking as a mid-20’s citizen of the USA, as a society have prioritized so many things in our lives above what God would have our priorities to be. We don’t like to think about it, but we sacrifice every day. The question is… what are we sacrificing and to whom or what are we sacrificing to? As a society, we have idolized the rich and famous… we spend our lives chasing faster cars, bigger mortgages, maxed credit lines and all that comes with appearing wealthy. As a society, I believe that the values that are seen from the outside (low low monthly payment loans, payday loans, drive-thrus, 600 channel TV packages, 70” 4K Televisions and a narcissism epidemic thanks to Facebook to simply name a few in my eyes) are red flags that should not be overlooked. When a society is more concerned with vanity, gossip, political correctness, flashing lights (constant sensory overload), the latest and greatest tech (materialism) and anything that feels good (because if it feels good than it is good… right? This blog will NEVER promote Hedonism in any form) it truly scares me. When people would rather sacrifice their spouse, children, time and health to pursuing the things listed above rather than sacrificing themselves for their faith, family and others it worries me. I never want to espouse those values in my life, and I never want to live my life chasing after those things. I am called, as a Christian husband, to a higher purpose in this life.
The call that God has given us, especially us Christian husbands, is to be selfless… not selfish. The only word that I can think of when I read Ephesians 5:25-33 is SACRIFICE. Some folks may not care for the whole submission in marriage concept Paul talks about a little earlier, but we’ll discuss that another time (and I can’t wait to!) Today, my heart is wrapped up in this section of scripture and I truly want it to be carved into my heart to the point where I consciously choose each day what I am going to do, who I am going to be, what will I give up… what will I sacrifice and why. There are only 24 hours in a day, and the list of things to-do never gets any shorter. I’ll say it again, we have to make a choice each day what we will do, and what we’ll give up. God has called us as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the church. We are to love our wives how we love ourselves. We’re called to give up anything we have to… to sacrifice anything for her. That sounds scary, but it’s exactly what God meant and it’s for our best interest. Jesus didn’t just take a few whips and say “Ok, that wasn’t pleasant, I’m done here” and walk away. He sacrificed all that he had for the Church. In rare an extreme circumstances, we may be called to lay down our lives for our wives. I’d lay down my life for my wife in a heartbeat. I love her that much. It’s easy to put down in words, but it’s something that I’ve prayed about and asked God to give me the strength and boldness to be that man should that situation ever arise.
I think the sacrifices everyday that add up to us completely sacrificing ourselves for our wives is where I am called daily. For example, the way that I as a man handle problems and look at the world isn’t exactly the same as how my wife handles problems and sees the world. Slowing my brain down (my urge is to “fix” a problem) and just listening to what she is saying, understand how she feels about the problem and then communicate openly about it from there is what I need to do. Another example, I am used to making decisions myself, executing said decision and dealing with any consequences either good or bad. What I am not used to is another point of view (my wife’s point of view) being offered during the decision making process. I used to sort-of struggle with this because I thought she was in a way nagging/controlling me (I wish there was a less harsh wording that would convey my thoughts there…) but I have come to the realization that all that my wife does for me is out of her love for me. I have to sacrifice exactly what I want to get what I need. Her love for me often sees the holes that my desires overlook, and when she speaks up to me it’s because she cares so much for me she wants the best for her husband. In sacrificing my foolish choice, I gain the wiser choice filtered through my wife’s love and care for me. It’s a wonderful realization I had that makes Proverbs 31:10-12 come to life before my eyes each and every day. I can truly say that I understand these verses…
“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.”
I pray that anyone reading this takes some time to reflect on what they’re sacrificing their time, energy and life to. We all choose daily where to spend what we’ve been given… spend it wisely.