Have you ever read something that stirred up such emotion that tears welled up in your eyes? I had that happen to me yesterday morning as I was reading in Ephesians chapter five. I was looking at verse 25 where husbands are told “love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (God’s Word ©) and I found myself physically nodding my head in agreement, for I believe that if men took the responsibility and really followed this course of action, the weird distortions over the idea of wives submitting to their husbands would never come up. I would think that any wife who had a husband that gave his all for her would have no problem yielding to him if need be.
But it was verse 27 that made me sit up straight and wipe the tears forming in my eyes. I am not totally sure why I had such a strong reaction but with the picture of a husband presenting his wife to Papa God, like Jesus does for the church “in all its (or her) glory, without any kind of stain or wrinkle – holy and without fault” (ISV / God’s Word ©), I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with intense sadness as I thought about the distorted current state of morals (that are opposite to God’s way) that seems to drive what’s now considered right and wrong in our world.
It all became clear as I thought about how the so called accepted norm of premarital sex, couples living together without the covenant of marriage, and even the way I have seen couples in both the world and IN THE CHURCH criticize and or make fun of their spouses on a regular basis, is SO against the principles set forth in God’s Word. These actions are not doing anything to present any woman to God “without any kind of stain or wrinkle – holy and without fault”… is it? I have come to appreciate single Mom’s as some of the most incredibly strong people in the world. They are placed in a situation that they should NEVER have to experience.
Maybe I am stepping out onto a limb here… But as I read those verses I shook my head thinking that if their husbands had loved them as Christ loved the church and gave their ALL to them, that maybe it never would have come to that point. I also realize that, as my maternal Grandmother would say, “it take two to tango!” But it only seems logical that if a couple both went into their relationship with a strong understanding and life-long commitment to live their marriage as outlined in Ephesians five, then we would not see the atrocities that we all see in our communities every day.
Maybe I am so sensitive to this as I had my very character assailed when I started making decisions to be personally responsible (and not defer this important responsibility to anyone else) for my wife’s care when it became painfully evident to me that she would need someone by her side in the roughest period of her life. Through it all, my eyes have been opened to the stark reality that many–many people out there do not think and act the way I have. Almost every time we have gone to a medical facility the nurses and/or doctors have commented about how “lucky” my wife is to have me. For the longest time that comment startled me, but now I am beginning to understand. Just yesterday a lady stopped us in Walmart to comment about what a good thing I was doing for Piper. When I immediately replied that is was a “labor of love” she could only smile and turn away.
Now please don’t think that I am trying to slap myself on the back here, as I am only doing what is in my heart… what I believe the Apostle Paul was trying to teach EVERY HUSBAND, and love my wife as Christ loves each and every one of us in His church… to the point that He literally gave EVERYTHING for us! My joints may be a little (or a lot!) sore at the end of the day and I may be pretty tired, but I am at perfect peace because I know that I am doing the right thing and that He will continue to strengthen me and meet my needs as I stay faithful to Him and to my wife… no matter what example others have set or what anyone else may say, do or think about it!
Husbands… doesn’t the thought of seeing your wife presented to God and to the world on a daily basis without any kind of stain or wrinkle, as one who is holy and without fault excite you? It sure does me and I will continue to live my life this way and do my best to be a good example to my children for their marriages and to the world around me. What do you think guys… can you do it? I think so, for I believe that Papa God would not ask us to do anything that we (with His assistance) could not do!
Have a great weekend and as you do, continue to ask yourself… “Whose standard am I expecting to live for today?”