March 6, 2014

...As Christ Loved the Church

DISCLAIMER: I am writing this post for every man who is currently married or hopes and plans to be. If you get the idea at any point that I'm mad at you, you are mistaken. I'm mad FOR you. I'm stark raving mad for your marriage and hope that I provoke you to be as well. There's is nothing (aside from the Gospel of Jesus Christ) more worth your fighting FOR than your marriage. Nothing!

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:25-28

That's a big task, gentlemen. Huge, in fact. What Paul - an unmarried man with the anointing of God and the objectivity of singleness - says to each of us is this: If you want to love your wife the way that God desires and designed, the only real pathway that leads to that place begins with you dying to yourself.

If you want your marriage to live, then you must die.

Need premarital counseling? Let me give it to you straightforward. If you live a self-centered life - if you just need your "space" - if nothing better disrupt your routine and the way you've always done it - then you have 1 of 2 choices:
- Choose now to begin rebuking that and dying to yourself, putting your wife first (OR)
- Break it off and save everyone the grief

There. I just saved you 6 counseling appointments. No charge.

You can learn all the "Love Languages" and study all the personality profiles you want (and I'm not saying you shouldn't), but until you are ready to make the first order of business in your life to be "crucified with Christ" (see Galatians 2:20) and to "deny yourself and take up your cross" (see Matthew 16:24-25), then you are probably not going to care about her "love language" anyways. You're going to be too busy speaking your own.

Here's an argument some would make: We can't possibly love our wives "as Christ loved the church". My question or response to that would be this: Why not? Why would Paul exhort and admonish us to do so if we can't do it? The fact is that THROUGH the power of the Holy Spirit of God working in us and through us, as we allow Him to empty us of ourselves, we CAN love our wives this way. The problem is not that we can't, but that we won't.

You might not like this next part.

Some of you right this very moment are actors. Your life has become a grand stage of pretending. You are keeping up appearances in the yard, at work, at church, at the ballfield - everywhere you go - while your marriage is looking and feeling more and more every day like an enormous cancerous tumor. It hurts. It's destroying you. You keep throwing little "treatments" at it. And at the same time, you just don't want to talk about it. Well, it's time to talk about it.

There are some people in your life that are totally oblivious. They have no idea.
There are other people in your life that see right through your charade. They may not know everything, but they know enough.
There is a God who knows it all. He gave you this woman and this marriage. He's fed up. He's ready for you to begin to lead and love. He's given you the example to follow. He's giving you an opportunity to get it right.

Get this right!

It's time for you to die to self and give your life for your wife.
It's time for you to stop holding over her head how you've been wronged.
It's time for you to take your pride, lay it at the foot of the cross, and leave it.
It's time for your marriage to heal and that will only begin with you.

But hey! What about her? Isn't marriage 50-50?
NO. It's 100-100. And you're called to give your 100% first!
Christ pursued us. Christ came for us. Christ laid down his life and died for us.
We ARE the church because of what Christ did. 
She IS your wife when you commit to be her husband.

We don't just make wedding vows. There is a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. And your part of that covenant is your vow to die to yourself.

If you think you're doing a great job with your kids even though your marriage is falling apart, that's crap. The most powerful, important, godly thing you can do for your kids is love their mother. 
SHOW your sons how to truly love a woman.
SHOW your daughters the standard they should expect from a godly man.
SHOW your wife that she is a treasured prize!
"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." Proverbs 31:10

Stop this prideful nonsense NOW!
Put self-pity, self-centeredness, and self-righteousness to death.
Husband: Love your wife, as Christ loved the church.

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband." Proverbs 12:4
Take care of that crown, gentlemen. It was given to you by the King.

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