Friday, June 3, 2011

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Husbands, love your wives, image courtesy of http://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com

Note: I want to say thanks to those who contributed by commenting on this topic; many of you have given me perspectives I needed. I rejoice in the knowledge that God has blessed so many husbands and wives with a love that spans time. Your testimony offers encouragement and hope to those who are struggling in their marriage. The encouragement to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God and the hope that love never dies clearly resonate with me.

A wife needs to be loved.

It’s no coincidence that God framed marriage using the relationship of Christ and the church as the pattern. God requires a husband and wife to emulate this relationship. When this occurs, the beauty of God’s plan of salvation is revealed to a world needing clarity. Husbands must represent Christ. Wives must represent the church. Anything less would be spiritually inconsistent.

There are three reasons why a wife needs to be loved:
  1. A wife needs to be secure.
  2. A wife needs to be valued.
  3. A wife needs to be respected.
A wife needs to be secure:

What is security?

When the bible references the word security1, it reveals the biblical doctrine that maintains the continuation of salvation for those who are saved. The doctrine of security is based upon twelve undertakings of God for His people, four related to the Father, four to the Son, and four to the Holy Spirit.
  1. The Father’s Undertakings.
    1. The efficacy of the perpetual prayer of the Son upon the Father (John 17:9-12, 15, 20).
    2. Infinite divine power made available to save and keep (John 10:29; Romans 4:21; 8:31-39; Ephesians 1:19-21).
    3. God’s infinite love (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 5:7-10).
    4. God’s sovereign purpose or covenant which is unconditional (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:37).
  2. The Son’s Undertakings.
    1. His intercession (John 17:1-26; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:23-25).
    2. His advocacy (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1, 2).
    3. His Substitutionary death (Romans 8:1; 1 John 2:2).
    4. His glorious resurrection (John 3:16; 10:28; Ephesians 2:6).
  3. The Spirit’s Undertakings.
    1. Regeneration or quickening into eternal life is the partaking of the divine nature and an entrance into that which cannot be removed (John 1:13; 3:3-6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 John 3:9).
    2. Baptism, by which a believer is united to Christ so as to partake eternally in the new creation glory and blessing (1 Corinthians 6:17; 12:13; Galatians 3:27).
    3. Sealing, by which the Holy Spirit stamps and thus secures the Christian as God’s son (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 4:30).
    4. Indwelling, by which the Spirit inhabits the redeemed body forever (John 7:37-39; Romans 5:5; 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 John 2:27).
The Undertakings of Christ is what the Apostle Paul is describing (in Ephesians) when he writes:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…2

Ask a person who has trusted in the salvation of Jesus Christ, and invariably they will get around to speaking of their spiritual security. They trust Christ with their life. God intends wives to experience that same sense of security from their husbands.

I believe that in order for a wife to fulfill her purpose of representing the church, she needs to be free just as the church of Christ is free and unencumbered from internal conflict. In the book of Acts, the bible describes a situation which arose that created the potential to fracture the early church had it not been addressed:

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.3

When a husband puts his wife in the position where her purpose is compromised, she becomes mired in a legalistic framework of the marriage; the weight takes a heavy toll that produces discouragement. When a wife is spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically secure, she is free to be all that her husband could ever want or need. She is alive in Christ, bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. There is an excitement of joy when a wife is free to be the yin to his yang, and the spice of his life; the wife God has called her to be. We must not confuse security with the things we possess; security is rooted in trust.

When Jesus says, “…do not worry, saying,What shall we eat?orWhat shall we drink?orWhat shall we wear?For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.4

He wants us to understand that God will provide; God is my Jehovah Jireh, the One who provides. If we examine the life of Christ, we realize that at no time did He seek to make a name for Himself. Self-importance, attention seeking, and honor were not things which Christ sought. A husband must not put himself above obedience to God.

...have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant...5

When I, by faith understand and know this, I am secure to trust God for my needs. Just as Christ is the head of the church, the husband functions as the head in the marriage. This does not mean that the husband is autonomous; he must seek to please God, not himself. Jesus said this regarding his relationship with the Father:

…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.6

A husband cannot give his wife security if his focus is not on pleasing the Father in his life. A husband must be a type of Christ to his wife:
  1. Christ is our Intercessor/husband is wife's Peacemaker
  2. Christ is our Advocate/husband is wife's Supporter
  3. Christ is our Substitution/husband is wife's Cover
  4. Christ is our Resurrection/husband is wife's Renewal

Almighty God and Father,

I wish that I'd learned these principles years ago, but the truth is that I was too stubborn and selfish to understand them; I didn't love my wife as Christ loved the church. Although my wife has left me, I love her more now than I did all the years we were married. It has taken this experience to bring me before Your throne of grace and proclaim I love only her; for me, there will never be another suitable helper. For her, our marriage has ended; I understand and accept that now, but my love for her will never end.

I pray for men who've acted like me, ignorant of the precious gift of love; callously, and foolishly discarding the blessed joy of being one. May there be rejoicing for that husband and wife who choose love. Thank You for the many men and women who stand as towers of marriage, faith and love. Thank You for those who are single, standing as towers of celibacy, faith and love for You. Amen.


Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).

Footnotes:
  1. Doctrine of Security, from Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 990
  2. Ephesians 5:25, NASB
  3. Acts 6:1, NLTB
  4. Matthew 6:31-32, NIV
  5. Philippians 2:5-7, NIV
  6. John 8:29, NASB


References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Jerusalem Bible, Edited by Alexander Jones, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, ISBN 0-385-01156-3
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  5. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  6. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896
  7. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6
  8. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago

13 comments:

Joy said...

Thanks so much for your honesty and vulnerability!

Joan said...

MTJ:

You have expressed here the role of husbands and wives in comparison to Christ and the church with such clarity. I am seeing things as I have not seen before. Thank you for this!

I praise God that you are allowing yourself to be His vessel and that you are using the gift of writing to help others.

I pray for you, for your marriage - nothing is impossible with God.

Blessings,
Joan

LivingSoAbundantly said...

The words "Wives must represent the church" is a great challenge for me. I need to be doing my part, as well. Your post was so encouraging and challenging. That's good!

Don't beat yourself up. I don't even know you, but I know Jesus and His grace. That is great that you realize the past; however, God made sure your future. Remind the devil of that when he taunts you. You've already won the game! Enjoy playing it.

Ephesians 3:20 has been such an encouragement to me lately.

Great post!

Pamela said...

I wish all young wives and husbands could go through this series with you. I love how to support everything you say with Scripture.

Blessings,
Pamela

JT said...

Thanks for this post. I have loved my wife for 45 years. I adore and respect her. God bless you.

Charlotte said...

You provide so much insight and good advice. Thank you for sharing again.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Clif said...

Wow! Thanks for posting such an insight and helpful post. Charlotte and I have been married 53 years. I hope that many young marrieds will read your excellent post and learn from it. Thanks for being so honest about your own life.

Gayle said...

One of my favorite chapters on marriage.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Husbands need to be loved also,we all need to be loved. Thank-you so much for posting this today.
Blessings,
Ginger

sarah said...

really good points. I think all of us...men and women need to know we're loved and respected in the eyes of our partner. Stay strong out there MTJ

Saleslady371 said...

Nothing tops God's Word when it comes to relationships. Thank you for sharing!

Sharon said...

This was strong preaching, my friend! Just wonderful words. I love how you "fleshed out" the concept of Jesus/the Church being the model for husbands/wives. I also liked how you separated out the undertakings of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each plays a significant, and different, role in salvation.

This was a clear and instructive post.

GOD BLESS!

dunlizzie said...

MTJ - I have missed being around the blogs lately but what a powerful read to come back to! You have sussed out core truths for a healthy marriage. But more than that, it reveals God's nature regarding how He views relationship. Full of love and trust. God so loved, and we in turn trust. Good stuff. God bless :)
--dunlizzie