Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mission Impossible

Last week saw that marriage is like a beautiful masterpiece in which God, who is the master artist, is painting a picture to the world of the relationship between Jesus and the church. We saw in Ephesians 5 that in this painting the wife is a picture of the church. When people see the way she responds to the loving leadership of her husband they should see a powerful portrayal of the way the church responds to the loving leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the husband fulfilling his role that can make the wife’s role very easy or very challenging. Here is how.

Husbands are commanded to love their wives. This is not as simple as it seems. This word for love is a word that describes a self-sacrificing love that is always ready to serve. This love is action-oriented, not just feeling-oriented. Now if that were all there was to it, we husbands would have it made. I could ask you, “Do you love your wife?” You could answer, “Sure, I love my wife!” But Paul doesn’t end the command there. He adds a descriptive phrase that changes the whole ballgame. We are to love our wives just as Christ also loved the church. Wait! How unfair! That is like mission impossible. Who does God think we husbands are, Tom Cruise? No matter how wonderful I am and how in love I might be, the truth is that I will never be able to love my wife exactly like Christ loves the church. Believe it or not, I am not Jesus. Neither is any other human husband that I know. We are not perfect. We can’t love our wife exactly like Christ loves the church.

That means we have two options. First, since I can never really accomplish this role, then I can decide to simply not even try. After all, if I can’t really live up to the expectation, why bother? That is one option, but there is a better one. Since I can never really accomplish this role, then I should be able to get better at it every single day the rest of my life. In other words, I ought to be able to love my wife more today than I did yesterday. I ought to be able to show her more love tomorrow than I do today. And the same is true about next week over this week; next month over this month; next year over this year; the next decade over this decade; and so on and so on and so on until death does us part. Men, let me make you as close to a guarantee as I can or all your money back. When you love your wife like this…she will have no problem responding to you properly. She’ll want to. She’ll long to. After all, why do we love Jesus? We love Him because He first loved us. It’s like a well oiled machine when we are all doing our roles. The more I love my wife, the more she responds to my leadership. And the more she responds to my leadership the more I want to love her. It works perfectly.

This is what makes marriage such a masterpiece. God wants through our marriage relationships to paint a picture to the world showing the incredible relationship between Jesus Christ and the church. The wife who properly responds to her husband is to be a picture of the church responding to Christ. The husband who properly loves his wife is to be a picture of Christ loving the church. When we properly fulfill our roles and people see our marriage they should really see the Gospel. That is by far the best part of marriage. That is what I call a masterpiece! That is priceless!

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