Saturday, April 24, 2010

To Love A Woman

To Love A Woman
April 26, 2010
Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

When it comes to love, men are left a little lacking, that is, it doesn't come very naturally to us. Men are not, by nature, tender, caring, sensitive individuals. Men are rather obtuse and self-absorbed. We would rather work and provide, than sit and listen. Even the idea of how to love a woman does not mean the same to a man as it does to her. But regardless of how a woman thinks a man should love her, the Bible gives us a clear example of what it should look like. Women, before you nudge any man to read this devotional, make sure you have the correct perspective on how he should love you. This is not necessarily how a woman wants to be loved, but how God intended for a man to love a woman. The Bible says that a man should love a woman by taking the example of love from Jesus Christ. The Bible uses uncomfortable verbiage, "as Christ...gave himself up for [the Church]." Sacrifice can mean many different things, and it is always uncomfortable.

There are two parts to understanding this verse:

This scripture was written AFTER Jesus died and rose again. It is easy from this to make a parallel between Christ dying on the cross and a husband giving up his life for his wife. This needs to be understood in the sense of a husband's willingness to give up what is precious to himself (his own life), in exchange for his wife. Specifically, Christ's sacrifice for the Bride was a sacrifice for her benefit. A man's sacrifice to a woman's benefit, though, is not necessarily shoes, a nice house, or status in the community. The benefit that Christ gave the Church was purposeful; when He gave His life up for her, He created the chance and opportunity to be fed spiritually by now having an intimate and personal relationship with God. The clarity in the parallel becomes a husband willing to sacrifice his own flesh (selfish wants and desires) so his wife may be fed spiritually and continue to develop an intimate, personal walk with God. A husband's love should be purposeful, for his wife's spiritual benefit. It is a husband's act of love, then, to provide an environment in the household where his wife can have the best opportunity for intimacy with God, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He should care more about her spiritual well-being with the Lord than he cares for himself.

The work that Christ performed on the cross, in giving Himself up for the Church, had another benefit to the bridegroom, besides bringing an intimate relationship with the Father. His selfless act enables us to use the phrase, "He took our infirmities and carried our diseases," referring to physical healing that Christ brings. While a husband cannot perform his own healing miracle for his wife, he can, however, take precedence from Jesus' sacrifice. A man's love for a woman should create an environment where healing can take place. Every woman comes with a degree of hurt, carried by years of abuse from a fallen world. It is to a man's credit to promote and maintain a household for a woman where she can be healed of all that is emotionally draining, the draining that occurs in the day's events. Jesus never added to the Church's pain and suffering, and so a man should never contribute to the emotional stress that a woman, by nature, bears. This is easier said than done, but true nonetheless.

The second aspect in understanding this scripture, of a man loving a woman in the same way that Christ gave Himself up for the church, comes at the beginning and not the end. Let me explain. When Christ came into this world, He already knew your name and loved you before you were born, before you even deserved to be loved. Jesus loved you before you were worthy of being loved. In the same way, a man should love his wife first, not because she is worthy of love or because she loves him back, necessarily. A man's love for a woman should not be based on reciprocity alone or whether she is loveable. I have a mother, a wife, and two daughters and I know that they aren't always loveable. Let's face it, women can be a little difficult to love sometimes, but that is when it is a man's job to love her, especially if he is married to her. Christ didn't love you because you were perfect or because you loved Him first. He loved you first, when you were still unlovable. So a husband should love his wife, even when loving her seems impossible. After all, Christ still loves you.

Though I am a selfish individual who is not the leader of love that Christ is, I know one thing. If a man loves a woman, like Christ loved the church, it will be easy for her to love him in return, regardless of how many shoes he buys her.

1. What is your definition of love from a husband?
2. How can a husband love his wife like Christ loved the church?
3. How can you help other men come to this correct understanding of love?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Is 53:4, Matt 8:17, Rom 5:8, Rom 13:10, 1 Cor 13:4, 2 Cor 12:15, 1 John 4:19

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