Thursday, November 1, 2012

Husbands: Is Marriage Your Highest Priority?

Can there be any higher calling than the one the God of the Universe has given to husbands? God says, love your wife just like Christ loves His Church. That is a very high calling, and perhaps the most sobering words any married man, who knows and loves God could hear.

Paul explains marriage is unlike any other role we fill in life as a man. Marriage is unlike any other job we do. Marriage is elevated, by God, speaking through Paul in Ephesians 5, to one of the highest places in life.

There are few things in life that God singles out to be done in a way that clearly imitates how Jesus did it.

Husbands: Imitate Christ’s way
Please open to those amazing words that raise the institution of marriage from a mere building block of society, to the level of being among a man’s highest earthly priorities.

Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

[That means see that you do not point out his every failure, his weak attempts, or his inadequacies. Wives are commanded to respect whatever their believing husband tries to do, since he will answer to the Lord for whether of not he obeys, just as she will.]

Husbands: Love Like Jesus Loved
When you get married and become a husband you immediately have started a family unit. As the husband of that family you are to operate under the dominating control of Christ's love.
  • Loving like Christ loves means being led by the Spirit. Jesus was led by the Spirit in His earthly, human life, and we can also walk in the Spirit.
  • Loving like Christ loved means being empowered to do God’s will by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was empowered to do God’s will in His earthly, human life, and we can also do God’s will in the power of the Spirit.
  • Loving like Christ loves means wanting to please God in every part of life: at the job, in all routine work, in daily relationship, and in the big and small decisions of life. Jesus pleased God in His earthly, human life, and we can also in the power of the Spirit.
  • Loving like Christ loves means responding to those we love in a God-honoring and correct way even when we are tired, hungry, tempted, and attacked. Jesus responded correctly in His earthly, human life, and we can also respond in a Christlike way by the power of the Spirit.
So that is what God's Word says to husbands. Loving our wives as Christ loves His Church means: all our decisions are to be prompted, led, and touched by His love.

That is what God clearly and specifically asks from husbands. That is what God says should become the life long, daily, highest priority from which flows all other activities in life. How are you doing men?

If we listen to God's Word, He has told us that our marriage is to become our highest earthly priority.

Accepting God’s Priorities for our Lives
Since God thinks so highly of our marriage, and since all other joys are to flow from that relationship—it must be our highest earthly priority!

Priorities are putting choices we have into an order of importance. As we serve God through life, if we are married, God says we must accept the priority of a Christlike marriage.

The second biggest choice in life, and the one that impacts everything else after salvation is your marriage. So what we need to consider is how to obey the Lord and serve Him by making your marriage your primary ministry priority.

A Christlike marriage as a reflection of Christ's love was the primary ministry each one of us husbands publicly affirmed before God and many of our closest friends and family, at our wedding.

We have many responsibilities in like including: our job, parenting and educating our children, serving in Christ's church though missions, or Sunday school, or youth work, or evangelism. All of these are important to God, but only our marriage is given the place of greatest priority as the Lord declares that we are to care for our wife with as single a focus and as clear a love as Jesus showers upon us His church. That is our first calling.

If we want to most fully serve the Lord then we shouldn’t get married is what Paul said. In other words certain people (like Jeremiah and the 144,000) and certain times (like the persecutions of the early church) are times that marriage may not be best.

1 Corinthians 7:32-33 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.

But for most of history and for most of God’s servants – their marriage is to be their PRIMARY MINISTRY. Marriage is what God created us for.

As we turn to Genesis 2, remember God has already made the entire Universe and crowned it with His last creation, in His image called a man.

Then, God finds the first thing in the entire Universe that was not good—it is right here in verse 18. God states that man should be alone. So God crowns the creation of man with the creation of woman.

Watch this great event unfold in Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV). There is a wealth of marriage-changing-truth in these few words from God. Look at each piece.

v. 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Men Need Close Companionship
First, v.18a says literally “not good is man’s aloneness”. That is as clear as can be. Aloneness, solitary living is not good. One of the deepest pains sociologists have measured in society is living and isolated and lonely life. They report that such people ache with a deep pain they can’t even fully describe. Adam ached, God observed, and announces the solution for this great need.

Next, in v. 18b is God’s plan, “I will make him a helper comparable to him”.Notice God’s first reference to woman is by the title of ‘helper’. English just doesn’t convey what that Hebrew word means; hence it is not seen as a great title. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines help as a noun meaning “one that helps, especially a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usually by manual labor”.

But that English definition is exactly not what ‘helper’ meant to God. The Hebrew word God chose means something grand, literally it describes a person “who assists another to reach complete fulfilment”. When the same word is used in other places in the Old Testament it is used of someone who went and rescued another person. Now there we have it.

God made woman to come to man’s rescue and save him from his lonely existence. Eve was designed to rescue Adam from not only loneliness, but also to completely fulfil Adam.

Then, God continues with another word that captures even more of the beauty of marriage. This helper was “comparable” to Adam. This suitable, or comparable helper was literally “corresponding to” Adam. Man before woman had some missing pieces in the puzzle of his life and God said that was not good. So Eve was the one who provided the missing pieces to Adam’s life. Husbands by God’s design are incomplete until they receive that one God designed to correspond to them.

God promised that He would design her exactly to specifications for Adam. And that is the plan of God for marriage. Eve was to fulfil a God-designed-necessary-role that rescued Adam from missing his fulfilment—and in that process of being God’s special creation for man—Eve also found her completion and fulfilment. Marriage was such an incredibly designed wonder of God!

God Designed the Missing Piece To Adam’s Puzzle

From the start each partner was unique, each partner was vital, each partner was distinct, and each had a God designed role that provided immense satisfaction, fulfilment and completion. So Genesis next records the performance of this promise God made.

v. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

What an incredible moment. God removes part of Adam (a rib) and made woman out of it. The Hebrew word for “made” is “fashioned” and literally means “to build or rebuild so as to cause to flourish”. The missing piece of Adam’s life that caused him loneliness was not good.

But when that missing part of his life was taken by God and fashioned—that missing piece of life’s puzzle flourished into Eve. Adam’s rib under God’s design sprang to life as Eve. She was his helper, his rescuer, his completer, his satisfier, and the one who fulfilled every dimension of his life as a man.

There was an incredible equality about them: both were made by God; and both were made in the image of God. They were made to complement one another, but not to compete with one another.

Note Adam’s response. God brought her to him. And every man or woman enjoying the privilege of marriage should at that statement lift their heart in gratitude to the Lord. He designed the woman you have joined your life with, to be your helpmate that corresponds to every missing piece of the puzzle of your life. He gave you a partner, soul-mate, and best friend designed to be all that is needed to have a life-long fulfilment.

v. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Adam exclaims that his wife Eve was made by God, given to him by God, especially designed, and intentionally made for his needs, as he was for hers.

Note once again in the last part of v. 22 that God personally brought Eve to Adam. You will start a whole new chapter of your marriage and open an entirely new dimension to your relationship when you realize that God Himself designed your husband or wife just for YOU! All of the differences you share in perspective, in taste, in personality, in mood, and in ability are all placed there by God for His glory and for your good.

THE HUSBAND’S MANDATE
So, when this perfectly designed, and Divinely given woman becomes our wife, we have a very high calling. Paul clearly tells all husbands that they are to love their wives “just as Christ also loved the church," we must ask, “How does Jesus love us?” We know from Scripture that:
  • Christ's love has no conditions (Rom. 5:8).
  • Christ's love is focused upon us (Deut. 7:7; Eph. 1:6,7).
  • Christ's love is strong and giving (John 13:1; Eph. 5: 2, 25).
  • Christ's love never ends (John 13:1; Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:39).
  • Christ's love is not selfish (Phil. 2:6, 7).
  • Christ's love is sacrificing (Eph. 5:2, 24; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 5:6-11; 1 Pet. 2:24).
  • Christ's love is expressed in ways we can know (John 10:1-14; 14:1-3; 13:34,35; 15:9-10; Rom. 8:32; Phil. 4:13, 19; Heb. 4:14-16).
Since God wants us to love our wives with Christ's love, where do we start? Here are just a few ideas of some little choices to reorder our priorities, that will make us increasingly Christlike in our love for our wives.

  • Christlike husbands seek His HUMILITY. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will be like Jesus. Jesus as a leader was first and foremost a servant.
-  Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
-  John 13:1-15 gives us the same picture of what it means to be a leader. In this passage, the emblem of leadership is not a throne or a club but a big towel and a basin. In other words, a leader must have a servant’s heart. And if he has a servant’s heart, he will act like a servant and react like a servant - when he is treated like a servant.
  • Christlike husbands seek His SERVANTHOOD. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will be the family's biggest servant. He is to be the head of his wife even as Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). His great model in leadership is Jesus Christ, who made Himself a servant (Phil. 2: 6-8); who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Whatever Jesus Christ does, He does for our sake; He does with our best interests at heart. In similar fashion, the husband is to live for the sake of his wife, always keeping her best interests at heart. He is to be his wife's servant-leader.
  • Christlike husbands seek His KIND WORDS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will practice one of the simplest, yet most neglected, ways of communicating love - by way of words spoken kindly, warmly, and directly toward his wife. John 7:46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” 
  • Christlike husbands seek His KIND DEEDS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will love his wife by providing for the satisfaction of her varying needs. Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
  • Christlike husbands seek His CLOSENESS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will want to spend his most vital commodity (time) with his most precious possession (his wife). We love our wife by being near her and protecting her (Eph. 5:28).
  • Christlike husbands seek His HELPFULNESS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will express love to his wife by assisting her to fulfill her chores and responsibilities. 1 Peter 5:3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
  • Christlike husbands seek His SACRIFICE. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will express his love by sacrificing his interests and desires for hers (Eph. 5:25; Phil 2:5-6).
  • Christlike husbands seek His SHARING. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will love his wife by allowing her really to share the deepest parts of his life (1 Pet. 3:7-“heirs together of the grace of life”).
  • Christlike husbands seek His LOYALTY. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will express his love by refusing to compare her unfavorably with other people, especially other women (I Cor. 13:4-8).
  • Christlike husbands seek His FOCUS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will express his love by demonstrating to his wife that, apart from your relationship to Jesus Christ, SHE has first place in your life. She is the singular target of our focused eyes (Matthew 6:22).
  • Christlike husbands seek His TENDERNESS. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will express his love by giving her a lot of tenderness, respect, chivalry, and courtesy (Eh. 5:28; Col. 3:19; 1 Cor. 13:4, 5). Do not use jokes about her or make cutting remarks to her in front of other people. Speak to her in a gentle and respectful way. Treat her as you would a valuable jewel rather than a piece of cinder or a garbage can.
  • Christlike husbands seek the priority of PRAISING HER. A husband who believes his primary ministry is marriage will love her by expressing appreciation and praise generously and in large doses (1 Pet. 3:7; Prov. 31:28).
Getting Back On Track
Each of us husbands need to serious examine whether we have the priorities that reflect Christ's love. Remember them?

We as husbands love our wives with Christ's love as we choose to cultivate priorities of: humility; servanthood; kind words and deeds; your presence; helping; sacrifice; sharing; loyalty; your wife above all others; tenderness; and a priority of praising her.

If these priorities are in any way absent we can get on track today. Remember “No matter how many steps away from God we get, it’s only one step BACK!” Here is the way back:

Specifically note areas where you are failing and where you should improve. When you have identified those areas: repent by confessing that sin to God and to your wife (1 John 1:9; Matt. 5:23, 24; James 5;16). Prayerfully seek cleansing from this sin and all your sins through the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7). Then, after this obedient response to God, ask the Holy Spirit for power to be different (Luke 11:13; Gal. 5:16, 22, 23), and His grace will empower you to move out in obedience to the Word of God, and make the necessary changes (Phil 2:12-13; James 1:19-24).

Husbands: Love Like Jesus Loved
When you get married and become a husband you immediately have started a family. As the husband of that family you are to operate under the dominating control of Christ's love.

Loving like Christ loves means being led by the Spirit, like Jesus. Loving like Christ loved means being empowered to do God’s will by the Holy Spirit, like Jesus was.

Loving like Christ loves means wanting to go God’s will in every part of life: at the job, in all routine work, in daily relationship, and in the big and small decisions of life, like Jesus did. Loving like Christ loves means responding to those we love in a God-honoring and correct way even when we are tired, hungry, tempted, and attacked, like Jesus did. Loving our wives as Christ loves His Church means: all our decisions are to be prompted, led, and touched by His love.

So that is what God's Word clearly says to husbands. That is what God says should become the life long, daily, highest priority from which flows all other activities in life.

Ephesians 5’s Walk Passages: Ephesians 5:1-33

Verse 1-24 means that;
[Now, believing husbands who know they are to walk in love, in purity, in the light, in wisdom, and in the Spirit, here is your high calling for all of life]:

A servant stays close to those he serves. Jesus Christ practiced the principle of continuous association with those whom He led. He did not lead His disciples by long distance telephone calls, or by writing them a few letters or by infrequent visits. For over three years, He spent great amounts of time with them. (Compare John 1:39,43; Mark 1:17; 3:14; 4:10; 5:1,30,31,40; 6:1,30,31,32,35; 8:1,10,27,34; 9:2,30; 10:13,23,46; 11:1.) Biblical leadership requires association with those who are being led. A servant clearly talks to those he serves. Jesus Christ carefully and relevantly instructed His disciples. A servant clearly lives before those he serves. Jesus Christ led His disciples by being a good example. A servant clearly does his job for those he serves. Jesus Christ led His disciples by making decisions and delegating responsibility to them. Compare John 4:1,2; Mark 1:35-39; 6:7; 6:35-43; John 11:39-44; Matt. 10:1-14; 16:21-23; 21:1,2; 28:18-20, where Jesus made decisions and delegated responsibilities to His disciples. Similarly, Christian husbands are called upon to lead their wives by making decisions and by delegating responsibility. To be the leader does not mean that he must bear all the responsibility and do all the work while his wife bears nothing and does nothing. It does mean that he will see to it that the work gets done and that everyone knows who does what. In marriage someone has to be the final decision maker. Someone has to delegate responsibility, and God has ordained that this should be the husband. Indeed, the husbands must make decisions and delegate responsibility as a servant of his wife.

Source: http://www.dtbm.org

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...