June 11, 2011

Prisoner For Christ IV: “Each for the Other, All In Christ: Part 1” Husband & Wife

I’ve chosen a life application out Ephesians chapter 5 and two from chapter 6 that I have applied directly to my life so others can see how to apply them to theirs. These applications are in no way an intent to encompass the entire meaning of the portions of Scripture that they reside in but rather how I have put these portions of Scripture into play in my life…in this case portions from Ephesians 4-6.  

Ephesians 5:25-32 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…”
At the root of the next (3) three applications is a self-sacrificing love (agape) that seeks to first assure the well-being of another. I am in a daily battle of repeating this behavior. I find that each day presents its own set of issues and I need to re-center on Christ every day and sometimes multiple times a day in prayer. I continually put forth the same effort to put Christ above all things in my thinking (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). I am human and prone to failure because of my fallen and sinful nature.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” ~Ephesians 5:25-26 
This passage goes on but the concept is well known among Christians. Just as Christ loved and gave Himself up for the Church. This is an idea that is known but not often fully understood and is foreign to even many Christians in the society/culture. We have (myself included) been raised in a culture that focuses on self/selfishness and rugged individualism. This is contrary to a Christian worldview in most cases. In my marriage I have learn that I have been closest to a broken marriage or damaged relationship with my wife when I focus on self and become selfish. We are called to do the opposite with our families. In this passage our wives. I have clearly struggled in this area over 10 years of marriage (as many do). I solemnly vowed to my God, my wife and myself that I would do certain things to correct this and continue to do so.

I pray and meditate on God/Jesus and His Word.

I would always consider the well-being and needs of my wife first before myself and will continue to do so. This is a reciprocal relationship. I realize now that my wife loves me and is concerned enough for me that if I did neglect myself she would tell me. In considering her as my wife I often put her needs and wants above my own (as Jesus did for us). It is the same pattern I have managed to accomplish with God. I think first how my actions perpetuate the Kingdom and accomplish God’s will. God has clearly stated in His Word that I am to emulate Christ in my relationship with my wife.

The self-sacrificial love is difficult but I also forfeit and intend to continue to forfeit how I am perceived by other people to bring glory and honor to my wife. I believe this is what many secular men call being “whipped”. I call it doing the right thing. I tell my wife where I will be and my schedule. I do not want her to worry. I am old school and do not often use my cell phone so I still pre-plan my day so my wife has an understanding of the where’s and the what’s of my day…even at the cost of mockery from my unmarried friends that don’t fully grasp this. Perhaps that is why they are still unmarried?

So the pattern starts with a desire to bring honor to God through my obedience and then subsequently carries over or trickles down to my marriage relationship that is in Christ. Honor to God through a proper relationship with Him. Honor to wife in a mutual relationship with obedience to God and desire to honor wife in a Godly and Biblical manner.

When we go to the next post about Ephesians 6:4 we see the unfolding of the father and child relationship. It is here were we really begin to get the bigger picture of the Christian home.

Harmonious Christian families are formed “In Christ” as the foundation. They are mutually submissive triangular relationships between a husband, wife and children. This sounds an awful lot like the Godhead as a model. When we have multiple Christian homes aligned to God builds it builds a society of God (aka: The Church, The Kingdom of God). If Family/society is “in Christ”. Jesus acts as overarching example of love/humility for us to obey but yet he comes to support us in our failings during our process of becoming more holy. This is akin to the Ephesians 5:21 Greek word hupotasso (incorrectly translated into English as submit) attributed to the husband/wife/parent role and it means to come alongside and under in an act of mutual submission and also support. In Jesus' case he is not inferior but willingly serves with a servants heart (foot washing). Paradoxically, Jesus also acts as the foundational support from underneath which is akin to the Ephesians 6:1 Greek word hupokouo which means to be arranged under. In the case of Jesus, not in a roll of subservience but rather in the roll of support from underneath such as the cornerstone mentioned in Ephesians 2:20.

As a whole we see obedience and mutual submission is of supreme importance and imperative to the spiritually healthy family. These are grounded in the person and work of Christ. Christ’s presence in our home brings Kingdom of Heaven to our homes. From our homes the Kingdom/Church branches out into the world (society) reshaping it from the ground up by changing hearts. It is here we see that the commitment for Big “C” on Sunday comes from commitment of Little “c” at home. It starts with our children because they are the future of the Church. God has chosen to make the spread and growth of the Church dependent on humanity and humanity’s survival is dependent on our children. Teaching children about the Lord and His precepts assures the Gospel’s survival through God’s chosen method-

My other application pertain to educating our offspring in to Chapter 6...in my next post.

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