Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 5:22-32
This passage isn’t about husbands and wives. This passage is about the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Now, as we look at the relationship between Christ and the Church, we see incredible and direct application to how that affects the marriage relationship between a man and woman. Men are initiators of the relationship as Christ initiated salvation and came to earth to save people. Therefore, men ought to be leaders. Yes, women are called to submit to their husbands, but men are not called to lead their wives and families in a domineering, authoritarian manner! Men should be caring for their wives, praying for their wives, loving their wives unconditionally, and putting every need of their wives above their own. This passage is only controversial because a lot of men have drastically failed at leading their wives and their families in this way. They have failed to love their wives as Jesus has loved the Church.
In marriage relationships, men and women can honor God by reflecting Jesus’ love for the Church and the Church’s response to the love of Jesus. Jesus sets the standard. Men must model Jesus’ life. And women ought to model the loving response that every person in the Church has toward Jesus. For both men and women, this takes humility, submission, and reverence for God.
Men show humility by placing themselves second, sacrificially. Men submit to Christ by loving their wives unconditionally in the good and bad moments. Men also model what true repentance looks like. Men shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge their sin and say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me” Men ought to model what it looks like to daily turn away from sin and ask forgiveness (Loving as Jesus did doesn’t mean that men are at all perfect like Jesus was!). Men show reverence for God by leading well and striving for unity (oneness; one flesh) with their wife.
Women show humility by submitting to the flawed leadership of their husband. Women choose to be persons who are wonderful to live with. Women show reverence for God in that they are gracious toward their husbands who are still sinners. They repent of sin together with their husbands who are also living in repentance. As the husband and wife grow more like Jesus they will grow in unity and intimacy.
What an incredible thing for two sinners to be united in this way that reflects the glory of God’s grace to the world.
1) Do you struggle with this passage? Why is that? Is it possible that you have a presumption about marriage, or the roles of men and women that you need to submit over to the authority of God’s word?
2) The word “submit” is not a popular word but we are called to do it. Is there an area of your life, or marriage, that you need to submit to Christ?
3) What can you do differently today in your marriage (or other relationships if single) that will display and reflect the love that Jesus has for the Church?
Memorize: Ephesians 5:24-25
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her