With having established what a marriage is and what it is not, I will begin to look at the people in the marriage. The first will be the husband. I have chosen to look at the role of the husband first because it is he that the bible begins talking about first in Genesis.
After making Adam, God knew that he needed a helpmate–a wife–to help him out. God then created Eve. Immediately after giving Adam Eve God said: “For this reason a man will his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh”. (Genesis 2:24). Jesus repeats these same words thousands of years later when talking to some Pharisees about marriage and divorce (Matthew 19:5). Paul later also repeats these words in Ephesians 5:31. Being repeated several times shows that these words are important and must be heeded.
Notice in this verse that the man and woman will become ‘one flesh‘. This shows that in a marriage there is no longer ‘me’ and ‘you’ or ‘him’ and ‘her’. The two are together. It is not all about him, nor is it all about her. There is no selfishness allowed in a marriage.
Often men feel as that because they are to be the head of the household, they are the boss and it is all about them and their desires. They rule the wife and the household like a dictator demanding everything their way. This cannot be further from the truth of what marriage is supposed to be like.
Although God is in absolute control, He is not a God who is an extreme dictator, ruling with an iron fist. He is a God who is loving and compassionate, looking out for the best for each one He is over. Marriage is working together as one, helping each other out.
Now I shall look at just how a husband is to love his wife and treat her.
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, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27
Paul tells the husbands to love their wives. He pushes that issue strongly and gives an example of how they are supposed to love their wives–just as Jesus loved the church.
So, how did Jesus love the church? With a perfect, self-sacrificing, undying love. Think about this for a moment. How much did Jesus love the church or people? It was while people hated Him, while they did not want anything to do with Him, while they were beating Him and pounding nails into His hands and feet that He loved them. Jesus gave Himself up for the church. He did not have to do this, but chose to do it because of His great love for the church.
There is absolutely nothing that you have done that should make God love you at all. In fact, with everything you have done, you deserve God’s most extreme wrath of punishment. Yet, God loved you, Jesus loved you enough to pay the price for your sins and set you free from condemnation and judgement. This is extreme love.
Husbands you are to love your wives in this very same way.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:28-29
What does it mean then to love the wife? It is to feed and care for her. This is doing the same that every man does for himself, he feeds and takes care of himself. It is to work at meeting her needs, no matter what those needs are.
God feeds and cares for you. He provides physical food for you to eat to nourish your physical body. He also provides spiritual food to provide for your spirit and make it alive.
In the beginning God created the earth and all that is in it to provide for the physical needs of mankind. Later, Jesus died upon the cross to provide for the spiritual needs of man. God went all the way to help mankind out in every way needed and possible. There was no limit to His provision or love, both are endless, eternal.
Men, instead of putting yourself and selfish desires first, put your wife first. The only one that should be before your wife in your life is God. God first, then your wife. When you put God first, putting your wife next will be easy. When you take your eyes off of God, you become selfish and putting your wife next will be nearly impossible and you will fail.
Every day you must ask yourself how you can help your wife be the best that she can be for God and others in this world. Ask yourself how you can meet her needs first, before working to meet your own needs.
The best way to do this is to seek God’s direction. God will show you how to help your wife. Then trust God to meet your needs as you trust Him to help you meet her needs. This is real love. Remember that God is all about love. God is love (1 John 4:8) It is because of love that God created this world. It is because of love that Jesus died upon the cross. It is because of love that Jesus forgives us of our sins.
Your marriage must be about love, not just sexual love, but true love. Love that puts the other person first. Love that is self-sacrificing. Love that is forgiving. Love that is patient. Love that is not easily angered. Love that does not remember wrongs done. Love that does not dishonor. Love that is not proud or boasting. Love that is not easily angered. Love that always protects. Love that always trusts. Love that always hopes. Love that always perseveres. Love that never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
This type of love is not easy, but it is what is best. There will be tough times. Your wife will hurt you at times. There will be challenges and disagreements. Jesus loves you even though you hurt Him at times. Every time you sin, you hurt Jesus, yet, He still loves you.
Yet, love will persevere and strive to keep going. Love will triumph in the end.
Men, love your wife. Love her as Christ loves you. As you love her and put her above yourself, you will have a much better marriage. You will also have a marriage that God wanted you to have.
Thank you for staying with me as I continue to look at marriage. Next week I will look at the wife’s role in a marriage.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
So they took the away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
After looking at several people of faith through the Old and New Testament, we come to one who has the perfect, ultimate faith–Jesus. It is only because of Jesus that anyone can be saved and have a real faith in God.
Although volumes could be written on the faith of Jesus and throughout the gospels there are many examples of Him showing faith, I will only be looking at a couple of areas. Each of these are things Jesus said and did that showed His faith in the Father.
Looking at John 5:19 Jesus states what faith looks like, although He does not use the word ‘faith’ in His comment. He states that he only does what He sees the Father doing. Although this is talking about seeing, and faith is about not seeing, this does show faith also.
Doing only what God is doing is showing faith that you believe that what God is doing is the best thing to do. Think about this for a minute. Often we state that we believe God, but then He tells us to do something and what do we do? We begin to question it, rather than have faith and believe it.
God is never going to ask you to do something that is not in your best interest. Whatever you do should bring you or someone else closer to God. Your life is to be a light shining the gospel message of Jesus to this world.
In order to be that shining light, you must have faith in God. You must have faith in what Jesus said and did. You must have faith that what God said He will do. Jesus did all these things.
Now let’s look at one time Jesus showed His faith in the Father. It is found in the story of Lazarus dying and Jesus raising him from the dead. Lazarus had been dead and buried for several days. In the eyes of the world, there was no more hope for him, it was over. Yet, Jesus goes to raise him from the dead.
As He gets ready to raise Lazarus up, He talks to the Father out loud. He thanks God for hearing Him. This was done to be a witness to the people. Jesus was saying that He had faith in that the Father would hear Him and do what was needed to be done.
As soon as Jesus had said this, He called Lazarus to rise up and come out of the grave. Lazarus did rise from the dead immediately.
You can have that same faith today. Listen to what God is saying and doing and then do the same things. God will hear you and answer your prayers, when offered in faith, believing. These are not selfish prayers, but prayers and actions that do what God is wanting to do.
The final act of faith that Jesus portrayed was when He was in the garden preparing for His death upon the cross. When He was going to die upon the cross, He would go through not only physical pain, but emotional and spiritual suffering.
Think about this for a moment, Jesus had been with His Father for all eternity and now He would be separated for a time from Him. Not only would He be separated, but Jesus would also have to bear all the anger of God against all sin of all mankind for all time.
While Jesus was in the garden preparing for the death, He actually asks the Father if there could be some other way to do what needed to be done. Yet, He did not stop there. Jesus was willing to do what the Father said needed to be done–die on the cross.
You may be wondering now how does this show faith. Good question. It shows faith, because Jesus was going to be struck by His Father with great anger and wrath. He was going to be killed.
For most people, when they die it is over. There is no more life. There appears to be no more hope.
To walk forward into death appears to be giving up, suicidal. Yet, Jesus had faith that God would raise Him from the dead when it was over. He had faith that this was the best way to save every person on this earth. He had to have faith that the Father knew He was perfect and did not have to die for His own sins and stay dead.
How can this help you? Just as Jesus went forward to a extremely painful death upon the cross for you, you must be willing to go forward with what God has planned for your life.
There will be times that God will ask you to step forward into doing something that may appear to be the finish line for you. It may look like death to you. It can be scary and painful. Yet, it is what is best for you and everyone else.
Do not back down, but go forward in faith, believing, as Jesus did, that what He asked you to do is the best thing to do. Jesus gave His Holy Spirit to empower you and guide you in the ways of God. He did not leave you alone. Have faith that God is with you.
When you are struggling in life or God asks you to do something crazy, think about what Jesus did. Look at His faith and draw upon it for yourself. Go forward with the faith of Jesus in your life and walk with God. Have the ultimate faith!
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24
Many people know the story about Mary and Joseph, but few really think about the faith of each and what faith it must have taken to move forward as they did.
Mary was probably a teenage girl who was in an engagement to get married to Joseph. The time of the wedding was some time off. One night an angel appears to her and tells her that she will be pregnant with a boy who would become the savior of the world.
She immediately asks a legitimate question ‘How?’. This did not make sense to her, since she was a virgin. Mary obeyed the law and stayed pure for her wedding day.
The angel stated that it would happen by the Holy Spirit of God coming upon her. And it happens.
Now she has to face a dilemma. What is she to do? How will she bring this news to Joseph? How will he take it? How will she tell her parents? Her friends? What will the neighbors think? What will the priests think and do?
Her life is now in danger. During those days, once a person was engaged to be married, it was as if they were married. To have sexual relations outside of marriage was punishable by death because it would be considered adultery.
Yet, she had to trust God and move forward knowing what God had told her and knowing she was innocent, regardless of what may happen or what people may say.
Joseph also had a dilemma to deal with. Now he finds out that she is pregnant. He is a God-fearing, law abiding citizen and good upstanding in the community. What will people think and say of him? What will people think and say of her? What about his position in the community? What about his stand for God? What will the priests think and do when they find out? How will this affect him?
He chooses to quietly divorce her and let her go her way without any direct punishment.
Yet, God has other plans. The angel appears to Joseph also, and tells him that what is happening is of God’s work. Immediately Joseph did what the angel does, trusting God, having faith that God knows what He is doing, despite how bad it looks on the outside. Joseph does not divorce Mary, nor does he go into hiding or run away.
God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts. He sees a picture that is much bigger and clearer than we could ever see.
There may be times when God will ask you to do something that will go against the cultural norms of the day, in fact, that will happen the majority of the time. He calls His people to be different, to stand out in this dark world as a light.
Light is different than darkness. It exposes, where darkness hides. As a believer there will be times when God will use you to reach this lost, dark world for Him.
God used Mary and Joseph to reach the world by telling them that they will raise the boy who would become the Savior of the world. He would be the long prophesied and awaited Messiah to come.
As you are a witness, there will be people who will not understand. They will not see the bigger picture. At times it may look like you are crazy and doing something wrong, though you are following God correctly.
Going against the cultural norms of this fallen, dark world can be dangerous. It may threaten your job, your position in the community, your title, and even your family. Sometimes it will be with just words, while other times it could be a physical threat. Regardless of how it happens, there is danger when you have faith in God and are following Him with a sincere heart.
Satan and this world do not want you to be successful in God’s eyes. They want you to fail. Yet, you must step up to the plate and move forward, trusting God. This is faith.
Just as with Mary and Joseph raising Jesus, God has a job for you to do. You may only touch a few people or millions directly, but through you, God can touch change the world. Be willing to step out in faith, following God when everything about it does not look right and sounds crazy. God is with you. Keep the faith!