Wednesday, 21 March 2012

On Ephesians 5...and love...and submission...

Verse 21 in Ephesians 5 begins the whole piece of advice on marriage with the encouragement of 'submitting to one another'. If we only did that, then we would indeed have unity in and among our churches. A simple idea - perhaps too simple - but how many disputes would be solved if we had the humility to do this?
We need to remember that Christ gave himself up for us, His church.  The Message says: Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. 
We can talk endlessly on how this applies to marriage, as Whitney does in this wonderful post; and with it comes the temptation to have the attitude of 'I would submit if he did this first...' but of course wives are told to submit first, regardless of what the husband does.  
The Contemporary English Version says: 'In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself.'  That is often the problem in a marriage - for both men and women: we don't truly love ourselves and so it is hard for us to truly love anyone else.
Yet we are enabled to love ourselves by loving others first. My daughter Cat quote Mother Teresa this week: "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." 

For all of us, married or single, widowed or divorced, it is good to reflect on how much Jesus loves, nourishes and cherishes His people, the church.. 
'Christ's love makes the church whole.'  

It is my prayer that I may be enabled to truly love my husband: putting his needs before mine, loving him even better than I do myself - and if I have to do it by submitting, help me do that!!!

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