The Husband’s Calling
I was listening to a podcast the other day where the two speakers were talking about cultivating a healthy marriage. They were speaking specifically to the unique challenges of pastors but what they said applies to all Christian husbands. As I was listening, they brought up Ephesians 5:25, where it says ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’. This verse has remained on my mind over the past few days. On the one hand, I love how straightforward it is. I don’t have a huge list of things that I need to remember in order to be a Godly husband. Instead, I have an example. Jesus loved the church by laying down his life for her, now I must do the same for my wife. On the other hand, I find this verse really, really challenging! I mean, how can I possibly love Michanne as well as Jesus loved us?! I haven’t even perfected the art of cleaning my own dirty dishes yet!
One of the lies that I think our culture believes with regard to marriage is that you need someone who can fulfil your needs for you to be happy. But I think this totally misses the point. It may be surprising, but one of the things that I have been discovering by recommitting myself to this calling is a greater sense of joy. I didn’t realise how much I had become focused on self-satisfaction until I started to think a bit more regularly about how I can serve Michanne. I didn’t realise how the priority of my own happiness had started to dominate my mind until I started to think a little bit more about how to prioritise Michanne’s happiness in Christ. It is crazy how easily self-centredness can creep into our relationships and lives. Becoming more aware of it and resisting it has actually been a surprising source of joy for me. Somehow, it seems that the more we focus on attaining joy for ourselves the more elusive it becomes. However, the more we release that self-centred quest and pursue the good of others, the more we discover joy. It reminds me of a sermon Adam preached recently!
One of the things that has been inspiring me to forget about myself and pursue Michanne’s good has been the examples of other men around me. I have had multiple conversations recently with Godly men who have been desiring to serve their wives better. One of my friends recently asked me to pray that he might intentionally love and lead his wife better. Another friend that I know has been committing himself to putting his wife first and his example has been inspiring. I loved witnessing these guys stepping up as men into the calling that God had placed on their lives. Isn’t it encouraging to know that there are men in our church who are serious about obeying Jesus in their marriages? It tells me that the Spirit is at work among us. In fact, if husbands are going to make any headway in this quest to love their wives like Jesus, they will need the Spirit’s help. It is no surprise, then, that before Paul called on husbands to lay down their lives, he said, ‘do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). I thank God that the Spirit is at work in our church and in our men. In fact, we had 52 men get out of bed last Saturday morning to fellowship and pray with each other! Would you join me in praying for the husbands in our church? Please ask God to remind them about their God-given calling and ask the Spirit to give them the power to carry it out.