Today’s Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21
The next passage of Scripture can easily be connected with what God had for us in yesterday’s Morning Coffee when we were called to make the most of EVERY opportunity. We have choices to make in our relationships with others. We can put ourselves first or INSTEAD submit to one another out of our love and respect for Jesus Christ.
Before I can go any farther I need to decide if I love Jesus enough to do this for Him – if I respect Him enough to submit to His authority and live as He has asked me to live. We cannot take that for granted because sometimes it is the very thing that is keeping us from doing what He has asked us to do. What He asks of us is not always easy but there is a secret to making any of these relationships work as God designed and it goes back to yesterday – to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
First, Paul instructs us regarding the marriage relationship:
For wives, this means submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or a wrinkle or any other blemish. INSTEAD she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must LOVE his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must RESPECT her husband. – Ephesians 5:22-33
I do not think we can do what God is asking here, or at least maintain it for a significant amount of time, without an infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is not always easy to submit in love and respect to our spouse. In the same way, we as the Church have difficulty submitting to God’s authority over us as the body of Christ. This kind of love and respect is also made possible with that key ingredient – the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
To truly love each other the way Christ loves the church, let’s consider again Ephesians 5:2, “Live a life of love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
This is what God is calling us to in our marriages and in our relationships with others – sacrificial love. He is calling us to love to the point of sacrifice, putting others before ourselves as a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
It goes back to yesterday’s flavorful ingredient in our morning coffee – to make the most of every opportunity. Today we will be given opportunities to love sacrificially. Starting our day off in God’s presence, allowing Him to fill us fresh and new with His Spirit, will empower us to love and respect each other the way God calls us to – whether it is to our spouse or our family or the Church or anyone God puts in our path today. Today, let us once again set out determined to make the most of every opportunity.
Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for you 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. – Ephesians 5:1b-2, 22-27 (The Message)
Father God, thank you for not only challenging us to make the most of every OPPORTUNITY TO LOVE, but also for equipping us for that task with the infilling of your Holy Spirit. As we enter your presence this morning, help us to keep our eyes focused on you as we become the person you created us to be – a person who embodies both SUBMISSIVE LOVE and SACRIFICIAL LOVE. Help us to live a life of love. We desire to be a pleasing aroma to you, God – in the way we serve you and the way we live out our relationships with others. Lord, we put our day into your hands and we ask for you to bless our country, our churches, and our marriages. Amen.