This is post #7 in a twelve blog/podcast series entitled REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY. In this series, we’ll look at very practical matters like how we must learn to love and honor both ourselves and others in order to be the Christ-centered followers the Master wants us to be here in the twenty-first century. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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Our Lectio Divina for today: Ephesians 5: 21-33 (MsgB)
Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. 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 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. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of His body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
Sometimes in church life, we can get a bit overwhelmed by all the things we believe God is expecting of those who truly desire to be disciples of Jesus. At times, it can feel a bit intimidating as we study the Scriptures or listen to pastors’ sermons, wondering if you or I will ever be able to keep up with all of the many commandments we believe that God is asking us to keep.
But, here’s the really good news for those who are looking to simplify their faith. As followers of Christ, it’s truly important for us to know that there is really only one thing our Master expects from us on a daily basis.
And that one thing is to love. Agape love.
You see, when you or I begin living our lives out of the unlimited resources found in God’s agape love, we actually find that living this thing called the Christian life is much easier then one might first think. As we discussed earlier, agape love is not a human love, but a God-breathed un-ending, un-relenting, un-conditional, un-limited, un-equaled, out-of-this-world type of love! And since God fully knows that we are unable to produce this kind of love out of our own strength, He freely gives it to us, through the work of the Holy Spirit, as we simply ask Him for it.
Which now brings us to the subject of marriage and family.
In our human existence, there is one common thread that binds us all together on this little blue marble called planet Earth. Every one of us has relationship with others. From the time we’re born, to the time we die, our lives are full of relationships. Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted of individuals will have significant relationship with a minimum of 10,000 people over an average lifetime!
Wow! That’s a lot of relationships!
Yet, of all of those 10,000 + relationships you and I will have in our life, I dare say that the most intimate and rewarding…and yes, at times, the most challenging… are the relationships that revolve around our marriages and our families!
And that’s why the New Testament spends as much time as it does talking about the way we treat our marriages and our family life. You see, to God, the way we relate to our spouses and to our families speaks loudly about who we are as Christ-followers. If we, as Paul says here in his letter to the Ephesian church, treat our husbands or our wives in a way that dishonors or discredits them, we are modeling a relationship that runs contrary to the agape love relationship that Christ has with all of us, His church.
So this week, let’s look briefly at this wondrous thing called marriage and see if the increase of agape love in our lives just might begin to take a rather hard thing (relating with our spouse) and make it into a beautiful instrument of agape love, for the greater glory of God.
My prayer: Jesus, I must confess that the challenge to live a life motivated by agape love is hard at times. Particularly, when it comes to marriage and family. But I believe that agape love is something You give freely if I ask for it. Today, Holy Spirit, I ask. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How has my level of agape love been in recent weeks when it comes to the important relationships of marriage and family? Am I trying to grunt my way through, leaning on my own resources, or am I willing to humble myself and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with more of God’s agape love for these sometimes very trying relationships?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Thank you for joining us on this 12-session journey we call Real-Life Christianity. We suggest you bookmark our blog/podcast homepage for this series to keep all the blogs and podcasts in one place for your future reference.
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