Sanctifying Love

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 (Ephesians 5:25-26).

Marriage under Christ is a relationship that will bring two individuals closer to Him and cause both to change for the better, making each more holy.  It is the responsibility of the man within a marriage to help lead the couple closer to holiness, towards sanctification.

The head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Today, we have a mixed message of what true leadership is.  Is a leader someone who scores a basket or a touchdown and beats his chest drawing attention to himself?  Is a leader a politician who uses their position not to serve but to self-serve?  Was Adam, our first male role model, a leader by following his wife into sin instead of standing up for what he knew was wrong?

The movie We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson, depicted the life of Lt Col Hal Moore during his service in the Vietnam War.  His motto was, “We will all come home together.”  His men fought for and alongside him so diligently because he led with integrity, by example, and with love.  That is true leadership.

To be that kind of leader, who leads a marriage closer to sanctification, we (men) must first place ourselves under the Lordship and authority of God.  Only through our relationship with Him can we learn how to live out His Word in our heart, exemplify His Word in our actions and follow His Word in how we love, which will all lead to holiness.

Lead with Integrity

For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…till death do us part. 

— Common wedding vows

With the divorce rate hovering around 50%, I often wonder what happens to these vows that are made when a couple says, “I do.”  A wedding is one of the few times in life where a person makes a public vow in front of God and witnesses, and chooses to enter into a commitment of marriage based upon love, not feelings. 

  • Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).
  • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrew 13:5).
  • Do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony (Matthew 19:18).
  • Keep the oaths you have made to the Lord (Matthew 5:33).

Leading with integrity in a marriage means memorizing and living out verses like these.  If we truly love God and love others according to Scripture, we will honor our commitments and God’s commandments will live deep within our soul.  When we reach that point, we will lead our marriages with integrity, grow closer to God and to each other.

Lead by Example 

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you.  You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.  Let your lives shine brightly before them (Philippians 2:14-15).
 
When God returned to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:8-20), he called to Adam and asked, “Did you eat fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”  His response was not that of someone who was leading by example.  Adam’s first words were, “You gave this woman to me…”  God calls us to take responsibility for our actions, confess our wrongdoing, and repent. 

Marriages need that kind of a leader, one who is willing to admit his wrong and one who is leading under the Lordship and guidance of the Lord.  Leading by example doesn’t mean bringing attention to your achievements or telling others what they should be doing.  A husband can pray in solitude, help his wife without asking, spend time with the children, and show love to his wife through his actions.  Whether married or not, we can all lead by example.