Love Like Jesus
By Brent Rinehart
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” - Ephesians 5:25
I could tell from the smile on my wife’s face, there had been an amazing encounter. She was beaming. She proceeded to tell me about her impromptu visit to a roadside produce stand to buy tomatoes and peaches. The older gentlemen running the stand – likely in his 80s – doted on my wife and kids in a manner that lifted my wife’s spirits like I hadn’t seen in a while. He gushed about how beautiful my wife was, how well-behaved our children were, what a good mom she was being and how blessed she was to have such an amazing family.
In today’s world, it’s not every day you run into someone displaying such compassion, gentleness and kindness. Today, you are much more likely to hear that you aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough or rich enough. This man had a joy about him that was contagious, and my wife caught it. She left that encounter with more than fresh produce. She left feeling like she had met with God, and I believe she had. God was speaking through this man. God was reminding my wife that this is how He feels about her. He’s absolutely crazy about her. In that moment, my wife needed to be reminded that she was special and loved, and God broke through at the perfect time, as usual.
I was moved to see how this had affected her. But, even more, God used that experience to impact me. He reminded me of my responsibility as a husband to love my wife as much as He does. And, He used her experience to remind me how He can use us – particularly in our marriage – to accomplish His purposes. He shows His love to us in a variety of ways, but the way we care for our spouses can be a key avenue God can use to impact each other.
In Ephesians 5, husbands are called to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” If you just glance at the verse, it’s easy to miss the true intent. Of course, we should love our wives, right? That’s a no-brainer. But, it’s actually much bigger than that. As Christians, we should consistently strive to emulate Christ. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). And, a few verses down, God speaks directly to how we should conduct ourselves in the home. As husbands, our love for our wives should be bigger than we typically think.
My wife likes to give me a hard time about it, but I don’t mind an occasional romantic comedy. She likes to joke that “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is one of my favorite movies because I usually stop and watch it if it’s on television. What can I say? I do love Matthew McConaughey. But, the love we are talking about here is not Hollywood love. It’s Jesus love. Ephesians 5:25 calls me to love my wife like Jesus loves her. It’s a self-sacrificing love that is counter-cultural.
To me, it means I’m called to express my love to my wife by giving up myself. It means putting my wife’s needs above my own – setting aside my own desires to ensure her needs are met. It means telling her what she means to me more often than I do. When my wife needs to feel loved, shouldn’t she feel it from me?
God can use anyone and anything (at any given time) to accomplish what He wants in our lives. He can speak to us in a variety of ways – even through strangers on the side of the road. But, Ephesians 5 calls me to love like Jesus. It calls me, as a husband, to have open eyes and an open heart, ready to seize any moment to be used to speak love to my wife.
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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