Family Foundation Stone #1- “Husbands, Love Your Wives”

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We are gradually learning to become more and more like little children in the family of Father God. We are learning not to demand of our Heavenly Father to “know for ourselves,” but to simply trust our Daddy to lead, show and then, actually, do His will for us Himself in our lives. As we do so, He begins to explode in our minds new insights, ideas and innovations! 

This is not surprising. It is God’s way to naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously do the opposite of what we are expecting. We are told by God in Isaiah 55:8, 9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” His method of constructing our human families is no exception

It is the God-given task for men to rule over the earth, with our wives as our “helpers”: “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him”  (Genesis 2:18), thus ordaining families. This “patriarchy,” obviously biblically created by God Himself, is violently attacked by today’s cultural ethos. This belief teaches women can, and should, do everything men do, and more!. 

However, this verse in the Bible in Genesis 2 summarizes what I believe it teaches—complementarianism, not egalitarianism. Complementarianism stresses that although men and women are equal in personhood, they are created for different roles as they rule together. Egalitarianism also agrees that men and women are equal in personhood but holds that there are no gender-based limitations on the roles of men and women.

This is a very crucial concept, because understanding men’s and women’s roles in the family enables us to successfully complete the initial ruling task God gives us as men (always with our wives at our sides supplying what we lack). The Bible calls this “ruling well” in the family, our “proving ground,” so to speak, to get us ready to rule over whatever God has for us in life (1 Timothy 3:4, 12; 5:17). So, it behooves us to try to discover how He wants us to do this, keeping in mind that it will be in a way that does not “seem natural.” 

It will not match “our thoughts.” but His, which are much “higher” than our own (Isaiah 55:9), thus, often almost incomprehensible to us, Beware! Because of this, the temptation will be to ignore God’s instructions.

The Bible teaches that a marriage is based on two foundation stones: 1.) the husband’s agape (unconditional) love for his wife, and 2.) the husband’s strong, firm, decisive leadership in the family. We will look at both in some detail, “loving” today, and “leading” next week.

1. Love: “Husbands, love ( agape) your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).

First, this agape love is INITIAL; the man is the pursuer, the aggressor, in this relationship. He does not “play it safe,” i.e. He never declines to commit himself, waiting until he knows she will respond positively. . 

Second, agape love is also UNCONDITIONAL. It does not cool, even if she initially rejects him, and even sins against him! “Love (agape) takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]” (1 Corinthians 13:5 – AMPC). 

When God Himself actually puts agape love in a man’s heart for a woman, it is not conditioned in any way on the conduct or attitude of the loved one. Its love-needle never moves—it is always stuck on full! It is a love that “…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1Corinthians 13:7). 

Third, agape love is SACRIFICIAL. If we men are to “…love) your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” as Paul tells us, Christ sacrificed everything for us, even His very life, to an ignominious death on a Roman criminal’s cross. We are to give our lives for our wives in an equally complete manner. 

This means that all the decisions he makes in the family are based on this foundation; “My goal is never my personal wishes or desires, but always the welfare of the family only. It may not be what they want, but always what I think they need. It may even be in opposition to my wife’s wishes, but, after listening to her counsel, I must make the final decision.”

Agape love—Initial, Unconditional, Sacrificial. Men, this is our calling, and it qualifies and prepares us to rule, not only in our homes, but also whatever role God may have for us.. 

Paul gives Timothy, a young, single man, whom God had called to be Paul’s “apostolic apprentice,” the following advice, an appropriate word for all single men: “(Treat the) older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:2). This “treat them all like sisters” attitude precludes all physical temptations to sin that “dating” and other romantic stage-setters invite.

 Once a man meets, and is ultimately convinced, that there is one certain “sister” among all the other “sisters” he knows, for which God has put agape love in his heart, he cannot deny it. God will not let him cease pursuing her, irrespective of her response. He cannot give up. His task is now winning her heart! Next week we will look at another nuclear hand-grenade we have in our arsenal to do so

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