Leading in Love
Read Ephesians 5:25-33 (ESV)
Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
What does leadership tend to look like in our culture? Compare and contrast that with how Paul is describing how husbands should lead their wives.
Last week, we clarified what Christ-like submission is. It is all believers considering others as more important than themselves. In the case of husbands and wives then, both husband and wife are to first submit to Christ and then submit to each other. And yet, the Bible is clear that men are to be the head of their household and wives are called to submit to their husband’s leadership. But what does the Bible say that leadership is supposed to look like?
Paul says that a husband’s leadership is supposed to look like love. Specifically, the love of Christ. A husband is supposed to love his wife as he loves himself. He is called to nourish and cherish her. He is to care about her spiritual well-being and her holiness. He is supposed to love her as Jesus did - which was sacrificially. Is that what you were picturing when I asked you to consider what leadership looks like in our culture? I doubt it.
The pattern for Christ-like leadership is Christ Himself. Jesus has the power and glory of God and yet, He humbled Himself to care for those that He loved. Us. He came to serve. He came to lay down His life for us.
In Matthew 20:25-28, He told His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In Jesus’s kingdom, leaders are humble servants. Husbands are to lead their families in love. Wives are not being called to submit to tyrants who lord their authority over them. They are being called to respect the humble, loving leadership of husbands who are submitting themselves fully to the Lord.
Lord, Your design for marriage is perfect. Thank You for being the perfect example of love and leadership. Amen.