In my experience, there’s far too much talk in Christian circles about how wives need to submit to their husbands and far too few husbands shaking in their boots with terror at how God said He wants them to treat their wives.
An overstatement? Maybe, but Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. In other words, doing what we are instructed to do is a demonstration of our love for Jesus Christ. If you don’t love Jesus, no problem (for now!). Don’t bother doing what He says.
Wait a minute . . . of course I love Jesus.
Really? How much time have you thought about – really thought about – how you are told in the Scriptures to interact with your wife . . . how you are loving and leading her, by example?
For many husbands who call themselves “Christian” it’s time for a little fear.
As one brother pointed out, the Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear” . . . yes, but that Scripture is talking about the dirty fear of the Enemy. That’s not what we’re speaking of here. The Scriptures say, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever,” Psalm 19:9. We’re also told in 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” The clean, reverential fear of the Lord results in the obedience of His people.
Are you truly seeking to walk in obedience to the Word? Excellent! But, if you’re a Christian husband and are blowing past the direct statements made to you regarding your wife, it’s time to sober up. “Love your wife as Christ loved the Church,” should strike fear – reverential, godly fear – into your chest. It’s one of the most frightful requirements made in the entire Bible. To love as Christ loves? Seriously?
Certainly, the Scriptures instruct both husbands and wives on their proper attentions to each other but our focus, here, is that guy we see in the mirror every morning. And, of course, we can’t do this on our own – it’s happening only by the power of the Holy Spirit – but, have we thought at all about the implications of this statement?
If men would take 3 seconds to ponder what God is really saying, after wiping the sweat from their foreheads, there would be a lot less discussion in the Church about what women need to be doing and a whole lot more humility and focus by pastors and the men they lead on the standard God established for them (us!).
And, while we’re on the subject of pastors – If you are a pastor and you can’t stand before your congregation on Sunday morning and say, without hypocrisy, “Follow the example I set in loving my wife,” then you are unqualified to shepherd a Church, you have no spiritual authority, you are destroying the work of the Spirit in that assembly, and you should step down until such time as you are qualified.
Men, have you truly taken seriously the way God has called you to interact with your wife? Like a popular preacher often says, “If you can’t say “Amen” say “Ouch!”” and then repent before the Lord and show your wife what love really looks like, Jesus Style.
Matt Jacobson is the founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).