The context of this phrase is Paul’s instruction to husbands. This is how husbands are to love their wives. Have you ever wondered why Paul tells the husbands to love their wives, but he doesn’t tell the wives to love their husbands? Does love come more naturally to women? I don’t think that is what he is saying, and if you talk to my wife, she will agree that husbands are not necessarily easier to love. What I do know is that if a husband and a wife don’t both love each other, then a marriage won’t work.
Clearly, we would all say that mutual love is the glue that holds marriages together. That isn’t necessarily groundbreaking news. What is groundbreaking is the way that we are to love. We are to love each other “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” If you are married, this is the way you love your spouse. Not just with feelings, nice words, or the occasional bouquet of flowers. You are called to love your spouse in a sacrificial, self-giving, for-the-sake-of-others sort of way… the way that Jesus served. I’m talking about Jesus who washed his disciples’ feet. I’m talking about the one who literally died for us. This is how spouses are supposed to love each other.
If I can sum up this type of love in one word it would be a love that serves. So, for all those married people out there, I have a challenge for you. It is not just to serve the other, it is to out-serve the other. If you are a husband, try to out-serve your wife. If you are a wife, try to out-serve your husband. And yes, I want you to make it a competition. And yes, I want you to do whatever it takes to win! The great thing about this competition, is that if you both try, you will both win, even when you lose. Of course, this type of love is not just for those in a marriage relationship. It is the love that we are all to have for one another. But the source of this love comes from Jesus. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). So, let this flow not out of your own strength, but out of the strength of Jesus’ love for you.
In order to build up the muscles to go and lovingly serve someone else today, spend some time just sitting in the love of Jesus. Remember that Jesus serves you. Remember that Jesus loves you. Now go and do likewise.
By Josh Rose
Pastor of Adult Ministries
CLICK HERE to sign up to receive our devotional via email.