Home at last!!! Spent a great two weeks in Kenya! While there, I had the opportunity to minister to Kenyan married couples. Thought I would share with you a little of what I shared with them.
Ephesians 5:22-33 is one of the most quoted passages regarding marriage. I used it in Kenya and I’m using it for our purposes today.
But first, I know that all are not married. Some who are not will be someday. Some may never marry. Some have been married in times past but are no longer married due to the death of a spouse or divorce.
No matter what your current marital status, it is important to know what the Bible says about marriage. People around us – in the church and out are suffering in this area and since marriage was instituted by our God, we should be able to help them.
Okay, let’s go!
The marriage relationship is a mirror of our personal relationship with Jesus and the church’s relationship with the Lord. If you understand this, it sheds a whole new light on the interactions spouses have with one another. Let’s take a look in the mirror of Ephesians 5:22-33 and see what is revealed.
1. The Bible says that the husband is the head of the wife and that wives should submit to their own husbands.
The word submit used here means: “To place under willingly”. This is in obedience to the word of God in Genesis 3:16:
“To the woman He (God) said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Wives willingly place themselves under their own husbands authority in marriage. It must be noted that this does not mean that husbands do not listen to their wives. Verse 21 of Ephesians 5 states: “Submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord.”
Husbands must be willing to hear the voice of God speaking through their wives, since wives carry the Spirit of God and are their helper and one in flesh with them.
For the husband, being the “head” is defined as being the “director; the part most readily taken a hold of.”
This means God can easily get a hold of the head and that the husband is directly accountable to God for his actions as the director of the family. Husbands are to reflect Christ’s role as “savior” which means “deliverer”. Husband, are you a deliverer in your family or just a boss? Bosses care for the bottom line but deliverers care for the people under them! Are you working to see the people under your care set free or are you putting them in bondage?
2. Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.
A couple of important notes here:
a) To love your wife can be defined as: “loving her with agape love. To love in a moral sense”. This means that you love her when you feel like it and when you don’t – you love her because it is right!
b) Husbands reflect Christ’s love to their wives. Their love is unconditional and self sacrificial. Husbands are to give themselves for their wives. This means: “To surrender or hazard; to put in prison”. In other words, you are to put yourself in harm’s way for your wife! The word “for” used in this verse is an interesting word. It means: “exceedingly above”. Husbands put themselves in harm’s way for their wives and do it in a way that exceeds what is expected in the situation.
3. The man who does not love his wife is showing that he does not have regard for himself and is not healthy emotionally. Since your wife is your flesh, you are to nourish her – to bring her to maturity in Christ and to cherish her or to feed her. Her relationship with God is to be very important to you! If you were to not take care of yourself, that would reveal self hatred, which is a revelation of emotional illness. If you don’t take care of your wife – what does that say about your emotional health?
4. Since marriage is a direct reflection of the relationship between you and Christ and the church and Christ then divorce is a reflection of idolatry and hardness of heart.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:8 that Moses wrote a provision in the law allowing husbands and wives to divorce but that provision reveals hardness of heart and was not intended from the inception of marriage. Those who commit adultery have fallen into idolatry, just as someone would leave Christ for an idol. Those who divorce for “irreconcilable differences” are divorcing because their hearts are hard and they refuse to change. The only answer for these conditions is true repentance.
Marriage is a blessing from God!
Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if one falls, the other will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
A couple of final notations for husbands and wives:
Husbands: honor your wives. This means “Treat your wife as a special, rare, and priceless treasure”. She is your fellow heir in God’s inheritance for your life. Failure to treat her as such will cause your prayers to be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Wives: respect your husbands. This is the greatest gift you can give him. This respect is not based on performance but his position. If you want his performance to improve, respect his position. God will work on behalf of what is right!
In Malachi 2:13-16, we see that God hates divorce. He hates it because He hates idolatry and hardness of heart. When we divorce, the Bible says in Malachi that we cover our garments with violence. In other words, divorce in God’s eyes is like an act of violence against our spouse and against ourselves since the marriage relationship is one of “oneness” with our spouse.
Every culture has its own ideas regarding marriage. Kenya has its marital culture – America has its marital culture. But, remember – we are citizens of heaven so the word of God and the Spirit of God rules our behavior regarding marriage – not our culture!
Looking in the mirror can clear up a lot. Take time to look into the truth of God’s word regarding marriage. Alter any actions not reflecting the truth you see there. God is able! Yes, even in your situation!
No matter your situation, God is a miracle working God! Nothing is too hard for Him! So, whether in Kenya or America, submit your marriage to God. Humble yourself under His mighty hand so that He can change you and your situation!
Praise His holy Name!