Jump Start # 2736
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
The other night I ate a piece of berry pie. It was good. I put the folk in the sink. The next day, there was a berry stain on the sink. My wife got the stain out, but she reminded me to rinse the folk off and not put things that will stain on the bottom of the sink. She’s particular about things like that. I suppose that’s why we have a nice house. No, it’s no supposing, it is the reason we have a nice house. She wants to keep it nice and it means a lot to her. The place would never look as nice as it does if I were there by myself. What love does, it respects and honors what is important to the other person.
In our verse today, we find two parallels. Husbands love your wives and Christ loved the church. The bridge connecting these two thoughts are the little words, “just as.” Those words are sprinkled throughout Ephesians. We are to forgive “JUST AS” God has forgiven us (Eph 4:32). We are to walk in love “JUST AS” Christ loved us (Eph 5:2). Just as—just like. Equal. The same. Those “just as” words take everything to a higher and deeper level. It’s one thing to forgive, but to forgive just as God has forgiven us, that’s tough. That’s what God expects.
And, the love one has for another, will lead the other to better behavior and changes. It’s that way in a marriage and it’s that way with the Lord. Because Jesus loves us, we change.
Here are a few examples:
Instead of being demanding we become submissive and obedient. We can sure be bossy. We can be bossy at home. We can be bossy at work. We can be bossy at church. But Jesus wasn’t that way. Sure He had all authority. Certainly, His way was the only way. But He wasn’t forcing people to do what they didn’t want to do. He never strong armed another. He never made people follow Him, kicking and screaming the whole way. Jesus loves us. He’s been good to us. He keeps no secrets from us. He accepts us. He invites us to Heaven. He blesses us more than we deserve. And, with that, we change. We stop digging our heels in. We stop resisting. We come to understand that His way is the best way. We take up His banner and follow Him.
Instead of being stingy we become generous. We do that because God has been generous to us. He blesses when we fail to ask and when we fail to thank. He sends food, rain, sunshine and good our way. The parables of Jesus, such as the laborers in the vineyard, or the classic prodigal son, illustrate the generosity of God. He sure has been good to us. And, when we can turn around and do something for His people or help His kingdom, what a joy that becomes. Giving is not a burden but a blessing. In this time of worshipping at home, we must remember to do our part of keeping things going by mailing a check with our contribution to the church. We must remember to help those who are alone. We give of our time, not asking for anything, but are thankful that we can do our part. Love will do that to us. It will turn us from stingy grumps to kind and generous, a reflection of the Lord we love and follow.
Instead of being selfish, we become servants. And, that is the life of Jesus. He came not to be served, but to serve. And, He did that well. He helped. He went. He did. His life was spent caring for others. The miracles not only proved who He was, they helped the people. Jesus could have made comets appear in the sky. He could have pulled a giant tree out of the ground. He could have balanced massive rocks on top of His head. All of those things would have amazed the crowds, but it wouldn’t have changed their lives much. But when Jesus healed the incurable, fed the multitudes, raised the dead, stopped storms, He was improving life for people. He made things better for people. And, the supreme illustration of service was the cross. He, in that one event, touched the lives of every person on the planet for all time. He made Heaven possible. When we see that sacrifice and love before us, it causes us to change. No longer demanding our ways and threatening to leave, but rolling up our sleeves and declaring, “Here am I.”
Love changes a person. It works that way in our walk with the Lord and it works that way in a marriage. Now, to see such love, and remain unchanged, shows how pigheaded we can be. It shows that we are not grateful, nor appreciative of what the Lord has done. It looks like one is taking the advantage of the other. In a marriage, one begins to wonder if the other person even loves them any more. To ignore what is important to the other and to continue to do what you want, is extremely selfish. With the Lord, it shows that we have not become disciples. The very nature of the word disciple means to be taught by another.
Love changes us. I won’t be putting folks in the sink with berry pie on it any more. I will remember. I will remember because I love my wife and it is important to her. Love does things just like that.