What does it mean to love as Christ loved the church?
As an engaged man, I am looking into this very important question. How did Christ love the Church? Ephesians 5:25 explicitly gives the command to love your wife as Christ loved the church. But what does this mean? How did, and how does Christ love the Church? Even if you are not married or engaged you can learn how Christ has loved you and how to prepare yourself to love a future spouse. Here are some ways Christ loved and loves the church.
Jesus loved and loves the church by…
Considering the churches needs above his own: Jesus considered our need for a Savior and decided to meet that need. (Philippians 2:4) Be aware of what your wife needs, and meet those needs before you meet your own needs.
Intentionally pursuing: Jesus left his throne in heaven and came to earth intentionally. His pursuit of us was not an accident. (Philippians 2:6-7) Intentionally pursue your wife.
Sacrificing: Jesus sacrificed his life for the church. (Philippians 2:8) What do you need to sacrifice to better love your wife?
Being willing to die: Jesus died for his Bride. (Philippians 2:8) Are you willing to do whatever it takes to love your wife?
Giving good gifts: God gives the best gifts. (Matthew 7:11, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8) What do you give to your wife?
Taking responsibility: Jesus took the responsibility for our sin and received the wrath of God because of it. (1 Peter 2:24) Do you take responsibility for your wife? If there is a problem, are you the first to step up and change?
Paying the price: Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. The price was not something financial, it was his life. (1 Corinthians 6:20) What in your life do you need to give up and “pay the price” to be with your wife more?
Being humble: Jesus humbled himself to the point of death. (Philippians 2:8) Does your pride get in the way of anything? What areas of your life do you need to be more humble?
Being understanding: Jesus understands what it is like to be tempted, and is willing to help. (Hebrews 4:15-16, 1 Peter 3:7) Do you take the time to listen to your wife and understand what she is feeling and thinking?
Nourishing and cherishing: Jesus offers spiritual food and drink to the believer which promotes a life filled with joy. (Ephesians 5:29, John 4:14, John 6:35, John 10:10) In what ways do you nourish and cherish your wife? Is her life filled with joy?
Cleansing and sanctifying: Jesus washes us with his blood, and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. (Ephesians 5:26) Does your wife live a more Christ-like life because of your influence on her? Why or why not?
Not being harsh: Jesus is not harsh with us, but gives us everything we need to live a life of godliness. (2 Peter 1:3, Colossians 3:19) Have you been harsh with your words or tone when speaking to your wife? Do you provide everything she needs to live a more Christ-like life?
Not condemning: Jesus does not condemn anyone who is a believer. (Romans 8:1) No man who loves his wife like Christ loves the church will be condemning towards his wife.
Doing the dirty job: Jesus was willing to do anything to serve those around him. (John 13:5) What are things that you don’t like to do that you know your wife appreciates? Do them.
Protecting: We have been given the armor of God, and nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. (Ephesians 6:11, Romans 8:38-39) Do you protect your wife physically, emotionally, verbally, spiritually?
Not divorcing: Imagine if Jesus filed for a divorce against the church. We would all be going to hell! Thankfully he loves us and keeps us in his love. (John 6:37-39, Malachi 2:16) Don’t be quick to quit on your wife, but lovingly work through problems.
Not sinning in anger: Jesus never sinned in anger. (Ephesians 4:26, 1 Peter 2:22) When you are angry is it easier to sin against your wife?
Loving unconditionally: God loved us even when we were in rebellion against him. (Romans 5:8) Do you love your wife no matter what?
I know this looks like an impossible list. That’s because it is. Unlike Christ, we are sinful people. We will need to ask for forgiveness and humble ourselves before our spouse when we sin against them. I pray that I will be a husband who loves my wife like Christ loves the Church.
In what other ways does Christ love the Church? What are your thoughts?