Husbands, Share Christ's Suffering
HUSBANDS, SHARE CHRIST'S SUFFERING
Here is an excerpt from the sermon "Following Christ on the Path of Suffering":
A Word to Husbands and Fathers
All Christians are called to die – especially husbands. There is such a thing as self-indulgent husbanding. The self-indulgent husband believes that every other member of the family should lay down their life for his sake, to make his life comfortable and conformable to all of his desires. The Christian husband, however, should want to “share [Christ’s] suffering, becoming like him in his death.”
“Husband, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” (Ephesians 5:25-28)
Husbands, suffer and die with Christ in your husbanding. Love your wife, serve your wife, speak truth to your wife, set an example for your wife, bear with her weaknesses, forgive her sins, see her not for what she is in herself but for what she will become by God’s grace, and do this unconditionally, even if she doesn’t appreciate it or thank you for it. Aren’t you glad that Jesus suffered and died for you, and still puts up with you, even though you are not all that you ought to be? So what you are complaining about? Christian husband, suffer and die for your wife, and imitate Christ’s patient and steadfast love toward her. Don’t calculate your actions as a way to get love from her, but rather live sacrificially as a way to give real, Christlike love to her.
Husbands, the apostle Peter referred to the wife as “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) – think ‘expensive fine china’ – which means that you’re the stronger vessel, which means that you should expect to bear a greater share of the load. Don’t despise this, but consider what a privilege it is to represent Christ in this way. Share Christ’s suffering by pouring out your strength for her good! Spend and be spent for the happiness of your wife! Labor not only for her physical well-being, but also for her spiritual well-being. Lead her and the family in devotion to Christ. Lead her and the family away from comfort-seeking to kingdom-seeking – which will be impossible to do unless you are weaned from the love of comfort. Lead her and the family away from resource-hoarding to resource-sharing, away from worldly approval to God’s approval, away from false missions to the true mission that the Lord has set before us, away from a schedule set by the world to a schedule that is set by biblical priorities and immersed in the life of the church. Don’t cower when she or the children push back against your leadership, and don’t succumb to anger, but be God’s man and hold your ground and stay the course and walk in love and lead the way forward. Sacrificial love doesn’t mean you sacrifice God’s agenda for the sake of pleasing your family members – that would be idolatry! Sacrificial love means that you are willing to be crushed and to endure hardship in order to implement God’s agenda in and through your home, patiently trusting the Lord each step of the way. As you do this, make sure that you practice what you preach, and be humble enough to learn from her, for she may surpass you in any number of Christian graces, and be humble enough to ask for forgiveness, which you will need to do many times. Oh for husbands who are ready to suffer and die for the salvation and spiritual growth of their wives and families!