As Christ Loved the Church

by Noel Bouché

I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True.  Revelation 19:11

It is written that we husbands are to love our wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  We read this verse and meditate on it at just about every wedding we attend.  Yet this eloquent description of the archetypal marriage begs the question: “What does it mean to give myself up for my wife?”  While we must follow Christ’s example and be ready to face death literally for our loved ones, most of us will not be confronted with the decision to die a substitutionary death for our wives.  But physical death was not the only way Jesus gave himself up.

In the Revelation, John saw the bridegroom returning, and He was called according to two primary attributes – faithfulness and truth.  Imagine this!  John is gazing upon the “Mighty God” and the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), the One to whom all praise is due, and yet the name He chooses to go by reflects His attachment and commitment to us, whose frames are “but dust” (Psalm 103:14).  I must ask myself if I’m defining myself in the same manner as my Lord–as a faithful and true bridegroom–or am I defining myself primarily by my professional title, by my accomplishments, or by my net worth?  Am I “my beloved’s”?  Or am I mine?

It is in this way that we can give ourselves up and “die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31), thus loving our wives as Christ loved the Church.  When we are “faithful and true,” we put our wives first, ourselves second.  We value their hope and confidence in our fidelity both on the road and when we are at home–above our own wants and desires.  Each of us is “exhilarated always with her love” and infatuated with her body “at all times” (Proverbs 5:18-19).

It must be emphasized, though, that our “death” cannot be contingent on our wives’ reciprocation.  Jesus was faithful and true to the point of crucifixion not only if we loved Him in the same way; indeed, it was because we had not loved Him that His death was necessary.

It’s the same in our case.  We must “give ourselves up” precisely because our wives, like us, are imperfect and will at times cause us hurt.  It’s only in this way that we’re truly “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).

Each day we must decide to be faithful and true husbands.  The world conspires against this, because being faithful is the very reflection of God’s love for humanity.  But when we daily choose to be filled with God’s Spirit, we allow ourselves to be conformed to His image, His faithfulness, and His truth.  We can then sing over our wives as He sings over His people:  “I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to me in faithfulness” (Hosea 2:19-20).

This devotion appears in On The Road: Meditations for Men Who Travel, a collection of inspiring and encouraging writings from dozens of Christian leaders and businessmen.  Click here to order a copy from Beacon Hill Press.

One thought on “As Christ Loved the Church

  1. I love how your identity, faithfulness, and truth are not contingent on yourself. I’m convinced that this is the only way to faithfulness and truth – by gazing on the One who is Faithful and True. Thanks for resetting my gaze again today.

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