From sitting at a table while enjoying some coffee to casually chatting in a small group, I have heard several wives describe their husbands as being from the old school. How would you describe the husband and father in your family? In your understanding, do the attributes of the ideal Christian husband fit more closely with old school thinking, new school ideas or is it a mixed bag?
Regardless of whether someone might classify the model Christian husband as exhibiting more old school or new school qualities, Scripture challenges men to adopt a specific style of living epitomized by Christ’s relationship to the church. So who do you think initiated loving service and has served the other more, Christ or the church?
Clearly, Christians respond to Christ’s love; Jesus took the initiative./1 His love to tend to our well-being caused him to serve our needs. Not only his obedience to God’s will, but also Jesus’ love for us drove him to the cross. So, who has served the other more, Christ or the church? Christ. This is the model for the Christian husband.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that he might make her holy, … unblemished and holy. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives, even as their own bodies.”/2
What does the model Christian husband look like? To follow the loving example of service found in the cross excludes a host of behaviors, attitudes, and motivations. Would a husband who is seeking his wife’s well-being crudely degrade her or her ability? No. Would a Christlike man devoted to caring for his wife pursue a lifestyle characterized by issuing self-serving orders and policies? Absolutely not. Would household life be geared to revolve around him? Never.
Proactively, would not a husband shaped by the love of Christ seek to tend to the genuine needs of his wife? Would not such love motivate him to act and communicate through every avenue possible his desire to bless and care for her? Would not such a love create a history which would build her confidence that he was trustworthy and seeking her well-being? Husbands, behold the mandate of cross-shaped love for how you treat your wife!
There is something about the labels old school and new school which has bothered me deeply. Are not these tags sometimes dumped into a conversation to be the final word which can be spoken? Are not such pigeon holes sometimes evoked as a means to claim that someone is either incapable of change or to legitimize a lifestyle as merely being one option among equals? To such fatalistic and rationalistic attempts to dismiss living out Christ’s love, Scripture holds forth a bold message about what a Christian husband ought to be. He loves his wife in the same way that Christ has loved the church by dying for her.
1/ 1 John 3:16; 4:9,10
2/ Ephesians 5:25,27,28
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