Ephesians 5:25-30 - 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
A closer investigation of the unique roles God has lovingly given to men and women in marriage reveals what it means to be the “head” of the household: self-sacrificing love (v.25). Unfortunately, husbands are prone to misusing their positions as heads by being bossy, manipulative, or domineering. In stark contrast, two tender words stand out in this passage as descriptions of self-sacrificing love - nourish and cherish - as relating to our own bodies (v.28-30).
When we feed ourselves a good meal, we are nourishing our bodies. When we work out at the gym, we are nourishing our bodies. When we take a shower, shave, or put on lotion, we are nourishing our bodies. Why do we do this? Because it’s good for us. We directly reep the benefits of taking care of ourselves and therefore we cherish the body we’ve been given - it’s the only one we’ve got (v.29)!
Husbands, Paul is telling us we must see our wives as God does: as part of our own flesh. When we do, we will cherish her and do all we can to nourish her, even in times of conflict and struggle. This begins with learning to take better care of ourselves (i.e. nourishing our bodies and our souls) and sacrificing our own desires to serve our wife’s greatest good, fixing our minds and hearts on Christ’s self-giving love, not just as an example, but as our inspiration and object of worship.
• Men who are married, do you cherish your wife? Do you seek to give of yourself in order to nourish her? How are you feeling challenged to love her more fully?
• Men and women, married or unmarried, how are you doing at taking care of yourself? • Do you see things like your meals, exercise, and spiritual disciplines as acts of life-giving worship?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising Christ for perfectly, fully loving us, his body.