Wednesday, March 6, 2013

He's Cute, Sweet, and Loves Jesus

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I love my female Christian friends.  I'm so glad that they are so transparent with me.  They tell me things, then I go home and ponder about the insanity of their claims, and then blog about them.  ; ) (If you're reading, I love you).

Now before we get started, I need to be sure we're all approaching this in the same way.  This blog was birthed from a frustration of the expectations that women have about "men of God".  But I'm sympathetic, because I am also understanding that the men in our culture NEED to man up.  And I also understand that the ladies are lethal with their words of disrespect by screaming "man up" whenever they don't get their way from a guy, so this blog is honestly for the men.  And, I'm using you as a launching pad.  So to avoid any of you creating newer expectations, I'll just unpack some scripture and allow God to deal with you on how He chooses.  K? 

Now we must first address the relationship between God and Man and say that it needs to be that we fear God and love God.  Now you're going to have to do a little work with this concept if you were not raised with a loving authority figure as a father, but this is crucial to anything I discuss in this blog.  If a man or woman does not fear God AND love God, then none of these things matter anyway.  Even if we make gun control laws, if people don't fear the government, people will still get murdered with weapons.  So the hope is not for men to see more "laws" for them to go by, but the hope is for men to see that God loves them and have designed them with a certain influence that models His image, and when we obey His design of things it's an act of worship of our love for our Creator.  So if we do not fear God AND love God, then all of this will just be received as another law hanging over our heads, more standards and expectations for us to drop the ball on---men, do not read it that way.  Read it instead as a way to enjoy God even more as you worship Him with your life. Let's get to work. 

So Ephesians 5 is a very popular chapter when dealing with marriage.  But let's read it just in the context of relationship to man and woman.  The text talks about husbands and wives, and since husbands are men and wives are women, let's just read it with that general knowledge.  Ephesians 5:21 begins---And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  So here we are, Paul is reminding us to submit to each other because we fear God and love God. If you're having a hard time with the word fear, biblically it can be looked at as holding a reverence to a just God and responding to His authority over all His creation. Got it?  Let's keep going.

 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.  How has Christ loved the church?  I love Christian women throw out that the guy must "Love Jesus"so that will mean that he will know how to love them; but I may begin to ask them how they define that?  He raises his hands in worship?  He's at church?  He goes to every Passion Conference?  He's in seminary?  Is it simply just that?  There's a lot of Bible to be read and a lot of transformation has to happen to fully grasp how a person should model loving as Christ loves the church.  But let's focus on a big one, and that is Jesus came to serve the church.  He lead by serving.  And He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, which is a beautiful depiction of the Gospel.  He submitted to His God given purpose---men we need to be knowing what our purpose is so that we can servingly lead. 

He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  

Men, we are responsible for the spiritual growth of our families, especially our wives.  We are to encourage our wives to deepen her relationship with Jesus and assisting her in walking out her calling and purpose while serving her during her sanctification process, just as Jesus does for us.  You see that right?  To make her holy and present her to himself as a glorious church (bride). Let's keep going.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
Men, we should love our wives such as our own bodies.  In a literal sense,  if you're putting junk into your own body, you're probably going to be putting junk into her as well.  I'll say it this way, a lot of us are more concerned about what we put into our bodies than we are what we are putting into the women in our lives.  Some of us will be nutrition Nazi's and spend more time in research and study to know how to protect our hearts from heart attacks and to pursue healthy living, but we won't put the same attention into being careful with how we speak, what we say, how we treat, how we respect, how we honor the women in our lives.  And women, I'm not saying if a guy is buff he understands how to properly treat you.  Do not do that.  However, the Bible tells men to be careful how you feed and care for your wife--spiritually and emotionally.  Yes, you are responsible for that as well.  The ESV says nourish and cherish her.  Are you filling her with life?  Are you feeding her peace and security?  Are you cherishing her with daily exercise of reassurance and affirmation?  Are you caring for her needs?  Good questions right? 

But do not miss this next part.

If you're a woman right now, do not walk away from this blog thinking, "I'M GOING TO GET EVERY MAN TO READ EPHESIANS 5 SO THEY CAN MAN UP."   I can respect your intentions, just know that's the wrong way to approach it.  I said that to say this....there's a lot more work that needs to be done before Ephesians 5 can be walked out.  Remember what I said earlier? 

Men have to respond to the Gospel first.  A lot of us do not even fear God AND love Him.  We have committed to being good Christian men, but that is for the most part based on our own strength and disciplines, or probably how you were raised.  You're the cute and sweet guy, that loves Jesus because you're at church.  And I get it.  We're men, that's probably our biggest hang up.  "I don't need God to do all the work for me, He can coach me and I'll take it from there."

Men, that is the biggest pitfall men we deal with.  And we have believed and operated in this pitfall since the beginning of time.  "I don't want to ask for directions, I know what I'm doing.  And if I'm really stranded, God just get me back to the right road, I'll figure it out from there"---we would never let someone jump in the car and drive us and our family to our destination.  Sir, this is how we are to lead....we have to submit.  WE have to deny this idea that we can do anything without God.  That we can figure out the course of our lives without Him.  You must hear this.  This is how God has chosen to invite us into relationship with Him.  You want these things done well and pleasing to Him, then out of our intimacy with Him and the flourishing of our relationship with Him--- will birth this response to Ephesians 5.  We must love God and fear God.  And if a guy loves God and fears God, ALL is open to transformation.  If He loves God and fears God then he is willing to submit to the authority of scripture, and all he will need is discipleship to see this verse acted out within the context of a family and accountability by other fellow believers---he'll be ready to roll.  And guess what ladies???? 

You can't figure this one out from one date or because his hands are raised in worship.  So before you give your heart to the next, "cute, sweet, and loves Jesus" guy you meet----figure out if he fears God and loves God. Hmm..I never stopped to consider this.....   

Do you even fear God AND love God?

If you can't answer that---that may need to be addressed first.   

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