Reflections on the Word: Some practical wisdom for life
The Bible contains both prophetic writings and spiritual insight. The Bible gives God’s law, commandments, to help us know God and keep us from the pain of sin. And the Bible provides practical wisdom for how to live a happy and healthy life.
One area the Bible gives practical wisdom is how to live in a healthy and happy marriage. Ephesians chapter 5 gives perhaps the most comprehensive teachings on marriage. While most would consider the latter parts of the chapter to be the practical part, I believe the context and the priority is set in verse one.
Ephesians 5:1-2 says; “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
It’s a high call, to imitate God and walk in love but to imitate God you have to know what God is like. Multiple times scripture describes God as; compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. So there’s a great way to be in the marriage relationship, demonstrating love in many ways and living as a forgiver toward one another.
Secondly our text says; love like Jesus. How much does Jesus love you? He died for your sins, and did that before you had faith (Romans 5:8). After laying the groundwork of imitating God the chapter tells us what behaviors are not from God and mentions a bunch of outward sins. After describing bad behavior (both in marriage and life in general) it says to be awake and live carefully, making the most of every opportunity, not to be drunkards but be filled with the Holy Spirit and thankful for everything.
Finally Ephesians 5 gets to the heart of a godly marriage. What’s God’s design for marriage? First, we see that each gender has a role in the marriage, and they’re summarized at the end of the chapter. Ephesians 5:33 says; “…Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. “
Love and respect are at the heart of a godly, happy marriage. The husband who loves like Jesus giving himself for his wife is fulfilling the role God has for him. And the wife who respects her husband will find that she is walking in the ways of God.
From Verses 21-33 we find the details of how love and respect play out and it reveals the great mystery of marriage. The mystery is found four times in the Bible and repeated in our chapter. Ephesians 5:31 says; “…A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
In Christ, the two are one because they’re bound together under the banner of faith. The two become one as they grow together and learn to serve one another with love and respect. But just in case you might think this is only for the married Verse 32 says; “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The real mystery of marriage is that the earthly connection between husband and wife is a parallel to the relationship God wants to have with you.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.