Our Father likes to relate to us on terms we understand. He does this so that we know exactly what our role is and what we are to do in our relationship with Him. One relationship He likes to use is ‘Father to son’ and this has been a common thread in our messages, especially over the last two weeks. When our Father relates to us ‘Father to son’, we understand that as His children, our role is to depend on Him for our provision and trust in His protection because these are founded upon His unconditional and unchanging love for us.

Now there is another relationship that our Father uses to relate to us. We see that in the relationship between Ruth and Boaz, that of a kinsman redeemer, ‘Husband to wife’. Unfortunately, the relationship of ‘husband to wife’ has transformed so much in the eyes of the world that we get views such as this,

“Never get married in the morning, because you never know who you'll meet that night.” Paul Hornung

So for us to simply tell each other to think of the relationship with Jesus and our Father as ‘Husband to wife’, would be as futile as having the six blind men touch the elephant to figure out what it was; and we will end up with 6 billion different versions of how that relationship should be run. So let us instead allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us into a right understanding of how we should relate to our Father.

“Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].” Ephesians 5:1 [AMPC]

As the apostle Paul advised, we should always follow our Father’s example, follow Jesus’ example; for what better standard to aspire to, what better template from which to cut the fabric of our character than the perfect God Himself? As we imitate our Father, as we do as Jesus did, we allow our Father and Jesus’ actions to guide us and lead us into the perfect life He intended for us to lead. So what actions are we to imitate?

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:1-2 [MSG]

Love our children, love our spouses, love our relatives and our friends, and even those whom our Father puts into our care in the course of our days. Love them as our Father loves us. Love extravagantly.

But beloved, if you haven’t already realized it, this is more than just advice from an apostle. This is a reminder of how our Father loves us, what He is doing for us and how He is relating to us each and every day. Think about it, if we are to imitate our Father’s love for us, does that not mean that our Father already loves us in the manner described, every second of every day, even right now? And by His actions, Jesus certainly proved it. For not one who was sick was left unhealed; not one who was seeking forgiveness was turned away; not one who was hungry or thirsty was left unsatisfied. And since, he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:9), so too is our Father loving us and working for our good right now. This is why,

“You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.” Ephesians 5:5 [MSG]

Because our Father “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20), there really is no need for us to depend on anyone or anything else. Don’t take our eyes off our Father for if we start running to others to meet our needs, then truly we will be away from our Father’s presence and far from our Father’s kingdom.

Therefore “Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.” Ephesians 5:17 [MSG]

So what does our Father want?

“Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22 [AMPC]

“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.” Ephesians 5:25 [MSG]

We should love our spouses the way we love ourselves, pouring out everything, withholding nothing, for if that is the way we love ourselves, that is the way our Father wants us to love our spouse.

Yet, one half of the world has read verse 22 into a valid reason for the subjugation of women. It has turned what is essentially a beautiful instruction by our Father, meant to show us just how much our Father wants to care for us, into a justifiable reason to disadvantage women and abuse their rights. And in retaliation, the other half of the world has read verse 25 into a valid reason to take advantage of men by demanding that they alone carry the burden of the relationship, turning marriages from the intended partnered waltz to a solo pirouette, in which the man carries his partner from one end of the stage to the other, only to pass her on to another better dancer.

The world has certainly gotten things all wrong. No wonder Paul says,

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 [ESV]

Indeed beloved, “You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.” Ephesians 5:8-10 [MSG]

And this is what is pleasing to Christ.

“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing.” Ephesians 5:22-23 [MSG]

Wives, to borrow the words of Tammy Wynette, stand by your man; and for the rest of us, it means stand by Christ. Let Him lead you, for remember that our Father said to Abraham, “walk before Me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1) Our Father does not abuse you, He does not want to lord it over you. Instead, He cherishes you and guides you gently in His paths of righteousness, as it is written,

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

For indeed,

“Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.” Ephesians 5:26-27 [MSG]

When we relate to our Father ‘Husband to wife’, all we really need to do is stand by Christ and trust in our Father’s love for us; and Christ’s words will evoke our beauty, for He has already dressed us in the dazzling white of His righteousness by His shed blood; and areas where we are broken or incomplete, He will make whole.

Don’t view this beautiful relationship the way the world does. See the bond between ‘Husband and wife’ the way our Father intended it to be, for when husband is joined to wife, “the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24). So likewise, when our Father relates to us ‘Husband to wife’ it is to remind us that because Christ has died for us, “we are members (parts) of His body” (Ephesians 5:30 [AMPC]). And even though God never needs to set a guarantee His words, this is an iron-clad guarantee of His care and His love,

“For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,” Ephesians 5:29 [AMPC]

So change the way you view a relationship with our Father. He does not demand submission from you and want to lord it over you every chance He gets. Instead, He is lovingly saying that you who believe are a part of Him now, so let Him take care of you, love you, dress you in the dazzling white of His righteousness and let Him bring out the best in you. Rest in Jesus’ love and let Him husband you.

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