Ephesians 5 Love!
There has been a lot of talk regarding relationships. Are you a Proverbs 31 woman and are you an Ephesians 5 man? Two questions that are asked anytime someone is ready to leap into a romantic relationship. I understand the Proverbs 31 concept, but I never truly understood why people would always ask a guy whether or not he was an Ephesians 5 man as if Ephesians 5 was directed to men only. With me having an inquiring mind, I decided to go back to Ephesians 5 and really consider who was speaking and who was being spoken to.
Ephesians 1:1 tells us that Ephesians was written by Apostle Paul to the saints (believers of Christ) of Ephesus. I noticed that it wasn’t limited to male or female, but rather the WHOLE body of Christ. Let’s skip ahead to Ephesians 5! The way Ephesians 5 is organized is very strategic. Think about it, before there is ever an us or we, there is a you and me. Meaning before we connect with someone to become one, we must become whole as individuals making sure we have submitted to Christ first. Before Paul discusses how wives and husbands should love each other, he gives a thorough explanation on how we as believers should walk in love just like Christ.
Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP
Paul opens this chapter by explaining that we should selflessly love like God showing empathy and being compassionate towards others. In Ephesians 5:3-21, he breaks down what walking in love looks like. For instance, he emphasizes how we should live a sexually pure lifestyle, refrain from all filthy/ungodly speech and behavior, be the light in the midst of darkness (be IN the world NOT OF the world), use wisdom and discernment, don’t get drunk, and always be in a state of thanksgiving. Paul makes sure that we understand that our first commitment is to Christ and submitting to his will and his way.
Now, in Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul speaks to us regarding how to love our spouse.
22 Wives, be subject [d]to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
Ephesians 5:22-24 AMP
What I love about this section is that it’s about so much more than a man being a husband; it educates us on the hierarchy of matrimonial love. God is the head of the relationship and the husband and wife submit to God FIRST and then to each other. The remaining verses go on to discuss how a husband should love his wife like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). That level of love is equivalent to completely sacrificing oneself for the benefit of someone else similar to Jesus sacrificing his life for the Church (believers of Christ). After going more in depth regarding how men should love their wives, Paul leaves us with let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33). I find it interesting how Paul emphasizes a husband loving his wife and a wife respecting her husband. Just goes to show that as the head of a household, the husband must pour out the love he has embraced from God. This takes me to the importance of husbands really embracing God as their father and lover of their soul. I’ve always said you can’t give what you haven’t received and that goes for pretty much anything. A husband can’t love a wife if he hasn’t received love from the creator of love. He wouldn’t be able to lead with the power and authority Christ gave unless he first submitted and allowed himself to learn how to operate in the power and authority of Christ. Likewise, a wife cannot love unless she has accepted God’s love. Just like she cannot respect her husband until she has learned what it’s like to be respected by God as her father.
Ephesians 5 is a very simple, yet vivid illustration of what the process of love should look like in our lives as individuals and then as one with our spouse. So, next time a friend tells me they are considering courting or getting married, I’m determined to ask, Are you walking in Ephesians 5 love because the goal is not necessarily to go through this like a checklist, but more so to challenge yourself to genuinely love like Christ, making it a lifestyle and not just a means to get married.