As Christ loved the Church…

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Eph 5:25)

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1Pe 3:7)

There is a growing problem among young men today. Pornography is so available that a large majority of men are not able to love a real woman, even physically. A young woman is simply an object, whose sole purpose of existing is to cater to a man’s whims and moods. A real woman is to be understood and loved, and this is too much to ask for today’s young man.

It is easier to drop out of reality, turn on the screen and love a fantasy, which is simply another word for loving yourself.

This is not love.

Men have become perpetual children, demanding and petulant. A woman is seen as an impersonal collection of various body parts, designed to be used until she has no more to give – and then discarded.

A child demands sex; a man longs for intimacy. A child refuses to give anything; a man gives his heart.

So the streets and the clubs and the bars are filled with children, demanding satisfaction, searching for their next toy to use and destroy.

Some young men seek marriage, but are unwilling to give their heart. They play with a woman’s heart until they “find the right one” and then they inadvertently “fall in love” – Cupid’s next victims. But a victim of Cupid is a victim, not a man. He was not strong enough to choose a wife; he was not strong enough to love the one he chose. He simply allowed the currents of desire to carry him this way and that. He falls in love. He falls out of love. He leaves behind him the wreckage of broken and hurting young women who were naïve enough to believe him when he said, “I love you”.

This also is not love.

The question that I have for you is this: Are you strong enough to love a woman?

Are you strong enough to love your wife as Christ loved the church?

Are you strong enough to live with her with understanding; or do you simply wish to never be inconvenienced, smashing the vessel of her heart on the floor like a cantankerous child?

Are you strong enough to protect her heart? To never do anything that would damage her reputation?

Would you rather die yourself than do the least thing to damage the soul of the one you love?

Are you strong enough to ask forgiveness? Courageous enough to call her lovingly to repentance?

Are you bold enough to reconcile?

Are you strong enough to turn off the television and listen to her?

Do you understand her fears, her desires, her longings? Do you have the courage to hear her?

Do you have the courage to open up your heart to her?

Do you have the courage to talk to her about your fears, your desires and your longings?

Do you have the courage to admit that it is not good for you to be alone?

A child desires a mother. A man seeks a wife.

A mother is a tremendous blessing for a child. She nurtures, feeds, cleans, bathes and provides for the child’s every need.

But a mother is not a wife.

Are you strong enough to leave your mother and your father and cleave to your wife?

It is a great calling – but most are not strong enough, courageous enough or man enough to take a wife.

It is easier to turn on the computer and fantasize about pixels of ink, rather than love a woman, so most choose the fantasy.

They do not know that it is for their life.

But a woman desires a man.

A man is strong enough to give himself for his wife. He demands nothing; gives everything.

He is strong enough to make her place in his heart safe; he is strong enough to win her heart and trustworthy enough to keep it.

He is courageous enough to hear the question “What are you thinking?” and actually understand it and answer it.

He is courageous enough to hold her in his arms and wipe away her tears.

He is strong enough to see when she is at her end, and cook a meal, do the dishes, watch the kids, clean the house and still have enough left to hold her and pray for her and know the right things to say.

He is strong enough to understand her, without resentment, bitterness, impatience or rage. If he is a man, the understanding will come in time.

He is strong enough to forsake all others and cleave unto his wife.

He doesn’t whine and complain when there is dust on the windowsill or dinner is late – these are the actions of a child, not a man.

He has nothing to prove; he will not hide behind a façade of bluster and words; he never has to be the “man of the house” nor the “king of the castle”.

He is strong enough to take the lowest place; be the servant of all; wash the dirty feet himself.

For he is strong enough to know that being a leader doesn’t mean being the boss.

A child tells everyone what to do. A man leads the way by being the servant of all.

A man is strong enough to set his wife as a seal upon his heart, as a seal upon his arm:

For a man knows that love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (Sol 8:6)

A man is strong enough to keep the flame going; bold enough to never play with a woman’s heart; courageous enough to never use a woman as a toy to be discarded at whim.

A man is one who trusts the Lord with his whole heart. He therefore does not seek proof of his manhood on the earth, for it is safe with his Lord.

The man who trusts the Lord is ready for a wife; for a man who trusts the Lord has nothing to prove to anyone.

Only then he is ready to love a woman.

22 Comments

Filed under Love, Marriage, Men and women

22 responses to “As Christ loved the Church…

  1. Think the next time a guy shows interest in me, I’m going to send him the link for this. That will show his true colors and send the flakes running away. Would be better than the things boys normally try, ask, or expect.

  2. To read this teaching brings both joy and sadness to my own heart. Joy, because the Holy Spirit within me testifies to the truth of these words, and I know that there are those marriages of His out there that *do* live this blessing. Sadness because I have never known such a courageous husband-love. I have know use and abuse, but never sacrificial husbandly love. And it is unlikely that at 64 years of age I ever will. It isn’t just young men that lack spiritual and emotional courage; I have seen it, heard it, and experienced it to be a majority of all men; and those men are so profoundly missing out on the magnificence of all their Creator deemed them to be.

  3. Good post, Sam. I am guessing… did you write this because you are doing pre-marriage counseling with some engaged couples?

  4. Anonymous

    Some talk shows used to have men do what their wives did, staying at home, doing all the caregiving, meal prep, laundry, childcare, cleaning, errands, etc. And a few of the men ‘saw the light’ but most were horrible and kept spouting off sexist, degrading, diminishing things about how easy the wives had it.
    Perhaps if every man was left with the kids on a regular basis for a week at a time, and expected to do just as good of a job — no cheating with feeding kids fast food from the drive-thru, letting the place go to pot, or letting kids all go elsewhere (friends’ houses, field trips, camp, sleep-overs), then they’d get a sense of the magnitude of their unrealistic expectations. Make them wear pregnancy suits all through the week — round the clock, they must sleep in them and all, never being free of the pregnancy suits.
    Make them practice so-called ‘femininity’ too, to the same extent that they expect it of their wives — if they demand their wives be plastered in make-up, with heavily styled hair, high heels, uncomfortable ‘sexy’ clothing, and whatnot else, then they too, can get up an extra two hours early to do their makeup and hair and get in a workout to keep ‘trim’ and only eat salads for a week, walking around in heels, etc. all the while having the pregnancy suit and kids for the week.
    Thankfully, you seem to get it, Pastor Powell.

  5. Brad D Evans

    This is an excellent post. I am a retired pastor and will plan to share this with a class I am teaching on the Song of Songs. Thank you.

  6. Anu Riley

    Thank you for this Pastor.

    “Men have become perpetual children, demanding and petulant.”

    I’m always blessed when I realize I’m not alone in my thinking. Before I read this, I’ve been protesting the enormous level of emotional AND spiritual immaturity I’ve witnessed in adult males.

    OR, younger males who are on the path to manhood don’t seem to understand (or they are not taught) that you are expected to give, and not entitled to receive.

    And I speak of professing Christian males. If you want to profess the Lord, you better darn well get in line with what true love is, and what it isn’t.

    The sort of males you have described are some of the most frightening persons on the planet. Picture giving grown males a hammer. With that hammer, you can either use it to build up, or tear down.

    If they are indifferent, irresponsible or have an utter lack of regard for humanity (beyond themselves)—they will likely choose to be extremely reckless with that hammer. They will use it to break, not to build. And their targets will likely be females in general, but especially females that have been weakened or wounded in life.

    If you love to break, you go for the most vulnerable, easy to destroy targets.

    I love the questions you asked. Every one of them matters. EVERY ONE. And it’s imperative to answer each of them. If you don’t know the answer, then don’t bother with relationships until you do. And if you think they’re not all relevant, then don’t bother with relationships until you get a clue.

    AND, if you think ti’s up to you partner, or your potential partner to answer them, but you’ll be darned if you will apply the same standard to yourself—-then I would say that you have no business being in a relationship until you hold yourself accountable as well.

    One of the biggest pitfalls in marital relationships is what you pointed out here. The husbands don’t really know their wives. They don’t understand them. And it’s usually because they don’t bother to find out.

    At best, they THINK they know them (or at least, what they should be like). But that is not the same thing. You don’t know what she really IS like. You only know what you want her to be, not as she really is.

    One of the most wonderful traits about the Lord is that He is very inquisitive. What you are doing? Why are you here? What have you done? Why did you do this? What do you want from Me? How can I help you?

    Why aren’t His children more like that when it comes to relationships in general, but especially marriage?

    He says that if we seek Him, we will find Him. He will allow Himself to be found, because He loves it when we want to know Him—-as He really is, not as we imagine or idolize Him to be.

    I would say that the childlessness you described not only indicates a lack of love, but also a load of hatred. Whether is it actively or passively demonstrated, it indicates that that man not only doesn’t love his wife, he actually despises her.

    I know that’s a strong statement. But therein lies one of the major facts of abuse. An abusive person is not only incapable of loving, he or she is also not even interested in it. Relationships are all about what they can gain, not what they can give.

    This goes back to your wonderful insight about porn. The women in those movies or images will never talk back to you, never challenge you, never ask for anything and certainly—-they won’t ask you to change anything about yourself. They only live to “serve” you and your needs. It’s completely one sided, and it completely favors you. It’s a system in which you are the master, and they are your subjects. So you have absolute power and control as well as being allowed to be as selfish as you want to be.

    So, if you find a woman that fits that bill in real life, you’ve got it made, right? Now you have a real life version of a slave, right in your own home. She’s not just an image on a screen. She lives to satisfy and serve you, with no expectations on you to treat her the same way.

    This is what might be stupidly and sinfully labeled as “unconditional love” by professing Christians who, frankly. know little to nothing about God’s love, if they ever advocate or encourage that sort of thinking.

    And I can only imagine the potential responses: Love IS about giving without making demands. Love is patient, kind and long suffering. Love is gracious. Love is faithful. Love never fails, never gives up, never forsakes.

    I’ve been fooled by this argument, which isn’t all wrong, by the way. But it leaves out one crucial element.

    Yes, gracious love is all about giving. You give because you love to give, and you love to bless, or to be a blessing.

    BUT, the receiver of that love is also called to be gracious. He or she is just as obligated to receive that love in a gracious way—-and you are obligated to treat that love, and the giver of that love—with respect.

    Meaning, you don’t take it for granted. You accept that love with a humble heart. You don’t get a swelled head over it. You don’t let that love justify or feed a sense of entitlement. You don’t take advantage of it. You don’t use that love in order to manipulate, coerce or exploit them.

    It is absolutely a sin to take that love, freely given, treat it like dirt beneath your feet—-and then dare to demand more of it. And of course, you’ll keep treating it like dirt, and keep expecting to be given more. Until you’ve squeezed them dry.

    God’s love is so wonderful for so many reasons, but one of them is that it strengthens you. His love fills that overwhelming need to be loved, and when you DO receive that love—-all you want to do is let others know that they too are loved by Him. AND, we can learn to love like Him as well.

    Such a simple, beautiful narrative, but watch out. Wolves aren’t interested in sharing or spreading that love. They are only interested in devouring it for themselves. That’s not the light of the Gospel. That is the darkness of the devil.

  7. Bunkabay

    Some young people close to me have been seriously hurt by the idea that you don’t date women unless you KNOW God told you they are the ONE. And yet they still swipe right looking for the “right” one. Ignoring , or playing games with women (HINTING INTEREST) Then dropping them because the skinny, hot, big boobed one walks into view. Then all of a sudden God speaks for she is The ONE God has daid he will marry , so date her.
    So many beautiful, educated, well rounded, delightful , God seeking, young women abound. And these young men just sit around waiting for a news flash from God . The experience of apathetic, boys sitting around waiting is unbelieveable. And we are not talking 21 year olds here.

    • Well said, Bunkababy! I love your vivid description of that phenemenon. I think you’ve seen more of it than I have, but the things I’ve seen match what you described.

  8. Bunkababy

    In my own experience in the late 80s, my core group of friends came back from Ywam determined about a new set of guidelines for dating. Set up by Dean Sherman on his book on RELATIONSHIPS. And by Joy Dawson.

    Anyhoo, dating flew out the window and became evil. It was a backsliders version of finding a mate.
    If you were interested in someone you dilligently prayed about it. Or God directed you magically to your wife. Then instead of dating that person you were posed with the question is she/he the one God wants me to marry? So you skip over dating and getting to know that person to we are getting married. Which is exactly the way it was with me and my husband. Although we were best friends for 3 yrs pior. But God showed us the LIGHT. I remember saying to him. “You know if we date we are getting married, right?” He was like yah, I know.

    Then it had to be confirmed by others “prayers” or affirmation. Anyone with a “check” in their spirit could oppose. That happening to us one week prior to our wedding. Two people had a check in their spirit.
    OMGOMGOMG.

    The damage that statement caused. I was terrorized for a full two days wondering if I was to marry.
    Luckily our sensible pastor had a meeting with us and those with a “check” that you dont call off a wedding two days prior because of a check. One with no meaning or cause.

    It seems since then that this idea of “knowing” who God wants you to marry prior to even dating or knowing the other person has gone to be the way of it in our neck of the woods.

    So to avoid premarital relations couples who barely know each other find the one and tie the knot.

    The other problem is, the hot big boobed ones get married off first. Leaving other wonderful girls behind. Then age creeps in, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 , 30. And those young men still looking at those young big boobed hotties 18, 19, 20, 21 , 22. Who God obviously told them to marry. My daughter is absolutely convinced young men have been told or believe GOD HAS PROMISED THEM THE DESIRES OF THEIR HEARTS IN A HOT SKINNY, BIG BOOBED, BLOND BOMSHELL..

    And the thing is the women standing around waiting ARE beautiful, intelligent, have careers, and are established.

    The only men left are the washed up divorcees with kids in their forties looking for new meat.

    • BINGO!
      You nailed it Bunkababy 🙂

    • What you are describing is not Christianity as taught by the apostles and prophets in the scriptures, but some kind of mystical paganism under the guise of Christianity. Contrary to what you were unfortunately taught, God said, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” and this is exactly what it is. It is the attempt to manipulate blessings and control and power from God and use divine energy to enslave others. That is witchcraft, not Christianity. that is what Jesus came to deliver us from.
      I am glad you are away from there!

      There is a lot to say on this, but I am swamped right now.

  9. Bunkababy

    Oh, and thats it. After you have been told by God who your spouse is, being a good husband, loving your wife doesn’t even register anymore. I guess God only speaks when a hottie cones into view.

    Not much or many resources about how a marriage is to function.

  10. Anonymous

    An author and activist, Gail Dines, has a website for the public health crisis of porn. If you go to the website https://www.culturereframed.org/the-crisis/
    you’ll see the stats. Erectile dysfunction is a side effect of porn consumption.
    You wrote a beautiful post about love and men being decent human beings and caring husbands and yet if used as a framework for premarital counseling, it should address porn. I think the percentage of men who use porn is something in the 90s, so it’s really a huge problem. Maybe not your generation, Pastor Powell, but for those marrying today, this current generation, it’s a massive problem. Even if they don’t currently use porn, the current generation of boys/men grew up on internet porn and that shaped their brains, how they see women, and contaminated their sexuality. And no, it’s not your generation’s porn. The modern day porn is much more depraved, brutal, sadistic, and violent. Older people don’t realize this.
    You didn’t grow up with internet porn, but this current generation did and it’s not lusty photos of idealized beauty, but rather violence packaged as sex. I don’t think you’ve seen today’s standard porn. It’s nothing like that of your generation.
    So, for pastors, or even parents, they might want to check out the website, see the reality of today’s porn-saturated world, and talk openly about it and address it. It has to be addressed. Men are being trained from very early to see women very differently than your generation did. There’s a new, more widespread type of predators being created, thanks to the massive online porn presence and porn being protected as so-called ‘free speech’.
    I don’t think women and girls raised in conservative Christian families realize what their future husbands are into and have been into since puberty. They should be warned. It impacts them.
    Just thought I’d share this.

  11. Anonymous

    I had not known of Covenant Eyes. I’m glad you shared that. It’s seems really neat. Good concept. Even the name is great.

    I really fear for the girls of today’s generation. Even if boys find themselves using porn by accidental means or natural curiosity about sex, it shapes their view of women and changes their brains. It’s a drug that harms others as the porn users don’t realize (or maybe they do, but assume it’s still boys) how it makes them more calloused, sexually aggressive, and its basically rape ideology in a glorified format.

    Sorry for bothering you with my prior comments. I just fear for girls these days. And even if they grow up in porn-free households (as I did) it’s the others in the world, who did not, which they must encounter. Education and talking about porn and the effects and what it is and how it alters the sexuality and mentality of users is more helpful than simply banning it, without any further mention.

    And I love reading your blog. The ways you write about life, love, women, being a loving husband, and God… it’s really beautiful and wonderful. I’m glad I found your blog. The rare glimpses of non-predatory men like yourself help survivors from going total anti-man mode. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’ve seen first hand the damage that porn does to men and women. Marriages ended, violence, rape culture, families destroyed – the destruction is immense.
      The only thing that rescues anyone from pornography is to be captivated by something far more beautiful and far more worthy than the pixels of ink and the rot of imagination. It is the gospel alone that sets us free, and the beauty of Christ.

  12. Pingback: As Christ loved the Church… - The Aquila Report

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