In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to talk about love. Not romantic love, though. Instead, I'd like to point to the love that forms the basis of all love: the Love of Christ.
The Marriage Passage
As a pastor, you've probably preached Ephesians 5:22-33 before, maybe several times. You've explained how "wives should submit" and "husbands should love." Today, Ephesians 5:22-33 is just as important to live by as when it was penned almost two thousand years ago. Both husbands and wives must know their roles in the home in order to have a solid marriage. But, I'd like to suggest that Ephesians 5:22-33 only makes sense in the context of Christ's love for us described earlier in Ephesians 5.
Imitating Christ's Love
Ephesians 5:1-2 says,
1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In these two verses, we're given two commands: "be imitators of God" and "walk in love." In other words, we must imitate God regarding love. Then, in verse two, we discover how to do that: imitate Christ's love for us. Verse two says, "As Christ loved us and gave himself up for us." It's only in that light--through a love that is sacrificial--that we can understand how to live a great marriage. We have to follow the model of Christ and give sacrificially to our spouse.
Love is Giving
Love is a lot of things but at the top of the list love is giving. John 3:16 tells us that Jesus gave Himself for our sins as an expression of God's love for us. Ephesians 5 reminds us again that Jesus demonstrated what true love is by giving Himself as a sacrifice for others.
The best marriage happens when both husband and wife show their love for each other by giving sacrificially to each other. Sacrifice is not sexy but it's the best way to love in marriage.
Jesus showed us what true love is: it is giving. On this Valentine's Day, my encouragement to married couples is to give yourselves to each other. In this way, you will truly show what love is.