The sacrificial, agape love that Jesus Christ demonstrates for His Bride–the church–exemplifies the relationship that God expects a husband and his wife to model in their marriage. Christ poured out His life for His bride on the altar of the cross. When a bride and groom walk down the aisle and stand at the altar to say “I do”, they vow before Father God to lay their lives down to one another out of love for Him. They vow to die their flesh.
Ephesians 5:21-33 MSG~ “21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.22-24 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. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. 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. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.”
Christ literally died to His flesh on the cross (His wooden altar) for the church out of love for His Father. We must die to our flesh in order to cultivate Christ’s love within our marriage. What does it mean to die to one’s flesh, and what does the term “flesh” encompass? We see in Galatians 5:16-21 MSG~ “16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
Our flesh encompasses our selfishness and the narcissistic desires that motivate us to pursue our own personal happiness over the interests and well-being of our spouse. Fleshy pursuits involve sinful ways of thinking and conducting one’s self in direct opposition to God’s Word. The key word in “selfishness” is “fleshiness”, which means heavy or overweight. When a couple lives according to their flesh, they are carrying a tremendous burden. Our flesh is the cross we all must bear. Each of us must bear our own weight; however, we do not have to bear the yoke of flesh (iniquities). We can lay the burden of our flesh at the foot of the Cross.
~1 Peter 2:24 AMP~ “24 He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
~Matthew 11:29-30 AMP~ “29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.”30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
must shed their flesh by switching the focus from “self” to Christ.”
Let us strive to shed the heavy mantle of our flesh and choose instead to renew our minds and focus upon Christ.
Ephesians 4:20-24 AMP~ “20 But you did not so learn Christ!21 Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.”
Let us bring glory to our Father by portraying Christ’s love in our marriage. Let us die to our “selves” that we may be like Paul who said, “For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity].” (Philippians 1:21 AMP). May we be able to say, “For us to live is Christ, and to die to our flesh is heavenly gain unto the glory of God.”
Thank You Jesus!!! Hallelujah!!!