Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
There is no greater measure of love than Christ-like love. Others might offer their lives for you, but only Christ offered all of Himself for you. As a substitute for your sins, He bore the wrath of God on your behalf because He loved you. 1 John 3 explains that it is in the death of Jesus that we finally can see clearly what love actually looks like.
After seeing the death of Christ, and hearing that Christ’s love was the greatest love, some still assume that they can achieve this measure of love. In their minds, dying for others is the same as Christ dying for others. This simply is not the case. Christ’s death is so much more than that. Christ’s death was a death of obedience that came at the end of a life of obedience. It was only after Christ had lived every day in full obedience to God that He could offer His life in such a way that he would accomplish so much spiritually.
Many macho men might speak of how they love others or even how they love their wives, but they fail to love as Christ did. They might argue that if it came down to it, they would perform the heroic act of sacrificing their lives for others, but this is not the same measure of love that Christ had. Christ loved us so much that he lived a perfect life too. In order for a man to love as Christ did, he must do much more than die for others, he must live for others.
In this regard, some might even say that dying for others is easy in comparison to living for others. With the Spirit of Christ, believers are called to this selfless lifestyle. In John 15, Christ says that a man demonstrates his love for others by giving his life for them. You can understand this phrase two ways: he dies for them, or he lives for them. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of Christ’s love for us was that although he faced temptation every day, and although he at times was tired and exhausted, and although he was surrounded at times by faithless disciples who failed to love Him perfectly, He still loved them perfectly and lived a life of perfect obedience to God so that He could offer that life as a sacrifice to God. This is the pinnacle of love – an entire life spent for others, not just His death.
It is with this total abandon of self-love and a hot pursuit of love for others that Paul admonishes Christian husbands in Ephesians 5. There is no greater example of true love than Christ giving His life for us. Now, in kind, husbands are called to the wild and extravagant love of their wives. It is not just a macho, “I’d die for her.” Rather, it is a call to lovingly make every decision based upon a wife’s needs and desires. For the love of her, he lives, even as Christ loved the church. This is the evidence of the spirit-filled life, and that selfless love should abound in the heart and life of every Christian, especially husbands.
Reflect: What is perhaps harder than dying for someone else?