One of the things I enjoy so much about the Bible are all the shadows, types, metaphors, allegories, parables and analogies; each providing the student of the word of God with a richer understanding of who He is and His intentions for us. But one analogy that I’ve grown quite fond of is Paul’s depiction of our relationship with Christ compared with the relationship between a husband and a wife.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
While Paul is providing practical instruction in this passage to married couples; these same instructions provide a pictorial of worship at its roots, thus the same instructions apply. If worship is founded upon intimacy, then one may use the institution of marriage to illustrate worship.
Paul explains to husbands exactly how they must love their wives, which is in the same manner that Christ loved the church. We (those who have espoused ourselves to Him) are collectively the wife of Jesus Christ, and when He found us, He found a good thing.[i]
The husband must be willing to give up his life for his wife. That is the purest and greatest level of love one can express.[ii] God demonstrated this level of love when He “so loved the world…”[iii] Jesus, our Bridegroom, illustrated the kind of love He has for us by His willingness to die so that we could live eternally. He practiced what he preached in John 15:13. No one has any greater love for us than Jesus, the best spouse anyone could ever ask for.[iv]
To say “I do” to Him and pledge to be His bride is the most significant and rewarding decision anyone can ever make. If you’ve said “I Do”, how do you as his bride respond to His love? Through submission to His will. It is through this submission that we obtain all the added benefits of His love, benefits too numerous to even begin to count.
I once heard someone say, “I believe in loving my wife into submission”. This is exactly what Jesus has done for us. He has loved us so much that we should not only be ready, but willing and eager to submit our will to His.
When we as His spouse submit ourselves to Him in everything[v], we are walking out worship. Our worship then becomes our response to His love. He gave His life for us in love, thus we are required to surrender our lives wholly to Him. That surrender becomes a principle of submissive worship. His abundant love should provoke us to fully submit in a lifestyle pure worship.
It’s all about a little give and take. He gave love. We took it. It’s now time for us to give back through submitting fully to His will concerning us. That’s not too much to ask for. The more we give back, the more He will give back to us. This attitude creates an endless cycle of intimacy and favor with our Espoused, our Beloved, the Lover of our souls.
We’ve taken much. Now let’s give a little more.
[i] Proverbs 18:22
[ii] John 15:13
[iii] John 3:16
[iv] 2 Corinthians 11:2
[v] Ephesians 5:24