BIBLICAL MARRIAGE IS A SELFLESS UNION

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MAY 24, 2024

TOPIC: BIBLICAL MARRIAGE IS A SELFLESS UNION

BY T. O. BANSO

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 4:2 New International Version).

God, not government or society, established the marriage institution and, therefore, has the blueprint of how it should work and will succeed. The best person to listen to on marriage is the author of marriage: God.

After God created man out of the dust, He saw that Adam was alone and decided to create a helper for him. Genesis 2:18 says the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (New King James Version). The phrase “a helper comparable to him” means “a suitable helper”, “a right helper”, or “a corresponding companion”

The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. He made the rib He had taken out into a woman and brought her to the man. When Adam saw her, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (verse 23 New King James Version).

Verses 24-25 say, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be[a] joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (New King James Version). This is the summary of the first marriage before the fall of man. The New Testament, in Matthew 19:4-5, Mark 10:7-8, and Ephesians 5:31 refer to the verse that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

It is rightly said that where the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. This also applies to marriage. Many people today abuse the marriage institution. Some go into marriage for the wrong reasons or establish their marriage on the wrong foundation. If the foundation is faulty nothing built on it will stand.

From the first marriage in the Bible between Adam and Eve and reading through the Bible, we find the following main purposes of marriage:

1. Marriage is to model Christ’s love for the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

2. Marriage is for companionship (Genesis 2:18).

3. Marriage is for procreation (Genesis 1:27-28).

4. Marriage is for establishing a home where godly children are raised (Malachi 2:14-15).

5. Marriage is for protection from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:1-3).

But I want to focus on selflessness in marriage. Marriage is to model Christ’s love for the church. The church is the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (New King James Version).

Submission by wives is to show submission of the church to Christ. Wives should submit to their husbands as if they are submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean that the wife is inferior but God gave leadership in marriage to the husband. But the head is incomplete without the body and the body is incomplete without the head. The headship of the husband symbolizes the headship of Christ over the church.

Christ the head is the Saviour of the body, as shown in that passage, Ephesians 5:22-24. Christ demonstrated His headship by saving the body (the church). Husbands should protect and defend their wives. They should love their wives sacrificially. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. As the church submits to Christ, they should submit to their husbands in everything. The Amplified Bible explains wives submitting to their husbands in everything as “[respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].”

Furthermore, Ephesians 5:25-33 shows that marriage is to illustrate Christ’s love for the church. Ephesians 5:25-33 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (New King James Version).

Selflessness is the key to success in marriage. Selfishness is the number destroyer of marriage. Your marriage must model the selflessness of Christ. Selflessness is “The quality of caring more about what other people need and want more than about what you yourself need and want” (Cambridge Dictionary).

Selflessness in marriage means caring more about your spouse than yourself. It means putting your spouse first, not yourself. It also means denying yourself to please your spouse. Marriages founded on a desire to satisfy one’s needs and not the needs of one’s spouse are driven by selfishness. If each spouse puts the other first, both will be first. But if it is one-sided one person may feel cheated.

Love, submission (subjection), and respect in marriage, which the Bible talks about, all have to do with selflessness. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says love is not self-seeking or selfish. In other words, love is selfless. Submission is an expression of selflessness. Only a selfless person will submit. A selfish person only considers his interests; everything is only about himself. A husband or wife must not have the mindset that marriage is about him/her but his/her spouse. Ephesians 5:22 says,Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (New King James Version). To submit also means to put the other person first. The Contemporary English Version renders Ephesians 5:22 this way: A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord.”

Also, Colossians 3:18 says,Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (New King James Version). Again, the Contemporary English Version says, “A wife must put her husband first. This is her duty as a follower of the Lord.” A wife’s duty as a follower of Christ is to put her husband first. This does not mean the wife should become a doormat or be abused. The relationship between husband and wife is not a master-servant relationship; it is a relationship between two lovers who are children of God. Before Paul says wives should submit to their wives as to the Lord in Ephesians 5:22, he says to the believers in verse 21, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (New King James Version). Submission is the Spirit of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:3 says, But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (New King James Version). The husband must never maltreat his wife just because the Bible asks her to submit to him. That won’t be obeying the biblical instruction for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Ephesians 5:28-29 says,So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (New King James Version). Wife-beating or any other form of wife abuse is not the sacrificial love that God demands from a husband.

1 Peter 3:7 says,Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (New King James Version). To dwell with your wife with understanding means to live with your wife in an understanding way or to be considerate as you live with your wife since she is weaker than you are. That means the husband is weak but the wife is weaker. They both need God.

Selflessness is Christ’s character, which the husband and wife must practise for their marriage to succeed. Christ was selfless. He gave His life for us. 1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (New King James Version). The husband and wife must practice sacrificial love. This is selflessness.

Husbands and wives must serve each other. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 20:27-28 and Mark 10:44-45 that whoever wanted to be first among them must become the slave of all just as He the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. This same principle applies to marriage. The husband must be the servant of the wife and vice versa. That way, each will be first.

Biblical marriage is a selfless union. Selfishness ruins marriages. Notice how Paul tells the husband and the wife to practice selflessness in 1 Corinthians 7:3-6: “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment” (New King James Version).

Indeed, Philippians 2:4 tells Christians,Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (New King James Version). The New International Version says,Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This also applies to marriage. Couples should not look to their interests but to the interests of their spouses. Biblical marriage is a selfless union. Be a selfless husband or wife, not selfish. Put your spouse first. Serve your spouse. Celebrate him or her. Be selfless.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, I pray that my marriage shall exemplify Christ’s love for the church. Holy Spirit, help me to be a selfless husband/wife. I shall put my spouse first, not myself. I shall care more about the needs and interests of my spouse than mine.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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