Ecclesiastes 3:2a – “a time to be born, and a time to die;”
The dash on a tombstone is a powerful little line. On one side you have the date of birth, on the other death. The dash represents everything that comes between. It may be mere moments or decades. One of the certainties in life is that we don’t choose the days that begin and end that dash (Job 14:5). Physical birth and death, however, are not the only moments we find ourselves in the seasons of beginnings and endings.
Birth signifies something new. It is marked by beginnings. It is often a time of celebration and hope brought to life. We embrace seasons of birth.
Death, on the other hand, signifies endings. Death carries sorrow, pain and grief. Death is final. We fight seasons of loss, of death.
In John 14 Jesus tells His disciples that change is coming. He foretells His death signifying the end of what they currently know. With the proclamation of the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus heralds the birth of something new. His death and physical departure would make way for the presence of the Holy Spirit with us and in us now.
As sons and daughters of God, we have been given the privilege of following Jesus and the command to submit, to obey, His Word. Through death, Jesus gave birth to life. In Him, we are made new. The old has passed and the new has come. We are commanded to put to death our old selves made corrupt through deceitful desires and we do this out of reverence for Christ’s sacrificial love and His position seated at the right hand of God Almighty. We do this through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
The day we say “I do,” birth and death collide. Because we enter into marriage not only willingly, but eagerly, the birth of marriage overshadows the death of singleness. In putting singleness to death we may fail to recognize the call to die to ourselves within our marriage. “I” becomes “we” and, out of obedience to God, “we” is elevated to “you.”
In marriage we are given two essential commands:
Husbands love your wives
Wives respect your husbands
Husbands look to their wives to answer the question, “Do I have what it takes?” Wives, when you invite your husband to lead, and choose to respect, to submit to his God-given position, you become his number one source to become the man God created him to be.
Wives look to their husbands to answer, “Am I lovable and loved?” Husbands, when you love your wives as Christ loved the church, sacrificially, you empower her to become the woman God created her to be.
The challenge is when our willingness to love and respect is tied to our spouse’s ability to meet our needs, when we want to respond to their practice instead of position. The command is simple, but far from easy.
In response to the life we have been given in Christ, we are commanded to put to death our pride and selfishness and commanded to give birth to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Our ability and willingness to do so within our marriage is not contingent on our spouse’s behavior, but is dependent on our identity in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
- What do you need to put to death to be the spouse God created and commanded you to be? What needs to be birthed?
- What is stopping you from taking that step today?
Ephesians 5:22-33, John 14, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:16-26