Leading in Love - Your Daily Forward Devotional


Leading in Love


February 22


Read Ephesians 5:25-33 (ESV)

Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.



What does leadership tend to look like in our culture? Compare and contrast that with how Paul is describing how husbands should lead their wives.


Last week, we clarified what Christ-like submission is. It is all believers considering others as more important than themselves. In the case of husbands and wives then, both husband and wife are to first submit to Christ and then submit to each other. And yet, the Bible is clear that men are to be the head of their household and wives are called to submit to their husband’s leadership. But what does the Bible say that leadership is supposed to look like?


Paul says that a husband’s leadership is supposed to look like love. Specifically, the love of Christ. A husband is supposed to love his wife as he loves himself. He is called to nourish and cherish her. He is to care about her spiritual well-being and her holiness. He is supposed to love her as Jesus did - which was sacrificially. Is that what you were picturing when I asked you to consider what leadership looks like in our culture? I doubt it.


The pattern for Christ-like leadership is Christ Himself. Jesus has the power and glory of God and yet, He humbled Himself to care for those that He loved. Us. He came to serve. He came to lay down His life for us.


In Matthew 20:25-28, He told His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


In Jesus’s kingdom, leaders are humble servants. Husbands are to lead their families in love. Wives are not being called to submit to tyrants who lord their authority over them. They are being called to respect the humble, loving leadership of husbands who are submitting themselves fully to the Lord.



Lord, Your design for marriage is perfect. Thank You for being the perfect example of love and leadership. Amen.

~ Pastor Nat Crawford


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3 months ago
a year ago
a year ago
Let me thank you Pastor Nat for your enriching expose on how to lead in love, that is, with regard to being a loving husband to my wife. I have read Ephesians 5 many times before without realizing that Paul is talking about love and respect which go hand in hand. I am now better prepared to be the example of what Christ expects of me as the husband.
a year ago
It's hard to submit to my husband. We've been married almost 40 years. We got married for the wrong reason. I keep praying he'll have Bible time with me. I said something that hurt his feelings about 38 years ago and he's never forgiven me. He cusses and watches porno a lot. Prayers needed.
2 replies
a year ago
Wow, Barb. That is so hard. I am sorry. Your story is more common than you may realize. There are three things I encourage you to do: 1) Pray. Continue to pray for your husband. I know this seems overly simplified, but prayer is your most powerful weapon. 2) Live intentionally. Living out the reality of your faith will show the difference Christ has made in your life. I am not downplaying his addiction and the pain that must bring you. And I don't think you need to compromise your convictions or your boundaries you may have put into place to protect yourself. Are there ways for you to show him respect for the positive things he does? Are there ways to show him the love that conveys the love of Christ? Here is a talk I had with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs on this very topic: https://backtothebible.app/library/back-to-the-bible/hard-questions-podcast/episode-005-the-importance-of-love-respect-with-author-dr-emerson-eggerichs/1MVTZttVctc 3) Seek help. Is there any Christian counseling available? Would your husband consider going? Is there a Christian couple you can bring into your lives for additional influence, counsel, and encouragement?

Ultimately there is no quick fix or silver bullet solution. But these are some actions that will and might help.

I will be praying for you and your marriage.
a year ago
I am Praying for you. I feel your pain, also. My husband filed for divorce recently after 32 years of marriage. The first 15 years was wonderful . We were so in Love and had two beautiful children. And we had God as our Guide. After 911 everything slowly started changing . I tried getting them to Church, but our daughter wasn't interested. She was 17 and men, money, and her own vanity were far more important to her than God. She became increasingly more disrespectful to me and closer to her father. My husband and son went, but were never really on board with the idea. My son went away to college a few years later and returned as a raging alcoholic. I wanted to get help for him, but both my husband and daughter denied that he was an alcoholic and grew angry with me for acknowledging the problem.
During the past few years of the marriage I tried to speak with my husband regarding his physical and emotional/problems post 911, and about the escalating evil in the world and that I Believed we were in the Last Days, as prophecies in the Bible. He scoffed at me, and eventually accused me of being mentally ill. He became increasingly addicted to crime shows on television, day and night, along with a "game" on his cell phone, and eventually became very posessive and secretive with the phone. He no longer slept and suffered from a variety of physical illnesses from 911, but refused any counseling from the World Trade Center Health Program that he was enrolled in for his physical health problems. He began to ignore me when we were alone together, but acted "normal" when we were with other people.
I have been alone now for almost 2 years. I did not realize how much his lifestyle had isolated us from others until he suddenly left me, after I insisted on marriage counseling for Both of us. He had pretty much cut off all our friends and many family members. It really hit home for me when my children blamed me and cut off all contact with me, also . I have not been allowed to see my beautiful Grandson or have any news on him, or even see a picture of Him for almost 2 years now. Then Covid struck. I live in a somewhat remote mountain area, and my neighbors are far and few between, and have never been particularly friendly for the 25+ years that I have lived here, anyway. Everyone wears a mask, many even while driving alone in their cars or walking down the road in the fresh air.
I have survived. How?
By the Grace of God and our Lord Christ Jesus, and the guidance, comfort, and teaching if the Holy Spirit. I read my Bible daily and Pray constantly. I strive to "meditate on it day and night" Joshua 1:8. It is still hard, but I have survived .
Stay strong in the Lord, Sister. May I suggest taking Holy Communion for yourself daily? You can do it in the privacy of your own home with some crackers and grape juice, or wine. We are priests and saints ourselves once we accept Jesus, and he encouraged us to partake of His body and blood at the Last Supper.
Accept His Grace, Mercy, Love, and healing. May God Bless You. I am Praying for you and the entire Body of Christ. We are His Body here on Earth. Let us exhort one another and Praise Him daily, as His Word instructs us💖💖💖
a year ago
I love the way Paul teaches, simply a husband must lead with love. Wives as your husband leads with love, you just love and respect his leadership. God's principle bon marriage are perfect. Amen
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