“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17,18).
Jesus was called to lay down His life for His bride, the Church. Men are called to emulate this same “laying down” our lives for our wives – our earthly brides. Men are to be a physical representation of what Christ has done for each of us. As we men do this, we experience the love of the Father. Wives will experience the love of the Father as husbands do this. Most of us men fight this process due to our own insecurities, independence, pride and ego. However, it is the very laying down our lives that allows us to connect to the Father just as Jesus connected to His Father.
It is in the sacrificial, free will act that this occurs. This activates in the woman a response of love that allows the man to experience a deep love that is rooted in the Father but channeled from the wife, the one we lay our lives down for. Jesus did not feel something was being taken from Him because He chose to give it willingly. Conversely, if husbands lay down willingly their lives, they will not feel something is being taken. It is when husbands defend, negotiate and withdraw from the needs of a woman that it negates this process. When we think we are being used or manipulated against our will, we believe others are trying to control us and we resist. Jesus did not do this. He gave willingly. Men must realize they are the initiators called to lay down their lives for their wives. Women respond to this sacrificial act by giving their heart and physical love to their husbands. Both husband and wife experience the love of the Father when this happens.
Giving up our lives for our wives feels like just that – giving up our life. We give up rights, privileges, and desires. We focus only on them. When we become dead, God loves us by giving us the desires of our heart. We give up life, in order to gain it. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
This is what it means when Jesus laid down His life for His bride. This is what it means when Paul said: “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” (Eph 5:25-28).
This principle is key to impacting the marketplace for Jesus Christ. The family has been greatly wounded by a failure to understand this principle. This has also led men and women to become slaves instead of sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Today, if you are a husband, commit yourself to laying down your life for your bride.