Friday, April 13, 2012

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I've ridden with a lot of people on a lot of elevators, but none quite as unusual as the young man that I met on an elevator a while back. Actually, he wasn't unusual; but what he carried was. He had his arms full of a wadded up tuxedo and a wadded up wedding gown. So here's this fellow, marching down the hall with a wedding gown and a tuxedo in his arms.

Now, you can put two and two together. He must have noticed the bemused look on my face, because as the elevator door closed in front of us he smiled at me and said, "Last night was a life-changing experience!" That's a pretty perceptive insight from a newly married man. And then he added, "Probably more than I know." Oh, he's got that right.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Radical Side of 'I Do.'"

Well, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 5, and we'll begin reading at verse 25. It's about husbands and wives. It says, "Husbands love your wives..." I wish it stopped there; I could get away with that one. I could do that. But listen, it doesn't stop there. "...just as Christ loved the church (Ah!) and gave Himself up for her." Okay, it's getting tougher! It says, "...to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word and to present her to Himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish; but holy and blameless."

Now, when a man says, "I do" to a woman, here's what God hears him say, "I will on a daily basis lay down my life for this woman as Christ laid down His life for us." Whew! Man, that's radical! As the newlywed carrying yesterday's tuxedo and bridal gown said, "Yeah, it's a life-changing experience."

From the time we're born, we're like "me" people: change me, feed me, take care of me, hold me. We grow up and we get more sophisticated, but we're still expecting to be the sun and for everyone else to be the planets who revolve around us. Marriage radically changes that me-ness. Jesus said marriage is the moving of someone else to the center position - my wife. So I will revolve around her needs, not her around mine.

This isn't just radical, it's practical. Like listening to your woman's heart poured out even when you're dead tired, or ready to watch your favorite sporting event. That's how you lay down your life. It's putting her fulfillment ahead of yours in sexual love; that's laying down your life for her. It means unloading your day's burdens that you want to carry around with you and you want everybody to cater to you because of those. But you unload those on the way home so you can focus on her and her burdens when you get there.

So, laying down your life? It can mean changing diapers, or taking out garbage, or doing the dishes, or caring about the sacrifice of time; the sacrifice that involves listening when you don't feel like it or you don't want to listen that long. She needs your attention; you promised it to her. You promised she would be first. When you do this you get a wife that's radiant like the church that Christ loves. You know, you can tell the women who have been loved like this. They're radiant; they kind of glow! Beautiful women grow in the garden of a man's selfless love.

It's a life-changing experience for both of you; that's the radical side of "I do."

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
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