Published on Feb 5th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0


My friend tells the story of his younger years when he was working for a construction company.  The boss came to him and gave him a 2×4 and told him to use that 2×4 as a model for cutting twenty more just like it.  My friend cut the first one, threw the model to the side, used the second one to measure the third, threw the second one to the side, used the third one to measure for the fourth, and so on.  You know what happened.  By the time he got to the twentieth board he was so off of the model that he had to do them all over again.  We need to be careful that in our lives we do not make the same mistake.

In Ephesians 5:25-33, God gives us the model of Christ and his bride, the church, as a model for our marriages.  In John 17:20, Jesus prays that our unity would be like that of the Father and the Son.  In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul shares how our acts of service need to come from a mindset that mirrors that of Jesus when he came to earth.  Our model of holiness is clearly communicated to us in I Peter chapter1 as we are told to be holy as God is holy.  Is it no wonder that the author of Hebrews reminds us to fix our eyes on Jesus?

If these verses are so very clear as to what our models are to be then why do we hear so much more about Five Love Languages than about how Christ loves the church?  Why is it that we hear that if we really want to build a church then we need to move people toward smaller groups who have things in common (age, children, love of sports, etc)?  Isn’t our bond in Jesus enough to build a lasting unity?  Why is it that there are such great debates in the church of God about what is lawful for us to do rather than deeper study into how separate God is from sin?  If you really think about it, each of these issues is not necessarily wrong or sinful but they do divert our eyes from the one who is to be our model.  If I am striving hard to determine and use the love language that my wife desires…is that energy and time spent away from fixing my eyes on the model of Jesus and the church?  When a difficulty arises in my marriage, do I ask… “How can I communicate about this issue in the love language that speaks to her heart?” or do I ask… “How can I love my wife as Christ loves the church?”  Each may build a stronger marriage but is not the second idea closer to what God demands for us as the church?  This is not simply a matter of obedience.  Speaking to my wife in such a way that she desires may not be the best way to present her as holy and blameless before the Father.  There were often times when Jesus spoke to his disciples in such a way that I am sure was not their love language but it did move them closer to the Father.

Most of you have probably tuned me out by now.  After all, God tells us to love our wives.  We are just trying to do that better.  Studies show that small groups that have affinity will stick together longer and will be exposed to the Word longer.  Those are good things.  I agree, for the most part, those are good goals and results.  But what I find is that what we then talk about is how we love our wives better.  We talk about what we have in common more than we do the Word.  The Word is spoken about for the thirty minutes of the study but it is not what is driving the group.  What happens then is that others who come, who may not be as grounded in the Word, take that model and they duplicate it but their duplication has less emphasis on Christ and the church and more on how to love according to this author, or that author.  Then the people who learned from the second people and whose marriages were helped take that model and passed it on to others and the next thing you know marriages all over the world are helped because spouses are speaking the correct love language but no one has a clue about Christ and the church.  It is my friends 2×4 disaster all over again.

I know, I have been told that I can be very discouraging.  Your marriage was helped by some of these books and ideas.  Your church promoted these ideas and they made a huge difference in your life.  Your small group has been used by God greatly in your life.  To be honest, our church still uses some of those books.  They can be helpful if they are kept secondary to the model that God has given us in his Word.  Our eyes need to be always fixed on Jesus and nowhere else.  I would challenge you today.  Step back.  What is your reaction to hearing the models that God has established for us in his Word?  Have you heard them so often that other models grab your heart?  Can we trust that the God who has created us and understands our relationships better than anyone has given us the best models?  Can we work on talking about and using the models God gives us far more than a man’s idea of a better model?  Can we have a study that simply studies how Christ loved the church?  How God is holy?  How our bond in Christ is the greatest bond we can have?  Do you think those studies would attract people in your church?  Would they be attractive to you?

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