I’m getting married in three weeks. That means I will have to be the subject of a lot of photos. That means I’m getting into fighting shape. I’ve changed my diet and exercise habits and cut weight the healthy way. For the first time in five years, I’m back to what I weighed freshman year of college. It feels nice. Well, it felt nice for a few minutes. Until I realized I was missing the whole point of the wedding and marriage. I’ll get back to that.
Skinny fat means you look good, but really your body is a mess. You can still have a lot of unhealthiness inside of you and look good in a bathing suit or skinny jeans. Skinny fat is deceptive and dangerous. You think you’re doing good, but really you’re at risk for unexpected death.
Jesus briefly talked about being skinny fat, but he used a different term. He said whitewashed tomb. I’ll get back to that.
At church, one of our preachers just finished up a series on Biblical manhood. This week, he talked about the background of some imagery in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 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. Ephesians 5:25-27
Like the preacher, I always assumed washing with water meant baptism or something similar. The real meaning behind Paul’s metaphor is much more interesting. In Hebrew times, bridesmaids would symbolically wash the bride before the marriage as a sign of her purity. I suppose it was a sanctification rite.
The preacher compared the Hebrew bridesmaids to the modern husband. Just as the bridesmaids helped sanctify the bride for her earthly husband, so does the husband help sanctify his wife to God. That is a serious responsibility. It’s also a big honor.
I was immediately frustrated with myself for focusing on looking good instead of being good. If I sat down and did the math, I would say I have spent more time in the past couple weeks exercising than on my knees in prayer for my bride. That’s not to say that I wasn’t trying to love her and be a good guy. I certainly was. But it does mean I lost sight of the charge that God gave husbands. It means I was skinny fat.
I’m grateful for the conviction and shame I felt, because they are gifts from God to help me fulfill the responsibilities and honors I have been given. It’s grace that lets me realize I’m skinny fat, and that I need to get healthy. It’s grace that warns me to focus on the right things, before I become a whitewashed tomb – a nice husband who forgot his role.
Husbands, love your wives.