Ephesians 5:25-27 "(25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."
In Ephesians 5, husbands are exhorted to wash their wives in the word so that these women would be presented to the Lord holy and blameless. Although Paul is writing directions for husbands here, I believe that anybody can use this same principle of “washing in the word” toward other people – their children, unsaved or lukewarm family, close friends, etc. So although this devotion is targeted mainly toward husbands, if you are a wife, or single, you can still use this concept.
What does it mean to wash your wife in the word? It means to gently cleanse a person with some of God’s wisdom in the areas that you see a bit of dirt in their lives. The goal of this is to aid your wife into becoming more like Christ, “without any spot or wrinkle”.
Washing for the most part is not harsh. If you scrub too hard, you’ll irritate the skin! Rarely a rebuke is necessary. Most of the time this should be done with gentle coercion, not violent compulsion.
“Never sow seed during a storm.” Gardeners would not waste their seed by trying to plant a garden during a raging storm, and neither should we. Husbands; if there’s tension from an argument with your wife, this is NOT the time to wash her in the word. Let the roaring fire cool down.
The word is not in word only, but also action. Lead by example… and don’t point out the fact that you are setting an example! Let the Holy Spirit do His work in softening your wife’s heart and seeing your love and desire to please the Lord in your actions. This is important especially when it’s the hardest. It says much more to love your wife after she’s wronged you than it does if she’s being nice to you.
Don’t take this as a universal truth but for many women it’s good not to quote passage and verse when giving your wife advice. She will feel you are a know-it-all! Instead, take the principles of scripture and explain them in a simple way that she could apply to her situation. Notice that Jesus did exactly this. He taught the principles of the God’s word but in the sermon on the mount He didn’t quote where all these came from! Read Matthew 5-7 and you’ll notice that you don’t see Him saying things like, “Deuteronomy says…” And see how simple the word was for the people to put practical application directly to their lives. Washing our wives in the word should be like that.
Be patient. See how many years it look you to learn certain truths and how patient God was with you! Patiently pray and wait for a change in character as you wash your wife in the word.