Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
It is true that most of the men reading this devotion are probably not married. The verse is directly addressing husbands, so how does it apply to non-husbands? Certainly we could address you as men who may be husbands some day (some of you sooner than others). However, if we just did that we would be missing something important about what it means to be a godly and Biblical man.
While this verse commands husbands to give themselves up for their wives, it is also telling us that one of the key qualities of being a man is sacrifice. Look at all the men who were asked by God to make some sort of sacrifice. Abraham was asked to offer his son as a sacrifice. He was also asked to allow Ishmael to move on and not be a primary heir. David was asked to sacrifice his comfort and security as he waited to fill the role of king that he knew God had set aside for him. Joseph was in a situation where he gave up his home, family, and prestige. Disciples sacrificed their status and livelihood as fishermen.
And, of course, what about the ultimate sacrifices made by Jesus? These were far more than the cross which was the culmination of it all. He gave up his place in heaven in the incarnation, his hometown when he declared scripture fulfilled in the temple there, his privacy in any normal day, his earthly family for his ministry, his dignity when he was whipped and beaten, and his life.
Jesus gave up these things because he loved and knew that he wanted a joy with his bride that was not possible without these sacrifices. He had his eyes on something beyond his personal reputation on earth, his convenience, and his comfort. His ultimate joy was to be found beyond any of these things with his bride forever. How’s that for an example!
In the same way, men are called to make sacrifices as they live for something beyond the earthly pleasures. Are you willing to make sacrifices--to give up your rights or even your life? Are you willing to give up your reputation as an athlete? What about your pride when someone else is on the field in your position? The sacrifices in the football arena are merely practice for the real thing. Practice well. Sacrifice well.