Monday, December 2, 2013

are they the one? (2/2)

alright ladies and gentlemen if you would return to your seats, fasten your seat belts, put your tray tables up and make sure that all seats are in their upright position…

lets land this thing. in genesis 24:13-14 we find the servant that was in charge of looking for a wife for isaac did not just walk up to any random woman in the land. he set some qualifications, AND even after these qualifications were set verse 21 tells us that the man waited patiently to see if this was god's choice.

i love that even after qualifications were met the bible goes on to tell us that he waited patiently to be sure, waiting on the lord. in the church we often just fall for any one that makes their way into the building because, if they are there, then they are of god. with this as a guideline for pursuits you will find yourself learning the hard way from experience. save yourself time and energy…don't learn the hard way.

these are the characteristics that the "plane" should land for further pursuit.

1. humility/willingness to serve
of course the bible gives us much when it comes to being humble and serving others but it goes into humility even more specifically as it describes the roles of a husband and a wife. these are very important qualities to find in a spouse. how do they get along with people less fortunate than them? how do they get along with people more fortunate than them? are they able to live in peace with people that they are not in agreement with? how do they treat you and your desires? don't just assume that people who are married prefer one another. if they are dealing with pride before marriage, it will not magically change after you say "i do."

2. sexual purity
the best thing you can give your spouse is your virginity. paul and the author of hebrews talk about the issues of being sexually involved with people outside the covenant of marriage (1 cor. 6, gal 5, heb. 13). it is not merely for the sake of withholding something that is very pleasurable. pursuing one another intimately in the wrong context will bear fruit in a later season that will not prove to be satisfying. there is a standard society sets and then there is the standard that the maker of the universe set which should ALWAYS supersede the former. pursuing each other intimately can still happen in the context of dating and engagement, it's called conversation, communication, dialogue, talking to each other. don't fall for the lie that you must find sexual compatibility before marriage to understand if the marriage will work sexually. i want to also add that i know there are many who have been sexually intimate with another person before marriage. this however, is not a license to continue on in sexual impurity. start today, living pure, saving yourself for someone else who is also saving themselves for you.

3. right priorities
don't think that just because someone is a christian, has a trust in god, and has character that they are for you. there are people who are pursuing god's purposes in their life, which means they are working to show themselves approved for his calling. for some this means a lot of education, time, or even an amount of dedication to a particular geographical region. this means if you are pursuing someone and wanting to know if they are the one, it would be wisdom to find those priorities that are agreeable. you may not want to commit to a particular waiting period, or long distance relationship. priorities are something that one is committed to, whatever they are committed to they place value. ask yourself if you value that commitment. don't live in a relationship with unbiblical pressure because you are trying to like the same things in life, or you are trying to be committed to the same things as your partner.

4. right beliefs
very similar to right priorities, there are relationships that have potential to work well cross denominationally, but then they also can prove to be a massive headache. issues of theology and doctrine are important. you want to agree. it is not necessary to agree on how long a worship service should be but that you should at least have worship within a service. there are sensitive and dangerous theologies that have crept into the church that you should not take for granted just because you met your individual at the church young adult service. remember you are not just connecting with the person but with their parents and their parents' beliefs as well.

5. committed to the church
it is sad that this even has to be mentioned. there is a legitimate amount of believers who feel they can have a relationship with the lord, believe in him, trust him, and yet still not be active members in a local church. it is like me cutting my arm off of my body and that arm claiming still to be mine. yes it is, but it suffers from disembodiment; it has no function, and cannot operate as it is intended to. join yourself with an individual who goes to church. there are numerous blessings that god has instituted the church to give. blessings of a covering, accountability, protection, and a witness to rejoice with you as you walk out your relationship biblically. you will suffer and your relationships will suffer if you are attempting to handle them on your own. no one was meant to be alone.

6. self control
the book of proverbs says that a person without self control is like a house with its windows and doors knocked out (25:28). this would not be a safe house to live in. no one, in their right mind would venture to move into this house. when you join yourself with this person you are consenting to those things they give themselves to. by joining with someone who lacks self control you yourself are consenting to this behavior; behavior that is extreme and could go one way one day and another way the next. be vigilant in addressing issues of control which may also reveal issues of addiction. alcoholism, sexual addiction, gambling, drugs, anger, depression, low self esteem, etc. all can be fought, but they must be acknowledged and battled. 

7. responsible
i don't remember where i read this first but it went something like this…"the bills can't be paid with promises of love." true, scripture talks about love being essential in our bond with our spouse; choose it, walk in it, cherish it, nourish it. understand that love, like a field, must be harvested, must be tilled, must be plowed, and must be fertilized. this means love will take work, lots of hard work. the bible speaks to a lazy person and there pursuits, the desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work; all day long he is craving… (prov. 21:25-26). for the lazy their desires never vanish, they remain, he/she just shuts them up with laziness. these desires eventually ruin the person. your promises of love are really nothing without a plan, and that plan is nothing without work. what is your plan in being single? what is your plan in dating? what is your plan in the engagement? what is you plan in marriage?

8. good relationship with parents
there are relationships we choose and relationships we have no way of choosing, like family. god has chosen for you, your parents. i am aware that not everyone has a beautiful and loving relationship with their mother and father. however, please allow communication to come and go from mom and dad. i am not saying they should choose for you, but involve them in the process of selection. they are meant to give an account for you as they are stewarding you through life. your selection of a spouse is best understood in the context of a cloud of witnesses. if parents are strongly opposed to being involved then include a strong friend that can encourage you and correct you in areas that you are blind. perhaps this would be a monumental opportunity to open the door of healing between you and your father or mother as you extend the invitation for a blessing on your marriage. remember ladies, the way he treats his mother is the way he will one day treat you. men, does she respect and honor her father? i hope so, for your sake in the future.

wrestle with these things
contemplate these things
deal with these things
do not move forward without addressing those convictions that are important to you. marriage can be a way of healing two selfish individuals who do not know how to give love unconditionally, if jesus' glory is your aim.

here is an exercise you can try on your own. taking 1 cor. 13:4-8, the love chapter, and substituting your name whenever you see the word "love." do the same for the individual you are interested in pursuing.

____ is patient
____ is kind
____ is not jealous
____ does not brag
____ is not arrogant
____ is not rude
____ does not seek his/her own
____ is not easily angered
____ does not keep a record of wrongs
____ does not delight in evil
____ rejoices in the truth
____ protects
____ trusts
____ hopes
____ perseveres
____ never fails

you will not meet a perfect person on this earth. standards are good for us as we move forward in relationships that will influence our walk with god. marriage is a significant decision. it is appropriate to note that some people battle issues their whole life. walk with someone knowing they are desiring to battle and wrestle with issues they know to be detrimental to the relationship. it is one thing to know your weaknesses and another to know them and wrestle with them in view of a heart of repentance.

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