Monday, January 15, 2007

Till when?

Marriage: Trusting God for the Right Partner

Last week, my wife and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.

Just four days later, I had the privilege of giving my daughter, Christine,
away in marriage. It was a lovely ceremony and we couldn't have
wished for a finer young man than her husband, Jonathan Kimball.
I ask your prayers for them as they begin a new family unto the glory
of God.

Every parent desires to see their child happily and successfully
married. As I contemplated the large number of single people who
read ShortNotes, I couldn't help but have the same desire for you.
Thus, I have included a few random thoughts about marriage that
I hope will be stimulating and edifying to you.

Marriage is a God-ordained institution. He created it and He knows
how it is to operate if it is to be successful. But in our day, the
world is trying to co-opt marriage by creating a whole new set
of definitions and standards by which marriage is to operate.
And the world's way is NOT working. Stick with God's way!
Don't let the world defile you with it's ways which are contrary
to God's way.

If you want to know God's plan for marriage, study what the
Bible says about it. Begin with the very first marriage - Adam
and Eve (found in Genesis 3). Ephesians 5 is a good New
Testament reference to marriage. Find an on-line Bible where
you can look up every reference to "husband" and "wife." This
will take a little bit of work, but it sure beats reading some
magazine article in Redbook about how to have a happy marriage!

Next to coming to Jesus, marriage is the most significant decision
you will ever make. Don't enter into it lightly! Seek God's will
concerning your potential mate. Pray for God's guidance about your
marriage plans. Study the Bible concerning marriage. And seek
advice from parents and godly counselors about your readiness
for marriage and your compatibility with your potential spouse. In
getting advice, don't simply look for someone to confirm your
desires, but seek honest input with a sincere willingness to follow
their advice even if it is difficult.

Understand that marriage is about a lot more than "love." Love is
certainly a significant part of the equation, but marriage is about
two people committing their lives to one another until they die
with the objective of starting a family, uniting for a common
purpose and sharpening one another in the Lord.

In my youth, I did not feel I should "seek a wife." Over and over
again in Scripture, we are told to "seek the Lord." As I sought the
Lord, He brought the right person into my life. I sought the Lord
and I found Him, as we as I found the wife the Lord had for me.
This is a venture of faith as it is very difficult for us to trust God to
meet this most intimate of needs in our lives. But, He will if we
trust Him! Personally, I think an often overlooked key to a happy
and successful marriage is to find the spouse GOD wants us to
have rather than simply find the spouse I want. I did not marry
a woman I could live with - I married a woman I could not live

Now is the time to prepare yourself for marriage: spiritually, emotionally,
financially, relationally, etc. People prepared for marriage tend to
bring the qualities to a marriage that make it successful. People
unprepared tend to be disappointed and encounter overwhelming
problems once married.

Focus on becoming a mature man or woman of God and He will
lead a similarly mature man or woman of God into your life. Many
young people are on the hunt for the perfect mate. Let me encourage
you to focus on becoming the perfect mate. People tend to match
with someone of equal maturity. In other words, if you are a "five" --
spiritually, emotionally, socially, etc. you are not likely to marry
a "ten," even though you may dream about doing so! If you want
to marry a "ten," get serious with God about you becoming a "ten"!
If you are content to be a spiritual "five," get used to the idea of
marrying a "five." Better yet, repent of your contentment with your
spiritual lukewarmness and seek the Lord until you begin to
seriously grow in Christ!!!

I have plenty of additional advice, but I'll call it quits for now. If I have
sparked your interest and you want to hear more of my thoughts on
preparing for marriage, let me encourage you to order my two messages titled:

Trusting God for the Right Partner and
Gaining God's View of Marriage.

Let me warn you that these messages are not for the faint of heart.

I gave these two talks to a group of hungry disciples about 12 years
ago and I didn't mince words. You'll find these messages to be very
enlightening, very edifying and very challenging.