"Complete in Thee—each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee!"
I am so thankful that I can be complete in Christ.
By God's grace, I hope to use this blog to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ in pursuing Godliness, Holiness, and Radiant Purity! :D
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Lesson 1 on Chapter 1, Desire the Very Best Marriage
What does this mean? You might say it is desiring God's dream for you to come true, rather than your own dreams. This HAS to be the desire of your heart and your personal conviction and commitment. If it is not, pray and ask the Lord to make it your own.
Pray: Before you start this study, Pray that the Lord would help you surrender your desires and to truly desire for His perfect plan for you to come to pass.
Think: What are some reasons we might not think of "the very best marriage" as realistic? Think of some reasons on your own. I know one reason might be because it's not something we see a lot of around us and we often believe the lies from Satan that this is an unrealistic thing to want.
Girls, don't give up hope! This is NOT unrealistic! There ARE godly young men out there. You might not have met many yet. You may have to wait a while before you see any and even longer before the Lord brings His best for you into your life. Let me encourage you not to think "Oh, I'll settle for this kind of guy because I don't see any guys better than him anywhere around right now." Rest in the Lord and wait on Him in faith to bring His best into your life in His timing. "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him..." Ps. 37:7 If you do this, you will find yourself blessed! "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him." Ps. 2:12
Set your Standards Unrealistically HIGH. God LOVES to do the impossible---to go over and beyond what we thought was ever possible of happening. One of my favorite verses is: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -Eph. 3:20-21
I have experienced this in my own life. God loves to get the glory for things. And He deserves it! That's the reason that the miracles in the Bible were done---so that that God would get the glory and so people would look to Him and see His power to do things that were humanly impossible. So if you think it's impossible that there would ever be a godly young man for you, that's great---themore glory God will get for bringing you one!
Let me share some of my personal testimony regarding this. I'm sad to say that when I was young, (10, 11, and 12 years old,) I was willing to settle for second best. Why?
1.) I was led by emotions. If I saw a guy that I was attracted to, I soon had a crush on him, and was letting my imagination run away.
2.) I didn't know (and I doubted) that there was a realistic alternative. I had high standards for what my prince must be, but I found myself wondering if there were even any of those kind of guys out there.
3.) I hadn't yet learned what it really meant to trust in the Lord and rest in faith in Him that He would be faithful to provide the perfect prince for me if I would only wait on Him.
4.) I wasn't given much direction. No one was coming along side me and saying, "Tiffany, this is what you should be looking for and being careful to save every little piece of your heart for. Tiffany, God has something great in store for you that you can't see now. Be faithful and wait on Him." And yes, there were a few that said something like that to me, but I could have really used a lot more reminders. It would have especially meant a lot if an older girl would have told me. (That's why I'm encouraging you girls now!) :)
I had these thoughts that arose as I was beginning to realize that I was attracted to guys, but I didn't know what to do with them. I could feel that they weren't right, but I wasn't sure if there was a way to deal with them, to avoid not having them so much, or if that was even possible. Thankfully, the Lord was very faithful to protect me during those years when I was unstable in my heart and my convictions, and He sheltered me through my parents. Thankfully, I never was put in any tempting situations, and considering the way my heart was during that time, I'm so glad of that because I'm afraid of what I might have done. Though I didn't actually do anything impure, I'm sorry to say that my heart was not the Lord's and that as a result, I often had an impure mind.
Girls, start to guard your hearts now! It's never too early and you're never too young to let God fortify your heart and put a strong guard over it and protect it from polluting thoughts such as I was experiencing. I know you girls probably struggle with your thoughts as well and just want to encourage you that you can have victory in that area of your life. We're going to talk more about guarding your heart later in the next chapter.
I used to pray, "Lord, please let me marry (whatever guy I liked at the time!)" I was totally praying according to my own lusts and desires and not according to God's will. I did not have a peace about any of those guys being "the one" but I asked for it anyway because it was something my flesh wanted. I'm so glad God didn't say "yes" to me! As I look at those young men "liked" back then, I realize they are nowhere near what I really want in a husband and what the Lord knows I need. If I were to rate them now, they would probably be a 3 or 4 when God wanted to give me a 10. Friends, are you going to settle for $1 now or $1,000 later? God has so much better for you if you'll faithfully wait on Him! :D
Of course we all desire a wonderful marriage, but what are we doing right now to make that possible? If you want something great to happen you wouldn't be doing things cause the opposite to happen would you? Yet that's what so many of us do without even realizing it! When we allow our thoughts to run away when we see certain guys or movie stars or whatever, what are we practicing? Living by our fleshly desires. "But I say, walk by the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." Gal 5:16 Being sensitive to the leading of the spirit is of utmost importance when it comes to determining God's will for you regarding guys---or with anything else for that matter. We certainly wouldn't want to practice obeying our flesh.
This is an area where Satan would love to make you stumble and ruin your testimony. Satan is the enemy of God's plan and of good marriages that glorify the Lord so He is going to do everything to oppose that, so he's going to throw a lot of things at you. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:" 1 Pet. 5:8
How do you know when you think you've found God's best? We'll talk more about this later in the chapter, "Could He be the One?" Well, first of all, we have to have different mindset. We have to change what we're looking for. Look at things from God's perspective. Be looking for what God values, that is, noticing important character qualities. Instead of letting the physical attract you, let the spiritual be what attracts you. A guy that is strong spiritually is best for you anyway. Wouldn't you like to have a guy that had a Christlike character than one who wore nice cloths and was good looking but was just average spiritually? The way people look changes, but what's inside lasts. We have to have the right priorities. We can't let worldly thinking take over this area. In this culture, Hollywood defines what "the perfect guy" is. We have to let God's Word define what the right guy for us is.
As Sarah pointed out, remember, a good marriage takes two people. As you start to catch the vision of "God wants to give me His best and I should have high standards!" Guess what? There's a young man out there also wanting God's best and having high standards. God wants to give great men to great women. He wants to put them together to do ministry for him. Focus on becoming a great woman. How do you do that? Focus now on developing inner qualities of godliness, holiness, and purity; also think of practical ways you can prepare.
If you desire God's best, you must be willing to marry God's choice.
Think: What do you think God's choice for you would be like?
What do you think he would not be like?
So you decide that you're going to wait on God's best and you are trusting that He's going to bring His best for you along in His timing. Well...guess what? God's best may be nothing like you thought he would be like! And I'm certainly not saying that God wants you to be miserable, but at first, the one He brings to you might not be anything like you had in mind. :) We'll learn later about how we have to surrender our plans and dreams and ideas to the Lord. We naturally look for Eliabs (see 1 Sam. 16:7.) That is, guys who are strong and good looking and charming--you know, the stuff we see on TV or the Prince Charming of our favorite Disney princess. Well, often the man that the Lord knows you really need and that's really best for you does not fit the picture you've painted in your mind. Be careful that you don't look right over God's choice because he doesn't look how you imagined him to look or have the personality you thought your prince charming would have.
God has a wonderful plan and a beautiful story for your life if you will only give up the pen now and let Him write it! Surrender your dreams now as we begin this study and continue in prayer asking the Lord to help His desires become your desires. Girls, start now desiring the very best marriage--what God wants to give you--And Pray for it!