Today Derek is going to help us understand how to make one of the most important choices that face us in life, "How to Find the Right Husband or Wife." Today's message is jam-packed, so let's get right to it, and you may want to grab a pen and paper and take notes today.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue our journey together through the rich and wonderful land of God’s promises.
In my talk yesterday I dealt with a specific problem that confronts particularly those who are in places of employment; how to find acceptance in a work situation.
Today I’m going to share with you some promises of God’s Word that relate to one of the most important choices a man or a woman ever has to make, “The Choice of a Mate,” a wife or husband.
Theoretically, in this matter the primary initiative is with the man. I say theoretically because observation leads me to conclude that a woman’s attitude and decision often has a lot to do with it. You may have heard the story about the woman who ran away from a man until she caught him. Well, I’m not going to comment on that. At any rate, we’ll begin by viewing the situation from the man’s point of view. Actually, most of the relevant principles that I will be dealing with apply equally from either point of view, that of the man or the woman.
First we need to establish a general principle that applies in this and many, many other situations. There are two forms of guidance that God provides. The first is what I call general guidance, that is true for all people; the second is individual guidance, that applies only to a certain individual person in a certain situation.
Now, general guidance comes from Scripture. This is emphasized again and again. Just take one example, Psalm 119:105:
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (KJV)
So if we want to walk in God’s way, then the source of light which shows us the way to walk in and shows us that we are putting our feet in the right place is the Word of God. And all other guidance must be tested against the Word of God. As John Wesley said, “I acknowledge no other rule of faith or practice but the Holy Scriptures.” There is no other rule of faith or practice that has the same authority as the Holy Scriptures. We must walk in the light of the Scriptures. That’s the prime resource of guidance from God for all of His people. And only when we are obedient to general guidance, the guidance of Scripture, do we have the right to expect individual guidance. Again, there is another principle that we need to emphasize here in connection with marriage, a principle from God’s Word, a principle of general guidance. It is this: It is wrong for a believer to marry an unbeliever. I believe I need to say that again because I think some of God’s people are pretty foggy about their comprehension of this principle. It is wrong for a believer to marry an unbeliever.
This is stated very clearly in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. Paul says:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. [Of course, he is writing to believers. And the primary form of yoke is marriage. In Scripture, marriage is commonly referred to as a yoke.] do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” (NIV)
As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
Notice those very pertinent questions. “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What fellowship can light have with darkness?” And so on. In other words, believers are light, and light cannot fellowship with the darkness of unbelief.
Now if you are unmarried, then you have no right as a believer to seek a life mate who is not a believer. On the other hand, if you are married as an unbeliever, later come to believe in the Lord, that’s a different situation. Then God will come to your help in various ways. But at the present time I’m dealing with the choice of a life partner for one who is not married.
The second general principle from God’s Word that we need to lay hold of is that God appoints the right mate for each of his children. It’s not haphazard, it’s not outside of God’s provision. God chooses the right mate for each one of His believing children. Proverbs 18:22 says this:
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” (NAS)
In other words, finding the right wife is an indication of the Lord’s favor. And then in Proverbs 19:14:
“House and wealth are inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord.” (NIV)
So if we are to have a prudent wife, we need to seek the Lord for that prudent wife. And I can at this point say a double “Amen” to those statements. It’s been my lot in life to be married twice and in each occasion, it’s the Lord who very definitely directed me to the right wife. And in each case, the Lord has provided me with a prudent wife, a blessing for which I cannot possibly ever thank Him too much. So when I speak along this line you need to understand that I’m speaking from personal experience.
Now we’re going to look at that standard of marriage which Jesus acknowledged and which He set for His disciples. This is brought out very clearly in Matthew 19:3-6. This records a conversation between Jesus and some Pharisees who came to Him about the question of marriage and divorce.
“And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?’ And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? Consequently they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (NAS)
The point I want to bring out here is that when Jesus was questioned about marriage, He did not accept the standards or the rules of the conventions of the time in which He lived, but for His standard of marriage and the purpose of marriage, He immediately went right back to the beginning. Now that’s the Hebrew name of the book of Genesis. In other words, He went back to God’s original purpose and standard when He first created man and woman, and that’s the only standard of marriage and purpose of marriage that he accepted as valid. That means that as His disciples, we too have to go back to God’s purpose and standard at creation if we are going to find God’s standard for marriage in our lives as Christians today.
In this connection therefore, I’m going to point out to you four facts about Adam and Eve, all of which I believe, apply in our lives today.
First of all, it was God who decided that Adam needed a wife.
Secondly, it was God who formed Eve for Adam.
Thirdly, it was God who presented Eve to Adam.
Fourthly, it was God who determined the nature of their relationship.
Let me say those again very quickly. God decided that Adam needed a wife, God formed Eve for Adam, God presented Eve to Adam, God determined the nature of their relationship.
Now, I believe that all these principles still apply equally today for us as Christians, whether we be a man or a woman. Let me try to show you how they apply in either case. First of all, if you’re a man.
God will decide that you need a wife. It’s not your decision, it’s His.
Secondly, God will form the right wife for you.
Thirdly, God will bring that wife to you, and ,
Fourthly, God will determine the nature of the relationship under which you will live as a married couple.
If you’re a woman, we just have to turn it around a little and the same principles apply.
God will decide some man needs you as his wife.
God will form you and prepare you to be a wife for that man.
God will bring you to that man, and ,
God will determine the nature of the relationship in which you’ll live as a married couple.
In other words, whether you be a man or a woman, the initiative, the decision, the process of preparation, are all with God.
Now, what does God require of you, that you may find His will in this vital matter? Whether you be man or woman, that you may find the mate that God has for you? I want to give you seven simple rules which I believe will greatly help you in this matter.
First, believe in God’s purpose for your life. Believe God has a destiny for you. You’re not just an accident looking for somewhere to happen, as somebody said once. God has a purpose for you. It’s a good purpose.
Secondly, commit your life totally to God.
Thirdly, walk in the light of God’s Word. That is, go by the general guidance that God has made available to all His people.
Fourthly, cultivate fellowship with God’s people, because out of the people you have fellowship with it’s probable that God will pick the one you are going to marry. If you fellowship with unbelievers, you’re likely to end up marrying an unbeliever.
Fifthly, realize your value as a child of God. Don’t make yourself cheap. Don’t accept second best in this vital matter of your life. The trouble with many Christians is they don’t value themselves sufficiently highly as children of God and they accept some poor substitute for God’s best.
Sixthly, be prepared to wait. Waiting is one evidence of faith, and it’s one that God often requires us to demonstrate.
Seventhly, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Let Him choose your way and direct you.
As I close my message, I pray sincerely for every one of you listening that God may guide you and have His way in this most vital decision of your life.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing with another situation that relates to family life, “How to Deal with Problem Children.” I’ll be sharing with you specific promises of God that relate to this particular situation.