Great Expectations

Author’s note:  I wrote this for a friend of mine, Susan, who’s blog TLC4Women published it the first time.  I’ve done a little editing to tweak it up a bit.

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4.

Mom used to always say about the girls I dated,  “Watch how they treat their dads and you’ll know how they will treat you.”

Consistency is one of the hardest truths to live out.  We expect it from others but rarely require it of ourselves.

So what kind of woman do most men want anyway?

That’s like asking what a man’s favorite car is or which football team he likes best.  The answer is as varied as you should expect.  Yet when it comes to the heart of a spiritual man, though we know the variations in taste will remain the same, there’s one large caveat:  They’ll want a woman who loves and obeys God.

Sounds simple enough, right?

I’m gonna’ give you two of  my easy rules for finding a mate:  Be in the flow and middle of God’s will for your life and base your decision on character.

It’s actually not all that hard to tell what God’s will or purpose is for our lives, because the imprint of it is on our hearts and personalities.  Once we know what our tastes and preferences come down to (how He made us specifically), we can then look for the person who demonstrates Jesus in their lives. 

A woman’s taste in men is on par with her taste in soap, deodorant or anything else they might prefer–it is personal and sacrosanct to the one doing the choosing.  I know many women will object to this comparison, but I ask them to look at it without romantic blinders on for a minute:  Some like tall men, others like guys with a little belly on them.  I’ve been told countless times women like bald guys (though no one’s beating down my door).  These are issues of taste so should be left to the individuals involved.

The same for men.  I know women think all guys just want a skinny little waif who looks like she’s barely 16, but that doesn’t really cover the truth about men’s preferences.  One of my best friends likes curves on his woman and is actually going to marry one who doesn’t fit the popular bill.  Advertising may glorify certain types of bodies, but this should tell you something right there:  a few trying to dictate to the many never works.  A man is as complex as a woman in this aspect of their psyche.  A man of God, however, is far more simple, honest and caring about his partner.

The need for character, however, is universal for it is the stamp of God’s nature on the person, therefore I’m gonna’ concentrate on this for the rest of our time.

Once we figure out our tastes, the only thing we have left to do is be transformed and we got it in the bag.  What does Romans 12:1, 2 say?    Therefore, I urge you, brothers (and sisters), in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Our problem as humans is we have it all ass-backwards–or as my dad used to say,  “The cart before the horse.”  We think we have to find a spouse before we can be happy, when the truth is inverse of that thought.  Before we find the type of person God created us for, we have to be the type of person God created us to be for them.  Look, it’s not rocket science but godly wisdom.  To know God’s will, we have to know God; and to know God we have to know what He says; and to know what He says we have to spend time reading His words.

Jesus said,  “As you would have men do to you, do also to them.”  Most people, however, base their relationship expectations on what the other person can do for them.  Marriage is a partnership, nothing more, nothing less.

Christians carry one piece of baggage, however, which trumps their reasoning power:  We’re all hopeless romantics.

O, I’m not just talking about the Cinderella or Snow White style of romance, but we look for a happy ending to our story and history of mankind.  So this permeates everything we do and think in such a great measure many of us struggle to get the real point of our hope:  to live a full life now and not wait till then–whenever “then” is.  The adventure of a lifetime is waiting for most of us but we would rather dream about it than actually live it.  It’s strange how many times I hear someone wish to be married but fail to do the work to be in the way of God’s purpose for their lives.  They wait on the sidelines of life expecting love to just jump into their laps miraculously when God commands us to go out and live to the full.  It’s not for nothing Jesus told His disciples,  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

Where is God’s will?  In service of His people, His world.

Take a moment to think about how we would like to be treated, then turn that thought upside down to the other side of the coin to think about how the other person would like to be treated.  Do you see how easy it is to apply the principles of God?  We don’t need any other formula to find our mate.  All we need to do is find someone who shows respect to everyone, is industrious, kind, thoughtful of others, loves from a heart filled with the Spirit of God and gives of their means freely as unto the Lord, and we find the person we fit with like a puzzle piece.  That is, we find them if we are such people too.

You see we cannot have great expectations for a spouse if we don’t hold the same standard up for ourselves.  If you want to attract honey bees, you need to be a flower.  Hopelessly romantic isn’t bad, it just usually isn’t based on reality–even a spiritual reality.  God will only give us the desires of our hearts when our desires match His.

There’s one more aspect to this we need to address which is quite unpopular even with men:  Marriage is as much a business arrangement as it is a romantic adventure.

If any of us enter into marriage thinking we’re going to just fly all the time, we’re in for a rude awakening–and some pretty rough unhappy times.  When Paul told the Corinthians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, he wasn’t making a suggestion just for marriages but also business men.  Entering into a business arrangement with someone who doesn’t share our mores and values on the subject of eternity affects how we do business.  A person in business tied to earthly profit operates differently than one tied to eternal investments.  May be some of you who read this are too tied to earthly security for the Christian spouse you long for, then I would suggest you untie or cut that bond.  A person tied to earth’s security is no good to God’s kingdom, for their entire lives are spent in pursuit of their own happiness and dreams.  A person tied to the kingdom of God lives in such a way as to invest on earth what will bring a profit for God.  Another way of saying it is:  Live to please God not yourselves.

Is that too heavenly minded for some of you?  If you worry more about what most people call the “bottom line” here on earth yet forget the spiritual bottom line, you’ve missed God’s will for your life–and, quite sadly, for your future spouse as well.  Unless we become the workmanship of God, we cannot enter His kingdom to come or where it starts here on earth.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say,  ‘Here it is,’ or  ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:20, 21.

That passage might sound off topic to some of you, but for me it is the crux of the whole message.  The kingdom of heaven starts right now where we live, work and believe.  We are the kingdom of God not some specific country or government.  His government is demonstrated within our hearts and minds for the sake of being lived out in the world around us.  This attracts those looking for light.

It also attracts those who look for light in order to take advantage of others.  You know, those people who are always looking for a new angle to make a profit of some kind.

Who should we keep our eyes open to?  Jesus. 

Who should we be looking for as a spouse?  Those with the kingdom of God already building inside.

How long will it take to find them?  As long as it takes to get to know another person’s witness for the Lord.

Remember what my mother used to say:  “How a girl treats her dad will be how she treats her husband.”  It goes well here for us too, for how we respond to God’s Spirit living within us is how we will respond to those around us who are of the spiritual kingdom.  Don’t be deceived by packaging.  I know a lot of men who have nearly shipwrecked their faith because they involved themselves with a beautiful un-spiritual woman.  I know many a woman who has been trapped by her vows because she went for the bad boy over that guy who was not quite so exciting but a lot nicer.  A carnal man is strong in worldly wisdom, worldly passion and their idea of love; a spiritual man is strong in spiritual passion, truth and God’s love.  If you’re attracted to that bad boy over the nice guy, there’s something wrong with your connection to reality not that nice guy.  Make no mistake God’s reality is the only reality there is, everything else is illusion.  Guy’s who pursue the beautiful “dangerous” woman, will get what they are chasing:  Dangerous beauty which turns pretty ugly fast.

How a man treats the women in his life will be how he will treat you.  How a man responds to God will tell you how he will respond to you.

Do you want to find a spiritual man?  Be a spiritual woman.  Do you want to find a spiritual woman?  Be a spiritual man.

Do you want to know God’s will for you as it relates to marriage?  Live in the middle of the stream of His purpose for kingdom people and you’ll run into the man who is also living in the middle of God’s flow.

Do you want passion, romance and the love of a lifetime?  Get to know the Source of passion, romance and love, for only in the plan and purpose of God will our hearts be satisfied.

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3 Responses to “Great Expectations”

  1. Rolando Santiago Says:

    On the article “Great Expectations” I found it very revealing your comment on becoming first the person God wants us to be and then let God lead us to our “partners”. It made so much sense to be a loving person first so to find that same love.

  2. tlc4women Says:

    I’m going to link this!

  3. A Guest Blogger « TLC4Women Says:

    […] Great Expectations […]

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