I've always thought that Adam had it easy: God made a woman and brought her to him (Genesis 2:22). That would be nice, wouldn't it? A knock at the door: "Special delivery from God!" But the truth is that finding the right person is one of life's greatest challenges. So, since next week is Valentine's Day, I wanted to talk to you unmarried folks.
Each year in the U.S., 200,000 marriages end prior to the couple's second anniversary. Society tells people to go with their feelings, but the Bible has a better way.
Genesis provides a couple of stories about finding a godly mate, and there are some principles you should take from them. Chapter 24 is a story of prayer; it tells how Abraham chose a wife for his son Isaac. This is a picture of how our heavenly Father should choose your spouse for you.
The first principle here is separation. Abraham told his servant not to choose a girl from the Canaanites, and 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." You should be similar in values and temperament, and you should want to go in the same direction, to carry out God's work together. You should marry "only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39). This should be non-negotiable!
The second principle is supplication. There's a lot of prayer in Genesis 24. Abraham was trusting the outcome to God, his servant was praying for God to lead him to the right girl, and Isaac was seeking God in solitude as he waited.
Marriage is a lifetime choice with lifelong ramifications, so you need to involve God in the decision. If you're single, begin praying now for your mate. If you're dating, put the relationship on a spiritual level by praying together often. Make God the central part.
The story of Jacob in Genesis 29 is vastly different; it's a story of patience. When Jacob fell in love with Rachel, he exercised great patience and persistence.
The first principle here is sacrifice. Jacob agreed to work for Rachel's father for seven years in exchange for her hand, but he was tricked into working for 14 years! The point is, Jacob knew exactly what he wanted, and he was willing to sacrifice and wait.
And the next principle is stamina. It was a long courtship, but "love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4), and Jacob was willing to wait. Most guys would have said, "I'm outta here!" Many couples decide too quickly: It's a red flag if you think you're ready for marriage after a couple of weeks or a month!
The risk of marital failure is greatly reduced by a longer dating period, and those who are most satisfied in marriage date for more than two years. It gives them a good, solid base of life experience to build upon.
The last principle I want you to note is success. The servant in Genesis 24 prayed for success (v. 12). He wanted to do it right. He noticed Rebekah's beauty and charm, but he was more concerned with her character.
For you, success means to find the right person for a life mate, but also to plan for success, not failure. That is, divorce can't be permitted into your vocabulary! As Mark Twain said, "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage — and half-shut afterward." Good advice!
Remember, if God supplies you with your food and clothing, will He forget a helpmate? No way! "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives" (Psalm 37:23, NLT).
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