Thursday, March 13, 2014
"On Fire": The 30-Day 'Pray for Your Platonic Male Friends to Get to Their Good Thing' Project
It really *is* something. As a lot of y'all know, I'm very fascinated with Christ's culture while he was on this earth. This means that I study a lot about the Jewish culture. This would include their holidays since, unlike a lot of ours (cough, cough), they have a *biblical* foundation. Even to this day.
So, as I was reading about Purim, the time when Jews still celebrate when Esther and Mordecai teamed up to save them from Haman's crazy plots, I found myself thinking about how, even in a battle for her people, Esther remained a lady. I also thought about how she was willing to risk her life for the greater good in the process. (Bookmark that.)
Then I thought about the kinds of conversations that I find myself having with a lot of women---some who follow this blog, some who I see "randomly" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP)---in relationship to how so often the focus is on when *they* will get a husband. Although everything in the Word (John 1:1) points to the fact that being a wife is a truly selfless form of ministry (Philippians 2:3), when I ask a lot of ladies why marriage is such a desire for them, a lot of "me, me and even more me" (LOL) comes out of their mouths. God's purpose nor a man's spiritual development rarely is stated.
As I was doing some thinking about this over the past several hours, I smiled at the thought of God and his timing. I say that because a woman (thanks Sheila!) actually sent me an old-school book on marriage from the Jewish culture's perspective and I just picked it up from my post office last night. Although I'm still in the process of really getting into it, this part, already, stood out to me:
It is significant that the choice of the Hebrew term for marriage is kiddushin, a word derived from the root KDS---to be holy. By the act of marriage a man sanctifies (to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing) his existence.
Marriage also fulfills the individual as a person: "He who has no wife is not a proper man": he lives "without joy, blessing, goodness...and peace"...
Because marriage is in compliance with God's will, it is no wonder that God Himself is portrayed in Jewish literature, as the grand matchmaker. A story is told of a Roman woman who, upon hearing from Rabbi Yose be Halafta that the world was created in six days, asked what God had been doing since that time. Rabbi Yose answered that God was occupied with matchmaking, proclaiming before their birth whose daughter would marry whom. Although this might appear to be an easy task, he said, in God's eyes, it was as difficult as dividing the Red Sea. In an attempt to outdo the Creator, the lady thereupon paired off in marriage a thousand male slaves with a thousand slave-girls. Her success was short-lived. After only one night, all the slaves protested that theirs was a poor match. She understood that Rabbi Yose had been right and that marriages are indeed arranged in heaven.
OK, a couple of points on singleness first...
As truly brilliant as the Jews were/are and as much as I honor the Hebrew culture (because remember that Scripture was translated from the Hebrew language), I am aware of one huge flaw: Jews don't acknowledge Christ as being the Son of God which means that they also don't reverence the New Testament. Therefore, Christ and Paul aren't really "on their radar" which means that they do not fully embrace the power and purpose of singleness in the way that we as Christians should.
So that said, of course, you can (and should) live a full and happy life as a single person.
However, that doesn't negate what both God and Christ said about marriage:
God: "Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (Genesis 2:18-AMP)
Christ: "But Jesus said, 'Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.'" (Matthew 19:11-12-Message)
It's not good for a man to be alone. This means it's not "morally excellent", "right, proper, fitting" or "satisfactory" for man to be alone (without aid or help). So God made him some help.
I'll pause here. It's interesting how we as women are actually *the solution* to this relational issue and yet so many of us are the ones begging God for a man. He didn't say "It's not good for woman to be alone." He said that a *man* needs *our* help. That revelation alone should calm a lot of us down. (Proverbs 17:27)
And then Christ, based on the Message translation, said "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace." Then he said "If you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it."
Hebrews 5:12-14 speaks of spiritual maturity. When something or on is mature, it (or they) is "fully developed". One mistake that a lot of women make is marrying someone who is not mature enough for marriage. Another mistake that they make is getting married, *assuming* that they are "developed enough". This is just one more reason why being patient as God completes you (James 1:4) is so vital. If you are going to be a man's spiritual help, it's a huge (HUGE) responsibility. You need to be *mature enough* to handle that.
So, as I kept thinking about "It's not good for man to be alone" and then I thought about a conversation I had with a young man last night who is smart, on his way to medical school yet (for a few childhood reasons and the craziness of our culture) doesn't believe he will ever get married but at the same time is quite sexually active, my mind went to the opening scene of the movie Think Like a Man and how Kevin Hart's narrative spoke of the fact that marriage actually used to be a goal of men, in part, because that was the only way (THE ONLY WAY) that they could have sex with a woman.
It's a blog until itself but let me say this...
If you're having sex with a man you are not married to one, you are not being "good to him" (or for him, for that matter); two, you are enabling him to be like a child (partaking in some of marriage's privileges without the responsibility) and three, you are actually contributing to why men run from commitment because you are rewarding their lust and helping to blind them from their true spiritual need (yep, there are a lot of ways to be a stumbling block-Romans 14:13). This is a huge part of the reason why Hebrews 13:4 speaks of adultery and fornication having judgment upon it. And all of that is definitely something to think about.
When some of the men in my life say something similar to what that young man did, when they tell me that they are "good" on the marriage tip (actually, the Word says that they're *not good* if they're running from marriage-LOL), my response is "So, you're called to singleness? That's cool. So, you're not going to have sex for the rest of your life, right?" THEN they look at my like I'm speaking Afrikaans or something (LOL). *Of course* they want sex, they just don't want the wife that comes with it. And when you read it like that, doesn't that just make your stomach turn? Basically they are saying "I want to *use* you, but I don't really want your *help*."
Also another blog for another time. Let me stay focused.
So, as I was thinking about that story about God being the Ultimate Matchmaker (AND HE IS-James 1:17), as I also thought about what my Baba (my mother's husband) says about the very topic ("Satan is not so much in the business of breaking marriages up as he is in putting the wrong two people together to begin with."---Dig that!) and also as I thought about how the Spirit (John 4:24) told me some years ago "Of course a lot of these single men out here are uncomfortable. You would be too if you were walking around without a rib" (Genesis 2:21-22), I got why the Lord said to me what he did this morning.
"Would you tell my daughters to stop praying so much about when they are going to get a husband? They are made to be 'the good thing'. What they need to focus on more is praying for the single men in their life to see how good a wife can be in and to their lives. They need to pray for these men to spiritually mature, to embrace sexual purity and to allow me to bring their divine favor to them. Even now, my single daughters can serve as a spiritual support and aid to their single male friends by 'standing in the gap' for them in this way. That is what I will for the 'On Fire' women in this season."
And a lot of us know about how prayers roll when they are in God's will, right?
"And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him."---I John 5:14-15(AMP)
And so, as the Jews are preparing for Purim on Saturday evening (it ends on Sunday night this year), in honor of a woman who was willing to be selfless enough for her people, I am inviting some of you to be selfless enough for some of your single male friends and enter a 30-day prayer project for them to do just as God stated. For them to grow spiritually, for them to be (or be more) sexually pure and for them to open up their minds and hearts and allow God to bring their divine favor into their lives. In his time and in his way but for the men to remove the barriers to this progress. Supernaturally so.
One thing that we all have to keep in mind is that when King Solomon was divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen "He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22-NKJV), *Satan, the devourer (I Peter 5:8), heard that*. He doesn't want us to have anything good and he certainly doesn't want us to get the Lord's favor. And so, he works overtime to keep men and their divine helpers apart.
Yet, being that we are created to be helpers and John 14:26 describes the Holy Spirit as "the Helper" as well (see how we're in such good company?), wouldn't it make sense that God would ask us to "team up" with the Holy Spirit in praying for the single men in our lives in this fashion? So that they can *awaken* (Genesis 2:21-25) to *all of the good* that God has for them if they would 1) develop a closer relationship with God and 2) would get clear about their purpose so that 3) they can prepare for their divine favor? So that, as the excerpt of the book says, would have a "sanctified existence"?
Oh and please believe that doing this kind of spiritual exercise benefits us as well...
Whenever the time comes to be brought to our husbands, by getting more and more practice in praying for other men in our lives, this spiritually equips us and empowers us because you best believe that as the Holy Spirit shows you how to pray for your single male friends (not guys you want to be with, by the way because there will be a temptation to be manipulative; just platonic male friends, please), he will prepare you for engaging in spiritual warfare so that in your marriage, you'll be ready to pray. Like never before.
So, this is a call to a 30-day prayer. If you are interested, we are going to start, in unity, on Saturday at sunset and it will run for 30 days. Most of y'all know that I'm pretty big on signs (Daniel 4:2-3) and although 30 days does make up a month, the bigger point is that 30 biblically represents "maturity for ministry". And marriage is indeed a ministry.
I've also got a T-shirt guy in my hip pocket (LOL) and so the women who commit (COMMIT) to doing this, I'm going to get a shirt made that speaks to the sacrifice/preparation process that is transpiring. I'll share that with the women who hit me up to participate, though.
So if you're in, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org by sunset on Saturday, March 15 and will run through sunset on Monday, April 14. I'll send you the prayer instructions via email.
Men don't just need our prayers once we're married.
Men need us to be a spiritual aid and support even now.
Help your brothas out. So that they can get to their good thing!