Monday, June 23, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: '7 Ways To Tell If You Are In A God Ordained Relationship'

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If something is God-ordained...

It is GOD-APPROVED, which means you have GOD'S PERMISSION.

This about that as you go through this (S-C-A-P) list...

1 – You are Equally Yoked Christians
 

The operative word here is Equally yoked.  By this I mean you are both Christians for starters and are both in a similar place in your walk with Jesus.  If one of you walks closely with Him and the other barely knows Him, you are not Equally Yoked.  You must have a strong Spiritual connection with one another.  You must view and worship God in a similar fashion. You can talk openly about God and can spur each other on in your faith and walk with Christ.  You should be able to pray together as a couple and pray for one another when you are apart.  This prayer should come naturally and without hesitation.  I cannot emphasize enough how critical this point is.  It’s not enough that both of you believe in Jesus Christ.  If you are not equally yoked spiritually, your relationship will unravel quickly.

In Voddie Baucham’s book, “What He Must Be,” he states that the man must lead in the Word.  To do so, he himself must be deeply rooted in the word before he can lead his wife in this area.  I have outlined this book for single women to use as a reference guide for choosing a Godly mate and for men to strive for as God’s standard for them to follow.

Ephesians 5:25-26: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…

If you are not Equally Yoked because one of you is not a Christian, your relationship is not ordained by God, because this is blatant disobedience to God’s Word.  If you are not equally yoked because you don’t connect spiritually or one of you is more grown than the other, particularly the woman, you should prayerfully consider taking a break and seeing if time apart will bring the other person to a closer and deeper relationship with God.  If not, then it is not a match.  MOVE ON…  Regeneration and transformation is evidence of a Spirit led life yielded to Him.

"There is no exception to this rule; if a man loves not God, neither is he born of God. Show me a fire without heat, then show me regeneration that does not produce love to God." -- Charles Spurgeon

2 Corinthians 6:14-18: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”   Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”  “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Physical attraction is not enough glue to keep a marriage alive.  Look at all the celebrity marriages that are based on looks and attraction.  Jesus is the Superglue in any marriage!  If you don’t see Jesus in that person’s character, action, or spirit, you are fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a world of frustration and hurt.

Deuteronomy 22 tells us not to sow a vineyard with different kinds of seed or plow with an ox and a donkey together.  God wanted to separate His children’s practices from pagan practices.  In the same way, a Spiritual connection is achieved by equally yoking, sanctified believers planted at the same level, walking along the same path, direction, and speed.  This is critical in the context of marriage according to God’s Word.  He doesn’t want us to struggle by either being weighed down by someone’s lack of knowledge or overwhelmed by someone’s drive to push to the next spiritual level.  God’s sovereignty is greater than our fleshly point of view.  This spiritual connection becomes apparent during the dating/courting stage.  Don’t think marriage will suddenly cause a spiritual connection to magically appear between two different levels of believers.  Not to say that God cannot raise up and sanctify a once flailing believer for His glory, I am merely suggesting that we should obey His commands and precepts to receive His full blessings according to His promises instead of pushing the envelope and walk along the perimeters of what is acceptable in His eyes.    



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2 – You Are Both Marriage Minded
 

You both share similar goals about marriage; you are both ready for it.  The time frame should be within one to two years at the most.  If neither of you are ready for marriage, why are you dating?  Recreational Dating is not advisable for Born Again Bible Believing Christians; it only leads to sin, which dishonors God, then God doesn’t bless the union; which ends up causing long term issues in the marriage.  If only one of you is ready to get married, then you are incompatible and shouldn’t date.  This also turns into recreational dating for the one who isn’t ready to marry and a big waste of time for the one who is ready to marry.

When an individual is ready for marriage after spending quality time with God in worship, sanctification, and service, nothing pleases Him more than to bring a suitable mate for that individual in the covenant of Marriage.

In Genesis 24:1-23, Abraham sent his servant to seek a wife for his son Isaac.  He was very choosy by sending his servant back to his country to find a suitable mate for his one and only son.  Before meeting Rebekah, the servant said a prayer to God asking for wisdom.  Rebekah proved herself worthy when she served water to this servant and his camels.  She unknowingly showed her diligence and work ethic which was the sign he was looking for in finding “The One.”

 3– You Have Complete Peace
 

When your relationship is God ordained, it will be simple, uncomplicated, and should run smoothly.  It won’t be perfect, but will seem effortless.  Your schedules don’t collide.  You both have time to go to church, serve God, and enjoy time together.  Your lives converge easily without too much effort. Both your friends and families approve.  There is no drama, fighting, or constant bickering.  Peace will permeate your spirit when God ordains your relationship.    When you think about that person, you smile and thank God for bringing you a perfect and wonderful gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father…”  (James 1:17)

Genesis 24:40: But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.

God will send his angels to ensure you prosper in your ordained relationship.  This brings perfect peace.  But when you are constantly arguing and chaos/drama is a consistent theme, something is wrong.  When your lives are on opposite schedules and you can’t get time together, much less go to church or serve God together, this is a warning sign.  When close family members or trusted friends have issues with your mate, take heed.  If most arguments are not getting resolved and get swept under the rug; when you think about that person and get upset or stress out, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  Most people don’t see these issues as road blocks and think getting married will solve these problems.  It doesn’t.  Permanently chaining yourself to someone who doesn’t get along with you, will not miraculously make them get along with you better. God is a God of order, not confusion.  He is trying to warn you.  “Get Out!”

2 Chronicles 8:16: Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed.

If God has ordained our days, He will also ordain the placement of our mate in our lives in the proper order and time; according to His will.  If you are investing emotionally, mentally, and physically before getting a green light from God, you are not only being disobedient, but you are also hurting yourself and your future relationship in many ways.  Repent, part ways, and let Jesus mend your heart.  If you have a hard time letting go after knowing you are in the wrong relationship, you have other underlying issues like Codependency.  Partnership with a Codependent person is not advisable.  You are not yoking yourself in a healthy relationship.

4 – You Enjoy Being with That Person

 

Take away the iPhone, Facebook, Cable TV, games, and all media.  If you were stranded on a deserted island with this person with only a bible, would you have the adventure of a lifetime or does getting a root canal seem more appealing?  This is the true test of compatibility.  When you can sit with this person without distractions and physical intimacy and can laugh, communicate, connect, and enjoy yourself, you are on the right track, because you have the foundation of a Godly Friendship in place.

The thought of this person gets you excited spiritually and emotionally.  Out of all the people you know, this person is the first person you want to share your victories and trials with.  Their presence and their input is what you look forward to at the end of your day. You see Jesus in their countenance and demeanor.

Proverbs 25:11: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

But if sitting alone with this person for two hours without media distractions makes you uncomfortable, you need to reevaluate your relationship.  If your communication often goes awry and ends in an argument or frustration, this is a red flag.  You have communication issues.  Again, marriage doesn’t cause two incompatible people with communication barriers to suddenly have a strong connection.  It’s either there or it’s not.

Proverbs 17:1: Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.







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5 – Communication, Communication, Communication!

When it comes to Real Estate it’s Location, Location, Location!  But in a relationship, it’s Communication to the third power!  You must be able to speak freely both ways.  The best communicators are active listeners.  They are also great at articulating their thoughts and feelings through speaking and writing.  It’s best to find someone who can communicate at your level and listens intently to your every word.  After all, we have two ears and one mouth.  The bible tells us it’s better to listen before speaking.

Ezekiel 3:10: Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.

James 1:19-20: So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

After being spiritually connected, communication is the next critical item on the list.  You must be able to communicate with one another frequently, with ease, openness, and pleasure.  If there is a lot of miscommunication, arguments, and difficulty, it’s a Red Flag!  Again, this is another item that either exists naturally or not at all.  I understand that communication is a skill that can be learned and improved on, but when there are difficulties in a dating/courting relationship, beware!  Proceed with caution.  Don’t date/court someone to fix them.  This is God’s job, not yours!

6 – Majority Approves
 

Most if not all your friends and family must approve of your mate.  These are people who know you, love you, and want what’s best for you.  Sometimes we can get emotionally and physically caught up in someone and not see the “Big Picture.” This is where our friends and family come in.  Their opinions and insights count.  Obviously, be cautious of those who are not basing their opinions on biblical virtues.  But otherwise, trust them!  If a majority of them disapprove of your choice, God is trying to tell you something.  Don’t ignore their opinions.  They are God’s messengers for your protection.  Your relationship will not thrive in a bubble or a vacuum.  God did not intend that for any marriage.  If anything, your relationship is meant to be an illustration to the world of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and love.

Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

In biblical times and some cultures today, parents often chose spouses for their children.  This is not such a bad idea.  Who do you think would make a better judgment call, an emotionally inexperienced and hormonally driven 22 year old or a mature parent who has both Godly and Worldly wisdom and insights?  If you ignore the Majority Approves rule, you are guilty of disobedience and idolatry.

Before Rebekah agreed to leave with the servant, she needed her family’s wisdom and approval as a sign that God ordained it.  I’m sure if they didn’t approve, she wouldn’t have agreed to go.  “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good.  Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”  (Genesis 24:50-51)

Genesis 24:57-61: So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”  So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men.  And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:
 

“Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands;
And may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.”
 

Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

Here we see that Rebekah heeded her family’s approval before deciding to leave with Abraham’s servant.  She also proved her faith, readiness, and willingness by leaving her family at a moment’s notice and setting out for a new life in a far away land to marry a man she never met!  This took courage, faith, and preparedness; the kind that manifests after spending alone time with God.

7 – God Gives You a Supernatural Love for This Person
 

When God ordains a relationship, He gives you Supernatural examples to confirm His approval of your union.  It won’t take years or months.  Sometimes it’s a matter of hours or weeks to know you are in the presence of “The One.”  Now granted, if you met in high school, then it will take years, but when you are at an appropriate age, it doesn’t take long to figure it out if God is in the center of your relationship.  A man will be overcome with the desire to see the woman more often, while the woman won’t have time to fret over his intentions or feelings. 

Ladies, if you are sitting around fretting over some guy who isn’t calling you or wanting to spend more time with you, give it to God.  You could be wasting your precious time and energy on the wrong guy.  Instead of being fixated on Mr. Wrong, focus on what you should be doing, which is serving God.

1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Those who have met the right person will be given an extra helping of love for this person that will seem unconditional.
 

You can’t imagine your life without this person in it. Your love for this person becomes more Christ-like and pure. This love is not driven by selfishness or lust.  If it is, beware!  Lust doesn’t last.  It is only lighter fluid that dissipates over time.  The flame dies out quickly if Christ-like love is not the center or foundation of your relationship.  God doesn’t bless such a union.  Be Warned: the enemy will have a field day wreaking havoc on your relationship, instilling fits or jealousy, rage, and tumultuousness.

When deciding on a future mate, these seven factors should be the criteria in your decision making.  Emotions and physical attraction shouldn’t override these factors.  Otherwise, you will be on a slippery slope compromising in a relationship that God did not ordain. God’s blessings were bestowed on Rebekah as she faithfully waited and readied herself for her future mate.

Genesis 24:67: Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.

The Takeaways:
 

1 – A Spiritual Connection centered on Christ and set apart by His precepts is a requirement in a God Ordained Relationship.
 

2 – Physical attraction and emotional connection doesn’t last and is not God’s main criteria in selecting a mate for you.
 

3 – God wants to bless you with a mate who will bring you closer to Him, not farther from Him. He will present the person who will bring you to a more intimate relationship with Him so He will be glorified through your union.
 

4 – Recreational Dating: leads to sin, doesn’t honor God, and prepares you more for divorce, not marriage.
 

5 – Communication either flows freely or it just doesn’t.  A communication blockage is a Red Flag!
 

6 – Majority Approval is a must!  God reveals His truth through our family and friends when we no longer listen to Him.
 

7 – Wait on God’s choice for you! When God ordains it, it will be exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ask or think!

Amen. And amen!

Luxuriant,

SRW

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