Thursday, October 1, 2015
"On Fire": 10 Things a Single Woman Must Know for Sure (BEFORE MARRIAGE)
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."---Proverbs 31:10-12(NKJV)
I was looking at a bible verse in one of my favorite books of the Bible: Ruth:
"And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman."---Ruth 3:11(NKJV)
Interesting that it says the same thing that is penned in "The Proverbs 31" woman. It would appear that *a man of godly character is going to look for the kind of woman who is virtuous*. For the record, peep what else Boaz said; some of the things that brought him to the conclusion that Ruth was indeed...*virtuous*:
"Then he said, 'Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. '"---Ruth 3:10(NKJV)
A virtuous woman *is not* a man chaser. NOTED. ;-)
So, just what does it mean to be a virtuous woman? According to the dictionary, it's this:
Virtuous: conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent; upright; chaste
Synonyms: honest, honorable, principled, righteous, wholesome, celibate, clean-living, effective, efficient, faithful, legit, on the up and up, praiseworthy, pure, right-minded, straight, upfront, upright, without reproach, worthy
OK, but what does all of THAT mean?
One place to start is a picture quote that I saw a little while ago:
There is a guy I know who has all kinds of women wanting to be his wife. For years he's been telling me that the ones who are willing to sexually compromise themselves are the very ones who are furthest from his mind as far as them being potential candidates. *None of us are helping a man by encouraging him to put us before God by being sexually immoral*. There's no way around it. Fornication is a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3, I Corinthians 10:14). A spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:12-14) *and safe* (Romans 10:13) woman knows that...and is going to act accordingly.
OK, but there's more to being virtuous than "not setting it out". In order to honorable, righteous and celibate...in order to know what and who you are truly worthy of, there are some other things that must be a part of your spiritual psyche and lifestyle, including the following things. It's imperative that *all of us* get these things down before even beginning to consider joining our lives to another human being.
Yep. Here are 10 things a single woman should know before marriage:
1) She must know her purpose and calling in the Lord. Do you know why you're here? Do you know what God has called you to do? I can't tell you the amount of couples that I have sat down with who really weren't the best/most suitable pairing for one another, but because *purpose* was not nearly as much of a priority as it should have been, they focused more on their *feelings* than how their *individual callings* would work together. Here's an example: I know a couple that divorced after 20+ years of marriage, in part, because the husband basically dragged his wife along into what *he wanted her to do* rather than being sensitive (I Peter 3:7) to the things that she was actually passionate about. That's quite a tragedy. Romans 14:13 tells us that we shouldn't be stumbling blocks for one another. I don't discern this is only when it comes to sin but when it comes to "being in the way of" someone living out a full life in God's will. As my mother's husband says "Satan is not so much in the business of tearing marriages apart as he is in bringing the wrong two people together in the first place." Psalm 20:4 speaks of fulfilling purpose. Romans 11:29 says that our callings are irrevocable. A virtuous woman is a purpose-minded and driven one. As a single woman, she knows what God has called her to do so that as a wife, she is a complement to what her husband is called to do. By the way, *a responsible and non-desperate single woman* will let a man go if she feels that their purpose's work against rather than for one another.
2) She must know what makes her fearfully and wonderfully made. *A woman is a burden when she is someone who has low self-esteem*. That may not be easy to hear but it's the truth nonetheless. *It's not a man's job to make a woman feel beautiful. It is a husband's position to affirm her in areas that she is already confident in*. I heard a pastor say years ago that a woman who is always asking for compliments and reassurances doesn't need a man; who she needs is *the Lord*. That said, peep that in Psalm 139:14, King David said that he would praise God because he was fearfully and wonderfully made. *This was something that he already know for himself*. There's a wife I know (who ended up divorcing her spouse) who used to drive her ex up the wall. Why? Because she was always fishing for compliments! Proverbs 31:10-31 has references to her being praised by her husband, but if you (re)read it, it also appears that she was way too busy to be looking for praise all of the time (hmph)! Take out a moment to jot down 10 things that make you...exquisite. Then praise the Lord for them. And make sure to remind yourself about them on the low days. *A confident woman is a blessing. A woman who is unsure of her value, at the end of the day, is...exhausting*.
3) She must know what the Word's standards are for marriage. Unfortunately, there are more people who would rather read relationship blogs than the Bible. Look, I reference other people's content on here all of the time, but no matter how entertaining or insightful or smart someone is, they are never (EVER) going to be wiser than God and his Word! Malachi 2, Matthew 19, I Peter 3, Ephesians 5, I Corinthians 7---these are just some of the chapters that break down how God expects a marriage to run. Let's take I Peter 3:1-7 as an example for this point. It says that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. It says that wives are not to *only* be caught up in their physical appearance. It says that God finds a quiet and gentle spirit to be extremely beautiful (incorruptible, in fact). It says that a husband needs to "dwell with understanding" and "give honor" to his wife. Look, no woman should submit to a man until a man has been given God's permission for her to (and that *only happens* in marriage--Matthew 19:6). HOWEVER, it doesn't hurt to ask your male friends how cooperative if you, if *everything* is an issue/fight with you, if they feel that you do or don't respect them as males/men. It also works in your favor to pay attention to the men who try and understand you by being sensitive to your needs and who honor your mind, body and spirit---even now. In part, by not violating it. It's wise to be a *student of the Word* before entering into the *wife position*. Ask any godly wife. She'll definitely vouch for that!
4) She must know that abstinence is foundational for a healthy sex life in marriage. I have probably said it more in the devotionals than here, but it really can't be said enough. SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE IS DESIGNED TO DAMAGE THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR MARRIAGE. Sexual sin is oftentimes called "the forbidden fruit", right? Go back to the Garden of Eden for a moment (Genesis 3). Adam and the Woman were told not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent deceived the woman (I Timothy 2:14), she saw the fruit to be good and ate it. She gave it to Adam. And immediately their eyes were opened. Not only that, but sin entered in. Not only that, but her name changed from "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" (Woman) to "the mother of all living" (Eve). I can't help but to think that *speaks volumes* to the kind of separation that transpired between Adam and his wife, even though they stayed together. Mostly because a certain amount of trust was broken. Hebrews 13:4 says that fornication (and adultery) brings forth judgment. I Corinthians 6:9-10 lists fornication as one of the acts that prevents people from entering into the kingdom of God. Revelation 21:8 speaks of the sexually immoral being a part of the second death. Why should a man trust any woman who would assist him in bringing forth these types of consequences? *A woman who turns down a man sexually while they're single is a woman who can be trusted spiritually once they are married*. #wordstoliveby
5) She must know how to develop a quiet and gentle spirit. We already touched on this, but given the amount of wives I know who literally make their husbands want to "live on their roof" (Proverbs 21:9-AMP), it's worth bringing up again. One's spirit is basically their soul. One's soul is the spiritual part of a person. When someone's spirit is quiet, it is "not disturbed", "restrained", "tranquil" and "peaceful". It is "at rest". When someone's spirit is gentle, it is "kind" and "mild". It's drama-free. It's a breath of fresh air. It's like a sanctuary rather than a loud house. Wanna know if you have a quiet and gentle spirit? Ask your friends what it's like to interact with you. And where they've got some tips, *humble yourself enough* to take note. Your husband will be *oh so thankful* that you did!
6) She must know that "wifely mentorship" is paramount. Titus 2:2-5(NKJV) tells us this: "...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things---that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Listen, *if you're serious about getting married, you need some godly wives around you*. This means that if your entire intimate social circle consists of single and divorced women...not so sure how that's working to your benefit. I'm not saying to ditch the friends that you have (well, if they fall in the "I Corinthians 15:33" category, you might want/need to!). I'm saying that single women tend to be single-minded and divorced women (especially unrepentant ones) can pretty much only show you what *not* to do. You need some examples of how to be the kind of woman that your husband will be honored to have in his life. GODLY WIVES WHO HONOR COVENANT CAN SHOW/REVEAL TO YOU JUST HOW TO DO THAT! BY THEIR "REAL TIME" EXAMPLE!
7) She must know that some people must be left behind. Earlier this past summer, I wrote about the importance of "getting your heart pieces back". I make it no secret (James 5:16) that a part of the reason why I speak so adamantly against sleeping around, casually dating, etc. is because I used to do all-a-dat! And when you casually give your heart/body/time/emotions away, it's a set up. Not only does it make it harder for you to fully give yourself to the one who actually deserves it (because he was given God's authority to have it!), but it oftentimes causes you to live yourself in reverse. You keep going back to people who are no good for/to you. You keep reminiscing about relationships that are more carnal than spiritual. You keep living in the past than moving forward, and Lot's wife is a sobering example of what can happen when you look back on something that God called you to leave behind (Genesis 19:26). Pretty much all of us have made some grave mistakes when it comes to matters of the heart whether it was physically and/or emotionally and/or mentally and/or spiritually. Yet you know what? *Your husband deserves all of you*. If your past---and the people in it---are not resolved, *get that right*. Your marriage is going to need your total self and undivided attention.
8) She must know that a woman of favor acts like an asset and not a liability. Shoot, just my relationship with Uncle Sam alone may be the reason why I'm still single! I'm joking but you know what the say: There is truth in all humor. As a freelancer, tax season brings about its own set of challenges (ask me the last time I even remotely got a refund!). Right now, I'm in a payment arrangement on my taxes and if I don't pay them, that results in liens which affects my credit score. A woman with shoddy credit is not a woman who brings financial favor to her marriage. When something is an asset, it's "useful". When something is a liability, it's "disadvantageous"; it brings forth debt. Proverbs 18:22(AMP) says "He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor and approval from the Lord." A wife is supposed to be a good thing; something that is "in good standing". Speak with God. Are you in "good standing" with him? Speak with your creditors. Are you in "good standing" with them? Speak with the folks you are already in a relationship with. Are you in "good standing" with them? You want to bring your husband godly favor, right? You want him to be better as the result of knowing you, not worse. The areas where you know you have the potential of putting this reality in jeopardy, it's better to get on them...*now*.
9) She must know that marriage is about honoring God more than serving self. It's short-n-sweet here. *Selfish women have absolutely no business getting married* (Philippians 2:3). Spoiled ones either (I Corinthians 13:11)! I've said this before as well: "You are a bride for a day. YOU ARE A HELPER AFTER THAT." A big part of the reason why women are thrown that big party, in the form of a wedding/reception, is because they deserve it. Following the honeymoon, they have some *real work to do*! No joke. The Bible starts with marriage (Adam and the Woman) and ends with marriage (Christ and his Church). *That's how important marriage is to God*. If you're not going in it to do his perfect will, if you're not going in it with the mentality that divorce is not an option (Malachi 2:16), if you're not going in it to serve God and your husband...no one is making you get married. STAY. SINGLE (Matthew 19:11-12-Message).
10) She must know that marriage is a gift; not a guarantee. The Israelites once demanded a king (I Samuel 8). They also demanded quail; that sucked too (Numbers 11, Psalm 106:15). The moral to the story: *Demanding from God rather than trusting that he knows what's best will get you into trouble each and every time*! Adam did not tell God to give him a wife. If you (re)read Genesis 2, it says that it was God who determined it wasn't good for Adam to be alone and so he put him to sleep, created the Woman and brought him to Adam (Genesis 2:22). This is how things went down in the state of perfection. So, what makes us think that *now* we should be "owed a man" or given one simply because we want it? God knows what's best for each and every one of us (Ephesians 3:20-21). This includes if a husband is going to be a help or a hindrance. And if a husband is for us, he also knows the time when it will truly work within God's plan *and* to our benefit (Acts 1:7-Message). A single woman who is whole, healthy and has a strong relationship with the Lord trusts him; she knows that marriage a gift but it's not something that God *has* to grant her. And she's fine with that reality because she would rather be single and in God's will than married and totally outside of it.
God is awesome. He is preparing us in ways that many married women wish they had been.
Embrace this time of singleness. It's all serving a purpose. And working together for your good.