He sat in my office and looked troubled. He said, “We are engaged, yet I’m not sure I want to go through with this wedding. There is physical attraction, but I am troubled about some other matters.”
Far too many people, as they consider a potential spouse, put their priority on physical attraction. How attractive is she? How attractive is he? While physical attraction may be a factor, Christ-followers have other concerns which stand first in the priority line.
Remember King Saul of Israel? Tall. A military leader. A warrior. He looked the part. Today, people today might say regarding a particular person, “He looks presidential.” King Saul looked like a king.
Yet, even though he looked the part, he didn’t have the heart that God desired. Outwardly he may have appeared to be just right. Yet, because of his heart, his life did not reflect what God wanted. As Israel chose the next King of Israel, God desired to see a change. God said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
Consider what this might look like as you think about a potential marriage partner. I preached in churches for many years and did pre-marital counseling with many, many couples. In the following list, consider what the heart of God might look like as reflected in a potential spouse. (In the next post, I will reflect on what these same qualities might look like in a potential minister for a congregation.)
1. Does this person seem to hunger for God? Is this person’s moral and ethical life congruent with what he claims to believe?
2. Does this person exhibit grace toward the weak? Or, does she cutdown and belittle those who struggle? Does he make jokes about another’s misfortune?
3. Does this person treat you with adoration? Does he treat you like you are a person of great value?
4. Does this person practice graciousness you when you make mistakes? Or does she constantly remind you of ways in which you do not measure up?
5. Does this person’s spirit and life make you want to become more God-like? Is there an attractiveness about his life as he reflects the character of God?
6. Does this person practice generosity? Or, does this person seem to relish on gaining an advantage over another?
7. Does this person seem to be looking out for your interests? Or, does this person seem to basically be focused on himself?
Finding a potential mate is more than finding someone who has these and other qualities. Christ-followers are first called to be the kind of a person that a Godly person would want to marry.
For many years, I have had conversations with men and women about their future. In Waco, Texas where I served as a minister for many years, this was sometimes a college student home for a weekend who wanted to talk about his/her life.
The place to begin, as you consider your future, is in asking oneself, “Am I becoming the right kind of person? Am I becoming a person whose heart (and consequently one’s life) is being shaped by the Spirit of God?”
In the next post, I will discuss how this might shape the selection of a minister in a congregation. After all, one can look the part of a Christian minister but actually lack the heart.