144. BEFORE YOU SAY ‘I DO’
(The Single Woman Series – Batch 3)
Dear Believer in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Without a doubt, we are in the age of deception. The devil is working seemingly, more today than ever before, to wreak havoc and destroy the lives of people.
One of the devices he uses is deception. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul advised the Church on how it should respond on a particular matter, so as to ensure that Satan would not get an advantage over the people of God. For, he informed the Church, “…we are not ignorant of his devices.”
There is so much imitation trying to pass as the real thing today, that sadly, many people have fallen victim and have been duped or deceived.
How is this relevant to me, you may ask?
Well, if you are a single Christian woman or young lady and you wish to be married one day and to bring God glory in that marriage, then it is your desire to marry someone with whom you are equally yoked with as a believer.
You do not want to be deceived into marrying someone who you thought was a Christian, only to find out after you’ve made that irreversible walk down the altar, that you got it wrong. You want to make sure that you commit your life to a man that is agreed with you on the important issue of what you believe, as a Christian, as anything else is a recipe for disaster. As was rightly stated in the book of Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?”
The problem today though is that many people who attend Church, parade themselves around as being Christians but are they really? In this day and age, you cannot afford to just take somebody’s word for it when he tells you he is a Christian and therefore a believer in Jesus Christ. You cannot afford to assume he is a Christian because he attends Church regularly, comes from a family that has a long Christian heritage and is involved in Ministry in the Church. You need to be discerning.
Before you say “I do” and sign up for a lifetime of marriage with a man, please make sure that you assess these three (3) things carefully and are satisfied with the answers:
1. Make sure that you are certain that HE IS SERVING THE REAL JESUS and NOT THE FICTITIOUS, FALSE ONE that people have created to suit themselves.
Sadly, many people in the Churches today have abandoned the Jesus of the Bible and created one to their own liking. Whereas the Jesus in the Bible blesses those that are his but also hates and punishes sin, the Jesus that they have created, which is nothing short of idolatry is one that only blesses and never has a problem with sin.
While the Jesus in the Bible chastens those who are his, warns those that would follow him, that the Christian life is not a bed of roses, that they would have tribulation, be hated by the world and would be called to suffer affliction, the fictitious Jesus that some people have created, which is no Jesus at all but a mere figment of their imagination is one that promises nothing but good things, prosperity, wealth, advancement and promotion and his plans for them never involve any testing, trial or suffering, only a better and easier life with the acquisition of materialistic comfort, not in heaven but right here on earth.
Whereas the Jesus of the Bible urges those who would follow him to count the cost, to take up their painful cross, to deny themselves and to be prepared even at the possibility that they may be killed on this earth for his name, the false Jesus that people have created to suit their fancy is one that makes no demands and only speaks of loving them unconditionally. The Jesus in the Bible demands that those who call him Lord MUST obey his commands and submit to his control completely. Yet, the Jesus people have created is fine with however people choose to live, does not wish to control their lives and understands and approves of all their actions, even when it is in contrast to the clear Word of God.
Before you say ‘I do’ therefore, make sure that the man you are interested in is serving the real Jesus of the Bible and not the fictitious, idolatrous and non-biblical one that many have created, according to their own imagination and lust, so as to have their own way and do their own thing without any kind of accountability and so as to avoid having to make any kind of sacrifice in life.
It would certainly be a tragedy for you to wake up one morning in your marriage to realize, that you and your husband have no real spiritual connection because he is serving a different Jesus to the one you know and love. If he is not serving the Jesus of the Bible, then he cannot be a true Christian at all. For, there is only one Jesus and he is ALL that is revealed of him in the Bible.
Matthew 24:24 warns: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
The world has certainly seen men who falsely claimed to be the Christ and in so doing, led many deceived followers down a path of destruction. However, many have also constructed a false Christ in their minds, according to their own dimensions, so as to enable them to continue to live in sin. This Christ of their imagination is definitely not the true one presented in the Bible. For, this false Christ is not at all interested in reigning over their lives as Lord but is content to allow them to have control of it. In essence, since this fictitious person they have created is not real, it amounts to them worshiping themselves and doing as they please (which is what they want), without any rules, accountability or the need to submit.
2 Corinthians 11:3 states:
- “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
(I address this issue in more detail in Article 99 of my ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters of God’ Page entitled: ‘Are You Serving The Real Jesus?’)
2. Make sure that you are certain that he has GENUINE FAITH WHICH ENDURES as opposed to IMITATION FAITH WHICH WILL FAIL
The parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13 describes four ways that people treat with the gospel when it has been preached.
The first category of persons do not understand it at all and therefore, immediately dismiss it. The second category is joyful at what was heard and claims to believe but then when sufferings come because of the Word, they get upset, stop following Jesus and return to the ways of the world, (maybe because they thought following Jesus meant no pain and suffering and their expectations of having a perfectly happy life with him on board are dashed).
The third category receives the gospel and also claims to believe it but when the cares of the world come and the pleasures and riches that demand their attention, they let go of the Lord Jesus because they are preoccupied with these things and can’t possibly give their attention to both.
The fourth category on the other hand, hears the gospel, understands it and all of its implications and no matter what, fix their eyes on Jesus and hold on to him as their reason for living. This category, unlike the second and third category that claimed to believe in Jesus, truly believe in him from their heart and this is evidenced in the fact that no matter what they go through, they hold on and bear fruit for God’s kingdom, by spreading the Word to the lost.
I mentioned all this to say, that many people professing to be Christians today, claim to have faith but not many of them have a tried and tested faith IN JESUS.
Some have faith for a better life here on earth, faith to get that car they’ve always dreamed of and faith to receive riches and a promotion and a miracle and a blessing. They mistakenly belief that faith means seeing Jesus as some sort of santa or genie, which you rub and manipulate and it gives you what you want. However, genuine faith is not based on getting things but on faith in the resurrected Son of God, who we are trusting to also resurrect us and to enable us to have eternal life in heaven at the end of this world. It is a faith in his power and in his Lordship over all, not in what we can amass.
Also, when genuine faith in the Lordship of Jesus is tested by the pain, adversities and tribulations in life that are sure to come, it still continues to stand, whereas imitation faith, which is what many so-called Christians have, fails and stops existing when the waves of life hit.
Job for example, had enduring and genuine faith in God, so much so, that he took to the floor and worshiped God when he heard that all of his children had suddenly died and that he had lost all of his riches. His wife, on the other hand, had imitation faith, which was only manifested when the trials came. Full of grief and bitterness, she clearly let go of her walk with the Lord because life was not working out the way she had dreamed and so encouraged her husband who also suffered sickness to his body, to curse God and die.
A person with imitation faith will not stand the test of time. Something will happen at some stage, that will make them let go of Jesus, whether it be trial, persecution, the cares of this world or the pleasures and riches that the world offers.
Before you say ‘I Do’ therefore, if you have genuine faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, make sure that the person you are considering aligning yourself with has the same sort of faith that will endure until the end. You want a man that, come whatever, be it job loss, financial lack, poverty, hardships, sickness, infertility, disappointment, death of a loved one or any other kind of storm, that no matter how ferocious, his faith in Jesus will still stand and he will still continue to serve him as Lord because he is rooted in him and nothing else.
A man may appear to be a go-easy sort of chap, always smiling and joking and having a good time but how would he respond if the carpet were to be suddenly pulled out from under his feet? Can he cope with pressure? Can he deal with bad news, storms and attacks from the enemy? How strong is he? He is only as strong as the quality of his faith in Jesus and you need to assess all of these things because storms will come and will hit against your marriage.
You also want a man that will not be distracted by things going really well in his life. He should not become preoccupied with his job promotion, his career, his education, politics, getting ahead in life and wealth accumulation. For, becoming preoccupied with these worldly things, will take his focus away from Christ and his faith would be shipwrecked
In 1 Timothy 1:19, Paul admonished Timothy to hold “...faith, and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.”
It is important for you to remember, as you choose your life partner, that it is only the man with enduring faith (not imitation faith) that is saved. Matthew 24:13 states: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
If you marry a man with imitation faith therefore, then you would have married an unbeliever because this faith has no real root in Christ. As soon as the storms or distractions come (and they will because faith must be tested), the flimsy faith he has will become manifest because he will let go and go back to the world.
(I address this issue in more detail in Articles 100 and 150 of my ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters of God’ Page, under entitled: ‘Do You Have Imitation Faith Or Enduring Faith?’ and ‘Faith – Do You Have It?’)
3. Make sure you are certain that he is IN ‘LOVE’ WITH YOU as opposed to being IN ‘LUST’ WITH YOU.
It is said that men are visual creatures, in that they are attracted to what they see, first and foremost. This serves as a weakness to many men, including Christian men and a trap for many women. For, many men enter into relationships with women mainly because they are turned on by their beauty and their physique. Many women on the other hand are sometimes fooled into thinking that such men love them, when in fact, they don’t. They love what they see but not the whole package of that woman, which includes not just her physical attributes but more importantly, who she is as a person.
The high incidence of murders taking place against women in the country where I live and by men who claimed to ‘love’ them, highlights the fact that what many women believe is love in a relationship is really lust. These women are killed by the men they thought had loved them but instead, only something ugly like violence, obsessive behaviour, the desire to control and eventually, murder, ensued.
It is important therefore, to ensure that the man you are walking down that aisle with loves you and not lusts you. For, whereas love provides a safe and stable haven, lust is dangerous and can cost you your sanity and even your life.
One only has to look at the Bible story of Amnon and his sister Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, to understand how ugly lust can be, although it is initially disguised as love.
The Bible states that Amnon ‘loved’ his sister, so much so, that he fell sick for her. Although he thought what he felt was love however, what it really was became manifest. The Bible states that he hatched a plan to deceive and manipulate Tamar so as to get to sleep with her. When he got her where he wanted her and she refused him, he forced himself on her anyway and raped her, as he felt he could not control his desire for her and had to have it unleashed, irrespective of how she felt. Then, when he was finished, the Bible says he hated her so much, that his hatred for her was more than the love he had for her.
That is the picture of lust. It is forceful, selfish, impatient, lacks self-control, wants its own way at any cost, does not care at all how the other person feels or of the ensuing consequences, is disrespectful, deceives, manipulates, is controlling, can make one sick, changes quickly from what seems to be extreme physical attraction and desire (which some are fooled into thinking is love) to intense hatred. Alas, it results in nothing but ugliness and disaster.
Many do like Amnon. They confuse strong sexual desire for a woman with love. Women, the victims of this, think to themselves, he wants me so badly, that he must be in love with me! Sadly though, he is not.
One key way to tell lust from love is that lust is always about SELF and seeking SELF’S interest. Love on the other hand is always about THE OTHER PERSON and seeking that person’s best interest.
In fact, love is described in detail in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and what a stark contrast to lust! Unlike lust, it does not seek its own interest. It is prepared to suffer (to give up, to forego), it is patient and it is kind. It does not puff up itself or behave itself in an unseemly manner, it is not easily provoked and it does not conjure up evil plots.
The scripture reads: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.”
It is clearly therefore the opposite of what Amnon felt for Tamar and what was experienced. His lust for her (which he thought was love), refused to suffer, refused to wait, was not kind, refused to consider her pain, her fear and her wishes, caused him to behave so poorly with obsessed desire, that he got sick, conjured up an evil plan to get Tamar in his bed, disrespected her, used brute force to rape her and then had the audacity to hate her when it was all over and he had done enough to destroy her life and dreams for the future.
Make sure therefore, that the man you agree to give your hand in marriage to, loves you selflessly for you and is not merely obsessed with your body.
If he comments more on the sexiness of your body, than on the attractiveness of your mind, soul, character and personality, then this is a red flag. If he wants you to dress provocatively and not with the modesty that God expects of all his daughters, then this is a problem. If he tries to rush you into pre-marital sex or any kind of sexual immorality as opposed to waiting until marriage because he simply can’t control himself, then you should most likely consider dumping him because he is not protecting your purity is pursuing his will and not God’s and is downright disrespectful!
If all he talks about is HIMSELF and how you can meet HIS needs and HIS interests, then it is undoubtedly lust. For, he does not even see you as a person but as an attachment to HIMself, HIS desires, HIS dreams and HIS wants.
Finally, if all he can talk about in terms of why he is excited at the prospect of marrying you is so that he will have unrestricted access to your body, be careful. You may have a man that thinks he loves you but really lusts you.
As women, we tend to know whether we are loved for ourselves or whether men are simply fascinated with our bodies, our looks or what they can get from us. They don’t usually hide what they are interested in very well. We just need to stop turning a blind eye to the red flags they wave in our faces and accept facts as facts.
If a man marries you for how you look or how your body looks, then what will happen after you have had children and the years roll on and you lose that look and shape? Wouldn’t he then look elsewhere to satisfy his lustful soul? If he aligns himself with you, solely thinking of what HE can get and without any regard whatsoever as to how he can be of SERVICE TO YOU and how he can make YOUR life better, then you are in for a hell of a ride.
Love is best demonstrated in the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ. He left heaven, to come down to earth, to take on human form, to be abused, mistreated and killed, not for his own sake but for US. He was not about his own comfort. He was selfless and sacrificial and put our need for salvation and OUR INTEREST above his because he genuinely LOVED us.
It is only love, true love, that will hold a marriage together and make it successful, not lust. Whereas true love is selfless and is like a glue that binds the parties together, lust is selfish and will tear them apart because the fruit that lust bears is always disastrous.
(I address this issue in more detail in Article 145 entitled: ‘Does He Love You Or Lust You?’)
(Written on 01st September, 2018)