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Thursday, February 11

CELEBRATING SINGLENESS this Valentine's Day Week

"The 5-STEP PREP" Everyone Should Know to get Prepared for the Sweetheart of our Dreams and Prayers.

During this week, when so much attention is turned toward husbands and wives, and boyfriends and girlfriends, we would like to offer some advice to those who are currently not married and praying for their future mate. I spent the first fifty-two years of my life by myself and I'm not going to tell you it was always easy being alone or patiently waiting. Some weeks I prayed daily for God to reveal my mate to me, and sometimes I prayed more than once a day. Whenever I entered a ministry service or event, I often wondered, "Is 'she' (the 'one') going to be here?" And, I couldn't even tell you how many times I would hear well-meaning people come up to me and say things like, "Brother, God must really be preparing some amazing girl for you" or, "When you meet 'the one', you'll know it!"
Day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade, though I was not really consumed with finding 'her', I couldn't seem to silence the voices in my head. Like a pesky little brother Mom makes you take with you wherever you go, voices would sound off at every turn, questioning, "Is she here? Is she? Is she??" Each time those annoying voices started up again, all I could think was, "If only I could get my hands on those little suckers... !"
There I was, a successful minister at a great church; had my dream football career; toured and recorded with my own band; and I could go on and on... the guy everyone always said seemed like the one who has it all together! And, for years, because all of my friends were married, I ate in restaurants alone, came home after church on Sundays and turned on the football game in an attempt to silence the deafening loneliness, and all but begged God to reveal to me just what it was that was wrong with me so I could work on changing it.
Well, I finally came up with a plan. I thought, "I could out-smart those voices by convincing myself that I was born without 'the marriage gene'! That would surely shut 'em up!" Well, just like every other thing I tried to do on my own, my plan didn't work. The voices continued.
By the time I was about forty years old, I decided that, if I can't shut 'em up, I'll flood 'em out, with God's Word! That was the very BEST decision I have ever made in my life!! I began seeking God and meditating on His Word, with a greater diligence than I ever had before. It was only then that the voices went from deafening, to annoying, to tolerable-like whispers... at least for the most part.
Finally, I learned that "I" had to stop dwelling on things that were not of God, like TV shows. Realizing just how destructive and suggestive primetime television programming was becoming, I knew I had to do something about that. So I called the cable company, and cancelled it!
If you truly want a Godly mate, there are a few things I can share, from my own personal experience, that really helped me prepare for the day that God allowed me to meet Brenda. I encourage you to practice what I endearingly call "The Tried-and-Proven 5-Step Prep" laid out below. There couldn't be a better time to start than now, this Valentine's Day week.
1) Turn the TV off! If you look to Hollywood to set your expectations for a mate, loneliness will remain your companion. Recognize that unreal, or unreasonable, expectations rob us from receiving, not only our peace but, every good thing Jesus Christ wants us to have. Having said that, I am in no way suggesting you compromise yourself by settling for someone who you know does not know and love God wholeheartedly. After all, marriage was not man's idea, it's God's, and it will NOT function correctly with-out (on the outside of) God and His Word. ~Never forget this: Without GOD... it's NOT Holy Matrimony.~
2) YOU cannot "FIX 'em"! If you think you can change someone, you are deceived, and brace yourself for a torturous ride. Only Christ Jesus has the power to change the human heart. Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement; it's a 100/100 commitment. So, relax! Trust God to introduce you to a "Godly possibility." I must warn you, however. Just because someone, in an attempt to win your heart, says they are a Christian, it doesn't mean they are! Standing in a church building on Sunday makes someone a Christian about as much as standing in a garage makes you a car. As a safeguard for us, Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-20, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
3) Prepare for what you are praying for. You do NOT want to meet the prepared, unprepared. Diligently seek God. Become the kind of person that you've been asking God to bring to you. Be passionate about, and in love with, God and His Word. And do everything as God and His Word tells you to. Look in the mirror. Do you dress, and carry yourself, in the same way that you have envisioned your future mate will? If not, change it! *You can't BE something you're NOT, but you can BECOME something you're NOT.* I once heard it said that "'Insanity' is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results."
4) You don't get married because you NEED to; You get married because you WANT to! And you'll never have the "want-to" until you don't have the "need-to."
5) Finally, and crucially important, the word "single" does not mean "not married." The word "single" means: to be Separate, Unique, and Whole, and it's the most important part of the original state of a person's life! So, before you are ready for marriage, you must first become "single." Only until you become "single" will you be ready for marriage. Becoming "Separate, Unique, and Whole" within yourself should be your goal; not "becoming married."
The moral of this blog is, no matter what you've done, no matter where you've been in this life, the dreams you've carried since you were a child - including taking part in enjoying Holy Matrimony as God, the Author of Marriage, explains for us in His Word - can, and will, be fulfilled by seeking God first, foremost, and until your time in this life in final.
We pray God bless you greatly as you carry this truth in your heart. Our thanks to our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support!

Keith's "Comments from the Author":

"When I was a young believer, I remember hearing someone at our church make the statement, 'Sitting in a pew makes you a Christian as much as standing in a garage makes you a car.' When it comes to identifying ourselves as Christians, I often say that we are identifying ourselves by a verb, not a noun. What I mean by that is Being conformed into the image of Christ is a process that takes place over time. The one who is seeking to be conformed into the image of Christ must daily apply himself to being transformed. Though going to the alter at church to ask Christ to come into your heart gets your name in The Book of Life, becoming Christ-like in nature is a journey that, at that point, is just beginning. I have found that my being successfully transformed takes one key ingredient. That is 'having the WANT to' to change, having the WANT to be just like Christ."

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Ephesians 5:14)


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