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  • Writer's pictureEmmaus Baptist Church

Marriage: How Do I Find a Godly Spouse? (Part 1)

So, you want to get married? Are you scared you might not find the right person to marry? Are you scared that your future spouse might have doubts about you? In this article I will endeavor to show you some biblical principles to help you in your considerations.

Firstly, in all of my Bible reading I have not come across the idea of “finding love.” This worldly concept has done much damage to young people, who are taught to chase after love, like storm chasers chasing after hurricanes. In this pursuit of "finding love," young people form the habit of chasing after the thrill of the romantic relationships, without cultivating commitment. When the winds of excitement dies and the exhilaration of the pursuit wears off, nothing of value remains. Apart from the emptiness of the pursuit, there are oftentimes emotionally devastating consequences.

When God calls a person to marriage, He calls them to a relationship in which they will have to "give love" to their spouse for life. God calls us to a commitment to another person. He is not inviting you to an exciting time. You are therefore called to develop in character and trustworthiness. Your future spouse wants to have assurance that you are the kind of person that can keep your word. You want to be able to provide emotional stability to another person, by sticking around when the excitement wears off. Commitment and responsibility are keys to a healthy relationship.

God also expects of you to evaluate your future spouse. You want to know if he/she is someone who keeps their word. Is he/she a trustworthy person? Does he/she value godliness? Your evaluation of a potential spouse, should lead you to greater confidence that he/she is honest and trustworthy, because you want to be as certain as possible that when they promise to "give love" they can, by the Lord’s grace, fulfil that promise.

Secondly, you will also need a grasp of the time we are living in. These days we live in are much like the last days described by the Apostle Paul. He describes them to a young pastor, named Timothy. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

Paul says these future days will be times of difficulty. They will be harsh and extremely difficult to cope with. Does that sound like the time you are living in? But why are the times so harsh? 2 Timothy 3:2-5 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Notice that the quality of the time is related to the condition of the people. Times of difficulty come because of the wicked condition of people. What is most shocking is that people will fit the description of verse 2-4, while appearing to be godly! 2 Timothy 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

People will not be what they appear. Appearances can be deceptive. You will need a strategy to weed out the true from the false. How will you be able discern a true godly person from a phoney? Paul provides us with the answer. 2 Timothy 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. Those who only appear to be godly deny the power of godliness. The power of true godliness is God’s powerful working in the heart that gives rise to godly living. Those who only have an appearance of godliness will observe external godly practices, while denying God’s work in the heart.

They may often be described as "nice" and "good" people according to worldly standards. However, Paul expects Timothy to recognize those who only have an appearance of godliness. Paul knows that Timothy knows and confesses the power of godliness. Do you recognize the power of godliness? Do you recognize the grace of God at work in you? Then you will now how to recognize those who confess the power of true godliness. We can only recognize the work of God in others, when we recognize the work of God in us. (If you doubt God's gracious work in your heart I encourage you to seek assurance, before considering marriage. Here is an article by John Piper to help:

Paul’s instruction is applicable to all who know the power of godliness, and live truly godly lives. He made it very clear to Timothy: Avoid such people. So the question for you is; are you avoiding such people? Test yourself: Are you maybe the kind of person that Paul is telling Timothy to avoid? Paul also gives this principle to the Corinthian Church; 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Solomon also says in Proverbs 13:20 ​​​​​​​​Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, ​​​​​​​but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ​​​

Paul's instruction is especially applicable to those considering marriage and looking for a potential spouse. You do not want to get married to someone that Paul calls you to avoid, do you? And you most certainly do not want to be shunned by your potential spouse, because they have been called by Paul to avoid you, do you? Don't look for a spouse among the people you are called to avoid.

Many people who get married today would fit the description that Paul gives to Timothy. Sadly, many wedding ceremonies and the individuals who get married, have the appearance of godliness, while denying the power of godliness. They not only deny the power of godliness, but they also deny God! How can people expect to have happy and healthy marriages, when they deny God, who designed marriage and the power of God at work in the heart of man?

The problem is aggravated in our day, because increasingly more people have a godless view of marriage. What is a biblical view of marriage? Marriage is a covenant instituted by God, whereby he joins one man and one woman together in a lifelong union. Marriage is an institution given by God, for man and woman to experience the blessing of godly observance. Both husband and wife need the power of God's work of grace in their hearts to be a godly husband and to be a godly wife, especially after the fall. A husband and a wife who only have the appearance of godliness, may have a "good time" together, but they will inevitably bring times of severe difficulty to their marriage. (Revisit that list of characteristics and imagine being married to such a person, how long will you stick it out? how long do you think they will stick it out with your hypocrisy?)

The institution that God has made is good. Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. The institution of marriage has come into disrepute in our day, because the biblical view of marriage has been distorted. It is not because there is a flaw in the way God designed it. It is not the institution of marriage that is the problem, it is the people. The people who enter into marriage and those who witness marriages, need to recover a biblical view of marriage.

Those who would only keep the external form (marriage) and ritual (wedding) have lost the meaning of marriage. It is no wonder that people are seriously asking if marriage is still worth it, because there is an abundance of godless and empty examples. People even wonder if you can still have a godly wedding and marriage. I am here to tell you that by the grace of God many people have godly marriages, and so can you. This is only possible by the gracious work of God in our hearts. It starts by learning from God about His design for marriage. If you are learning from God and walking in His way, you are already being prepared by God for your calling, and if it is God's will, for marriage. Remember that marriage is a covenant instituted by God, whereby he joins one man and one woman together in a lifelong union. We must recognize that God has a fundamental role in marriage. God brings two people together, He knits them together and He keeps them together. Without God, there would be no marriage! There is a very real sense in which you cannot have marriage without God.

To sum up, We have learned that the bible does not teach us to "find love," but to "give love." We have also learned to know the time that we are living in. We need to be careful of those who have an appearance of godliness, and we need to take special care to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). We want to have confidence that God is at work in calling us and leading us, since marriage is a covenant instituted by God, whereby he joins one man and one woman together in a lifelong union. When we trust that it is His work in joining one man and one woman together, we have the responsibility to walk in obedience and trust.

In Conclusion: Phil 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In Christ

Pastor Hennie

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