Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marriage - God's Purpose

I've given considerable thought to marriage over the past while, specifically to God's purpose in, and for, marriage. I've asked myself, "Do I desire a husband in order to fulfill my own wants, to satisfy my own self-centered aspirations, or do I wish to be married in order to fulfill the normative call of a Christian woman, that of being a helpmeet, a completer, if you will, to a biblically inspired, visionary man?   To yoke with him for God's glory and for the furtherance of His kingdom?". 

Recently I was deeply moved by an email I received from a dear and godly young woman I know.  With my friend's permission, I've copied and pasted it below.  I trust, if you're a young woman like me, you'll be moved to consider the motive of your heart when considering marriage.  If you're a young unmarried man, I can't help but believe that you'll be deeply touched and long for a woman to respond to you as my dear friend has to her beloved.


*Names have been changed to protect personal privacy.

Dear friends,

As most of you know, last week Jonathan* asked me to be his wife--and I very joyfully and confidently said, "Yes!"

Jonathan and I have been good friends for over a year. We spent the last two months discussing the possibility of marriage, asking ourselves the question, "Would we be more fruitful and effective for the glory of God together?" My prayer was that God would show me whether I was the woman who could best complete Jonathan, and Jonathan was asking whether he was the man who could be the best husband for me. He was loving me in a rare way--desiring what was best for me, and willing to sacrifice his own desires for that.

Jonathan took leadership in keeping our interactions objective and Christ-focused. Our desire was to make the decision that was most glorifying to God and most strategic for His Kingdom. We spent hours reading Scripture together, praying together, asking each other questions, talking with our families (and each other's families), and working together on many different projects (one of my favorites was a Bible study Jonathan taught early last month on the subject of warfare). We prayed for complete purity of motivation, and for grace to seek first God's Kingdom rather than desiring fulfillment and pleasure on our own terms. And as we sought the Lord, He was faithful to show us His will.

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. ... Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. (Psalm 25:8-9, 12)

When I was praying about whether to marry Jonathan, passages of Scripture kept coming to mind which describe him in a remarkable way. Here are just a few of them:

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart... (Psalm 119)

This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2)

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:19)

Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matt. 16:25)

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:11-12)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

As we prayed and talked, it became clear that we were perfectly suited to help one another grow in Christ, and amazingly united in mind and heart. I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping, serving, and loving Jonathan. I became more and more excited about the opportunity to serve Christ alongside him.

Jonathan has taught me so much already, by his example and by his words. He is passionately devoted to the Word of God like very few men I know. His humble, reverent approach to Scripture has made him extraordinarily wise in applying it. He is exactly the kind of man that I want to shepherd me and pray for me for the rest of my life--I've already abundantly seen God's answers to his prayers for me. And his life is tremendously inspiring to me.

When I consider how to describe my beloved, I hardly know where to begin. He is a man who fears and loves the LORD wholeheartedly. He is humble. He is pure in heart. He is passionate for God. He boldly and lovingly proclaims the Gospel. He is devoted to upholding justice and defending the innocent. He is a remarkable example of obedience to the Fifth Commandment. Because he loves Christ, he is not afraid to count all things loss for Him (Phil. 3:7-8). I could go on and on, but I'll stop there for now. :)

Our earnest prayer is that we may be good and faithful servants of our King, carrying His commands to His subjects (Matt. 28:18-20) and being used by Him to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:17-21). We are excited at the prospect of obeying the commands for husbands and wives toward one another--a new and delightful way of obeying God! (Eph. 5:22-33) I cannot imagine any man with whom I'd rather reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church. We pray that our example will be a radiant testimony to the amazing love of our Savior.

"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) God is fulfilling our desires for more love for Him and more fruitfulness in His service. He has made us full of joy with His goodness. I am entirely unworthy of being the wife of such a passionately godly warrior for Christ. But I am so thankful for the grace of God in giving me this role. I look forward with joy to following Jonathan to the ends of the earth, as he follows Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the work of God in the lives of two of His children. There is far, far more to tell, but I wanted to give you all a quick summary. Thank you for your prayers and your notes. I write as an unworthy daughter of the King, rejoicing in the sovereign mercy of my Heavenly Father. To Him alone be the glory!

Rejoicing in Christ,

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalm 115:1)

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