The Holy Bible (1 Cor. 7:39b)
It is well said that next to believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior there is no decision as crucial as marriage. It is a decision which calls for great thoughtfulness, prayer and counsel. It is a decision which can make the rest of your life either a blessing or utterly miserable. It is a decision, which if made with utmost carefulness, you would not reap unnecessary regrets. It is a decision about which if you make a wise choice can bring immense joy to you, your children, and above all, glory to God.
Oh, it is regretful to see so many believers making a wrong choice when it comes to marriage! I have seen how they go against God’s word to marry unbelievers and reaping unavoidable, painful consequences. God made it quite clear in His word, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14). Therefore, no matter how seemingly good your intentions are and whatever superficial reasons you may find to justify your actions, do you suppose you can have an absolutely blessed married life by making a choice to marry against the standards of God’s Word? In nothing does the folly of a believer show itself more clearly, after so many warnings from God's word, than in this cursed fascination and stubbornness of running into an affair with an unbeliever who is not born of the Spirit.
The Living God loves you and loves seeing you enjoy His blessings by living in accordance with His word. He doesn’t want you to compromise when it comes to this most crucial decision of your life. I believe, there are scores of miserable believers who would do anything if they happen to get a chance to go back and change their decision to marry an unbeliever or a nominal Christian. Hence, before it is too late to change, the following three questions to assist you in making a wise choice:
1) Am I Giving to Myself a Person Who Encourages Me in My Walk with God?
A believer knows that his/her happiness is dependent upon the right relationship with the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Marriage by itself doesn’t bring joy and peace; God should be the centre of our life to enjoy on-going bliss. But there are temptations which often come on our way, robbing us from taking delight in our relationship with Christ. And we also know that Christian life is not always walking on the path of roses; there would be thorns and thistles on our way; there are afflictions and disappointments. Encouragement is something which is greatly necessary in our cross-carrying life and who else could encourage you more than your spouse, your constant companion!
So, in regard to your choice of marriage partner, what kind of an encouragement would that person be in your life with God? Would you be able to become a better Christian? What a blessing it would be when your spouse motivates you, saying, "May God be the centre of our family", "Come let’s pray together", "Have you read your Bible today?", "Don’t give up, let’s trust God", "We shouldn’t neglect church fellowship", "Let’s help others"…etc.
Oh, how many believers married an unbelieving spouse and have ended up with no encouragement in their spiritual life! I believe—it is one of the devil’s subtle traps to tempt a passionate believer to marry an unbeliever in order to make that person dispassionate. How many believers, because of marrying a Christless spouse, became lukewarm in their spiritual life, having lost that first love! Although, in some cases, their unbelieving spouse may take good care of them physically, they are still joyless and restless because of spiritual emptiness. Lord Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
Consider, therefore, are you marrying a person who not only nourishes you physically but also encourages you with God’s word? It is well said by Tim Kerr, "An unbeliever may love his wife and make her very happy. But when a believing man loves his wife it results in more than just her happiness; it results in her holiness. "
2) Am I Giving to My Children (who would be born) a Person Who Brings Them Up in the Ways of God?
When it comes to marriage, it is saddening to see many believers focusing on just immediate choice and happiness without considering how that would affect their future. Remember, you are not marrying only for your sake; it is not just between you and your spouse. The decision you make regarding your marriage not only has an effect on your life but also on your prospective children. The kind of person you are going to marry is as well a gift you are giving to your children. Consider this for a moment and think it over—what kind of a father/mother you are presenting to your children? Would your children be thankful to you for making a right choice in your marriage and blessing them with a godly father/mother?
I know children who regret for their mother’s marrying an ungodly person. I know fathers who are sorrowful for getting wives who have no interest in godly things, much less influencing their children positively. I know women who married unbelieving husbands and had children—their children’s father doesn’t pray with them, teach them God’s word and influence them with God’s moral values. All such fathers are concerned about is the worldly things, thereby having worldly impact on the children.
How wonderful it is for you to marry a person who obeys God’s way of bringing up children as prescribed by the Holy Bible – “Impress them (God’s commands) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:7). What a blessing it would be for your family if the person you marry would become a spiritual partner with you to train your children in godliness! Do you want your children to have only one parent as a godly person and the other as ungodly, having them torn between two contrary worldviews of their father and mother? Do you want them to miss the grand privilege of being completely brought up in a godly family? Are you willing to bless them with a wonderful, godly gift of parenting?
3) Am I Giving to God a Person Passionate to Expand His Kingdom, Bringing Glory to His Name?
The Holy Bible clearly teaches that we are created by Christ and for Him (Col. 1:16). We are taught that Jesus, “died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:15). We are exhorted, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Well, when we are created for Him, called to live for Him who loved us and laid His life for us, commanded to do all things for the glory of our Maker, what kind of a person do you suppose you should marry? Shouldn’t he/she be the one who loves the Lord, lives for His glory and passionate to expand His Kingdom on earth?
Now I don't mean you have to marry a missionary or a pastor or a full-time Christian worker, but any believer, of whatever profession, who loves God and desires to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
If you are passionate to live a godly life, desiring God to be its centre, it isn’t enough to ask “Am I marrying a good person?” but “Am I marrying a godly, Christ-centered person?” Of course, he/she may be a weak person, since none is perfect, but is that person honest enough to acknowledge his/her weaknesses and passionate enough to become more like Christ Jesus? If you are grateful to Christ for what He had done on the Cross for you, shouldn’t you marry a person who would live for His glory and spread the good news of Jesus Christ? Will not God be delighted to see you both serving Him in order to bring people into His Kingdom and to strengthen those that are His flock?
Consider carefully how your decision to marry the person you want to will make both of you serve God more effectively and fruitfully. What a blessing it is to marry a person who wants to be a blessing to others! What a pleasure to marry a person whose goal is to please God! What a fragrant offering it would be from you to God in marrying a Christ-centred person in order to serve Him as a complete family from generation to generations! What an overwhelming joy when you both serve and help people just like Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:26; Rom. 16:3; 1 Cor. 16:19)! Believe me, there is holy exultation in touching the lives of the people around us for Christ as a family.
Ask these three questions before you decide to marry and save yourself from asking painful questions afterwards. And make sure you yourself prayerfully cultivate the characteristics you expect in your future spouse. Remember, you have only one life on this earth to make a difference. Don’t ruin your bright future for the sake of immediate pleasure. Do not be hasty in making a decision for a life-long partner. Give yourself, your children and God a grand, unregretful gift!
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