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How Am I Supposed to Find a Spouse? Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2022 9:00 am

How Am I Supposed to Find a Spouse? Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 15, 2022 9:00 am

Dating is a confusing process, so today Pastor J.D. offers some biblical wisdom on how dating is supposed to work.

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Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. I love the way that Jim Elliott, the missionary to Ecuador, who would one day be martyred, talked about his pursuit of a wife. He said, I'm like Adam in the book of Genesis. Adam fell asleep in the will of God and he woke up and God had provided a wife. I want to fall asleep in the will of God and know that God will provide that when it's time. Faith is what you show when it's not working out the way that you want and you say, God, I'm going to trust you. Welcome to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of JD Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today we're continuing a practical series called From the Beginning, and we're learning about God's design for sex, marriage, and relationships.

So if you missed any of the previous messages in this study, you can hear them all online when you visit jdgreer.com. Now, today's teaching continues to answer the question, how is dating supposed to work? But beyond the practical steps for cultivating healthy relationships, we'll also discover how marriage and singleness are both preparation for a much greater blessing to come. See, God does have a lot to say on the topic of dating.

So grab your Bible and let's rejoin Pastor JD right now. The book of Genesis is not primarily a romance manual or instructions on how to date or how to raise kids, but the book deals with practical matters about life along the way. Scholars tell us that the Hebrew people retold stories like this one to instruct young boys about how to approach various situations in life like marriage. So what we see in this story are embedded six principles, six instructive things about finding a wife that are going to translate into any culture. Here is number one, the importance of knowing what time it is. The importance of knowing what time it is. There is a time you see in this story to seek a wife.

There was a lot of intentionality here. Abraham knew it was time and he sent out the servant. And I say that because there seemed to be a lot of guys in the Christian world especially who were just sitting around waiting on marriage to kind of fall in their laps. My father gave me this verse from the book of Proverbs when I was 17 years old. He that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Two things from that verse. He says, first of all, a godly wife is a blessing from God. Secondly, God expects you at some point in your life to go looking for her.

He that findeth implies he be looking, right? So here we go. Number two, you see in the story the importance of reciprocity. There is no God told me to come marry you, Rebekah, so pack your bags. There is seeking of her consent. In their culture, scholars say this would have been a temper on arranged marriages. In our days, it means that, guys, you should never ever ever pull the God card. I feel like God wants us to get married. Don't blame that on God. Own it.

It's you. Number three, the importance of marrying and the faith. The importance of marrying and the faith. Abraham did not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite.

Why? Because he didn't want his descendants to lose the threat of the promise. One of the most damaging things, maybe the most damaging thing that you can do to your children and your grandchildren is to marry a non-Christian. I have told my kids I want my grandkids to trust Jesus, but that's going to be in their hands, not mine. And it's in large part determined by whom they choose to marry and whom they marry is going to be determined by who they choose to date. So when Paul gives the command in 2 Corinthians 6 14, do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.

Do not be in an intimate relationship of any kind with an unbeliever. That is a command, but that command is given to you not to be mean to you. That command is given to you because it understands what the future looks like for you and you would be wise to heed it. Number four, this story shows you the importance of character. The importance of character. Eliezer observes her from a distance. What does he see as he observes her? He sees that she's a servant-hearted person. He sees she's gracious and hospitable. The tests that she goes through reveal her character.

The English word character, by the way, comes from the ancient word carax, which referred to the engraving done on like a signet ring. Character is the kind of thing in your soul that no matter what relationship you're in, you make the same imprint, you act the same. So if you want to evaluate someone's character, you ask questions like, what's the reputation? What's the reputation? I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said that reputation is the shadow that is cast by the tree of character.

Your character is going to cast a shadow. And so you want to know what's that person's reputation? How do they treat their parents?

That's a really good question. Because guys, how that girl treats her dad is a pretty good picture of how she's going to relate to you in 20 years. And girls, how that guy treats his mom is a pretty good relationship about how he's going to relate to you in 20 years.

You don't believe that? Ask anybody who's been married for more than two decades. How do they have a servant spirit like Rebecca? Is he or she faithful in their commitments? I mean, if they can't hold a job, if they can't keep their word to other people, then what in the world makes you think that they're going to be able to keep their commitment or keep their word to you? Can they keep their hands off of you? I mean, if they can't control themselves in the dating stage sexually when they know that it's wrong and they can't do it now, what makes you think they're going to change when they get married? Girls, if he can't control himself now, what makes you think he's going to control himself when he's on the internet late at night and you're not around?

If she can't keep her hands off you guy, what makes you think that in a compromising situation after you get married, she's going to be able to control herself then? Character does not change. To really see character, you need at least two things here. You need letter A, you need time. You need time. You have to be able to observe them in regular life contexts.

I haven't been a pastor that long, but it still amazes me. People coming in after two weeks and they're like, well, we're ready to get married. I'm not saying you can't ever be right. I'm just saying there's no way you can know. And do not say my heart knows because your heart is all hopped up on the drug of infatuation.

Here's what happens. You're so excited about the idea of being in love that you take this person that you like, but you don't know all of them yet. So the parts of them you don't know, you fill in with what you want them to be. But just because you want them to be that doesn't mean that's what they are. And then you get married and find out all the parts you made up are not really true at all.

You need time to see them in different contexts. I heard about a Christian couple, no joke. God, our church told me this. I got engaged after a week and a half and they'd never even met. They'd only talk through email and pictures. There's some other guy, this guy at our church challenged this guy on this and the guy said, well, sure, we never met, but she's perfect. We both want to have the same number of kids.

In his case, it was eight. He's like, that's a sign. She dresses how I've always wanted a girl to dress.

I'm assuming that was a denim jumper. And she wears her hair the way that I've always wanted a girl to wear it. Bro, respectfully, I think you need more to go on than that. Only time and proximity reveals who they really are.

You need to understand how their past shapes them, how the wounds of their past affect their relationships, what they're like under pressure, how they handle responsibility, what their ideas of family and success are. The other thing that you need to see character, listen to this, is you need to keep the physical out of it. And by that, I mean sexual stimulation. Sexual stimulation intoxicates you and it hinders your ability to evaluate anything soberly. It kind of works like a drug. When your body's in pain or you're sick, you go to the doctor and he prescribes a codeine pill and you take the codeine pill and then you feel awesome. Now your body actually isn't awesome, but you feel awesome because the drug deceives you as to how you really feel, which is fine when you're sick. But when you do that in a relationship, it leads you to disaster. When the codeine wears off, your body's still sick. When the physical excitement of sex fades, all you're left with is a sick relationship.

So I would encourage you to keep the physical minimal for your own sake. Solomon says it this way in the Song of Solomon, speaking to women here, promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and the wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right. In their culture, gazelles and wild deer represented youthful sexual vigor. And so Solomon is saying, keep them hibernating until it's time for them to run. When it's time for them to run, let them out of the cage and let them go wild.

But until that time, keep them sleeping, keep them hibernating, keep in the cage. By all means, listen, do not live together. Somebody who has lived with two to three people before they get married has right at a zero percent chance, statistically, of staying married in their first marriage.

Now you're like, well, I have done that. I'm gonna get to that at the end, how God's grace rewrites a lot of these stories, but I'm just simply trying to say, I know this is difficult, but this time where you're dating is a test for you. It's a test in which God builds character. It's a test in which God sees if you trust Him enough to wait, to wait on what He has, to see if you love Him enough to bring your sexual desires under His Lordship.

And let me just be really clear on the standard, because there seems to be some conclusion. God's word says that any sexual relations are to happen only after the covenant of marriage has been formalized. That means not in the dating stage, not in the engagement stage, not in the week leading up to your wedding. It is after the covenant has been made.

That is when you awaken the gazelles and the wild deer. So you need to prioritize character in the dating process. And while you're waiting, focus on it, prioritize its development in you. You become the kind of Rebecca that we're talking about. The way we said it a few weeks ago is, are you the person that the person you're looking for is looking for?

Are you the person the person you're looking for is looking for? And that's what God wants you to prioritize and then let Him worry about what He is going to bring to you in His time. Number five, we see in this story the importance of godly counsel. In this story, we are immediately struck with how involved the families are, more so than we're used to. And I'm not trying to push us back to arranged marriages. I mean, there was a lot of problems with that.

In our culture, we've gone to the opposite extreme, have we not? And arguably the most important decision of our lives, we isolate ourselves and tell ourselves that our heart knows best. Your heart is an emotional idiot. No offense, but it is.

Mine too. It is easily deceived. Or about this decision, we consult only with our best friends who are no older or wiser than we are. You ever read Lord of the Flies?

It's basically the plot line. You consult with a bunch of people your age. It doesn't turn out well, I can assure you. You need wise and godly counsel, particularly at this stage of your life. If there were no other practical reason to be involved in the church as a single, this would be it. Attraction and dating are so exhilarating and confusing. You need people who are wise, who can look in from the outside soberly without the diluting adrenaline of attraction and help you navigate the relationship. Sometimes they can see the obvious problems that you can't see because you're so hopped up on pheromones. Or maybe they can see that you're writing somebody off because of some silly preference or fear that really makes no long-term difference. Here's the question, do you have godly counselors in your life?

Maybe that's why I don't trouble anybody because nobody knows you. And if you do, are you listening to them? This is Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Learn more about this ministry by visiting JDCreer.com. You know, this time of year we like to reflect on the impact of what we're doing here at Summit Life. And this year we've heard so many great stories of God transforming lives through this ministry. For instance, Mary, who lives in the States but is German, has been inspired to bring the good message of God's grace back to Germany. Or Theo, who told us that he passes the link to the broadcast to everyone from Christian friends to atheist co-workers.

Or Matthew, who forwards our daily email devotions to people he's praying for who are hurting. Your gifts enable all of this to continue. We'd like to encourage you to make a year-end donation today by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or visit us online at JDCreer.com. Thanks for being with us today. Now let's return for the conclusion of today's teaching on Summit Life. Here's Pastor J.D. Let me give a practical application of this to both married people and single people. Married people, first, open your life up to single people in our church. Include them in your families. Don't hang out in married people cliques all the time. Include them in your small groups.

Get to know them. A friend of mine tells the story of being at a restaurant with his wife where his oldest daughter was working as a waitress. She was waiting on tables across the restaurant, and there was this guy who was 15 years older than her that was trying to hit on her. Kept making suggestive comments. And she said, she's not interested. He wouldn't leave her alone. He keeps saying, these suggestive comments, give me your number.

Eventually, my friend said, she stopped. She pointed across the restaurant, and she said, that's my dad. We share the same phone number. If you want my phone number, why don't you go ask him? My friend says, listen, it is God's plan. It's God's plan. It is God's plan that every woman in the body of Christ should have a man around her that she can point to and say, you're interested in me?

Why don't you ask him? They need a community. Single people need a community that can help these relationships form and flourish. Single people, the flip side is for you. You need to get integrated in the church. Don't hang out in singles only cliques.

Maybe you're in a small group with only single people. That's fine. But serve on a ministry team here.

That's one of the best ways to get to know people at different ages. Number six, the importance of trust in God. The importance of trust in God. Eliezer and Abraham and Isaac bathed this whole process in trust. There are two ways that Eliezer demonstrates his trust in God.

I give him to you as an ANVA. He prayed. Eliezer prayed. Do you notice this? At every turn, he keeps praying. And he really believed that God heard his prayers and would provide in this area. Here's my question. Do you believe that?

Do you believe that God really hears your prayers about this and that he is working and that he is answering those prayers? So this week, in our kitchen, we have a thing called a Vitamix. You ever heard of that? It's like a high-powered blender that you can basically drop a shoe in and it'll turn it into something that you can drink. And so it is so loud.

I mean, I'm surprised I haven't gotten complaint letters from people that live three straights away telling me like, cut that out. Because I mean, it's like a jet engine taking off in our kitchen. Well, this week, I'm, you know, mixing something.

I don't know what, like a fruit and a brick or I don't know. But Raya comes up to me and the thing is, you can't hear anything in the house. And she, Raya taps me on the hip and I look down and she for 30 seconds talks to me. I can't hear a thing coming out of her mouth.

And then she nods her head and she walks off. And I'm like, she thinks that I just heard her. And I thought when I said, I was like, is this how I understand the heavenly father hears me that no matter what noise is going on in my life or around me, I know that he is listening closely to everything that I say on this regard. Matthew chapter six, Jesus said, the heavenly father knows when one hair falls out of your head, he knows one bird drops out of the sky. If he understands what's going on with hair and what's going on with birds, then he knows. And he hears when you call out to him about this most important area and you can trust him with it.

Do you really believe he hears your prayers? Here's the other way that Eliezer showed his faith. He wouldn't compromise. He wouldn't compromise.

If Rebecca wasn't the one, he's not gonna settle. The proof of trust, listen, the proof of trust is that you won't compromise even when things get difficult. There are many of you that have good intentions.

And if you could wave a magic wand, you would marry the right guy or the right girl. But what happens is God doesn't work on your timetable. And so you compromise. Faith is not shown in the intentions you have. Faith is shown by your refusal to compromise when things don't work out on your timetable.

You hear that? Faith is not shown by you writing anything down right now. I'm glad you're writing it down, but that's not where you show faith. Faith is what you show when it's not working out the way that you want. And you say, God, I'm going to trust you. I love the way that Jim Elliott, the missionary to Ecuador, who would one day be martyred, talked about his pursuit of a wife. He said, I'm like Adam in the book of Genesis. Adam fell asleep in the will of God and he woke up and God had provided a wife.

I want to fall asleep in the will of God and know that God will provide that when it's time. You need to focus on the will of God in your life and trust God to supply that. And listen, do not date somebody that you wouldn't marry. Dating is a road that leads to a destination.

And every mile you travel together, it gets harder and harder to take the exit ramp. Let me give you one last side light on how the LEAs are trusting God. One other element in this, and it fits into the bigger picture of Genesis that I started with at the beginning.

Listen, very closely to this. All of Genesis, as I explained, is not about how to find a wife. The book of Genesis is about a promise that God gave to Abraham, a promise that would bring him exceeding joy, a promise that would give us what Jesus called the abundant life to bless us and make a blessing. Listen, that blessing did not consist of romance and a good family. That blessing consisted of a Messiah who would come to restore what had been broken in our lives. And what had been broken was not romantic. What had been broken was spiritual.

It was our relationship with God that had been broken. The blessing in life, the blessing is not getting married. The blessing is being reunited with God.

We say Jesus plus nothing equals everything. Now, it's true, as I've explained, you were created for community and it's not good that you live alone. But as I've shown you in this series, marriage and biological family is not the only way, it's not even the ultimate way that God fills our lives with community. The church, deep friendships within the church, ministry, relationships, these are God's ultimate community.

And that's where we're going to spend our last message in this series on. But for now, what I need you to understand, listen, the blessing that you're looking for, the promise of Abraham, it's not a wife, it's not a husband, it's not children, it's Jesus. And that's where this story takes a really sweet turn. You see, in the greater story of Genesis, the one about Jesus, in many ways, it turns this story on its head. Jesus is like Eliezer, the servant of God.

He leaves the home and he crosses great distance. More than a desert, he crossed the gap between deity and humanity, the gap between holiness and sin. But he did not find in us a worthy, virtuous bride like Rebekah. He found in us someone who had sold themselves out to prostitution. It was not our generosity that impressed him, it was his generosity that took compassion on us.

He didn't give us gold bracelets or a nose ring, he shed his blood to make us his bride. And this is why this is really good news for some of you. Some of you have really messed up your dating story. In fact, you've messed up your whole life. The good news of the gospel is not, hey, follow these rules and everything's going to be fine. The good news of the gospel is you've messed everything up, but I make all things new.

My blood can wash, my blood can cleanse, my blood can bring new life. That's why we say the gospel is not primarily good advice. The gospel is good news, not primarily a message about what you need to do to fix your life, but a message about what God has done that he wants you to receive.

The good news of the gospel is that God came for you in spite of how you'd mess things up, that his blood can wash you. The whole Bible is about God redeeming us as his wayward, unworthy bride. We weren't worthy the way that Rebekah was, yet God set his affection on us when we're still sinners.

He pursued us when we were running the other way. He purchased us with his own blood when we had sold ourselves into spiritual prostitution. And he offers that love to us as a gift. But like Rebekah, you have to choose to receive it. God's not going to force it on you. There's reciprocity involved.

You have to say yes. But here's the awesome thing. When you choose to receive his love and forgiveness as a gift, it's actually going to heal your damaged soul. And it's going to give you the ability to become the right kind of marriage partner.

It's what we've said over and over throughout this series. When you have problems in horizontal relationship, the way to fix them is not to focus on them. It's to fix this relationship. Because the quality of your vertical relationship with God will determine the quality of your horizontal relationships with everybody else. So the question is, do you have that kind of relationship with Jesus? Maybe that's why you're here.

If you don't have that kind of relationship, do you want it? Because you can have it by simply receiving the lordship of Christ and trusting him as your savior. Why don't you bow your heads at all of our campuses. Bow your heads. Listen, the gospel consists of two commands, repent and believe. Another word for repent is surrender. Are you willing right now to say to Jesus, if you don't know for sure that he's your Lord and savior, are you willing right now to say, Jesus, I surrender. You're right.

I'm wrong. You're the Lord, not me. Believe.

Another word for believe is receive. Are you willing to receive the salvation that he came and purchased for you as a gift? If you're willing to receive him right now, you surrender and you receive and you say, yes, Lord Jesus. God, I pray that you would open our hearts to the largeness of your love, that God, we will be overwhelmed by your love so that we would love others the way that you have loved us. Whether you're single, dating, married, or divorced, our prayer is that you'll feel the overwhelming, all satisfying love of God today. You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of J.D.

Greer. So J.D., it's back again. It's time for our annual day planner.

This is a staple resource for so many of our listeners that they've come to rely on. Yeah, you know, there's nothing magical about the new year, but what it does do is it presents a natural opportunity for reflection. Where's my life going?

What needs to happen in the next year? So it's a good time for you to take stock of your life, set some goals. Here at Summit Life, we want to see you grow in all ways, but spiritually, we would love to partner with you in making this the year that you walk more closely with Jesus and experience His presence and His fellowship in you and through you. Maybe you want to start reading your Bible every day.

Maybe you want to become more generous with your time and your talents. Whatever it is, we hope that this planner would be a good tool that will help assist you in meeting those goals. We've also got built into it a little one-year Bible reading plan.

You'll get the same one that I follow. It's one New Testament and one Old Testament chapter per day, and it focuses on some of the teaching passages and books of the Bible that you'll hear taught in Summit Life. So it's like hearing the Bible in stereo.

You're hearing me teach on it, but you're reading the Word directly, and the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart straight to you as well. We'd love to get you a copy today, so just go to jdgrier.com. You can also reserve your copy of the 2023 planner with a generous one-time year-end gift to support Summit Life.

Your donation will help more people dive into the gospel this year and in the year to come. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or you can give online at jdgrier.com. If it's easier to mail your donation, our address is JD Greer Ministries, P.O. Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 277-09. I'm Molly Vidovitch, and Friday we'll begin the final message in this series on love, sex, and relationships. It's a message about friendship and the important role your friends play in your spiritual life. Be sure to join us Friday for Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program is produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-15 10:52:21 / 2022-12-15 11:03:24 / 11

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