The God Standard

Happy New Year….

This is my first post of the year. There was a long list of things I wanted to start off with: about my new goals as a Christian, about all the things I did wrong last year that I want to rectify for 2013; a prophecy post based on Daniel and Revelation and how the 21st December apocalypse scare was a bunch of hodge-podge.

And then something developed in the last weeks of November, leading to an event on the 2nd of December that has changed many things in my life, but in a good way: I’ve embarked upon a relationship with someone who has been in my life for five years. This means I can no longer read my posts of months ago, where I chastised the men in my church for leading me on, mainly because it reminds me of a bitterness I didn’t realise I had. I still stand by my arguments: trifling with a woman’s heart is ungodly, and a man of God should let his yeas be yeas and his nays be nays. However, the motive behind the writing of those posts came from a place of misguidance. I’ll say it plainly:

the person I am with now is someone I’ve cared about for a very long time. And even though what I had felt for him had abated somewhat when a ‘new man’ came onto the scene, I believe my underlying feelings for him manifested themselves to others, which may be a contributing factor of as to why I found my myself in those ‘false start’ relationships.

Being with my ‘someone’, has made me think about the list I had made about my ‘dream man’ years and years ago. When I was much younger, the list was very superficial:

Must be Six Foot something
Must have dark, rich skin
Must have locs, so we can have loc babies….
…And something about loving God.

As I began to give my desires to God and think seriously about it, the list changed to things that were practical and had a focus for spiritual things:

Must have the same view of God as I do
Must be someone who is trying to be a better person
Must be a reader
Must be intellectual and intelligent
Must appreciate my writing
Must respect me as a woman
…Must be someone I would have no problem submitting to, in the way God intended.

Fortunately, a sister has started up a series of Dating, Courtship and Marriage Bible studies at my church and last week a couple from our congregation, married for 19 years, spoke about how  God had put them together. The husband said that he had made a list of things he wanted and knew God would have wanted for him, and he found all these things in his wife. He asked God to help him make a choice.

It gave me hope for my relationship, as I was never a person who believed in the ‘God has one person for me’ (there are 7 billion people in the world. How will you possibly start searching for that predestined one?), and this husband and I had approached things in a similar way.

The last item on my personal list was a very recent addition (probably only a few months). It dawned on me just how important that factor is, because even if he’s intelligent, or he reads, doesn’t mean he is a good man, a man who respects a woman and understands what’s required of him as a man in a relationship. I began to read Ephesians 5: 22 in a whole new light. Literally, it only dawned on me what God is actually saying to women here:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Even in this verse, though directed at the women, has a rebuke for men all over it. What Paul is saying here is ‘women, God has such a high standard for you of as to what husband you should choose, He’s literally reserving a man that is only like Christ to be your husbands. Don’t settle for anything less’. 

This was huge for me to see. The fact that Paul immediately says that men have to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it (verses 25 onwards), there is no mistaking just what kind of men women are supposed to marry. The fact that God wants you to have a marriage that immediately reflects the relationship between Christ and the church, says a lot about the standard of man that God has reserved for his daughters. Now I know why we are described as ‘far above rubies’ (Proverbs 31:10).

This was just the kind of revelation that I needed for the new year. 

Also, the person I’m with is someone I have complete trust in to respect me. I’m always amazed at his reaction to Ephesians 5: awe and caution and self-reflection. He always asks himself ‘how can I be that man’? when he reads it, rather than ‘look, you’re gonna have to submit to me, woman!’

Very encouraging, indeed.

Have a good week.

xXx

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The Boardroom

 

There were five members on the panel. Each man stood for an invaluable asset to the company; their strengths were envied by some and revered by others. Walking into the boardroom, I felt nervous but I knew that I had a chance. The director of the group, Lay Preacher, inclined his head as I sat down to face them.

“Morning,” said Evangelist. “God’s greetings.”

“Hey,” I said with a smile.

Bible Worker tutted. I heard him mutter “that won’t do” and I immediately questioned his utterance.

“You see, Miss Phoenix,” said Missionary, “we’re looking for something special. At the moment, we’re not too sure about you.”

“What’s wrong?” I said.

“Your skirt for a start,” said Elder. “Where is it? Knee length is too high!”

I squirmed against their admonishing glare. This wasn’t an interview; it was a trial, spot lights and all.

“The thing is,miss,” said Lay Preacher, “we like humble women. A Proverbs thirty-one woman. We’re not sure you’re the one for us.”

There’s a lot of relationship advice circling the internet these days. There’s even more in church. I’m not sure what’s happened, but the recent church trend is an early marriage—I heard of one second-year university student tying the knot the other day. It’s like a mating season; everyone wants to get with someone and with it comes relationship books, DVDs, CDs and seminars. Then people start making their “list of standards”. Standards are fine, but there’s a problem when your standards make you come across as spiritually superior.

Both men and women in church have a habit of looking for their partner, rather than allowing God to choose for them. We’re limited by what we can see, so our requirements can at times be silly and superficial. There are girls out there looking for their “men of God”, always chasing after the guys who preach and do missionary work in their droves. My nature causes me to be healthily suspicious of such people, not because preaching and missionary work is wrong, but because those things are very much outward displays of piety. What are these men like on their “off” days, when no one is looking to praise them?

I have a friend who is one of those guys. He does a lot of work in church, eldering and whatnot, and he has caught the attention of a few people. When we were talking about relationships and our personal preferences, he kept on referring to himself in the plural.

“What we like is … What we’re looking for is girls who are…”

It took me almost a week to process that his usage of “we” was strange, arrogant almost. It gave the impression he was talking on behalf of an elite, exclusive company; drawing up a checklist of all the traits a Godly woman must have and screening the cream of of the crop in church. It confirmed my suspicions. When people compare their potential mate to their own spirituality i.e., looking at the situation on the surface, a problem is bound to occur.

Remember, folks:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”*

Shouldn’t that be proof enough to let God take control of everything? I don’t actually mind relationship advice; I like talking to my elders at church, older people who I respect and whose marriages are still intact and asking them how they would go about seeking a partner; I like talking about it with my dad, who always has something interesting to say; I don’t even mind a study on it every now and then, but this sudden onslaught of information is madness.

(Does this blog post ironically count as dating advice as well???)

So anyway, I’ve decided not to concern myself too much with all this stuff. I’m sure once you get into the right relationship it’s great, and I can’t wait for that experience, but at the moment, I’m going to take my time with it—I’m still young, after all.

So it looks like I’ll have to step out of the boardroom. It’s pretty brutal in there.

xXx

*1 Samuel 16:7