If you knew my dog Jake like I know him, you would wake up each day wondering what kind of chaos was going to occur. From stealing a container of chicken salad off the kitchen counter and devouring its contents to escaping from his kennel like a canine Houdini, he goes about his day without a care in the world, enjoying his dog’s life. And as this beyond-handsome little guy rests, curled up into a ball of fur with eyes and paws occasionally twitching, I wonder what next escapade he is dreaming of. Jake has always had a mind of his own, is a selective listener, and resists discipline.
Shortly after we brought Jake home, I was second-guessing our choice of puppies from the litter and was expressing serious doubt about inviting him to stay long-term. It took me some time to decide the little man’s antics are, for the most part, harmless and laughable, and when they’re not … well, it’s time-out in the kennel.
But how can we be assured we’re not charmed by a human man with less-than-admirable qualities?
Tucked into the pages of Judges 13 is the story of a nameless woman who was married to a man named Manoah. As we read the dialogue between Manoah and the angel of the Lord, we can see Manoah’s defects of character exposed. The most obvious was that Manoah did not walk closely enough with the Lord to recognize it was God who was delivering the news that he and his wife would give birth to Samson, whom God would bring forth to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. Three times he heard the message — first from Mrs. Manoah, then directly from the angel — and he still didn’t believe, until he saw the angel ascend in a flame! Even then, he doubted the words of the Lord and believed they were going to die. Good grief! God had spoken into their lives, and he still doubted. To say Manoah was clueless would be an understatement.
So I wonder how Mrs. Manoah felt about her husband. What had she found attractive about him before they were married?
Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed right, felt good, and left you believing this person possessed everything you were looking for in a mate only to be disappointed when you found them lacking spiritually?
It’s easy to fall for someone who is handsome, successful, well-liked, and intelligent, but if he cannot — or will not — be the spiritual leader, or is lacking in such fruits as faithfulness, patience, gentleness, and self-control, among others, there are severe cracks in the foundation of that relationship.
Scripture instructs believers to not be unequally yoked, for what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14) Which means we need to be looking at a potential mate’s heart much more than any outward appearance. For like gold-plating that eventually wears thin, even the most choice of men can reveal serious flaws.
(Disclaimer: Women, we are not off the hook. Men can experience the same with females.)
There is a litmus test for a relationship, and we are given a guide — the Bible — to discern if the “it” IS too good to be true.
How spiritually fit is he? Does he actually walk the talk or just talk the walk? Does he work at being Christ-like? Does he pray for you? Does he extend grace and forgiveness?
What about leadership ability? This isn’t a statement about becoming his unequal, but can confidence be placed in his decision-making?
How about trustworthiness? Does he ever cause one to question what he says? Do his words and actions match? My eye caught a quote online that stated, “Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.” The enemy will try to trick with seductive words.
And the list of qualities to look for goes on …
Experience has taught me that my relationship-desiring heart deceives me and my normally discerning mind may not clearly see cleverly disguised flaws. But if I earnestly seek God and His direction, He is faithful and will bring to light those things that have been hidden in darkness. Though it may be painful at the time, I would rather be blindsided by the stark reality of God’s Truth than live blindly in man’s deception, for trading the rest of my years for a man’s presence in my life is a huge price to pay.
Sometimes it feels as though the road of singleness is never-ending, but God has taught me that living singly can be just as good as living married. I know that I don’t need a “better half”; I am whole all by myself. And things may change at some point down the road, but for now, I am content in waiting on God and His timing. His plan for me is far better than anything that I could ever dream of … and so is His plan for you.
You would choose the will of God every time if you could see what He sees in the future. — Chris Hodges
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Pam Weyant recently traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. When she is not spending her time as a freelance court reporter, you will find her loving up her adorable cocker spaniel, hiking, traveling, writing creative nonfiction, or working out. Her passion is sharing her story so others can join her in celebrating the freedom found in a redemptive Savior