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Real Dating - Part 2

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"Finding the Two"

Real Dating - Part 2 Transcription

 We’re continuing today in our second session, titled “Real Dating”

 

Recap of last week:

If you were with us last week, we said that during this series our goal is going to be to look at God’s principles for one of the most important subjects in life, a subject where some of us had a lot of experience or some of us hope to gain a lot of experience very soon in this area.  That’s the area of Dating and Marriage.

To recap what we have discussed last week, last week we said that they key to having fulfillment and satisfaction in life is to find “The One.”  And we said unless you find “the One,” you’ll never be satisfied in life, you’ll never have happiness you’ll never have a real smile on your face, a deep joy inside you unless you find “the One.”  But we said “The One” isn’t a girl or a boy, it’s our Lord Jesus Christ.  Unless you have found that fulfillment in him, no person is going to do you any good.

We talked about how marriage should be a unity of three, not just a unity of two.

 

The next Step – Finding “the Two”

Today, we’re going to look at the next step, which is finding “the Two.”

I know that some people are eager to jump in but I can’t stress this enough: that really finding “the Two” is worthless unless you find “the One.”  And I don’t want to think “yeah yeah yeah, work on our relationship with God, now get to the good stuff!”

If I was going to build a building, and I was going to take a shortcut on either the foundation, or the top, which one would you take a shortcut on?  Which one would you do in a half way way?  You wouldn’t do it on the foundation because then the whole place is going to fall apart.  It’s the same thing with this relationship stuff.  If you’re not finding satisfaction in God and in God alone, no matter what you do, I promise you, you will be miserable for the rest of your life.  You’ll never be happy, unless you find satisfaction in God.

Statistics

For those who have begun to find satisfaction in God, let’s get to the good stuff….where do I find the “number two”?  If you look around at the world today, it’s alarming to see the number of people who are taking longer to find the “number two.”  You probably don’t realize it, but let me give you some statistics here about how difficult it is these days, and this is a recent thing, this is our generation or the generation before us at most.  How marriage is the one area that’s really being sought and is difficult for people to find.

91.9 million is the number of unmarried adults in this country (as of March 2006).

And the part we’re really of concern about that’s really relevant to us, is the 54 million who have never been married.  Because part of the 91.9 million may be widowed, or divorced or stuff like that, that’s not our concern in this series as much as 54 million have never ever been married.  How many people in this country?  Roughly 300million!  So, 1 in every 3 people that you meet on the street is not married; and 1 in every 4 have never ever been married and is single or looking or something like that.  This is adults, 18 and above, not kids.

Look here at more statistics:  13.3 million is the number of people between the ages of 25 and 34 who have never been married.  That is 35% of the total number of people in that age bracket.

Gets even worse…

Between the ages of 35 and 44, 6.9 million people (15%) of the people in that age bracket.

Some people are sitting here saying, “I know, that’s why I need to rush, I don’t wanna end up like this.  That’s why we need to move this series along quickly, that’s why we need to get to the resumes part and the interviews part.  That’s why we need to get stuff moving around here because I don’t want to end up like that.”

It’s alarming to realize the statistics.  Do you know that today, the number of people who have never been married is three times higher than it was just 30 years ago?  This is 1975 or something like that.

So this is a serious question today that we’re going to discuss, that is how to find “the Two?”  How do I find that person that I’m supposed to be looking for.  If you’re married already, you can stop looking for the two okay?  This isn’t a trading session or something like that.  You’re done.

But a serious question is, how do I find “the Two?”  Where do I go?  What do I do?  Where am I supposed to go?  Church? What am I supposed to do at church, I come to church many many times, I see people, they see me, I go out and they go out and I’m still single.  What am I supposed to do?  Do I go to something like eharmony.com?  no, that’s for bad people, I go to coptichmatch.com!!!

Some of you know what that is right??  If you don’t know where that is, you can find it along with Copticcafe.com (I found that one last night actually)!

What do I do?  How am I supposed to find the number Two?  I know what abouna’s going to say, just be good and just pray and go to church and confess, and your priest will tell you who to marry. 

I’m against that whole “priest will tell you who to marry” kind of business.  And…let me give you an inside tip right here, whenever a priest (not a priest in this church, but another priest) tries to set you up, be careful.  Be careful because that priest has a congregation of people who haven’t been able to find anyone to get married and he would love for some of them to get married. So in my experience, in  my many many years of vast priesthood experience, I’ve discovered some things.  When a priest comes to me and says “do you have anyone to marry….” And he describes a certain person, I’ve discovered that what they say isn’t always what they mean.  For example:

“He’s a great deacon.”   Translation:  he likes to hold a microphone and he’s full of himself.

“He’s very laid back, very relaxed.”  Translation:  hasn’t had a job in 6 months and nothing on the horizon.

Here’s my favourite one:

“She comes from a good family, very strong family values.”  Translation:  Buy a third ticket for the honeymoon because mom is coming along with you most likely!

Be careful when a priest tries to set you up. 

Scenario:

So seriously, what should we do? Let me tell you what the common story is of what most people do.  You have boy and you have girl.  Common story is:

Boy meets Girl

Girl looks nice.

Girl smells nice.

Girl will laugh at his jokes.

Boy likes girl.

So Boy asks Girl out.

Girls giggle, Girl blushes, Girl plays with her hair and stuff like that.  She’s flattered.

Girl says “Yes”

Boy and Girl agree to go out to dinner.

They get to dinner, Girl orders very expensive meal.

Boy panics, decides to end up paying, it’s okay.

And they end up having a good time, they talk, they discuss, they laugh, they joke and boy and girl continue to keep on hanging out.

As boy and Girl keep on hanging out, their hanging out gets more and more deeper and start to do more things alone together.

Boy and Girl watch a movie together.

Boy and Girl sit on a sofa together.

Boy and Girl looking googoly eye at each other.

Boy tilts head to the right, Girl tilts head to the right and boy and Girl Kiss.

Now they’re in love!!  Now we found love, now is cloud 9, now life is perfect, now I’m floating on air, now I listen to love songs all day long.  Life is perfect, until…..

Boy and Girl get into a fight.

Boy hates Girl and Girl hates Boy.

Boy breaks up with Girl.

Girl says “I was going to break up with you anyway.”

And Boy and Girl hate each other and now life is a disaster! 

Until……(no fear)……because

Boy meets ANOTHER Girl.

Now, Boy likes New Girl and the cycle starts all over…..

 

Boy and Girl date.  Boy and Girl kiss.  Boy and Girl hang out.  Boy and Girl start to do a lot of married people stuff until they break up, they fight, they hate each other and the cycle goes on. 

Until…

Boy finally meets not Girl, but meets now SPECIAL GIRL.  And Special Girl is the one that he decides, “this is the Girl that I want to spend my life with.”  And Special Girl (who has her own history of boy after boy after boy after boy) decides to marry Special Boy.

Special Boy and Special Girl get married, and 10 years later, everyone in this story is married.  Everyone is miserable, everyone is looking for real intimacy in marriage, everyone is considering divorce, everyone hates their life.

What went wrong in our Scenario?

What went wrong?

Our kind of simple answer is that they didn’t work on their marriage enough.  No, I’m not talking about marriage.  The problem in a lot of marriages (believe it or not) has nothing to do with marriage, has to do with dating!  Has to do with the foundation that was laid, well before the marriage vows even took place.  I told you guys this last week, if you are 17, 18, 19, no matter how young you are, you must begin working on your marriage today!  You can’t wait until you get engaged, you can’t wait until you meet someone.  If you want a good marriage, the work begins right now!

Last week when we said focusing on “the One,” but this week when it comes to getting to know “the Two,” and what you do with “the Two.”

The problem with the Girl and the Boy in our example, was that they began doing married people’s stuff before marriage.  That’s the problem.  They started acting like married people before they WERE married people. 

This is one of the hardest things for people to understand…why is that so bad?

People would say:  “Why is it so bad to act like married people before you get married?  In fact, it’s like practicing, right?  Practice is good.  We should practice.  I wanna be very good at marriage so I wanna practice a lot before I get into marriage and do lots of married people’s stuff so I’m ready for marriage and I don’t make any mistakes.”

On the surface it could seem that way, but it’s backwards logic.  Because you have to think about it this way….when these people are practicing marriage (doing married people’s stuff), what happens when they fight?  What happens when they don’t like each other anymore?  They break up, right?  So you know what people are practicing?  They’re not just practicing marriage, unfortunately, they’re also practicing divorce!  And this is what the world’s way of dating fall short.  Because it teaches us to practice marriage and love and this and that, and when things don’t work, just break up and start anew with someone else.  That’s what the world’s way of dating teaches us. And it is unfortunate that on the road to meeting your future spouse that many people have to go through divorce many many many times and we raise a generation of professional divorcers.  We raise in this way.  If there’s a problem and it doesn’t work out, just break up. And we’re raising them to be in love and then to break, and then to be in love and then to break, so is there any wonder why the divorce rate is so high?  We practiced it.  This is what we practiced when we were growing up.

When the going gets tough, you kinda go back to what you’re used to.  You go back to old reliable, to what’s comfortable for you. And if everytime the going gets tough, I practice divorce, you know what? When I have a ring around my finger, it isn’t going to be much different.  If I’m used to “when it’s tough, call it quits,” then it’s going to be the same when it gets to marriage.  This is the cycle that we created for ourselves.

 

Key Idea

Believe it or not, God has a much higher standard.  God calls us to a higher standard.  Our key idea for today is:  If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

Common sense right?  If I want to go to a place that I’ve never been to, I must walk a road that I’ve never travelled before.  Logic, right?  We’re going to see how that applies to us here, in dating and marriage.  If you walk the same road as everyone else, you’ll end up in the same spot as everyone else.  So if you want to end up in a spot that’s different than anyone else (this applied to married and single), you must walk a different road than everyone else as well.

This is going to be our theme verse for today:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:12)

Man I love this verse!  This says it all.

“Do not be conformed to this world” Why?  Because there is a “good”? no no no, not Good.  An “acceptable”?  no no no, not acceptable…a PERFECT will of God for your life! There’s a perfect road. There’s a perfect destination. There’s something out there (full satisfaction and full everything, it’s out there but in order to get there you may have to walk a different road than everyone else.  You can’t be conformed to the world’s road. You can’t walk the same road that they always walk on. And the key to doing that is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  My hope today is that some of you will change your mind.  My hope today is that some of the stuff I say, you’ll be able to look at dating and marriage and relationships and change the way you think. 

I’m sure some of you are going to say, “You know what?  I don’t agree with that, I don’t buy that.  That’s not normal, that’s weird.”

Exactly!  That’s the point!  That’s the point that you do not normal stuff because the normal road in marriage stinks.  Normal in marriage is not good so therefore, if I want a good marriage I do not normal things. 

When I say we want better than what’s normal, I’m not just talking about divorce.  I hope my goal in marriage is “not to get divorced.”  I’m not going to look at my wife on my wedding and say “my goal is never to divorce you sweetheart.”  That’s not my goal.  My goal is intimacy.  My goal is the best marriage in the world that satisfies me and that we complete each other.  What I’m saying is that lots of marriages that don’t end in divorce but are clearly subpar.  Where they’re just like roommates with each other, just going through because they know that divorce is wrong.  We don’t want that kind of business either, so we have to look for a higher standard.

A couple of verses:

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” (1 Corinthians 3:18)

What Saint Paul is saying here is that if you’re someone who’s got it all figured out and you are wise in your own eyes, you may not be as wise as you think you are.  In order to find the perfect will of God, you need to become a fool.  Maybe to do things that the world considers foolish and that you thought was foolish.  It’s hard for us because we love our common sense. 

How do I do foolish things?  Look here:

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

God calls us to a higher standard and sometimes we look at that standard and say it’s foolish.  But it’s in that standard that we find true satisfaction and fulfillment. 

I want to have a higher standard when it comes to 3 things in dating and relationships:

1.       I want a higher standard on who I will date.  (Not me, but you!)

2.       I need a higher standard on what I determine is the criteria for a person that I want to date.  Meaning, it’s not all about looks, or smells, or job, or car, or laughs at my jokes, or gets along with my parents.  It’s much much deeper than that.
And while I’m saying that, some people are sitting down saying, “yeah, I’m not a superficial person.”

 

This applies to non-superficial people as well.  This applies to the spiritual people who walk around with their top 17 things I’m looking for in a spouse.  And they have their list made out from their GQ magazine or whatever it is.   I’m telling you, I have a higher standard than the GQ magazine or anything that may be going on in your head.

 

So, what’s the higher standard?  The higher standard is what God says it is.

 

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

 

You guys know what a yoke is?  A yoke is something that binds two animals together, that wooden thing that has a whole and you stick your head through it and it locks down the two animals together, it ties them together.  It’s like a three-legged race kinda thing.  It’s saying don’t be three-legged race tied with unbelievers.

 

There’s a verse in the old testament that talks about “do not yoke together an Ox and a Donkey…”  Why is God against yoking together an Ox and a donkey? Like who cares?  Why is he so concerned about that?  Well, because God knows that that’s cruelty!  You got an ox that’s ready to go, and you tie that animal to a donkey, it’s going to slow him down!  It’s going to frustrate him, he’s probably going to try to jab at the donkey and kick him off and beat him and try to get rid of him or something like that.  And the donkey by the same token is going to be frustrated, “Why is the guy in such a rush, take a chill, relax, what’s the business?” 

 

So it doesn’t work when you yoke together things that are moving at different speeds, or even worst, in different directions.

 

Remember when we talked about marriage last week and said that marriage is not a union of two, it is a union of three.  So God says, “please, don’t tie me to someone who doesn’t want to have anything to do with me.  Don’t tie me to an unbeliever.”

You would say, “oh, that’s easy, I don’t date unbelievers, I only date Christians.”

I would say, don’t be yoked with weak believers either!  Don’t yoke me next to someone who just wants to be Christian on Sundays.  Don’t yoke me next to a person who hasn’t sought out for “the One” yet, because it’s only going to slow me down and slow you down.

 

The problem here, is if you get together with a weak believer (someone who’s bringing you down spiritually, not pulling you up), you know what you’ve done?  You’ve put “the Two” infront of “the One.”  Remember last week when we said that unless “the One” is the ONE, he’s a zero.  So by putting Two, ahead of One, you’ve taken the One and pushed him to the back.

 

Think about it.  Can I invite anyone of you to live in my house if you say, “I don’t want to have anything to do with your wife.  Don’t let your wife come round except on Sundays.  Your wife is nice and all, but keep her away from me Monday through Friday.”

Could you live in my house?  No!  First of all, it’s downright rude, but second of all it’s her house too, so I can’t do that.  So I can’t bring someone else in marriage who wants to kick one of the partners out, by doing that I’ve put the “Two” ahead of the “One”.  And unfortunately sometimes we do that.

Never sacrifice “the One” for the sake of “the Two.”

 

How can I tell if someone is a weak believer?

So, now you’ve made me think abouna Anthony.  I don’t date people who are weak believers who don’t lift me up, how do I tell?  How can I tell with someone I just met?  It takes like 6 months to figure this out?

I believe that you would know if someone is committed to God before the end of the first date.  I won’t say the end of the first date, I believe in the first 30-45 minutes.  You should know if someone is committed to God or not.  It shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be something that’s hard to figure out, you know why?  Human nature is (everyone does it, you do it as much as I do) that we talk about the things that we think are important.  So if I meet a random person on the street….i’ve done that with some of you, when I met you for the first time and have nothing to talk about with you, I naturally progressed the conversation to…sports!  So, where are you from? Ooh, so you’re from Dallas, are you a cowboys fan?....etc

We naturally talk about the things that are important to us. 

The PhD guy….when you sit there and he meets you for the first time:

PhD guy:  What is it that you studied when you were in school?

You:  I studied this, how about you?

PhD guy:  Oh, since you asked let me tell you…..bla bla bla nuclear rocket…this and that….and science and….being a doctor…...etc etc etc

We naturally do that.

The athletic guy:  did you ever play sports when you were in high school?

You:  Oh yeah, this and that…you know….how about you?

The athletic guy: oh yeah, you know….i don’t wanna brag, but you know……..

 

We talk about the things that are important to us, so if you have spent an hour with someone and God didn’t come up and this person’s passion for God never came up, then most likely it isn’t really that strong. 

Now you’re saying, “But you know what?  I don’t want one of those fanatic people to be married to.  I’m glad it didn’t come up because I don’t want to be married to someone who talk about God all the time and is always in love with Church and is listening to like “asheya” (vespers) in the car and stuff like that.  I don’t want one of those fanatic kind of people.  I want just “an ordinary Christian” (my favourite term!)

What does Jesus say about “ordinary Christians”?

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)

So God says there are three options:  there’s hot, there’s cold and there’s warm.

I know for certain that marrying a cold person isn’t good, that one’s not even in discussion.  What about the warm one?  He says that’s equally not as good.  So you know what my standard is here?  I will only date someone who’s HOT!    And I want you to walk out of here with the same mentality.  I will not marry someone unless she is hot and unless he is hot.  But not THAT kind of hot you sleazeballs!!

Hot for God!  Passionate about their relationship with their creator.  Where God is the number One and solely the number One and nothing takes the place of number one in their life.  The question you need to ask yourself is the same question I asked myself 5+ years ago when I got together with MaryAnn and it was a very very simple question:  Is this person going to bring me closer to God, yes or no?

My goal is to get to heaven, is this person going to take me closer or further and for me, that was a no brainer, that was an easy “Yes” and that was the initial thing that attracted me so much to MaryAnn.  I hope that’s your thing too; that’s your standard for who you will date.

Look here, attraction, the physical, the money, the car, the six-pack, that stuff doesn’t do you much good.  We already talked about what marriage is.  I’m telling you, when your kid is sick and there’s no money to pay the bills and the roof is leaking and everyone’s stressed and everyone’s tensed that six-pack isn’t going to do you much good. It isn’t going to get you through the night.  What’s going to get you through is the commitment of your spouse to the number One, because they’re passionate about God.  That’s the first higher standard that we’re called to.

2nd Higher Standard

The second higher standard is on what I will do? Or….what I won’t do.

This includes a higher standard on what I will wear; what I will say; the places I will go; the things I will do to attract attention to myself.  The bait that I’ll be using to attract the fish.

“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” (1 Peter 1:14-15)

In all your conduct you should be holy.  Does that include relationships?  Absolutely!  That includes all your conduct, you should have a higher standard.  Again, if you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.  So if you want this higher marriage, maybe you need to walk a road that you haven’t walked in awhile, which is the road of holiness.  It’s a narrow little road, it’s a difficult road, but it’s the higher road that God calls us to.

Game – Is it appropriate?

We’re going to play a game here, and it’s called “Is it appropriate?”  this is not a true game, and I’m using myself only for the sake of the game here.

The game is I will say certain things that I would do (certain behaviours or actions) and you would tell me if it’s appropriate or inappropriate.  Easy?  Ok, very good.

Case 1:  I leave church today and I swing by the supermarket to pick up some coco pebbles or coco krispies or something like that so that I can watch the game today in peace and satisfaction as I eat 10 bowls of coco krispies as I love to do in football games.  I walk in there ofcourse I’m a famous guy, stunningly handsome guy, young lady sees me. 

She says “Hey! You’re that famous father Anthony guy, aren’t you? 

I reply, “Yes, how did you know about me?

“You’re the one who won the priest one on one basketball games, aren’t you?  You’re the best, I heard so much about you and all these great things….

I say, “well, thank you very much maam, yes, this is true.  I’m humble, but yes, that is me.

She says, “you’re my hero sir!”

I say, “thank you ma’am,” then I say…..

(here’s the part where you guess if this is appropriate or not appropriate)

I continue, “yes, that is me.  Would you like to come over to my house tonight?  Would you like to come and spend the night in my house?  I am married, yes, but I will ask my wife and my child to leave and you can spend the night with me in my room.”

Appropriate or inappropriate?

Audience:  INAPPROPRIATE!

Ok, so, let’s say I don’t ask my wife to leave, she’s already out of town. Appropriate or inappropriate?

 Audience:  INAPPROPRIATE.

Ok, that sounds kinda sleezy kinda slimy, that sounds not good.  Let’s say I invite her to spend the night but we don’t do anything bad, just maybe a little cuddling and a little kissing.

Appropriate or inappropriate?

Ok, that sounds slimy too.  Let’s say no cuddling, no kissing, just talking all night long.  Sharing, secrets, opening up, emotions, I love you, I miss you, I care about you, stuff like that.

Appropriate or inappropriate?

None of those things are appropriate, right?  They’re not….why?

Why should I not do those things with her? 

Because she’s not my wife and I’m only supposed to do all these things with my wife, okay?  This is very good, this is the basics.  Those things should not take place outside of the marriage relationship.  Good answer.

Question 2:  If doing those things outside of my marriage is in appropriate for me to do today, then why would it be any different for someone who’s not married?  If all those things that you just told me that those things belong between a man and his wife and those things belong inside of marriage, why would it be any different if I’m single or married?

Do you understand what I’m saying right there?  I need you guys to not be conformed to the ways of the world.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:12)

Just because the world says something is normal, doesn’t mean it’s right.  If it’s not appropriate for me to kiss someone outside of my marriage, to cuddle with someone outside of my marriage; to have sex with someone outside of my marriage, to open up and share emotions and stuff like that with someone outside of my marriage then why would it be any different for someone who’s single to do outside of their marriage?  It’s not, it’s the same standard.  Those intimacies belong only in marriage.  That’s our higher standard now…I will wait until marriage to share intimacy.

The standard is no different if you’re single or married. 

Look at the following verse & I want you to underline the first 4 words there:

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

Put in another way, marriage is to be honored by ALL people.  Does that include married people?  Yes. Does that include single people?  Yes! There’s no difference.  Whether they are 20 years away from marriage or 2 days away from marriage, they are to be honoured by all is what the bible teaches us.

A word to the married people in the room:  Your marriage may be going fine, but it may be subpar.  You may look at your marriage today and say you know what?  Things are not what they used to be.  I’m not talking about divorce, we may be looking at this stuff and saying maybe I made mistakes…”

Ok, we all make mistakes, but the bottom line is….at some point in your marital life there was something very special.  Something beyond special.  Something that made you on cloud 9 or walking on water or whatever it is that you wanna say.  Something that made you feel you want to lay down your life for your partner.

I said earlier that if you want something you never had, you gotta do something you’ve never done.  The same principle said another way is if you want something that you one time had, you must do something that you at one time did.  So if you had something and lost it or don’t have it as much anymore, maybe we need to go back in time and start to do the things that we used to do.  You know why couples in marriage feel out of love?  Because you stopped doing the things that made you feel loved.  It’s that simple. 

Why do couples when they’re engaged and dating feel love all the time?  Because they’re telling each other non-stop “I love you” and looking into each other’s eyes and flowers and all.  When you do loving things, you feel loving.  So when you stop doing those things, what did you expect to happen? How did you expect your wife to feel when you haven’t told her “I Love you” for 1 year or 2 years.  Thos flowers…guys…those flowers from giant, the 1.99 are cheap but very effective, they get the job done, ok?! If you haven’t swung by giant lately and picked one of those things.

Ofcourse the love is not going to be there if you don’t do what you used to do.  What you may need is this verse:

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,” (Revelation 2:5)

When I slip from my marital duties or from laying down my life or my wife slips from submitting to the husband as the head, or whatever….when we slip from what we should be doing, the marriage is going to slip.  But that’s okay, repent.  “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works”

3rd Higher Standard

I should have a higher standard on what I will expect.

If I’m married, what I expect out of my marriage and if I’m single, what I expect to gain from my marriage. 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20)

Wait a minute! I can think of a LOT of good things for my marriage. I can think of amazing stuff that I want in life.  Well, the bible says that’s easy for God, snaps his fingers, boom.  God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can imagine. 

So again, you who walk around with your top 10 lists of qualities and the sense of humour and these are the things that I’m looking for in marriage and this and that.  Take that, throw it away because God has ten thousand times greater things that he has imagined for you.  This is very important for those who are single, who are starting to feel, “Where is God? When is God going to answer this one?”  Like…”I tried, it didn’t work, I’m single, I’m not getting any younger, biological clock is ticking away….what’s going to happen here?”

Unfortunately, that’s something which is common these days.  But I want you to think of the person that loves you most in life, not God, a physical person.  Like, if you ask them for something crazy, they would do it.  The person who (sorry) if you had to ask someone to scratch the bottom of your foot, they would probably do it. Sorry for the bad image there.  Think of the person who would lay down their life for you who loves you more than anyone else.

Now imagine….I’m going to do a hockus pockus trick right now and that that person is now God.  You guys have seen the movie Bruce Almighty?  I’m going to pull a Bruce Almighty here and that person in now God.  But you know what?  They’re better than Bruce Almighty because they can control people’s feelings and emotions and most importantly, they can control relationships and marriage.  How do feel now about this whole dating thing?  Are you as nervous?  Most likely, yeah, I’m still kinda nervous.

What if that person, who loves you so much, and will scratch the bottom of your foot anyday of the week (twice on Sundays)…that person says to you, “anything you ask me, I have much much better for you.”

How would you feel in dating?  Would you be as nervous?  Would you be as stressed?  Would you be as rushed to get things done as quickly as possible because I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and this and that?  Would you? 

Now some of you are sitting there saying, “wait a minute….i see where you’re going with this abouna Anthony, you’re saying God loves me, God would do anything for me.  Bottom line is, I’ve asked God, I’ve now been praying for 674 days for my future spouse okay? Consecutively and fasting praying and ‘matanyas’ and I’ve been waiting and counting the minutes until I get married.  I have asked, I got nothing.”

Go back to the foot-scratch example.  What’s the only time, that guy who loves you so much and would do anything for you, wouldn’t give you something?  What’s the only time they would say “no” to a request you made?  Is if it wasn’t good for you.  Logic, right?  If I love someone more than I love anything in this world and I want to do what’s best for them and they ask me for a candy cane and I say no, it’s because they have cavities.  Or…they ask me for ice-cream and I say no because they’re lactose tolerant or something like that.

So if I go to God who’s ready to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” and he says No, or not now, or later or something like that, then I must trust that he has something better in store.  That he could have given me that candy cane, but the candy cane would have hurt me a lot more than would have helped me.

This applies to everyone, and here I’m being more specific….where I see this is ladies.  I see this very very much with the female population sometimes.  Good girls that I want to punch in the face sometimes.  Good girls who are walking close to God, who are trusting in God, but all of a sudden they think, “I don’t know what God can provide, let’s go, let’s move this process along.  Yeah, he’s not perfect, but….whatver.  somebody beats nobody.  Even if he’s not the best body, he’s better than nobody.”

And we just settle.  Even though you have 700 people around and everyone of them is telling you “he is a jerk, you can do better. Don’t settle for this guy.” 

And say things like, “but you just don’t see in him what I see.  You just don’t see that side.”  Or “I know he got his shortcomings but we’re working on those and I can fix those things.”

a)       You can’t fix it.  It’s impossible to fix, the marriage is going to create more problems than it’s going to fix.  So whatever small problem is in dating, magnify it in marriage.  So the person who kinda annoys you every now and then before marriage, oh man, you wanna shoot them sometimes in marriage, okay?  Marriage magnifies stuff.

 

b)      God will say…Why would you want someone that requires fixing when I have someone who’s brand new?  Why would you go to Target and say, “I want one that’s broken and has been fixed,” when there are brand new ones on the shelf that are perfect?  That’s what sometimes is going on here in marriage.  God has the perfect thing for you, why are you settling for anything less than that?  If your answer is, “I don’t know what God can give me,” then I have bad news for you, that’s very insulting for God to hear.  It would be very insulting if my son was 11 or 12 and he’s dressed in rags and he’s eating dirt off the ground and I would say, “why boy are you doing that?” and he would reply, “I didn’t think you’d give me any clothes to wear so I just went out and ate dirt off the street.”  That would be very insulting to me, and I’d be pretty offended and I’d yell at him for thinking that.  Sometimes we do the same thing to God and it’s very insulting to him.

 

So our higher standard here is, I will not settle for less than best in anything in life.  I will not settle for less than God’s best.  There is no “second best” anywhere in the bible.  I looked cover to cover, it never says, “second best.”  It never says “runner-up.”  It only talks about God giving you the best.  Now sometimes, in order to get the best, He has to not make you have anything for awhile.  Sometimes, you have to become a fool in the world’s eyes to be wise in God’s eyes.

 

Bottom line is that I don’t know where you are in life, you could be single, you could be married, you could be looking, it could be the last thing on your mind. 

Whatever it is in life, I know that God has a plan for you and I know that plan is perfect.  If you’re married, to give you the best marriage, give you real intimacy in that marriage, the kind that you cannot find anywhere else in life.  I know if you’re single, I know that he has the same vision, maybe not now, but he’s planning it for you.  The reason why we sometimes settle and get impatient is that we don’t realize how much God loves us and how God looks at us.

If you ever don’t remember how God looks at you, here’s a nice verse I found:

“’They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, On the day that I make them My jewels.” (Malachi 3:17)

 

I like that verse very much. I promise you (especially to the single people) God is waiting for your wedding day more than you are waiting.  God is counting the minutes more than you are.  God is more excited, he’s getting ready with the flowers and the photographers and the video guy and the candles, he’s got all that stuff in mind and he wants you to be the most beautiful bride and the most outstanding husband or whatever it is that you may be.  He has the best plan for you, but you must trust.

If you look in the bible, there are so many examples.  Time after time after time, people who had no solution and God came up with a solution:

 

1.        Abraham and Isaac. 

God wanted Abraham to have a child, the logical thing is that me and my wife do husband and wife things, baby comes, everyone’s happy, everyone’s fine.

God says “No, I’m going to make you be really old, not 90 years old, not 95 years, not 99, not till you’re 100 years old I’m going to give you a child.”

You think Abraham is complaining right now?

 

2.         Moses and the red sea.

I’m Moses, I’m going toward the red sea….

Moses:  God, don’t you love me?

God:  Yes, I love you.

Moses:  God, don’t care about me?

God:  Yes, I care about you.

Moses:  God, can’t you fix this?

God:  Yes, I fix this.

Moses:  Ok, send me a helicopter!

No helicopter

Moses:  Ok, send me a boat!

No boat.

Moses:  Send me one of those all terrain vehicles or or send a missile from heaven to shoot down Pharaoh and the bad guys.

God:  I’m not going to do any of those things.

Moses:  Why God?  Don’t you love me, don’t you care?

God:  Be quiet Moses!  Look here what I’m going to do….I’m going to part the sea.

Moses:  You’re going to part the sea?!

God:  Yes, I’m going to part the sea.

Moses:  I didn’t know you could do that!

God:  Yes, I can do that!  There’s nothing that I can’t do!  I’m God.  I love you, I care about you.  And not only do I love you and I care about you, I have the entire world in my hands.”

So God would say to us, “There’s nothing that I can’t do.  There’s no person or no relationship that’s out of My control.  Just trust Me, you are my Jewels, my precious things.”

 

Believe me, he cares about us so much more than we care about ourselves.  What we need to do is examine ourselves and see if we have fallen short on God’s standards, where that is, and why that has happened?  And if it has happened, we need to repent, and understand how God looks at you and how much he cares about you.