OK, this is now the third subdivision in my first characteristic for my husband.
This is that he has to be completely committed to giving God absolutely everything in his life, he has to be “completely sold out.” This might sound a little like characteristic 1.2, described last week, but that was all about holding on no matter what. This is about giving God absolutely all of your life, and giving it passionately, and with focused determination. It is about always presssing further, deeper, higher in striving to know God and to live for Him.
Sometimes, I unexpectedly find myself the object of attention from non-Christian guys. And I always think “Surely, I shout so much about this faith thing that anyone would know that it is completely unfeasible for me to seriously get involved with anyone outside my faith!” Yes, I too have liked guys from “the outside”, but I have at least tried to pray them into the faith! But it’s not just that he has to be a Christian, which he does, it is that he has to have made up his mind, as I have done, that every aspect of his life must be dedicated to the sincere and passionate pursuit of Christ.
Now I believe that as a Christian to most sincerely follow Christ or obey God, we have to do it God’s way. There is no point making up our own rules and saying “I am following Christ”. God has given us His rules in His book, the Bible. I don’t want someone who is a committed and disciplined and passionate adherent to a church, or a doctrine, or a Christian leader, because I am not. What I strive to be, always, is committed and sold out to Jesus, and to the ways of Jesus, as laid out for us in the Bible. What that means is that if there is a doctrine upheld in a church that actually contradicts the word of God, then regardless of “submission” this would-be husband should be willing to uphold the pre-eminence of the Bible. “Submission” does not change the truth of the Bible. All the submission in the world would not change the fact that it was Jesus, not Peter, who died for our sins, or that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judah, and not in Edinburgh, Scotland. If something is the truth of the Bible, then it has to be rigorously upheld.
I do plan to write a note about knowledge of and commitment to the Bible as part of this characteristic 1. I am talking a lot about this here because commitment to the Bible and to the truth of God’s word (above anyone else’s word – where anyone means literally, “anyone”) and to being shaped by God’s word is such a big part of being “sold-out”. Frankly, I should not have to explain this or teach this to a future husband. This is something that they should have come across in their own pursuit of being sold-out. I don’t want someone who decides to be sold out because of me, but rather someone who has been pursuing this level of depth with God for many years, as I have done. So, this person should by now have understood and grasped the fact that the road to life is narrow and sometimes requires very unpopular decisions and that they might sometimes have to stand up for what is actually true, as opposed to what everyone says – where everyone might even include “great leaders”. I should not have to explain this to you. This should be self-evident after many years of pursuing God and His truth.
OK, well I wrote the main body of this characteristic a few hours ago, and upon reflection I’ve realised that I am being a little bit unfair. I have had a head start in observing the church and people in it, as my parents were pastors. My siblings and I saw a few things through being exposed to different pastors and ministries and from childhood I think we all learned to distinguish between God, and the people who claim to serve Him. I sometimes take this for granted and think: “Surely everyone should know this! How can you not know that…..”
Personally, I consider being sold out to God an area of personal strength, but I am always happy to grow more, to grow deeper. This is the goal I have chosen for my life, and it is the best decision I have ever made. (That is, if I can truly say that I made the decision; it may well have been the Spirit of God that made it for me!)
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
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