Now it’s time to look at the necessary characteristics for the man himself.
First and foremost on the list – he has to be totally committed to Christ, because I am, and I cannot imagine a union with anyone who is anything other than this. I challenge myself to excellence in Him, even though I often fall short, and I am looking for someone who does the same.
I think that a fully sold-out commitment to Christ naturally subdivides into a few different areas which I will here discuss.
I used to think that all of this was a matter of my own effort, but then I recently read the Bible verse that says “It is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2v13) This means that it is God who gives us the will to live for Him. So instead of throwing all my efforts into trying to be committed to God, I am now throwing all my efforts into praying that God will work in me to give me supernaturally the will to put Him absolutely first in everything.
I thought of these subdivisions for the sake of writing this post. However, I will keep hold of them for myself, and use them to assess my levels in different areas, so I know where I need to concentrate my spiritual effort…..
1. Commitment to Christ – no matter what. This is about making up your mind that “no matter what” you will belong to Christ, you will be His, you will keep going in the faith. This is about perseverance, determination, “hold-on-ability”, through difficult times, through trials. It is about continually choosing every day, come what may, to put your faith in God and to persevere. Relevant Bible verses: Hebrews 12v1-2; 2 Corinthians 4v17
Personally, this is one of my weak points. I find myself giving up in little ways, getting frustrated, getting angry, wanting the race to be made shorter, the victory to come more quickly. This is the area of my faith into which I most seriously need to invest time and prayer.
2. Commitment to Christ – totally sold out. Giving everything to God. Dedicating every aspect of your life to God in every way. Defining every aspect of your life to fall into line for the service of God, for the worship of God to declare His greatness, to magnify His glory.
Relevant Bible verses: Matthew 22v36-40 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul…etc
This is my strongest point as a Christian. I made a commitment many years ago to live my life completely for God, and every so often an alert starts going off in my head that I might be slowly walking away, and I enthusiastically throw myself back into it. This is what powers my determination to live 100% for God, and to strive for excellence in all the other aspects listed here.
This does not mean that there is no room for improvement. God, please take me deeper, higher, purer, more desperate in my pursuit of You. Amen! 😉
3. Christlike character
This involves living the way Christ told us to – loving our enemies, forgiving those who hurt us, demonstrating “Agape” love (unconditional, selfless love) to everyone around us. It also involves striving after integrity to 100% (honesty, transparency, loving truth, justice), all the expressions of the fruit of the Spirit (love joy peace etc). And humility. SO MUCH humility. And many other characteristics.
Relevant Bible verses Matthew 5v3-12 – (The Beatitudes), the whole of Matthew 5, The whole of Matthew Chapters 5-7, Galatians 5v22-23; the whole Bible! 😉
This is one area which is a constant concern for me as a Christian. There are so many attributes to cultivate. I am stronger in some areas than in others. However, I have made up my mind to never, ever be satisfied with my level in any of them, and not to compare myself to the standards of other people around me, but rather to compare myself to excellence, or even perfection. Jesus said “Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect” Matthew 5v48. I know that I will never be perfect, however, it is still the standard that God holds out for us, to keep striving after. This is what I need to start SERIOUSLY pursuing in my life – love, honesty, truth, HUMILITY (not my strong point) FORGIVENESS (Ditto!). I am also learning to work a lot on my mind, to throw out negative attitudes as soon as they take shape in my mind or my heart and to instead replace them with God’s truth.
4.Knowing God – 1 Samuel 3v7-11 – When God spoke to Samuel
This means striving for intimacy with God, learning to hear Him when He speaks, listening to His voice in prayer, being constantly aware of His presence as I go through each day, cultivating conversations with Him.
I would be ashamed to admit my level in this aspect. This is why my faith sometimes feels like a theoretical, one-sided thing, rather than a living interaction with a living God. No point making excuses, but I do need to make a change – and I will! (By His grace)
5. The Mystery One!
There is one other aspect of pursuing God that I have identified as being crucial to my faith, and an essential characteristic for my husband. However, I am going to keep it to myself as it is not something I like to speak about. However, it is still essential both in my own walk, and in my evaluation of potential husbands – I would love to meet someone who also strives after this, as strongly as I do!
a. Bible – 2 Tim 3v16 – All Scripture given by inspiration of God; Hebrews 4v12: Word of God is living and powerful…”
In a way, knowing the Bible is not really a characteristic in itself, as it is bound up in all the other subdivisions – you read the Bible to learn Christ-like character, you read the Bible to learn to hear the voice of God etc. HOWEVER I have here decided to make it a specific characteristic anyway. That is, on top of reading and knowing the Bible for the purposes listed above, I desire to know the Bible inside out for its own sake, so that I know the Bible in its own right as the word of God. Once again, I would rather not talk about my current state of Bible knowledge. Rather, let me talk about what I would like concerning my Bible knowledge! I want to know this amazing Book inside out. I want to be totally saturated with God’s word, not just knowing it mentally, or interpreting it, which is a natural strength for me, but sowing it into my heart and mind so that my mind “naturally” springs forth with God’s word. I want to know what the Bible says, and how to “rightly divide the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2v15 – that is, how and where to apply each teaching, how to give correct weight to each scripture, etc
b. Prayer: Revelation 8v4; Luke 6v12; Acts 12v5; 2 Chronicles 7v14
Again, I think that a strong prayer life does not necessarily exist as a characteristic in and of itself, but is bound up with the other characteristics. However, once again, I would like to specifically make it a characteristic in its own right – a commitment to prayer for its own sake, because it is the means of communication with God. This involves many things – crying out to God, listening to God, praying the Bible. I am a little happier to discuss the state of my prayer life than my Bible life, however, it is still nowhere near good enough.
I clearly have a lot of work to do!
So this is a basic outline. I hope in future weeks to go into more detail on each of these aspects, except “The Mystery One”! 😉
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Corinthians 4v17
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory
Image of Jesus by Lee Wag on Public Domain Pictures