Read Romans 2… the whole thing, but pay particular attention to these verses:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4)
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24)
Contrary to popular belief, this blog is not about gay rights. Instead, I’d like to make an outrageous claim: are you currently looking for Mr. Right? Stop! Don’t go any further, instead start looking for Mrs. Right.
Recently I was Skyping with my spiritual director when our conversation turned to an area of my life I’ve been giving a lot of thought to. Sometimes we give off the appearance of growth despite the fact that we aren’t really growing. Here’s what I mean:
Lots of girls out there want to find the man of their dreams. They pray about their future husband and they actively search for him. Many girls have this longing to be romanced, but not by any ordinary guy – an extraordinary prince who will sweep her off her feet. There are many wonderful Christian and secular books out there about how to find and keep a guy, how to have a good marriage, and what boundaries within dating look like. However, there are not nearly enough books or articles out there about finding Mrs. Right. Because, you see, before God can bring Mr. Right into your life, He first needs you to become Mrs. Right – a woman after His own heart. Just like you want to date a man not a boy, so God wants you to passionately romance Him as a fully mature woman, not a little girl.
You see, so often as women we fall prey to high expectations. We assume our man should fit a long list of criteria: he should be Godly. Are you Godly? He should be a man of prayer and the Word. Are you a woman of prayer and do you engage in Scripture reading on a daily basis? He should be involved in church. Are you not only going to church, but actively seeking ways to be part of the church and to do outreach to others? He should be kind, loving, and patient. What’s your attitude level like – how do you respond when someone asks you to do a task you think is “beneath you”? He should be a family man. How are you handling the family God has already given you (NOT the family that is hopefully to come – not thinking about raising your future kids, but the family you have right now. How are you doing with honouring and respecting your parents? How are you doing with keeping your brothers and sisters in prayer?) He should be totally in love with us. Are you self-centered or other centered – do you always need to be the centre of attention or can you step outside long enough to allow someone else to enjoy the limelight?
This past week, there was a young man who was pursuing me quite intensely. He seems to be a wonderful man, although not my type so I broke it off. He did all the things you’re supposed to do when you pursue a girl – ask her for a date, ask for her number, and try to get to know her. However, just like so many others guys out there he thought he knew me a whole lot better than he really did a whole lot sooner than he really should have. Within the first week of his pursuit, he already began calling me intimate names like “honey” and “sweetheart” and all I was tempted to say was “honey, you ain’t hardly know me!”
When you’re in that position, it’s easy to become frustrated or flustered, however, we do this to God on a quite regular basis. When we’re with others we may refer to God on very intimate terms – we may give off the appearance that we and God are close. We may talk about our personal spiritual lives as if there’s really something there. Then when the door is closed and the lights are off, we realize how much we really don’t know Him. I have done this many times myself so I write this post without judgement. In the past, people thought I was super spiritual because I was involved in church, serving as a pastor, writing up Christian blogs, and attending seminary. I would always post Christian messages, theological rants, or Bible verses on my Facebook wall, but in reality, I was not engaging nearly enough with prayer or Scripture reading. I knew God on the superficial level – I could tell you a few of His likes and dislikes and a few attributes of His characteristics, but I didn’t really KNOW God in that intimate sense – the way a husband knows his wife. I spent time with God the way you would a casual acquaintance – sure God, I have 30 minutes to spare for a casual lunch with You, not the way a girlfriend pursues time with her boyfriend where she simply can’t get enough of it. God and I had fallen into a routine – not the excitement of getting to know one another in different settings and with different types of people. I was essentially calling God “Honey” when He was probably thinking “Honey, you ain’t barely know Me! I’d love to romance you even more, I’d love to take you on a date, I’d love to really get to know you and have you really get to know Me. But you’re not willing. Where’s that hot, blazing inferno of love you had when we first started this relationship? Why is it now replaced by cold, hard indifference? Did I do something wrong? Why can’t you feel like you can talk to me? Why did I have to find out that you were going on that shopping date from your best friend – you never even mentioned that when you rushed off this morning without saying goodbye.”
See, lots of us WANT a relationship with God – we WANT that sense of closeness and connection, but few of us are really willing to put in the work it will take. When a man and a woman get to know each other, it takes time. For the most part, unless you’re having an arranged marriage, you don’t consent to marry that guy the minute you meet him. You need to know about him first. You’re willing to put in the hard work of pursuing love even if you might lose everything in the end. You’re willing to make a fool of yourself to let him know where you stand. But oftentimes with God, we don’t pursue Him with that same level of holy intensity and reverent foolishness. We’d rather talk to a colleague who barely knows us, than have an intimate moment with Him.
Sometimes we look at our friends and we think “wow, that person is so Godly. I wish I could have a relationship with God the way they do. I wish I could pursue God just as passionately.” You know why that person is close to God? Because they took the time to really get to know Him. They asked His opinion on everything. Nothing was too trivial or too foolish to bring before Him. They read the Bible, yes, but it wasn’t just a five minutes and I’m outta here type of deal, they read and re-read His message as a love letter. The way you would hold on tightly to a love letter from a lover abroad who you only hear from once a month because it takes too long to get the message. They prayed the way a woman talks to her husband when he’s abroad – holding on to every word and every moment because each call is precious and expensive. If you’re not willing to put in even half of that effort, then I’m sorry, but Honey, you will barely ever know Him.
Becoming Mrs. Right means thinking about the kind of person you want your husband to be for you and then working on ways to become that type of wife to him. It means self-improvement, but more than that, it means God-improvement. Before you start even looking for that man, start looking within yourself. Notice there are things you need to work on first, and only then, God in His perfect timing will bring the right person along. The type of person where you can truly say “Honey, I REALLY know you” and mean it. Grace and light for your journey.