Posted by Abigail
“It is not good for man to be alone,” God said, surveying His highest creation. “I will make a helper suitable for him.” Putting Adam to sleep, He took a rib from his side and fashioned a woman. Truly a match made in heaven.
But in a world filled with more than one man, how can we know whose helper we are meant to be? In the tale of the Three Weavers, Huberta flirted with many and ultimately fell short of the standard for a prince. Hertha settled for a handsome page until she discovered him to be less than perfect. How did Hildegarde keep her heart pure, control her emotions and wait patiently for her true prince? She kept ever before her the silver yardstick which her father had given.
Many Christian girls seem all too willing to “settle” and cast a critical eye over their choice only after taking the plunge. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” seems the only standard in scripture-a pitifully low standard for manhood, though slightly higher than that of paganism. If you were created to be a suitable helper, are you willing to wait for a suitable husband? It wasn’t until Adam had been placed in the middle of God’s garden (his work field) that God brought Eve to him. Wisdom and scripture stand witness to the powerful service that a suitable husband/wife team may have. Priscilla and Aquila trained Apollos in the truth of Jesus Christ. Francis and Edith Schaeffer opened their home to scores of wounded souls. The sphere of a godly single man and a godly single woman combine to create manifold sphere of ministry. A husband and wife together may enter the house of a single woman, adopt orphaned children or open their door to a drunk man. Do you desire to serve the Living God as a married woman? Marry a man who is serving God. Do you desire to raise a family that glorifies God? Settle for nothing less in choosing the leader of your family than God’s standard for those who will one day lead in His family.
Paul gave his disciple, Timothy, some clear qualifications for the men who lead God’s household. “He must be above reproach, married once…not a new convert…he must have a good reputation with those outside the church…holding to the faith with a clear conscience.” (Please take a look at 1 Timothy 3:1-10 to put the rest of this article in context.) The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 had a husband who was known in the gates-as he sat among the elders of the land. The virtuous young woman is willing to wait for the man who will prove himself qualified to serve the Lord. Measured by the silver yardstick, her husband must measure up to every last inch demanded by scripture:
- Reputation: He should be above reproach. No accusation will stick because he lives his life with such purity that everyone knows his high morals. Those who work with him and around him can speak no evil of him unless it concerns his love for God (as Daniel experienced). Don’t be afraid to ask! Many men tell dirty jokes or flirt on the job. I know women who have discovered, after marriage, the pornography, drug or alcohol addictions that others could have told them before. Wait for the man who has been tested and has proven his character.
- Purity: His sins are as far removed as East is from West and yet the Lord is clear that a divorced man commits adultery when he remarries. A godly man’s current state should be radical purity-fornication in the past may be cleansed, adultery in the present (by remarriage) becomes a guilt you share. Wait for the man who asks you to be his only wife.
- Faith: He should be rooted and grounded in Jesus, having proven his obedience, his stability through time and his understanding of the commands of Christ. Many fiery young Christians swing back and forth between legalism and lawlessness in the course of their early conversion. Some are too quickly elevated and fall into sin or pride. Wait for the man who has slowed the pendulum to a right division of God’s word and an accurate understanding of God’s ways.
- Leadership: He should have learned to discover and become able to teach truth, demonstrating a love for God’s Word and a lifestyle of obedience to it. For the health of your relationship with him and with other believers he should understand Biblical discipline and accountability, and embrace Biblical roles. God commands husbands to wash their wives with the water of the Word. Wait for the man who will take your hand and lead you in pursuit of the Holy One.
- Hospitality: He should be willing to open his home to believers for fellowship and unbelievers for outreach. He must understand that he is to imitate Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, not to the healthy, but to the sick, not to invite those who could repay, but those who couldn’t and who is preparing His home for us above. The home is the epic center of ministry-a haven for all who enter, a rest for strangers, a hospital for the broken. Wait for the man who will open his door and heart to those whom Jesus loves and who will take up the basin and towel to serve his guests.
- Generosity: The man of God is not driven by money. Instead, he is a diligent worker, joyfully serving the Lord in whatever he does and eager to share whatever the Lord provides. Remember that he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord repays with great interest! Wait for the man who stretches out his hand to the poor and shares his bread with the hungry.
- Self-control: Evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is an essential. He should not be easily angered or offended, given to conceit, wasteful of time, money or other resources, given to addiction or gluttony. He seeks to be at peace with those around him, keeps his emotions from ruling his tongue. Wait for the man whose every action and word demonstrates his sense of responsibility as God’s steward.
- Humility: Does he accept correction from God’s word? Does he shun glory for himself? Is he slow to consider his opinion or feelings weighty? Does he admire and defer to older men? God gives grace to the humble. He dwells with the humble. He commands us to associate with the lowly. The conceited understands nothing. Pride goes before destruction. Wait for the man who owns his complete dependency on God for everything-his character, his life, his livelihood.
- Commitment: When you marry, you marry for life and you promise to honor and obey, to joyfully join in your husband’s decisions and visions. He should not be hasty to make decisions or commitments, but careful, wise and willing to stand by his word, even if it hurts him. Wait for the man who has demonstrated that his word is good-the man you can trust to keep his vows to you forever.
Wisdom and scripture speak also of the blessing in honoring your parents, in seeking their counsel, their wisdom. Run to your father and share with him your desires, your goals, and your standards. If he loves the Lord, he will be delighted to encourage and uphold you. With revelation comes accountability. Is he not obedient to the Lord? Does he seem to discard your convictions? Still he should know for whom you wait. And perhaps your silver yardstick may become a standard to which he will aspire. Or one which he can respect. One which he can recognize as a wise choice for you. At least you will have offered him the responsibility he should accept. If the Lord can turn a king’s heart like water, can turn the Red Sea to dry land and turn the tide of history for His glory and for the good of those who love Him, He can work through your parents, no matter who they are. Wait for the man who has gained your parent’s full confidence.
Do you find the yardstick so tall that you think you could never measure up to be the partner of such a man? My sisters, may I remind you that your faithful waiting is the very tool by which the Lord can fashion you into a woman of worth. All too often I have seen a young woman eagerly clutching the silver yardstick in her youth only to lay it aside when the waiting became irksome. Trust the Father who has never yet deceived you. Your faithfulness while waiting will prove you faithful in marriage. Your commitment in singleness is honoring your wedding day vows. You are worth the price you place on your forehead. Set it high and accept no lower offers. In the meanwhile, seek the Father’s training to teach you to weave a mantle suitable.
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