As mentioned in my previous blog, to experience a successful dating life and eventual marriage, Christian singles need to first understand the divine purposes of marriage. In our book, we discuss how the enemy has ravaged our culture and erected many obstacles, fears, mindsets and wrong beliefs about marriage and even, dating, so that we’ve become messed up around this thing called lifelong marriage. And, we believe, that for most people, greatly extended and prolonged singleness is not His will for most.
With few exceptions, God has created us all to flourish and eventually function fully within a lifelong covenant or sacrament of marriage. If you desire to marry, then God has put that desire there and wants to help you prepare for a fulfilling life partnership.
Now, let’s go back to that Genesis 2 passage that begins to describe the intent of Kingdom marriage, with the words, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” Today, I’ll examine five of God’s main purposes for marriage, in random order:
- Friendship: God has designed marriage for companionship, or friendship. You’ve likely heard some people say that “you want to marry your best friend,”… which is a powerful truth. Though some may not be absolute best friends when they start out in marriage, God desires that couples become, and live their married lives as best friends. They’re to know each other intimately. He wants people that understand each other’s struggles and fears, and help one another overcome them. He also wants couples to share their deepest dreams and to support and pray for each other so those dreams come to pass. Of course, to fully become these kinds of friends, you have to both know and love Jesus, and have decided to follow Him. He is the one that empowers and fuels such lifelong, covenant friendships. The second purpose of marriage is…
- Kingdom Stewardship (or, what I referred to in my last blog as a Kingdom Marriage perspective): God gave Adam and Eve the job of tending or caring for the garden. They became stewards of earth. In other words, God designed marriage so that a man and a woman would come together around something larger than themselves.
Christian teacher, John Mark Comer says, “If the point of your marriage is your marriage, it will self- destruct. If the point of your relationship is your relationship, it’s only a matter of time before the wheels come off.” God has designed marriage to exist for something far larger than itself. Together couples have a high purpose of seeking first Christ’s Kingdom and His righteousness, something Jesus called His followers to. We’re called to share His good news, disciple all people and extend His kingdom. The third purpose of marriage is…
- Sexuality: God has created us as sexual beings and He’s made marriage for the right outlet to enjoy and express that sexuality. We see single Christians falling into sexual temptation and sin all the time, largely because they are not really intentionally pursuing marriage, God’s outlet for sexuality. We were never designed to go through much of our life without a godly marriage and sexual relationship. When I was in Bible college, we would jokingly encourage each other in the pursuit of dating and marriage by quoting: “It’s better to marry than to burn with passion!” (1 Cor. 7:9) Next, let’s examine the forth purpose of marriage, as God commanded Adam and Eve in Genesis.
- Family: Be fruitful and multiply! You see, God wanted them to have children… this was one powerful way of extending God’s kingdom on the earth. By raising and discipling children in God’s ways, so their kids would also impact the world, disciple it, model God’s loving grace, and call people that are far from God into the arms of their loving heavenly Father. This is an awesome purpose.
Many singles don’t have this purpose in mind when dating. However, this is essential. If you are choosing a mate based on whether they meet some items on your list, make you feel good, is someone you’ve got lots in common with, or who you think is “hot,” you’re completely missed God’s plan. You want to marry someone that wants to fulfill God’s primary purposes for Kingdom marriage. Yes, I realize that more and more, singles are getting married later in life and sometimes aren’t able to have children any more. However, that still doesn’t stop that couple from adopting, taking on a foster child, becoming big brothers or sisters, and becoming spiritual parents to many children.
Even though Claudia and I have only been married a short time, God’s enabled us to become spiritual parents in one form or another, to hundreds. (God wants us to reproduce ourselves—He wants a return on His investment, by us raising God-loving children.) It’s going to take more than one man and woman to rule over the earth, to steward the earth and to extend His Kingdom, so all people will come to know the love and goodness of God.
Here’s two ways of discipling the earth—first, by reaching the lost and teaching them God’s ways; and, second, by reproducing natural children and teaching them God’s ways. The latter is often the easier route. Unfortunately, Christians are losing out dramatically to other religions in the world in this “birth-rate evangelism.” So, family is a serious part of our call, of God’s commission for us to extend His kingdom—He wants us to raise godly natural, and spiritual, children. The fifth and last purpose of marriage I want to mention is this…
- Becoming Christ-like: You see, marriage is one of the greatest ways God prepares us to become more like Jesus. He wants us to become like Him so we can represent Him and His message well. I have a good friend that I helped pray into marriage. I remember him calling me one day a few months after his wedding to lament something like this: “Kevin, I’m realizing that I am a selfish pig. In a marriage that I’m supposed to lay my life down for my wife, I’m seeing how I just think about myself most of the time.” Clearly, within the context of marriage, my friend had been confronted with an area of his life that was not Christ-like… something that would likely have not happened in such a dramatic way outside of marriage.
My wife and I have seen so many Christian singles living isolated lives with few, if any, intimate friendships, and understand why so few believers are entering into Christ-like maturity in their lives. When I married after many years of singleness, I needed to repeatedly reject my self-centered ways, so I could love me wife the way God had called me too. And, this process continues in that glorious partnership of God-ordained marriage.
A marriage partner can help you see your blind spots and lovingly help you overcome fears and weaknesses. However, God also wants to give loving marriage partners the ability to see your potential in Christ, the plans and calling God has for you, so he or she can pray for you, inspire you, and even challenge you to become all the God has called you to be. My wife brings out the best in me and also exposes the worst stuff in me, so I can become like Jesus.
This two-becomes-one synergy can be world changing. Scripture tells us that “One can chase a thousand but two (two in intimate oneness) can chase ten thousand!” (Deut. 30:30) So, marriage is a powerful vehicle to forming us into God- and people-lovers, as well as world changers. Yes, God can use other close relationships to accomplish this, but marriage is one of the most powerful means to us becoming like Jesus.
So, how will embracing these godly Kingdom marriage values change your life as a single person? First, they will give you a godly measuring stick in your dating season, and in the types of people you enter opposite sex courtships with. Sure, there are various qualities you need to look for in a potential mate.
However, if you can’t see the other person forming a great kingdom marriage, then you can move on. In other words, Kingdom marriage values move you from asking yourself the shallow type of questions those in the world tend to first ask, like, “Am I attracted to him/her?” “Is he/she fun to be with?” “Do we have chemistry?” “Do we have lots in common?” “Is he/she financially well off?” Not that those things aren’t of any value, but they are of minimal value in a Kingdom marriage. Remember, things like fun, chemistry, and common interests can be developed. Also, attraction can grow, and financial blessings can increase in the lives of believes that are Kingdom minded—Scripture tells us in the Matthew 6:33: “Seek first his kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”
So, as a Kingdom minded single, you’ll first be asking, as you come to know that other person, questions like this instead: “Is God and His kingdom most important to him or her? Can I develop a great friendship with this person? Does he or she have a higher purpose in life that mere comfort and a “nice” marriage just for the sake of pleasure or self-fulfillment? Can I see my life joining together with this other person to make a difference in the world for God? Is he or she growing as a self-less servant of God and others? Is this the kind of person that would make a great Kingdom parent to my children? Will he or she help me to fulfill my dreams and become like Jesus, and can I do the same for him or her?
Many single Christians in our ministry have found this Kingdom marriage focus to revolutionize their dating life, turn them from selfless living, and help them to more quickly start making wise decisions in their own life and relationships.
*[You can find the video version of this blog here.]