What's Inside - Finding the Right One in Light of the Beatitudes
Posted by on
As a dad, I began early to seek God’s wisdom as to how I could best help guide my children through the dangerous minefields that line the selection process that leads to a blessed marriage. My mind flooded with questions. Could it be that the world's approach to dating and marriage has infected the church? Has romantic comedy replaced God’s Word as the model for finding a person to marry? Do the Scriptures point to a way for discovering God’s will in marriage? How can you know if the person you are courting is Mr. or Mrs. Right?
The one common area that I observed Christian singles falling short in was the selection process itself. Many seemed to be pursuing the right person in the wrong way. If asked, I believe most single believers would say that they are praying that God might bring them a godly Christian spouse. However, they often fail to ask crucial follow-up questions like, "What does a godly Christian look like? How can you discern a person who’s passionate about Christ?”
Several years ago while I was preparing for a college Bible study on our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, my mind began to drift back to these questions about marriage. Could it be that many young singles are repeating the error common in David's day where man looked on the outward appearance, but the LORD looked on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)? Is it possible that many young believers are confusing true godliness with nothing more than external, pharisaical religion?
Perhaps their eyes catch a handsome young man or an attractive young lady in a college Bible study. They are quick to notice that gold-initialed leather bound Bible in hand. They are excited to discover that their commitment is deeper than college meetings; they also faithfully attend the First Evangelical Church. When they later learn that this interesting person is also serving God by playing the keyboard during the worship service, they are absolutely certain that they have found their precious godly jewel. Because commitment is so rare today among professing Christians, it’s tempting to confuse any outward religious activity with true conversion.
If you truly desire to marry a godly person, you must be willing to look behind their outward displays of religion into the deep recesses of their heart. Remember our Lord’s sober warning, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
How can you know the true nature of a person’s spiritual heart? Ultimately, it’s impossible to fully know your own heart let alone that of another person. Scripture warns us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). However, God has given us the stethoscope of His Word to listen for a spiritual heartbeat. Where there is a heartbeat, there is life!
In the Beatitudes—the truths that open our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount—Jesus gives us eight heart attitudes found in all who have been saved by the grace of God. All eight of these character qualities will be present where God has imparted a new heart. Jesus tells us that these are the people who are eternally “blessed” or “happy.” If you want a truly happy marriage, you must first become a happy person whose life bears the spiritual fruit found in the Beatitudes. You must then trust God to lead you to a happy person to marry. You will recognize that happy person as one who embodies all of the Beatitudes. As God joins two happy lives together in marriage, they become one in God’s happiness!
Fathers, God has placed you in the important role of the spiritual head of your family. This role includes actively overseeing the courtship process of your children. It is my prayer that you might be men who faithfully labor for the souls and spiritual blessings of your sons and daughters. I would encourage you to go through these chapters with your children. Discuss with them their practical outworking in the life of your family. May our Lord equip and strengthen you for this high calling.
Christian singles, before you begin your pursuit of marriage, I encourage you to prayerfully apply each of these Beatitudes to your own life. Put the stethoscope of God’s Word up to your own heart and make sure that God has graced you with the fruit of His salvation.
Perhaps the greatest test you will face in your pursuit of marriage will be to humbly bow your will to the express will of your Heavenly Father. Like Eve, you might be tempted by the seductive attraction of the outward appearance. Don’t compromise! Keep tight reigns on your emotions that they don’t run ahead of wise counsel and the prayerful discernment of the heart. Trust the wisdom of both your earthly and heavenly Fathers. May our Lord’s Beatitudes become your companion and guide in discerning God’s pathway to your happiness and His glory!
This article comes from the Preface of the book, What’s Inside, Finding the Right One in Light of the Beatitudes — by Donald Thomas, published by Five Solas Press. One reviewer writes, "What's Inside…" is a wonderfully insightful and instructive resource. I would recommend it as a valuable read for Christian singles; their parents, grandparents, pastors, relatives, and friends. In addition, any member of the church family who influences teaches, and counsels youth would also most certainly benefit from this book's practical and easily relayed content. I will add that reading this book has a dual effect. Yes, it promises and delivers advice, insight, and biblical application for courtship and the marriage decision but in addition, the reader will find that they are held up to the Beatitude mirror as well; a convicting exercise and a good, healthy spiritual test of the faith.
Donald Thomas, has been the pastor-teacher of Trinity Bible Church in Powell, Wyoming since 1994. He received a Master’s Degree from Talbot Theological Seminary and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School. He practiced law in California and served as a professor at the Simon Greenleaf School of Law. He and his wife Mary have seven grown children and seventeen grandchildren.