Here are 3 common lies God will expose in someone’s life before he will bless them with a godly marriage.
1. God Is Telling You to Reject the Lie: “If I Do the Opposite of What I Want to Do, This Will Be God’s Will for Me and Then God Will Bless Me with a Spouse for Following Him”
The will of God can be simultaneously the easiest thing to understand and one of the most complex. On one hand, it is incredibly easy to figure out God’s will because everything that happens can be considered God’s will and everything that does not happen is not God’s will. These statements are biblically accurate; however, they are also biblically simplistic.
God’s sovereign will does not negate man’s free will, but it does work through it. God’s plan will really happen and humans really do make meaningful choices that have both good and bad consequences. I’ve talked about the will of God at length in my book called The One: How to Know and Trust God’s Sovereign Plan for Your Future Marriage, so my point in bringing all this up right now is not to explain all this or to try to unpack these truths.
My point now is to just point out how complicated it can feel when trying to figure out God’s will for your life and relationships. One bad tactic that many people adopt in an effort to simplify all this is to believe that your will is always the opposite of God’s will, and thus if you want to follow God’s will all you need to do is the opposite of what you naturally want to do.
So if you are a single man who likes a woman named Sarah, to follow God’s will you will try to not like Sarah and let her go so that God will bless you with the one he does have for you. Or if you are single woman and you really want to be married one day, you may try to forsake your desire for marriage and run from every relationship opportunity because then you feel God will bless you for rejecting your will and following his will.
But this is a false belief. Certainly when it comes to the sinful nature our desires are always the opposite of what God wants. But when we are living in the new nature, God often actually directs us through the desires he gives us. So rather than rejecting your desire for marriage, God will often have you embrace that desire because he is the one who gave it to you as a way of moving you towards marriage because his will is for you to be married one day.
For example, in Acts 21 Paul’s friends were pleading with him not to go to Jerusalem because they feared he would be harmed there. But Paul resisted their pleas and in Acts 21:14 it states, “And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’” Paul’s desire to go to Jerusalem was confirmation that this was a part of “the will of the Lord” being done.
2. God Is Telling You to Reject the Lie: “If I Stop Looking, That’s When God Will Cause Me to Meet My Future Spouse”
As Christians we know the importance of motives. Throughout the Bible we are taught that if we do something good with a bad motive this is still a sin. God always looks at the heart and not just the outwards appearance of things (1 Samuel 16:7).
It’s a mistake, however, to take these truths about motives and then form the false belief that your actions no longer matter. The importance of right motives in the Bible should never diminish the dual importance of right actions as well.
Many people try to solve the issue of wrong motives by stopping the action they were doing with the wrong motives. For example, if you know your motives are rooted in idolatry as you search for a Christian spouse to marry, you could be tempted to repent by no longer looking for a spouse. But that is the wrong solution. In this example, looking for a Christian spouse is not bad. Your motives are the issue. So if your motives are the issue you should seek to change your motives and not your actions.
Notice what Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:1-18. Matthew 6:1 is like the thesis statement for the next 17 verses. Here Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus is pointing out the dangers of having a bad motive in your good works. In verses 2-4 he applies this truth to serving the poor. In verses 5-15 he applies these truths to prayer. And in verses 16-18 he applies these truths to fasting. In each of these passages he points out the danger of doing these good things with the bad motive of being seen by other people to be praised by them.
But clearly Jesus is not saying to stop helping the poor, stop praying, and stop fasting. Rather, he is saying that when you do these things, choose to do them with the right motive – “to please your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). Lest there be any confusion to all this, all you need to do is compare Matthew 6:1 with Matthew 5:16 which states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
In Matthew 6:1 Jesus said to be careful when you do your good deeds in front of others, but now in Matthew 5:16 Jesus said to do your good works in front of others. So what gives? The motive is the key. Jesus is not saying to not do good works. He is saying not to do good works with a bad motive. He is saying do good works in front of others and do this with a good motive – to bring glory to God.
Likewise, if you are searching for a spouse with a bad motive, searching for a spouse is not your issue. Your bad motive is. Don’t think that God will give you the results of a good action if you simply stop doing that good action but have a good motive. No, you need both – good actions and good motives. If you just wait for someone to find you, the odds of you getting married are very slim.
You will be an equal partner in your future marriage, and you also have an equal role in helping your future marriage come into existence as well.
3. God Is Telling You to Reject the Lie: “If I Don’t Do Everything Perfect, I Will Never Meet The One God Has for Me”
This is not the article to fully explain what the Bible says about man’s free will and God’s sovereignty. But I would like to take a moment to mention some observations I’ve made over the years about people on the different sides of this debate.
Those who overly emphasize the importance of man’s free will often times ironically become the ones who do the least moving and acting. On the surface you would thing that someone who believes most of what happens depends on their actions would thus be very active because so much depends on them. But when this plays out in real life, the opposite often actually occurs. Because they believe so much depends on their every word, their every mannerism, and their every action – they end up getting paralyzed in fear because they feel they need to do everything perfectly in order to follow God’s will. When you start taking on God’s burden for running the world, you will be crushed under this weight of responsibility God never equipped you to carry.
I’m not trying to diminish the importance of your actions. I talked about that in point 2 of this article. All I’m pointing out is that if you don’t believe God is sovereign enough to accomplish his will, you will end up frozen in fear. Perfectionism always creates paralysis because the human mind can’t operate freely with the false belief that everything depends on every little decision we make.
Your actions matter, but you do not need to be perfect in every way to receive the blessings God has for you. You will make mistakes when you meet, date, and marry the one God has for you one day. You will not marry someone once you’ve played your cards perfectly. Of course you will need to act in faith, but ultimately God will bring about his will for your life by his power.
There’s a reasons Romans 8:28 has brought peace to millions of minds, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
So act in faith. Do what you sense God calling you to do. But do not believe the lie that you must be perfect to receive God’s will for your life. God’s power is great enough to accomplish his will even when we are imperfect. This is not an excuse to sit still. Rather, it is the reason we can step out in faith because we know God will use our actions to accomplish his will.