Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back, as we continue our study sharing principles on how to experience heaven on earth, in the Christian home…
Resist Steadfast In The Faith
Our opening text has some inside information on how to best keep out of trouble:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith,… – 1 Peter 5:8-9
The devil is compared to a roaring lion. Does a lion roar all the time? No. He roars just about the time he is sure of his prey. Other times, he walks about stalking, watching, looking. He is a roaring lion, but he’s not roaring all the time. The point is, he is our adversary, and we are told to resist him – don’t go along with him. Here is a statement that I have read before, but it never impressed me so much as it has in getting ready for this class that we are going through.
It is Satan’s studied effort to secure the youth in sin; for then he is sure of the man. The enemy of souls is filled with intense hatred against every endeavor to influence the youth in the right direction. He hates everything that will give correct views of God and of Christ.” Messages to Young People, pg. 454
How does the devil feel about this class? He hates it. Yes he does – intense hatred. That’s all right. I have no desire to court his favor, have you? He is a lion, seeking whom he may devour. He knows if he can get the young people, he will have them as they get older.
Satan is constantly busy to hurry inexperienced youth into a marriage alliance….
Satan is busily engaged in influencing those who are wholly unsuited to each other to unite their interests. He exults in this work, for by it he can produce more misery and hopeless woe to the human family than by exercising his skill in any other direction. – Ibid., pg. 455
Think of it. Here are two people who, each one united with the proper one, could make a success. But if you put those two together, it produces misery and hopeless woe. So, the devil is studying all the time to get people who were never meant for each other to be married. That’s his business. Go to page 458, and you will find what his batting average is.
This kind of marrying and giving in marriage is one of Satan’s special devices, and he succeeds in his plans almost every time. – Ibid., pg. 458
Isn’t that pitiful, friends? The lion gets his prey almost every time. And he does it through this skillful, subtle plan of getting people who are not meant for each other tied together. Here is another statement a little more mathematically expressed:
There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 504
The devil succeeds how often? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred. No wonder he keeps at it. If you were trying to do something and succeeded ninety-nine times out of a hundred, wouldn’t you be really encouraged? Yes. Our text says resist. Thank God we don’t have to go the devil’s road. We do not have to listen to his lies. Thank God we have something better.
We are studying today some more on Christian courtship, and, as we have seen, Christian courtship is not play, to have some fun. It isn’t a game to see who wins. It isn’t a net to see who gets caught. It’s not a scheme. It is nothing of the kind. Christian courtship is a sincere effort on the part of two young people who, under proper counsel before and during courtship, are seeking to find out the will of God concerning their union. That is its purpose. Every step toward a marriage alliance is to be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Courtship is one of the steps, one of the very important steps.
I think of the way things are done conventionally. Young men who can hardly pay their tuition will lay out all kinds of money for orchids and chocolate candy and valentine boxes, and formals, and on and on. But every step is to be characterized by modesty and simplicity and sincerity. Do you know what sincerity means? It means genuine – that you mean what you say and say what you mean. It is the opposite of “put on.” So much of conventional courtship is pretense, fraud. But Christian courtship is genuine. In other words, be yourself. Don’t try to think, “Now, what image am I supposed to project? What am I supposed to look like? How am I supposed to act?” If the other party gets you because you pretend to be something you are not, and then finds out that you weren’t that at all, somebody is going to be disappointed. Maybe two people.
It’s a wonderful thing to just be yourself. And if that means somebody doesn’t like you, ok. At least they know it, and you know it. God has something for you to do, but He never intended for you to pretend to be something that you’re not in order to win something.
Do NOT Love Blindly
I have something very interesting to study with you the question, Does emotion lead or follow? Love is not simply emotion, but I wouldn’t say that there is no emotion. When God has led people together and they are married, they love each other. And while it’s a deep principle, there is also emotion. There is no problem about that at all. They feel love for each other. The problem is that so many people fall in love before they ever get to marriage or even engagement.
I want to say something, and this is more than a play on words. You don’t fall upwards. Right? And the falling in love that people talk about so many times is falling – it’s infatuation. This doesn’t mean that there is not real feeling for each other in the Christian plan. But the question is, when should it come? When should the emotions be allowed to have a part? This is a very important question.
If there is any subject that should be considered with calm reason and unimpassioned judgment, it is the subject of marriage. If ever the Bible is needed as a counselor, it is before taking a step that binds persons together for life. But the prevailing sentiment is that in this matter the feelings are to be the guide. – Messages to Young People, pg. 447
Where does a guide go? Before. This says that the prevailing sentiment is that feelings are to be the guide. What does that mean? Well, that means young people associate together and fall for each other. And that is supposed to mean that they are meant for each other. Does this paragraph endorse that idea? Oh, no.
In too many cases love-sick sentimentalism takes the helm and guides to certain ruin. – Ibid
Would you conclude that feelings in the proper plan are to guide or to follow? They are to follow.
While you may love, do not love blindly. – Ibid., pg. 449
In other words, look first.
True love is a plant that needs culture. Let the woman who desires a peaceful, happy union, who would escape future misery and sorrow, inquire before she yields her affections. – Ibid., pg. 450
Then it lists the questions the woman is to ask, and she is to ask these questions before she yields her affections. Can you control your affections, or is that just something that happens to you, and you catch it like the measles? You see, if it’s something that just happens to you, then there’s no point in this sentence. The Christian woman is to raise these questions before she yields her affections. You mean your choice has something to do with it? Can control your affections? You can if you’ve learned how. If you do not know how, it might be difficult. You can’t ride a bicycle unless you have learned how. In God’s plan, the affections are supposed to be under control. They are not to lead; they are to follow.
Boys and girls enter upon the marriage relation with unripe love, immature judgment, without noble elevated feelings, and take upon themselves the marriage vows, wholly led by their boyish, girlish passions. – Ibid., pg. 452
They are led by their feelings, their impulses. They are physically and mentally led. I remember years ago I heard a young man say, “My motto is to obey that impulse.” That’s what he did; that’s the way he ate; that’s the way he went with girls. Is this the Christian’s motto? Decidedly not. Thank God we have something better than impulse. Talking about infatuation:
All that can be said by men and women of experience proves ineffectual; it is powerless to change the decision to which their desires have led them. – Ibid., pg. 457
But advice is only thrown away on those who are determined to have their own way. Passion carries such individuals over every barrier that reason and judgment can interpose. – Ibid., pg. 459
Suppose we have a powerful animal in a corral. Something happens that stirs him up, and he wants to get out. But there’s a fence all around. Did you ever see an animal jump a fence? Or tear down a fence? What is it that will cause people to jump every barrier? Passion, impulse – physical and mental, sentimental, infatuation, desire.
We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not Himself. I would not be understood to mean that anyone is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be sin. But fancy and the emotional nature must not be allowed to lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections. – Ibid., pg. 460
Is there a time for love? Yes. And it’s to be before marriage. But the feeling we call love is not to lead in choosing a mate. The danger is not that you will marry somebody you don’t love. The danger is that you will fall in love with somebody you were never meant to marry. That’s the danger, and that’s why the barriers are set up in this matter. We have read a number of times in this course that love is the gift of God. Do you believe that?
If, by good sense and wise counsel and prayer, you are led to the partner of God’s choice, do you think He will do all that leading and then refuse to give you the gift of love? No, that’s absurd. Divine love which comes at the proper time to the proper people is worth more than all the world’s infatuation. Few people know about it because they are led the other way. Remember, love is a vital part of this series of experiences that lead to marriage. But all these references show that our feelings are not to lead. If they don’t lead, they are supposed to follow.
Did you ever have difficulty with a dog that wouldn’t follow? I have watched it many times. A dog loves to go for a walk with somebody, but he wants to run ahead. He runs and the trail divides. He takes it for granted that we are going onto the left fork, and off he goes. Pretty soon, he finds that we are over on the right fork. The dog at least has enough sense to backtrack. Sometimes people can’t do that. They are led by their feelings. Feelings are like the dog; they are supposed to follow. If they get out of hand and run ahead, don’t let that decide which trail you take. Don’t let the dog run you. You be the master. That is what God gave you a brain for, wisdom, good sense, judgment. And that’s why He gave you counselors. Because, may I tell you friends, if there is any subject in all human experience where your own judgment is not sufficient, this is it. If there is any subject in which you need the counsel of others, this is it.
I hear young people say, “We’ve prayed about it.” Bless your hearts. But do you suppose that just praying over something is all there is to it? No. That isn’t enough.
On this rock thousands have made shipwreck of their souls. Professed Christians, whose lives are marked with integrity, and who seem sensible upon every other subject, make fearful mistakes here. – Ibid., pgs. 447-448
Think of it. Here is a young man who is a good Christian. He has good judgment on most subjects. He gets into this experience and may make a fearful mistake. Does that mean that there is no way to be sure? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. We are studying the rules by which we can be certain.
I want to take you through some interesting counsel covering these same pages on this question of courtship.
Let those who are contemplating marriage weigh every sentiment and watch every development of character in the one with whom they think to unite their life destiny. – Ibid., pg. 435
Notice that part of the courtship program is to weigh every sentiment. This comes back to the matter of sincerity. You must be yourself. You are being weighed. If you were trying to weigh the other person, wouldn’t you want them to be sincere? You would not marry for money. But if you did, wouldn’t you be disappointed if the person acted like a millionaire and put on a pretense, and you found out it was all borrowed money? There are other things to borrow besides money. Some young men borrow automobiles to make an impression. Some girls borrow dresses to make an impression. Be yourself. And as you associate with the other party in courtship, weigh every sentiment and watch every development of character. One of the great purposes of courtship is to get acquainted and to see if this is God’s purpose for you.
Page 438 of Messages to Young People warns against missing religious meetings in order to engage in courtship. It cautions against sitting up late at night. It is not pleasing to God. It injures health and unfits the mind for the next day’s duties, and has the appearance of evil. Move, it says, with deliberate caution.
Praise the Lord (Our God, Who is Love) for His divine counsel, on such an important subject as Christian courtship and marriage. Next week, we will be continuing on with our class rotation. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then… Maranatha!
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.