Greetings MOL Family!
In our last class of this series on the Christian home – preparing to establish a Christian home – and the lessons from the Sanctuary, in regard to the home, we’ll spend at least part of the time in answering some of the questions that were received. It’s a fine list of questions, and I believe the Lord will bless us as we look them over….
Questions & Answers
[As we have been studying] the 8th Commandment has much to do with guiding us in the matter of proper courtship practices; and so does the 5th Commandment. But in that same chapter in Messages to Young People, pointing out that “stealing the affections” is one of the wrong things in common courtship, the 5th Commandment is also called to our attention as bearing on proper practices. You can see that. The 5th Commandment, by inference, calls us to take our God-fearing parents into our counsel.
We’ll not answer these questions in any given order. I hope we can get through most of them. The first one:
[What is the difference between a “lady’s man” and a gentleman with manners?]
Maybe some think that, because we can’t associate freely, they are not supposed to be courteous. Well, I’m glad this was mentioned. You might notice this chapter that we spent some time on a while back in Adventist Home. Look at page 334:
Our sisters should encourage true meekness; they should not be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and unassuming, slow to speak. They may cherish courteousness. – Adventist Home, pg. 334
This is speaking about women; the question is about men. The same principle applies. It’s a wonderful thing when we can be courteous without being familiar, when we can be reserved with being discourteous. And, as I have pointed out, this is a part of maturing – to learn this balance. And it is not surprising if, occasionally, a young person, in seeking to avoid the ditch on this side, goes in the other ditch, or gets near it. So, as young men, we want to seek to be courteous, and yet not give women the idea that we are trying to give them special attention as individuals.
We’re seeking to be kind, courteous, but still reserved. Yes, I think there’s a lot of difference between being a “ladies man” – that is, a person who is known as being familiar with the ladies – and being a gentleman with manners.
Here’s a question: When young people do not court during school, isn’t it unlikely that very many will have opportunities to find someone to court. Will this plan produce many more single workers?
Part of the answer to this question is in what we studied in our previous lesson. The Lord wants some people to be married; He wants some to be single. However, following the principles that are outlined in the Testimonies of not trying to mix courtship and education does not mean that opportunities for courtship are limited. In God’s plan for young people, after they’ve had training, there is ample opportunity for courtship.
Young people who are trained for evangelistic work, or medical missionary work, or educational work, etc., as they enter upon their work associated with older workers, in many cases they are associated in companies. This is God’s ideal plan for younger workers, to enter into their experience with older workers. And this way they have the benefit of the counsel of older workers, and they also have the benefit of associating with groups of workers. And my observation has been that the Lord does not find it a problem to bring together those that He wishes to be married.
How much should providence play a role in each step toward marriage?
If I were wanting to give it mathematically, I’d say one-fourth. In Volume 5, page 512, you’ll find three great channels of guidance. (This is on life in general, not just this subject.) And by inference, another one is suggested there and brought out more clearly in other passages. The three channels of guidance are: God’s word, His providences, and the impressions of His Spirit. And the fourth is counsel. So, I would say, providence is one of four channels. How far should it lead in each step?
It should have a bearing on these steps. But what we call providence is not the determining factor; it’s only one.
Another question: How could Jesus permit Mary to linger in His presence?
I want to read you something very interesting on this from Desire of Ages. This is speaking of the feast in Simon’s house. You remember that, at that feast, Simon grew critical because Mary showed her appreciation of Christ, and her love and affection. Notice the Spirit of Prophecy comment on this:
It was Simon’s ignorance of God and of Christ that lead him to think as he did. He did not realize that God’s Son must act in God’s way, with compassion, tenderness, and mercy. – Desire of Ages, pg. 566
We must not think that Christ’s action in this matter is in every way an example to us. “Ah,” someone says, “but wasn’t He our example?” Yes, in some ways. But, in this very relationship, you will notice that Christ accepted worship on a number of occasions. On the resurrection day, various ones worshipped Him. Is He our example in that? Are any of us to accept worship from somebody?
And so, we must distinguish in the life of Christ between those attitudes and actions which are examples, where He was acting as a human being and those other attitudes and actions which represent the divine Son of God, far above all the level of human example. And so, in Christ’s attitude toward Mary, we must remember that He was God, and He was accepting as God, not in our place.
Another question: How can emotion be kept out of one’s life, clear through courtship?
Well, that’s probably neither possible nor necessary. Let’s take a reference here. In Adventist Home,
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. – Adventist Home, pg. 43
There is a world of difference between no emotion at all and emotion leading. And it is impossible for two young people to associate together in courtship without their emotions being affected. The question is not whether the emotions are affected, but how they’re going to be expressed. Young people who understand these principles, and who love God, will control the expression of those affections and emotions until God’s time when things are settled.
Stated in another way, here are two young people in courtship. They’re trying to find out whether it is God’s will for them to be married or not. As they associate together, they’re getting acquainted with each other’s tastes, ambitions, background, principles, convictions, etc. It is very natural (if each looks upon what they learn as favorable) for a feeling of affection to develop for each other. The danger is that the affection will be expressed while they’re still supposedly “weighing things.”
This is something like looking at an item to be purchased in the store – something important, needing days or weeks to decide. But suppose that in the middle of that process, I get the impulse, ‘Oh, I want this. I know I want it. So, I’m not going to get any more counsel. Here it is. I’m going to take it right now.’ This happens all the time. It happens in buying things, and it happens in courtship and marriage.
So, it is not a question of keeping emotion out of courtship, it’s a matter of keeping these emotions under control, and not allowing them to lead us ahead of judgment. I’m anxious that this be very clear. There’s ample place for love, for emotion, for feeling drawn together, but that must be controlled until reason and judgment, sanctified by the Holy Spirit and guided by counsel, have arrived at a full conclusion.
The emotional nature is not to lead; but it will follow all right. No problem at all. It will follow right along, if God is leading. Ah, my friends, the sweetest love in the world is when two young people have fully satisfied God, and their counselors, and their own good judgment that the reasons for this union are ample.
Here’s an interesting question that I was glad somebody asked: Will we have to be on guard in Heaven, or will desire be taken away?
Neither one. We won’t have to be on guard, and desires won’t be taken away. One of the most beautiful statements in all inspiration, to me, is this one in Great Controversy:
There the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together ‘the whole family in heaven and earth’ (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed. – Great Controversy, pg. 677
There’s an analogy between this and our enjoyment of food. We all have certain foods that we enjoy. Do we, in this life, have to guard our appetites so we don’t overeat, or that we don’t eat between meals, or that we don’t eat too fast? Yes.
Well, we look forward to Heaven. What are we going to do there? Are we going to have to keep holding ourselves in check all the time, or will desires be taken away? Do you think when we pass a tree that we’re going to only wish we could eat from it? On the other hand, do you think we’re going to lose our appetite? No, neither one.
In this life, we learn so to keep everything under control that, eventually, we love everything God loves and are not interested in anything that is the slightest deviation. This is a matter of habit, under the work of the Holy Spirit. And everybody has learned something about this. Aren’t there some things in which God has taught you that appetites or desires or emotions or passions or impulses can be brought under control in such a way that it no longer is a pain to keep them under control? Haven’t we all experienced that? Everything in life can be that way.
I can illustrate it another way. In medical missionary work, of us work with patients, who are trying to get away from cigarettes or alcohol. And there are people who are quitting cigarettes that it takes all they’ve got to keep away from one for 10 minutes. Do you think that man is going to have to go all through eternity in Heaven with that? No. Even in this life, people can come to the place where that thing is completely under control, and they enjoy being lifted above the cigarette smoking.
And so it is with everything in life that God has given us. When we follow His instructions, we’re on a road that leads, sooner or later, to the place where we are doing exactly what we want, and yet it’s what God wants. I ought to state it the other way: We are doing exactly what God wants, and yet it’s what we want.
Here is a nice question: Are we to look only on the outward or only on the inward appearance in thinking of a mate? Or both?
I’m glad there’s room for both, aren’t you? It would certainly be foolish to look only on the outward, wouldn’t it? The Lord tells us about the inner man of the heart, speaking of women and their beauty. But you know, dear friend, I’ll tell you something interesting: God’s choice for you, whether it be a young man or a young woman, the first time you saw that person might not attract you particularly in a physical way. But if that individual is God’s choice for you, and that choice is found out through proper counseling, prayer, study, and proper association, the time will come when that person will be the best-looking person in all the world to you. You don’t have to worry about that at all. On the other hand, if you pick out somebody merely for their looks, you may be disappointed.
Here is a very good question: Now that I know what is supposed to be done, how can I put these principles into practice?
The key is in the thoughts. Words, actions, attitudes – these reveal the thoughts of the heart.
Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23
‘Gird up the loins of your mind,’ says the apostle, then control your thoughts, not allowing them to have full scope. The thoughts may be guarded and controlled by your own determined efforts. Think right thoughts and you will perform right actions…. Jesus has purchased you with his own life. You belong to Him. Therefore, He is to be consulted in all things as to how the powers of your mind and the affections of your heart shall be employed. – Adventist Home, pg. 54
I think that’s beautiful, don’t you? Dear friends, if we let this be a part of our daily devotions – asking God to control our thoughts, control the feelings and impulses of the soul, we can be men and women who have full possession of the mastery.
Here’s another question: If God has only one mate for me, what happens if that one dies?
God looks to the future. When I discussed this, I did not mean that there was only one person in all the world that someone could make a success in marriage with. If a spouse should die, God may have another one as a second companion. There’s nothing wrong with that. Elder Haskell’s first wife was a great blessing to him in his ministerial work. His second wife, whom he married several years after the death of his first wife, was a wonderful help to him in his Bible work, his literary work.
I’d like to suggest one thing that I didn’t get much time on in this class – the lessons we can learn from the veils with respect to dress, particularly the modesty in dress. The purpose of the veils was not to reveal; it was to conceal. And the purpose of the concealing was not that there was something shameful going on in there, it was something too glorious for the gaze of the common herd. And the intimacies of married life, the physical attractions involved, are not for the public.
They belong in the Most Holy Place. And Christian dress, like the veils, is to conceal rather than to reveal. We can all study many analogies from the sanctuary regarding the Christian home. Remember, this course is just an introduction. But in Adventist Home, Ministry of Healing, Messages to Young People, along with the Bible, you have material enough to keep studying on these subjects the rest of your life. Share these things with others.
We’re in a wonderful hour. And you are destined to be those wonder youth that are for signs in Israel, in this world!
Next week, we will continue on with our class rotation – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then… Maranatha!
In our last class, we mentioned that we have a special token of appreciation for some of our faithful readers!
The following link is a comprehensive (“open book”) exam, over the last 15 lessons of this Christian Home series. For the first married individual who submits their test answers, you will receive a FREE copy of our “Revival & Reformation Begins In The Home” DVD series (save $70)! And, to the first unmarried student, you will receive a FREE copy of our “Christian Courtship & Marriage” DVD series (save $32)! Maranatha!!! >> Download Exam [or, click here for the Word’ file]
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.