Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our study on The Christian Home! God has planned our lives from eternity. He has planned every detail of our lives. And as surely as there is a place for us in Heaven, there is a special place for each of us to fill in His work…
To Please & Honor God
We conclude from this thought that God has a special one in mind, to be a companion to any worker He has chosen. This, of course, is provided that it’s God’s plan for an individual to be married. God’s best plan for some people is to be married. God’s best plan for some other people is to work for Him single.
We are studying the steps over which God leads those that He does lead to marriage. If we wish to arrive at the goal of a Christian home, certainly we want the guidance that God gives the Christian, the guidance of His Holy Spirit. We read in Jeremiah that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Only God can lead us. If this is true of life in general, it is especially true in this question of marriage. This lifts the whole matter of courtship, and the experiences leading to it, far above the ordinary concept.
To most people in the world around us, dating is more or less a social affair – having fun, having a good time, a few heartbreaks scattered through it, but that’s life. We are studying something entirely different. I have no recipe to give to the world. God never planned for this world to run well without Him. We have no way of regulating how the people of this world live. They do not want us to regulate it anyway; and we couldn’t if they wanted us to, without God. Could we? Would you know how to give them health and happiness and peace and satisfaction without God?
So, this is not a class on how the people of the world can have a successful home. This is a class for the sons and daughters of the Royal family to learn how to have Christian homes – little sanctuaries here on earth, patterned after the Temple in Heaven. I repeat, this is far above all that the world is thinking about; it is entirely different. I want you to notice some statements on this matter of steps:
Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will make no plans that God cannot approve. – Adventist Home, pg. 49
Suppose there were only one step. Would this wording be correct if there were only one step? No. The wording here implies more than one step. How many, it does not state. There are probably more steps with some people than with others. But from a condition of being single without any thought of marriage to the marriage altar and the setting up of a home, there is a succession of steps. It is those steps that I wish to study with you for the next few lessons – these steps that the Christian takes toward a marriage alliance.
Notice that every one of these steps is to be characterized by certain things. The first is modesty; the second is simplicity; the third is sincerity; the fourth is an earnest purpose to please and honor God. If these four things characterize every step, what picture do you get from the word characterize? You get marked features – features prominent enough to give character to it. In other words, features prominent enough and permeating enough that in those steps we see modesty, we see simplicity, we see sincerity, and we see an earnest purpose to please and honor God. What is it we are to see these four things in? Every step toward a marriage.
This would take in the first step and the last step and all the ones in between, because it says every step. There is no place for just “window shopping.” There is no place for “fun.” I use the word fun in its proper meaning – just having a lot of frolic, mirth. If there is any place in life for fun, it is not in picking a companion. This is too serious for that.
Someone says, “Don’t you think it ought to be a pleasant experience?” I think baptism ought to be a pleasant experience, but it’s certainly not a time for fun, is it? No. We are dealing with one of the most serious, far-reaching decisions of life. And every step is to be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God.
Modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, and religion will characterize every step toward an alliance in marriage. – Ibid., pg. 50
You will find both of these statements in Messages to Young People on page 435 and 459. Suppose there were five steps, and suppose that all but one was characterized by these things – either in the beginning or the end, there was a lack of modesty or sincerity or a lack of purpose to please God – would we be missing something? Yes.
You have heard the expression, “I don’t think they are serious yet.” In the light of the reference we are studying, when is the time to be serious? All the time. And unless a person is serious, this is not something to play around with. Not at all. We want to keep that in mind.
To trifle with hearts is a crime of no small magnitude in the sight of a holy God. And yet some will show preference for young ladies and call out their affections, and then go their way and forget all about the words they have spoken and their effect. A new face attracts them, and they repeat the same words, devote to another the same attentions. This disposition will reveal itself in the married life. – Ibid., pg. 58
You have heard of people getting married and settling down. The time to settle down is not only before marriage, but before courtship. There is no place in this ideal program for flitting about like a butterfly, tasting first of this flower and then of another. That is flirtation. Every step toward a marriage alliance is to be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God.
In a past lesson, we found that a prudent wife is from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). A young man is looking to the Lord for guidance in selecting a life companion. When a young woman becomes involved in the decision one way or another, she is looking to the Lord to guide her in the bestowal of her affections.
This is primarily a spiritual experience, and every step is to be characterized by the purpose to honor God. Let’s study the first step.
True love is a high and holy principle, altogether different in character from that love which is awakened by impulse, and which suddenly dies when severely tested. It is by faithfulness to duty in the parental home that the youth are to prepare themselves for homes of their own. – Messages to Young People, pg. 466
This is the first step, and it starts in the parental home. It is by faithfulness to duty in the parental home that the youth are to prepare themselves for homes of their own. This is an interesting concept. In most colleges, the entrance requirements include a diploma from high school. And in most high schools, the entrance requirements include a diploma from elementary school.
Suppose that I find myself in high school, and I do not like it. I don’t seem to be able to get along with the teachers, and I don’t seem to get my lessons, so I think I will transfer to college. I think I’ll like it better there. You might say this fellow needs his head examined a little. But literally millions of marriages today are being formed, based upon –not success in the parental home, but– failure in the parental home. Millions of people are getting married today as an escape from a home that they just can’t take anymore. We might discuss how much of that is the parents’ fault and how much is the fault of the younger generation; but that is beside the point. We are studying an ideal. And in God’s ideal, the first step toward having a successful Christian home is to be successful in the home of our parents. And until I have mastered the problems of living with others in the parental home, I am not ready to start a home myself.
What would happen to the marriage licenses if that would be enforced as a prerequisite? What would happen to the statistics? Do you think it would bring them down? No question about it. Inspiration tells us there is not one marriage in a hundred that results in greater happiness for people, and places them where they are better able to serve and honor God. There isn’t one marriage in a hundred that is really successful. And we are dealing here with the foundation of the whole matter. The reason that so few people are making a success of marriage is that they never made a success in the parental home. They never made a success as children and as teenagers. They never learned how to live in the home. They merely stayed there until they could get away, or were thrown out on their own.
In the first lesson of this series, I gave you a statement written to a young man who was an orphan. The servant of the Lord put in that letter to this young man this wonderful sentence:
Wise is that young man and highly blessed who feels it his duty, if he has parents, to look up to them, and if he has not, regards his guardian, or those with whom he lives, as counselors, as comforters, and in some respects as his rulers, and who allows the restrains of his home to abide upon him. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, pg. 308
I have refreshed our memories with that statement to bring this principle to view. If we have learned the lessons of faithfulness in the parental home, fine. We have our elementary school diploma and our high school diploma, and we can consider some advance work. And remember that those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated. Marriage is not graduation; marriage is commencement. But we need to have our preparatory work done. We need to be sure that we meet the entrance requirements. We need to be sure that we have some credits that can be accepted.
From the Lesser to the Greater
Look back at our statement in Messages to Young People, page 466
“It is by faithfulness to duty in the parental home that the youth are to prepare themselves for homes of their own.”
I wish you would memorize this sentence. This is fundamental. What is the experience that is to characterize the young person in the parental home? Faithfulness. Notice this in Luke:
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10
Which do you think involves more: to be faithful in the parental home, or to be faithful in the duties and responsibilities of husband and wife? Which do you think is the lesser or the greater of those two? Which one does God use to get us ready for the other? Doesn’t God lead from the lesser to the greater? Don’t we always learn short division before we learn long division? Certainly. Then tell me, if we flunk our courses in the easier levels, what hope do we have of attaining success in the larger problems? Jesus says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” Now the 12th verse:
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? – Luke 16:12
If you haven’t been faithful in the home of your parents, who will give you a home of your own? And if you want me to answer that question, the answer is: the devil. He will be glad to give you a home of your own if you have flunked your preparatory course. He’ll be most happy to lead you into something that will be full of problems, harder than any you have ever faced with father and mother or teacher or supervisor or homehead, or whatever.
The chapter in Messages to Young People from which this sentence we are studying is taken is the example of Isaac. Where did Isaac get his preparation to carry on a successful home? In the parental home. Who was his father? Abraham. How old was Isaac when he was married? Forty years old. We are not trying to establish mathematics here. We are getting to the point that, for four decades, Isaac learned and demonstrated obedience and faithfulness and loyalty in the parental home. A wonderful record, isn’t it friends?
Redeeming the Time
Let me say to you folks who are married. If somehow you skipped some of this when you were growing up, there is good news for you. You can still get in on it. It will be harder now that you are married, but don’t think there is no way to learn these lessons. You will have to learn them (if you’re going to live with Jesus in Heaven) the lessons of faithfulness, obedience, loyalty, dependability, love –all these wonderful lessons.
As you look back over your life and your experience as young people in your homes, if you haven’t learned these lessons, thank God you can start right where you are. God is in the business of teaching, and if we are willing, He might even speed up the process a little. Of course, if you are going to learn mathematics fast, you’ll have to have more problems per day, won’t you? But it’s worth it to learn these wonderful lessons. Look again at Messages to Young People, page 466:
Let them here practice self-denial, and manifest kindness, courtesy, and Christian sympathy.
What has that got to do with marriage? My dear friends, when a young man and a young woman get married, and each of them has the idea that now they are going to get what they want all the time, somebody is in for a disappointment and a hard surprise. The basis of a successful Christian home is love; and love is not selfishness, and selfishness is not love. So, in the parental home, in preparation for establishing Christian homes, we are to learn the lesson of what? Self-denial. We are to practice self-denial and manifest kindness, courtesy, and Christian sympathy. Isn’t this nice? Thank God.
Praise the Lord for His Plan of Redemption – the greatest example of unselfish Love!
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.