Your application is being submitted.

Please do NOT hit the back button or refresh the page.

[ close ]

Preparing for Marriage (part 6 of 8)

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  – 2 Timothy 2:4

Who has chosen us to be His soldiers? Jesus. And our business is to do what? To please Him. Isn’t that something to live for? Just to please the Master. Turn over now to Romans the fifteenth chapter. We will see this same thought emphasized. The One who has chosen us to be His soldiers, has set us the example. Romans 15:3, what does it say about Jesus?

                        –How To Please The Lord–

For even Christ pleased not himself. – Romans 15:3

Who did He please? His father. All His life? Yes. From the first dawn of intelligence, as He first began to know, as a little child in this world, the Father in heaven, all the way through – twelve years old, in His teens, in His twenties, in His thirties, always pleasing His Father.

And so the first verse of Romans fifteen says:

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not. – Romans 15.1

What?

To please ourselves. – Romans 15:1

There is no subject in which we betray, reveal what our motive is, more than in this question of courtship and marriage. If we are seeking to please ourselves, it will certainly show up. If we are seeking to please the Lord, it will certainly show up. And in this class we are seeking to find out how to please our Lord.

In Ephesians the fifth chapter and the tenth verse, as translated in the Twentieth Century translation, we read this (You might like to copy it down.):

Always be trying to find out what best pleases the Lord. – Ephesians 5:10, Twentieth Century translation

Now, I will read it again so you can check your copy. Then we will read it together.

Always be trying to find out what best pleases the Lord. – Ephesians 5:10, Twentieth Century translation

Let’s say it together again:

Always be trying to find out what best pleases the Lord. – Ephesians 5:10, Twentieth Century translation

I would like to have you memorize this verse. Isn’t it a beautiful thought? Just think, every day when you wake up in the morning the first thought, “Oh dear Lord, what can I do to make You happy today? You have done so much for me, what can I do to please You?” And whether it is about diet or dress, music or reading, association, courtship, marriage, amusement, recreation, the way we spend our time, the way we spend our money, life-work, education, everything, always be trying to find out what best pleases the Lord.

Are there some things that don’t please Him at all? Are there some things that please Him better than others? You know, some people, when they come to God, are always trying to find the bargain counter. And in most of the cities that I have been in, the bargain counter is in the basement. Oh, we want to climb the heights, don’t we? We want to find out what best pleases the Lord.

We are not looking for a bargain. We are not trying to find out the lowest level on which to live and still keep out of hell. We are trying to find out what? What best pleases the Lord. All right.

Now, in Adventist Home to page 43, and we will see a wonderful paragraph here on this subject as it applies to this matter of courtship and marriage. This is a wonderful chapter. It is called “The Great Decision.” I want you to read this chapter. It is only a short one.

Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. –The Adventist Home, pg. 43

Then a sincere Christian won’t take one of these steps. And he won’t keep taking one after the other unless he has, what? The knowledge that, what? God approves his course. What does knowledge mean? Something you what? Know. Something you wish? Something you guess? Something you hope? It is something you what? Know. And a sincere Christian won’t advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. Tell me, if inspiration tells us this, is it possible for a sincere Christian to know whether or not God approves his course in these matters? It must be, or else these wouldn’t be written.

God doesn’t mock us. Did you ever see somebody take something that a dog wanted, and hold it up above the dog, and let the dog jump for it? But did you ever see somebody keep holding it up out of reach so that the dog could never get it? Now, God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t tease us. He doesn’t mock us. He is in the business of helping us to know.

Notice this next sentence:

He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. – The Adventist Home, pg. 43

Oh, I was looking at this again today, and I thought, “Isn’t that wonderful that a young person can be so fully wrapped in with God, that he doesn’t even want to choose for himself?” Isn’t that wonderful?

He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. – The Adventist Home, pg. 43

Now comes the sentence that links this with those verses we read from the Bible. All together:

We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not Himself. – The Adventist Home, pg. 43

Then, is the great business in marriage to find the person that will please me? Is that the great business? Why, no. The great business is to find what? What will please the Master. Incidentally, friends, that is the best way, in fact, that is the only accurate way to find the one that will please me. Did you know that? That is what we call a paradox. There are two reasons that is so. First, I don’t know what will please me. Especially, I don’t know what will please me ten years from now. There is nobody in the world that knows what will please them ten years from now, or five years from now.

The other fact is that God does. God has made me in a certain way. If He intends for me to be married, He has made a companion just as He made Eve for Adam. And that person which will be the one that will please Him the best, will be the one that, in the end, will please me the best. But I may not know that to start with. All right.

“He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. 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.” – The Adventist Home, pg. 43

It would be sin to do what? Marry somebody that you did not love. You see, part of the marriage vow is that you promise to do what? To love. Well, if you don’t love them, you are not going to marry them. But I will tell you this, dear friends, some of you may smile when I say this, but I want to be sure that I get it in somewhere in this class. If God is leading two people together and they go at it in a proper, dignified, matter-of-fact way, conscientiously to find out the will of God, when the time comes for love, the Lord will take care of that all right. There won’t be any
problem about that at all.

But notice these last two sentences:

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. – The Adventist Home, pg. 43

This brings me to a very important point in this whole matter. You have heard of people getting the cart before the horse, haven’t you? You think that leads is impulse, emotion, feeling. In God’s plan these things follow. The time in God’s plan for love and the expression of love is when the matters of practical judgement and counsel have all been settled.

But in the world, the way it is carried on, two people meet each other, and either at once or later on as they keep running around together, they do what they call falling in love. And even if they counsel during that experience, they are so involved in their emotions that it is very difficult for them to get much benefit from it. And in many cases they don’t do any counseling. They are sure that they have the one and only – why ask, when you already know the answers. Do you see what I mean? And really, in most cases it is a waste of time.

Because as this says: “Fancy and the emotional nature lead.” – Adventist Home, pg. 43

But in most cases they lead on to what does this say? To ruin. Can even a Christian have an experience like this? Can even a Christian be deceived? The Bible says the heart is what? Deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

I want you to turn now to your Messages to Young People, and I want you to see that being a Christian does not, in itself, keep people from making mistakes in this matter:

The underhand way in which courtships and marriages are carried on is the cause of a great amount of misery, the full extent of which is known only to God. 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. – Messages to Young People, pgs. 447, 448

Now notice this. A person may seem sensible on every other subject but if he allows his emotions to get the better of him, he may make what? Fearful mistakes on this point of courtship and marriage. So, if there is any subject in the world that we need counsel on, it is this one.

And now looking back at our page 43 of Adventist Home lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections. The key to all of this is this wonderful statement that the sincere Christian will not want to do what? To choose for himself. What will he feel? God must what? Choose for him. We are not to please ourselves for Christ pleased not Himself.

I would just like to go over some of these points in this study, and show how in every one we are to be thinking, first of all, of pleasing whom? Pleasing God. Take this first one: counsel. Is God calling me to marriage? That very question indicates that my first question coming up these steps is what? What do I want? I want to please God. I am going to read you a little sentence from a booklet called Special Testimonies, Series B, number 16. This is page sixteen of this little book. Elder Burden got out this little compilation of testimonies in the early days of Loma Linda. This is written especially for young people who are receiving a training for Christian work:

I repeat, do not enter into a marriage engagement, unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step,–unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. – Selections from the Testimonies for Students and Workers of our Sanitariums, pg. 16

Now this is a very high ideal. It doesn’t rule out marriage. It doesn’t say that. But it does say that Christian young people who sense the shortness of time, the nearness of the end, and who are devoted to the service of Christ, their first desire will be not to get married, but to do
what? Get the work done. And so the dedicated young person whose heart is filled with one thing, to please His Lord, if God leads him to see that getting married will increase his usefulness for God, fine. He will get married. But until then what is his one heart’s desire? To get the work done. I will read this again:

I repeat, do not enter into a marriage engagement, unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step,–unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. – Selections from the Testimonies for Students and Workers of our Sanitariums, pg. 16

There are some marriages that do advance the work of God. There are others that have just the opposite effect. So on number one, our first thought is, “Dear Lord, what will please You?”

We come to that second one that we studied… Am I prepared? Who knows best whether or not I am prepared? God. Now, I will counsel with God. I will counsel with God-fearing parents. I will counsel with the advisors that God arranges. But in all those things, instead of a restless, fidgety, impatient thing – “Well, are you going to let me go? Are you going to let me go?” I am saying, “Dear Lord, there is only one thing I want.” And that is what? “To please You.” That is what I want.

Number three and number four. I am going to put them together. Counsel with the young man’s advisors, counsel with the young woman’s advisors. If I am a young man and I am counseling with my parents about who, and finally with the parents or guardians or protectors or advisors of this young woman, if I have gotten hold of what we are studying, what is it that I am trying to find out? What will please my Lord.

Has He told me to do this counseling? But this isn’t just some red tape to be gone through, and impatiently I go through it hoping that nobody will get in my way. Oh, no. I am just anxious to get all the help I can, that would stop me from taking, not just a bad course, but anything less than God’s best will. Do you see? And so, not impatiently, but calmly, I can counsel with this one and that one, each one, and I won’t say, “Oh my, I wonder if I will ever get through this thing and get to doing what I want?”I can tell you honestly, God may let me have some disappointments and delays along the line. He may let people that He is using, put roadblocks in my way. But if my sincere desire is to please God, will I get upset about that? Why, no. I can say, “All right Lord, if You are letting somebody be a roadblock in my way, if You want me to move, You can move the roadblock. And if You don’t want it moved, Lord, I don’t either, and praise the name of the Lord for anything that stops me.”

-Continue on to the next study-

_______
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.