Continued from last week
Finding and choosing a mate is a process best left to God’s overall direction. You cannot know if you have found the “right one” unless you have (figuratively speaking) allowed God to take you by the hand, and lead you to him or her—and He will if you let Him! Remember, God’s Spirit will not guide you if you are unwilling to wait until the right time to even begin thinking about the right person. Be willing to let God activate your mind! Allow Him to cause you to react to—to lean more and more toward—that one person!
At the same time, seek wise counsel and advice! Do not allow yourself to reach the point where you have succumbed to emotion without first counseling.
Do not misunderstand. It is a wonderful feeling to be on “cloud nine”—to be in love. Few things in life are comparable to this. Nevertheless, there is a period during the first stages of serious dating and courting when you can still make sound judgments without heavy emotional attachment. Try to think of this in the following way: It is important to suppress feelings of romantic love (eros), while carefully focusing on and building the bond of true friendship (philia), all the while practicing and developing the love of God (agape) within the relationship.
Take advantage of this time!
Let me repeat. No matter your age, counsel with your parents. Ask them for specific advice on your situation. Where possible, talk with others with the same values and who have recently experienced dating, courtship and marriage. If they know you well, this is even better.
It is important to pay special attention to those who set the right example, but also learn from those who are willing to share their stories of difficulty or regret. Ask yourself, “Am I going to learn by following a right example, or will I force myself to learn the hard way by following my will instead of God’s will?”
As you court and consider engagement, it is absolutely vital to counsel with a true minister of God. And while many postpone counseling until the last moment, it is always better to err on the side of counseling too early in the relationship rather than too late. God’s ministers are in place to guide you, to help you further understand God’s will. Although there can be exceptions, the man may generally take the lead, and counsel with the minister first. But the woman should not fear to come first.
Remember that in this world, dating and courtship are founded on lust: “For ALL [all means all] that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16).
Recall that, within this passage, attitudes of the world are identified by three categories: Lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life! These three describe the way society typically dates—the natural, physical approach to picking a mate! Be absolutely certain that you are not, however unconsciously, using the world’s standards in choosing a mate!
Never forget that you must build an entirely different kind of foundation. You must care—have outgoing concern—for the other person. The Bible exhorts us to “love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born [begotten] of God, and knows God” (I John 4:7).
Remember, the kind of “love” in the world is always selfish. While it does not always express itself selfishly, in the end, the motive is always centered on self! Also remember that a carnal person is not capable of having anything but selfish love!
Now, let’s examine additional points that must be considered during courtship. Remember, there is no such thing as the perfect mate, and these should never become merely an analytical “checklist” based solely on the physical. There are no perfect people, including you.