It’s a race – choose a runner

I just finished an amazing book that gave me so much insight into using biblical wisdom and reason in choosing a spouse. It’s called Sacred Search by Gary Thomas. As I’ve been reflecting on everything I’ve learned from the book, I find myself thinking of a piece of a sermon I’ll never forget.

It was only my fourth time attending my current church. I was a brand new Christian with an eager heart that was open and ready to be filled with wisdom from God’s Word. We were moving through the book of Acts at the time and on this particular Sunday, we were in Acts 18. Paul tells us that when he went to Corinth, he met a couple named Aquila and Priscilla who helped him plant the church there. Paul mentions them again in Romans 16:3-5 saying that they took great risks for their friend Paul and opened their home for the church to meet there and once more in 1 Corinthians 16:19 to give them greetings. Paul makes it clear that this couple was a partner in the Gospel with him, cared for him, opened their home for ministry, and suffered for Christ together.

Our pastor told us that if we are single and desiring to marry one day, we should be looking for a partner like Pricilla or Aquila. He said that this is the kind of marriage we should want. He went on to explain a metaphor that he had heard from another pastor before.

The Christian life is a race (Hebrews 12:1-2). In this race, there are other Christians running beside us. We are to run towards Christ and seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). And if we strike up a conversation with someone of the opposite sex running beside us and take a liking to them, that could be the person you choose to marry.

The point is: you should not be turning off the path that God has you on to find a spouse nor should you be halting your movement toward Christlikeness nor turning around and backtracking toward the start line. You should not be changing anything about your walk with the Lord in order to attract someone or chase after someone. Your job is to remain in God’s will for your life, pursue Christ with reverence, and be faithful with the abilities, talents, and gifts God has given you. Be the hands and feet of Christ, do what God has called you to do, grow in His Word, and serve your church body.

We all have a purpose here and that is to bring glory to Christ in all we do and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. That looks different for everyone. Don’t change for someone – unless, of course, you are repenting from sin – don’t completely change your mission, and don’t just tag along with someone just because you don’t want to lose them. You are united to Christ and that is the only person you cannot live without.

Are you going to stop running to sit next to someone on the bench with a stagnant Christian? Are you going to run all the way back to the start line to try to be with an unbeliever who doesn’t even realize there’s a race? Wouldn’t you rather someone who is one step ahead of you and is encouraging you not to give up, fueling your faith because you have the same finish line in mind?

Is that person in the same corral as you? The same seed of the race? Where are they at in their life, their walk with God, their ministry? What ministries or vine work are they pursuing?

Pricilla and Aquila were ministry partners. What is that person’s mission for Christ?  How are they growing? How are they enduring? How do they serve other Christians? How do they treat non-Christians? How do they picture a marriage thats further advances the kingdom of God?

These are all relevant questions to ask ourselves too. This should motivate us to become a good prospect for marriage. I’ve been doing some self-examination lately asking, “Am I someone that a Christian man would want to marry?” “What are some things I can pray about and seek guidance in?”

Of course, we are all broken and imperfect and there are things we cannot change. But what is the condition of your heart? What is your heart bent towards and what makes your clock tick? What excites you and what drives you? How are you growing in the Lord?

God gives us a choice in deciding whether to get married and who that person might be. Choose someone who will help you and not hinder you. Choose someone who is compatible with your vision for the future. Choose someone with the same relationship expectations as you have. Choose someone to take joy in Christ and suffer well for the Gospel with. Choose someone who you can flourish in godliness with, who pushes you to repent and turn from sin, and forgives you and loves you in the grace that Jesus provides.

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