Matter of the Heart

Sometimes God can be so relentless. I have been trying for weeks now to write a complete post, but no matter how hard "I" try, the words just get jumbled in my brain with no hope of ever coming out. That is unless I stop trying to write without the Lord's guidance. In His timing, He has given me the words I couldn't find by myself.

I would have to say that nearly all {if not all} Christian girls love the verse in 1 Samuel 16 about God looking at the heart not at the outward appearance like the world does. Of course we love that, because we all desire to be beautiful by someone's standards. And when we don't quite measure up to the world's standard of beauty, we can always find our beauty in Christ. Yet I've found that we, girls, {me especially} love to hold ourselves to God's standards when it comes to outward appearance, but when we are looking for that one man for us to marry, we automatically revert back to our world view of outward appearances. Is he handsome enough? Is he tall enough? Is he smart enough? Are his teeth straight enough? Is his hair dark enough?

But where is the only question that matters ... Is God the center of his life?

Well, it's no secret that I have pretty high standards for when it comes to dating and especially marriage. Setting aside the misconstrued ideas taught in churches about marriage, I am thankful to my sunday school teachers and youth retreat leaders for encouraging and helping me to set very high {Godly} standards for a man to date or one day marry. One of my best friends in high school actually came across my list {which I keep in my Bible}, and he was less than impressed. He told me that the guy I had outlined on my neat little notecard/checklist did not exist. I was quite indignant that he does exist. I have wavered a bit in my confidence over the years, and although I don't believe that exact guy is out there {because let's be honest, my list was quite extensive but in my defense I was only 17 when I wrote my longest list}, I do believe that if it is God's plan for me to marry, then that guy is out there somewhere.

I strongly believe that it is important to have high standards.seriously. Too many girls are scared to set high standards, because they think either they will never find him or they aren't good enough for him. {him being the one man in the world who is in God's plan for your life and who actually meets those high standards} The problem with these high standards isn't the standards in and of themselves but the focus of them. Far too often we allow our standards to shift toward outward appearances and away from the most important standard which is his relationship with God. Let's be serious, girls. No relationship with God should mean no relationship with you.

This is quite embarrassing to admit, but when I meet a guy, I automatically start down my checklist in my head which wouldn't be so bad if I had gotten it from scripture. Instead I am checking off my outward checklist. Tall. Check. Plays Guitar. Check. Funny. Check. Handsome. Check. Plays Basketball. Check. Sings. Check.

Now don't get me wrong. These things are {not} bad at all! BUT they become bad things when they take the place of the spiritual checklist.

A long time ago at one of our youth winter retreats, my group leader gave me a list of things to look for, and I must say despite the fact that it only has five criteria compared to the 50+ items on my list, it covers it all.

1) Jesus is his life, not just of his life. Deuteronomy 6:5
2) He has a humble and sensitive heart. Psalm 51:17
3) He is focused first on Christ and then on the needs of others. {NOT focused on you} 2 Corinthians 5:20
4) He is grounded in God's Word. The two of you agree on the basics of the faith. 1 Timothy 6:3-4
5) He has a strong and consistent time alone with God. {His time with God takes priority over time with you}. Psalm 84:10

This is so not where I thought this post was going, but I'm so glad God decided to teach me a lesson through it. Tonight God reminded me of this:

"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Learning to be the light AND love,