Wanting to be a missionary does not start when you go overseas. If you are a saint called by God, then you are a missionary. Often I find others, including myself, stating that they want to be “this or that”, but never following through. Taking ownership is one of the things that men are prone to lack in my generation.
Not just in my time with the Lord, but in relationships, I find myself going strong then all of a sudden I realize I’ve taken a huge landslide asking myself, “how did i get here?”. When it comes to dating someone, I find myself taking the backseat in leading. What has caused this? It is an assault on the Cultural Mandate of God (to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth). To my point: Men–we need to man up and be biblical men! I only date if I am working towards marriage. Really, what is the point of dating someone if you know they wont be your spouse? There is no point to it!
I often ask myself, “what is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. To really give a good understanding, I want to work backwards by starting with the role of man at church level to the dating level:
1) The Qualification of an Overseer: 1 Timothy 3:1-7:
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
2) In regards to being discipled in the church: Titus 2: 6-8: (as how young men should present their selves).
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
As stated before, I often ask myself the question, “What is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. There are many different opinions on how someone should lead; however, my conviction is found in Ephesians 5
3) The Dating level is really preparation for marriage: Ephesians 5:25-33:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
A common theme in my prayer is that I desire the Lord to make me into a Godly man. One fallacy in that prayer is that I am praying for something that has already happened. If Jesus saved me and brought me into the fold of God, then the declaration and anthem for my life is that I am declared forgiven and holy because of Christ! I am a sinner. I fall short all the time. But the Lord is there to forgive. He is my refuge.
SO MEN, WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN DATING? If we are dating for marriage, then we ought to be already loving our girlfriend in preparation for them being our spouse. From a woman’s viewpoint, they want a man to lead. Not only to be a great leader, but more importantly, to lead them in the Word of God. To live that example and follow through with what they say. In short, to be just like Christ. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, Christ sets the example!
One conviction I have is that I have failed to lead in being the leader. I took the backseat for a while with my relationship. The Circumstances? detrimental–damaging–deteriorating. But praise be to God that He has revealed this to me! Praise God that He doesn’t leave us where we are, but that the Holy Spirit continues to expose, encourage, and gives us the strength to endure!
So what does it look like to be the leader? “…that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” Men, in order for us to lead in a dating relationship or even at the local level in the church, we must be men who meet with God for nourishment. How can one pour into another without himself being filled first? The only outcome in that is burnout.
Before I am called to be a missionary. a boyfriend. a future husband. a future father. I am called to be a saint. One who meets God in the prayer closet, one who finds my soul satisfied in the King of Kings. One that is willing to surrender it all for the sake of Christ being exalted. No matter the cost. Men are we this? Am I living this? Do I believe this?
Are we pursuing God more than our girlfriend? our ministry? our spouse? our children?
I often think…If my girlfriend and I were not to work out and God closes that door, what is the one thing that I would want? It would be for her to be more holy than when I first met her. My life, my thoughts, my actions, my love for her should draw her more to the ONLY ONE who satisfies.
Our dating. Our marriage. Our lives….are not for our happiness, but for our holiness. To be more like Christ.
So I must ask: Men, are we following our heart or leading it to the throne of God? Lead the one you love to Him. That is our role in dating. That is our role in life.