Making a “GOOD” Choice or a “GOD” Choice

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

Dollar Photo Gold Wedding RingsDeciding who you will marry is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. In a kingdom courtship, the primary reason for marriage should be the conviction that a particular match is God’s choice for you. It should not be just a good choice, but God’s choice.

Good or Bad Choice?

Most of the time, you won’t have the luxury of choosing between people or circumstances that are totally bad or totally good. Nearly all your choices will appear good in some way, but only one will be part of God’s perfect plan —His best for you. The chief enemy you fight in choosing God’s best will be your own strong inclination to make a good choice instead of a God choice.

Before you can determine whom to marry, you must first answer an preliminary question: Does God want you to marry anyone, ever? Or is His plan for you to remain single? Scripture teaches that marriage, like salvation, is an unmerited gift from God (Genesis 2:18). When God wanted Adam to have a wife, He brought her to him. Their marriage was a gift from God.

Scripture Tells Us that Singleness is God’s Gift As Well.

I wish that all men were as I am. but each man has his own gift from God, said the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:7. He wished all men were single like he was and free from the stresses of married life so they could devote themselves to God’s work. But each man has his own gift from God.” In other words, God will either give to a person the gift of being married or the gift of being single.

People who are perpetually lonely as singles are usually the same people who are worried about what isn’t happening to them instead of what they should be doing to minister to others. Their focus is inward, not upward. In 1 Corinthians 7, we’re told to acknowledge singleness as good, allow it for our spiritual growth and use it for God.

C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis was single most of his life. He taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and used his free time as a single to write some of the best Christian literature available in the world today. As he was nearing retirement age, he met and married a woman he came to love intensely. Sadly, they only had 3 short years together. What would the world have missed if Lewis had married earlier someone whom God had not chosen?

It happens. Singles become consumed with the idea of how wonderful life would be if they just had a marriage partner, and then they make concessions and compromises that lead to marriage out of God’s timing and out of God’s will. To feel accepted by another person and avoid the stigma of being single, they enter into unhealthy relationships and compromise values they once held dear.

Beware of Slipping

The more consumed you become with the idea of marriage, the more easily you can slip into a pattern of fantasizing. It might start as innocently as fantasizing about being with another person. It might be someone you know at work or church. Then you might progress to fantasizing about the children you’d have together or where you would live. If they continue unchecked, your thoughts could become a full-blown X-rated video that stays stuck on replay in your mind until it replays in your life. The powerful feelings that accompany such thoughts can lead people into marriages God never ordained and intimate relationships He never approved.

Thoughtful Reflections

The Bible declares that as a man thinketh in heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). What a strange thought! How can you think with your heart? We normally associate thought with the brain and feelings with the heart. The phrase “to think in the heart” refers to thoughtful reflection. Many ideas are briefly entertained by the mind without ever penetrating the heart. But those ideas that do grasp us in our innermost parts are the ideas that shape our lives. When our thoughts are corrupted, our lives follow suit. We are what we think.

“Gift” of Singleness

If God gives you the gift of singleness, He may use that quality in a way that wouldn’t be available to you as a married person. It may be for a season or it may be for a lifetime. God’s sovereign will is always meant for your good and His glory. If and when God decides you can best serve Him as a team member with a life partner, you won’t need to change Sunday school classes, search the singles ads, or join a dating service He will work out the circumstances. He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22). This favor of the Lord is what God extends to His children in arranging the circumstances for them to meet their life partners.

Circumstances Could Be Worse

It also helps to remember that there are a great many circumstances worse than not being married. One of them is being married to someone who doesn’t share your love and desire for God. This person could be someone whose commitment divides your commitment.

Powerful Lesson

The life of Hudson Taylor is a powerful lesson in the value of God’s wisdom regarding marriage. Taylor was an English missionary who died in 1910 after spending more than 50 years as a missionary in China. When he went there in 1854, nearly 380 million people in the country’s interior had never seen a Westerner. They had also never heard the name of Christ. With a heart for God, Taylor penetrated deep into Chinese culture. He dressed like the Chinese, learned their language, and lived among them. By the end of his life, 205 preaching stations, 849 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians were a testimony to a life surrendered to God.

Ripple Effect

Hudson Taylor wielded a spiritual influence far beyond China. Even today, the ripple effect of his ministry is a part of our lives. The Chinese Christians number in the hundreds of thousands world-wide. Taylor was single when he left England, but he eventually married another missionary in China. A small sentence in one history book has always intrigued me: “In England, Taylor had left behind his unfinished medical studies and the girl he had hoped to marry. She had refused to come with him.” What would the world have missed if Taylor had stayed home to marry someone God hadn’t chosen?

God tested Taylor when He made him choose between God’s will and his own desires. The day came in Taylor’s life when he had to decide if it was important to be in God’s will or be married —the God choice over the good choice.

God still tests us today.

We can’t assume that the woman Taylor left behind was ugly, irritable, or contentious. He was a man of character who probably kept the company of godly woman. Many people may have thought it was a good match, and perhaps the couple could have had a good marriage. But every good choice isn’t God’s choice.

If God gives you the gift of singleness, He may use that quality in a special way. It’s something that wouldn’t be available to you as a married person—for a season or a life time.

God Still Had a Plan

God’s favor wasn’t lost on Hudson Taylor. In China, he eventually met and fell in love with 22-year-old Maria Dyer, the much-admired daughter of prestigious missionary parents. They had an uncommonly happy marriage because they shared a deep passion to evangelize China even at great personal sacrifice.

Seven years before his marriage to Maria and after his breakup with his fiancé, Taylor made a God choice that was painful and agonizing at the time. “What can I do?” he wrote to his sister. “I know I love her. To go to China without her would make the world a blank.” Instead of the “blank” life Taylor feared —the life we all fear—God brought purpose to his pain and honored his sacrifice. Even though it may have felt like a long wait, God was in the waiting. And so it is with us.

Don’t Miss the Best

When we decide on our own that we’re in love with another person and refuse to seek or wait for God’s instruction, He will allow us to choose the good. But we will miss the best—His perfect will. The problem is that things don’t work right when we’re in only the permissive will of God (1 Corinthians 6:12).

In his popular workbook, Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby suggests we “find out where God is working and join Him there.” We, on the other hand, are more likely to say, “God, here’s the person I want to marry. Will You bless us?” The difference is the approach. One approach puts God at the center while the other puts ourselves at the center. When we make choices independent of God and then ask for His blessing, we’re asking God to approve an idea that originated with us, not Him.

Adjust to Doing Things God’s Way

Throughout Scripture, God always takes the initiative. He sets the agenda. “We adjust our lives to God so He can do through us what He wants to do,” says Blackaby. “God is not our servant to make adjustments to our plans. We are His servants and we adjust our lives to what He is about to do.”

Once again we’re back to the difference between a good idea and a God idea. How many times have we heard people say, “If God gave me a brain, He must expect me to use it”? Even though God gave us the ability to reason and make choices, what did He say about our thoughts compared to His?

We’re Told in Isaiah 55:8-9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

God’s knowledge and wisdom are far greater than ours. He can see the entire landscape while we concentrate on a single valley. We would be foolish to try to fit God into our mold and conform Him to our plans. Yes, He did give us a brain, and we should be smart enough to know that God’s even smarter.

Good Idea VS God’s Idea

Once again, what’s the difference between a good idea and a God idea? A good idea will work some of the time. But God’s ideas will work all the time. Scripture warns us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust God wholeheartedly (Proverbs 3:5). When we’re not willing to submit to God’s leadership in our lives, God will let us follow our own devices. In following them, we will never experience what God is waiting and wanting to do in us and through us.

Go With God

Christians must realize that it’s more important to be certain that a marriage is God’s will than to judge our suitability for marriage by love, attraction, or compatibility. Our situations change and we grow through the years. We cannot predict future compatibility on our own. When we accept compatibility as a primary basis of marriage, we can be led into cultural traps. One of these traps could be living together before marriage to make sure we are compatible. Only God knows the end from the beginning. He is the one who creates love, not man.

Ruth and Naomi

It was Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, who made the choice of a husband for her (Ruth 3). It wasn’t love at first sight, getting to know each other, or even a passionate kiss that brought Boaz and Ruth together. Romance wasn’t the issue. But the story later became romantic as Ruth and Boaz developed an unselfish love and deep respect for each other. The issue was obedience, a “rightness” about the relationship. God was working in the situation, and He was using Naomi’s kindness and moral integrity to guide Ruth. As a result, Ruth later became the great-grandmother of King David and direct ancestor of Jesus.

Passionate Love?

Does the story of Boaz and Ruth interrupt your romantic vision of passionate love? Would you like the story more if the two had been lovers who glimpsed each other across the wheat field and became passionately attracted? It happens to some people in some situations, but the qualities that are attractive in the beginning may prove difficult to live with in the long run. The man who falls in love with a woman’s attentiveness may find it is the very quality that drives him crazy when he can’t get enough space. The woman who falls in love with a man’s drive to succeed may eventually find that quality irritating and destructive. He may end up spending more time at work than at home.

Critical Choice

Dr. Neil Clark Warren, author of the book Finding the Love of Your Life, says your choice of whom to marry is more critical than everything else combined. “If you choose wisely,” he says, “your life will be significantly easier and infinitely more satisfying. But if you make a serious mistake, your marriage may fail, causing you and perhaps your children immeasurable pain. Most of the failed marriages I have encountered were in trouble the day they began dating. The two people involved simply chose the wrong person to marry.”

What might seem like a good choice at the time may not be a God choice for a lifetime. If you “lean on your own understanding,” you may someday feel like the person who fell out of the raft into the Colorado River. The more you struggle, the deeper you go.

The Larger Picture

Just as Ruth was unaware of the larger purpose God had in mind for her life, you can’t see the larger picture of your life. Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy carried great significance even though she couldn’t see the end result. In a similar way, your faithfulness to God’s leadership will bring a significance to your life. It’s one that will extend beyond your lifetime. The question is not how to find a mate, but who will find the mate. God will direct you in choosing God’s best.

This edited article can be found in an expanded form in the great book, Choosing God’s Best: Wisdom for Lifelong Romance, written by the late Dr Don Raunikar who was the director of New Life Clinics in Houston, Texas. This book delves into real issues that offers proven, biblical principles for creating godly relationships and a deeply satisfying courtship —rather than just dating —which many will argue is the current system that’s in desperate need of reform.

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Comments

124 responses to “Making a “GOOD” Choice or a “GOD” Choice

    1. If you look at the end of the article, you will see the book title has a link to Amazon.com. If you get obtain it through them, please do so through the link provided. You can get the discount offered (for that and anything else you would order) and Amazon will give this ministry a part of their profit, which we use to support this ministry. I pray the book, and the Lord, through His insights, help you in the way you need.

  1. Kindly tell me, so after praying and fasting for a husband, there seems to be many counterfeits. How do you recognise the God’s choice for you? How are you meant to feel?

    1. Honestly Dee, it’s difficult to say. Just stay as close to God as you can and He will help you to recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing, and God’s actual sheep –the right one. There is a web site I recommend you start reading through. Even though it is basically an American web site, it has great stuff on it that I believe you can find on living a godly single life. It is put together by the ministry of Focus on the Family. You can find it at http://www.boundless.org. I would definitely be reading all I could on this web site if I was single because they have so many good articles addressing so many of the issues single people face, including this one.

      And then seek out other web sites we list (besides that one) in the Links part of the topic this article is house in… here’s a link: http://marriagemissions.com/about-us-2/single-yet-preparing-links-and-resource-descriptions/. I pray this helps. So much of this is about the journey, as much as it is about the destination. Keep your eyes on Jesus, which is good advice for those who are not married, as well as those who are. HE will take you on the journey He has for you and along the way He will meet your true needs. I pray God’s best for you.

  2. Hi. Thank You for this article, it really helps me a lot, reminding me of the things being just aggressive and initiative doesn’t necessarily mean that I could do stuff on my own and ask the Lord to bless it. Well, it’s been really encouraging that the Lord knows what’s best in me at heart. I am a full time worker in our church at this time. My only dream is to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, but then I met this lady that really turned my world upside down. She became a full time worker also in the same church that we’re currently attending. We really don’t want each other company before maybe because of some attitude problem but then we learned to evaluate and assess the situation as time passed, and as the Lord slowly breaks us and molds us – of course until now.

    Then my friendship with her began it was definitely pure and genuine without expecting anything; then I started praying about her because when I got to know her more I began liking her, because I notice that we compliment each other company. After some time I decided to tell her about my motives. She said that she would give me a chance. Her friends didn’t like me at all. Because of the issues that I had before with other girls which has no basis at all. Then she confronted me and told me that she already forgave me about my past. But all she was asking was space and time. She told me if I could wait so I said I am willing to wait, but I asked her what am I going to wait for? Then she said she doesn’t know.

    As I said we’re both full-time workers and my real desire is to follow God’s best in my life. I am wondering if I needed to let go of her, I’ve been praying and considering her to be my help meet someday if the Lord willing. Is this circumstances is just one way of saying that it is the Lord’s will for me to stop pursuing her? I already talk to my Pastor about it and to her parents, at first there’s nothing wrong about me liking her but then when I’m still talking to her and texting her, she told it to our Pastor, and my Pastor told me to back-off and wait for God’s best in my life. Well again thank you for your article hope that you’ll reply in my comment. God bless!!!

  3. We as human like to focus on appearance when it come for marrying someone. Like 1 samuel 16 you can see where God send Samuel to the Jesse in order to chose of of his sons to be king. Samuel lead the appearance of Eliab (one of the sons of Jesse) to say he is the one but God said to Samuel do not look to his appearance, neither his height and length because God does not see appearance. He sees the heart of the men which David has this quality that the lord was looking for. With this verse I like to infacise that most of the mistakes that people make is due to focus on only the outside of something.

    What about being a beautiful woman and nice body shape but she does not love you or she disrespect you? Or what about a man that is so handsome and has the sexy body that a women desire but still he does not respect you or he is not in the will of God? Btw I do not mean that you cannot marry a beautiful woman or a handsome man but let God chose for you. He can be maybe not as you expected but he loves you, cares for you, provides for you and your family.

    So stop being foolish by stressing out on the body only, instead of looking for what God wants. God gives the best things to his children. He never made a mistake so trust him. Delight in him and he would give you the desire of your heart. God bless you and hope that you let God guide your pad and also do your part. Be bless loveeee

    1. Well the only thing that a good man like me really wanted was to have a good wife and family that so many millions of others had since they were very blessed by God to have that gift of life.

  4. Hi, this is actually talking directly to me. Is there any hope for me because I think I have made the wrong choice already. Will I forever be unhappy? Can God still be merciful unto me even for being impatient?

    1. Hi Romoke, There is ALWAYS hope! Why do you think you have made the wrong choice? No, you will not be unhappy forever. People grow and change, and most importantly, God can and does work miracles in ordinary people’s lives. Miracles, which we could never come up with let alone make them happen on our own. God knows your impatience… He understands that. But He certainly doesn’t condemn you for it. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7.

      It’s interesting to note that the statistics for arranged marriages are generally better than those for “love” marriages. The central question for the arranged marriage is “How can I build a good marriage with this person?” What can I do to make our relationship better? For these marriages, the feelings of being in love start at a lower level and grow, whereas the in-love level of the love marriages starts at a higher level and tends to decline. There is plenty of room to improve things!!

      I am a husband married 36 years, we have 2 adult children. I hope you see this post… Take care, WP (Work in Progress)

  5. Thank you so much for this, I am greatly blessed with this article. I am still struggling to move on from a painful breakup. Initially the relationship was good and blissful but later on issues came up and started grating on us. Having read this article made me realize a lot of things and gave me comfort that God is still the best author of our love story.

    After the breakup, I started praying to God to bless me with a godly husband who will also become the spiritual leader of the relationship and the family. Though I am still struggling with loneliness, I am surrending to God a task that is never mine – to find a loving and godly husband. I also started praying to God to mold me and make a godly woman and wife out me.

    God is our good Shepherd, He will lead me and my husband together.

  6. I am choosing to stay single simply because I do not want children. Maybe when I get to my fifties, I may start looking for a wife in the same age bracket.

  7. Thank you for this beautiful article. I am currently dating a girl that seems to be everything I want in a woman but the issue here is that we are both AS. I am so sure we can have good marriage as a Christian. Does it matter if we both are AS and because I believe God has the final say? But recently she is insisting that until God shows her in a dream or any other form what she would do. What do I do?

    1. Greatgeo, in order for us to respond we need to know what you mean by, “we are both ‘AS’.” If you can define this and give us some instances where this has been an issue in your dating relationship we might be able to reply to your question.

        1. Greatgeo, Thanks for the additional information. Knowing this is something unique to Nigeria I Googled this and found a web site that may be able to help the two of you answer the questions you have. This is way out of my ability to be able to help you answer these questions. I hope tyne following web site will meet your need.
          (http://www.nigerianweddingsguide.com/genetic-compatibility.html) Now, when it comes to marriage preparation materials come back to our web site and go through the “Preparing for Marriage” section. Blessings!

          1. Well, with so many more women that have their careers nowadays which makes it very difficult for many of us Good men out there that really wanted to meet a Good woman to settle down with. And with so many women making a very high salary are now so very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy picky, and so very money hungry really speaks for itself since these women will only want the “Best in life” and will never settle for less at all. What would God say about that one since most of the women of today are very greedy and very selfish since it is all about Money for them? They will never go with a man that makes much Less money than they make since the times today are certainly a lot different than it used to be when we had the good old fashioned women around years ago when most of them I would say were the best. That is why our family members were very blessed at that time finding love with one another back then which it definitely came very easy for them at that time as you can see which today unfortunately we really are living in a complete different time.

  8. There’s a lot of truth to your article and I don’t completely disagree but by publishing things like this can potentially complicate a Christian’s life completely. There are plenty of Biblical guidelines for finding a spouse, but the Bible never leads us to believe that God has a specific choice in who we are to marry. If God calls someone to remain single, I believe that they will have no desire to be married as Paul did. God calls most people to be married and singleness is a very rare gift. God gives us a free will that is much more than just the freedom to choose between His choice and anything else.

    I believe the modern church has completely exaggerated God’s will. God wants us to make decisions in our life and He provides guidelines as to how we are to make decisions, but He doesn’t put pressure on us to figure out exactly what He wants. God is much more concerned with our heart than He is with our decisions. Articles like this seem to accidentally imply that if we desire something then it is of us and not of God. Basically, I can tell you that many people who read this may feel that if they have a desire to marry someone then it might be selfish and sinful. It’s not though, God gives us the desire to be married and He wants us to love the person we chose to marry before and after we are married. I am strongly convinced that anyone who claims that they married the wrong person or that God didn’t want them to marry whoever they married has been listening to the Devil. That is just an excuse of the Devil to not love your spouse or try in marriage because anyone who believes they married the wrong person will give up in their marriage.