Day 8: Ready or Not? He’ll Tell You
Memory verse: Let another praise you, and not your own mouth—a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2
Challenge: Make a list of why you think you are ready for a relationship/marriage, and then make a list of why you don’t believe that you are ready. Weigh what things you should be working on right now in order to be prepared when that time comes. Share or journal a couple of your strategies.
Humility. When people ask someone to describe themselves, many people won’t use this word. In fact, it is more often a characteristic that someone labels you with, and not necessarily one that you will choose for yourself. Why is this? Maybe because humble people don’t have to tell you that they are humble, everyone just knows. Everyone would like to be labeled as humble, but few people ever really grasp the true meaning.
The definition of humility is a modest or low view of one’s own importance; meekness, submission, lowliness. This is a feeling that ‘others come first, and I come next’. It doesn’t mean that you don’t think well of yourself, simply that you believe that there is significance and value in putting others at the forefront. It also means that you can submit yourself to someone that may know better than you, in such a way that may give them authority over you.
INSIGHT: “When I was around 16 I attended Kids Across America (KAA) in Missouri for a summer camp. This was such an amazing week for me. Even though I didn’t know what a true relationship with Christ meant, I knew that there was something special about the spirit that surrounded that place. At the end of camp, awards were given to those campers that the staff voted on. I received the ‘I’m Third’ Award- the highest award given to those individuals that live life ‘God first, others second and I’m third’. I listened to the counselor speaking of why I recieved the award-it was noticed that I would miss free time to help in the kitchen, I would help my counselors straighten the cabin, I took personal interest in the sessions and stood out as a leader in my cabin making sure that everyone got what they needed. I didn’t know anything about this award, I am just naturally a helper and this showed. I didn’t have to go beyond myself to do these things and many of them I did unconsciously, seemingly believing that no one was watching. This was a true act of humility and when I find the world or myself pumping my head up, I try to get back to that little girl at a sports camp one hot summer, who just wanted to serve.”
In Luke 14, Jesus tells the story about being invited to a wedding of a wealthy individual and the dilemma of those that he was with, deciding where to sit.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
This story is so rich in humility. The verse that we always highlight is 11: ‘ For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted’, but this entire parable relates to our lives and how we can view whether we are ready for a relationship. Many times, we feel like we know what we want, we know what we need and we will choose relationships on this very limited and biased perspective. I was such a person, and I have the broken engagement to prove it. I decided that I was ready for a relationship, so I created one that fit my shallow needs and then molded myself to be what I thought I should be for him. Of course, as we never do when we are outside of God’s will, I didn’t listen to reason or heed any of the warning signs–so God had to get my attention. When he literally snatched the relationship from me, it left a sizeable wound that I had to allow Him to heal.
I had exalted myself, but God humbled me. I wasn’t ready to share my life in a way that would bring Him glory. I wasn’t even giving Him the glory in my Single life, there was no way that He was going to allow me to misrepresent His union (we will talk about misrepresentation later on in this challenge). I was that guest that picked what I thought was the best seat for myself, and the Host had to come and tell me to move. Humiliated, I had no choice but to move (figuratively and literally).
When we decide that we are ready for a relationship, we have to consider if God is ready for us to be in one first. I Corinthians 6 says that we are no longer our own, but that we were purchased with a cost. Our decisions now have to all be weighed and approved by our Owner. When we start approaching relationships based on our limited view, we are like the guests picking what is best for us. But when we allow God to groom us and mold us into what He wants and then presents us to a mate, then we will be honored in the presence of others due to the Host exalting us, not us boasting on our own.
This is not meant to imply that dating or relationships are ‘higher’ than Singleness. It is simply used as an example of the humility that it takes to admit to the King and yourself that although you desire to be in a relationship–you would rather wait for Him to move you into one, instead of you putting yourself there and then having to be humiliated when He reveals you aren’t ready.
Stay where you are, the Host invited you so He hasn’t forgotten you-He is simply preparing the best seat in the house for you. Grow in your space now so that you can handle when you are moved.
INSIGHT: This is such a powerful move. When we decide that we are interested in some one, we don’t often include God in this decision. When we decide to FIRST figure out through prayer and direction whether we are ready for a relationship, then we will be operating out of a proactive mindset. At my church, the Pastor said something so powerful that will always stick with me: ‘God stands over our life’s timeline and waits to deposit all of our needs in at exactly the moment that we need it. God promised that He would supply all of our needs. So as soon as the thing we want (although we may think we need it) becomes a need, bam! We run right into it.’ This is my belief with relationships. If you are single and in God’s will, you must realize that this is God supplying your needs. When God sees a relationship needed to meet a need in your life and/or for the sake of the Kingdom, THEN it becomes a need and at that moment it will be provided. What an awesome God we serve.