Single Christians who want to be married should not be expecting perfection in a potential spouse and setting unreasonable standards. The best Christian couples will acknowledge that they and their spouses are not perfect and need grace. If you are looking for perfection, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
Excerpt is taken from the full sermon, “Is Your Spiritual Progress Evident to All?“.
They’re looking to be married – spouses. This is what I say: Look for someone who is an example of a young believer. A good example. Typically, I think perfection takes over. It might go kind of like this: The ladies looking for perfection in a young guy – they want someone who has the faith of Abraham, a heart like David, a mind like the Apostle Paul, the patience of Job, the courage of Caleb, leadership qualities like Moses, the wisdom of Solomon, and last but not least, they want a physique like Samson. And a lot of you guys are going to get knocked out with that last one. You better hit the gym. And the guys whenever they’re looking for the perfect spouse, they want a Proverbs 31 woman on steriods. They want the submission of Sarah. I mean, what guy doesn’t want a wife that calls him “lord.” They want the intelligence of Abigail, and then on top of all of that, they want one that is so beautiful, you’ve got to lie to keep from getting killed. Now, you know I’m just being funny right there in an odd sort of a way, but my point is rather than having all this perfection that no one lives up to, look for someone who is an example of a believer. My wife and I have been married 40 years just this year. And I can tell you for sure, she’s not perfect. And neither am I. There’s no perfection in our marriage that way. She’s closer than I am. And I tease her – I tell her she’s almost done with her probationary period, and she better just keep right on towing the line. But the reason I say that is there’s grace. We’re still married because there’s grace. Neither one of us being perfect. Be an example. Look for an example. And how is that example displayed? Well, we’ve got them listed right here in this verse. Speech. If you find a young man or a young woman that is gracious in their speech, controlled in their speech, you’ve found something. Because that is so rare, so hard to accomplish. Speech. Paul told Titus: sound in speech, above reproach so that the opponent will be put to shame having nothing bad to say about us. That is you won’t be able to say anything bad about the bad things we say. Our speech. And then he lists conduct here. Speech and conduct. I’m in v. 12. Conduct. It’s all over the news: public misconduct. This guy is being accused of misconduct or that one – in high places. Misconduct. But here it is, our conduct on display. Proverbs 20:11: It is by his deeds that a young man distinguishes himself if his conduct is pure and right. See, these are good qualifications for a spouse. Find someone who’s controlled in their speech and in their conduct in the same way and you find something. There’s all kinds of unwholesome speech out there, course jesting, things that ought not to be mentioned – those are phrases in the Bible that are spoken of in a negative way. There are phrases of exclamation that I see and it’s a personal pet peeve of my own – phrases of exclamation that people use that it seems like they try to get as close to the profanity of the world as they can without it happening, and I say that’s unwholesome. It ought not to be. Find someone who’s speech is upright and their conduct is upright. Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:15, he said, “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise.” There’s a conduct, in my opinion, that is inconsistent with a wise and a careful walk. Now, I realize, and you do as well, that there are a lot of grey areas in the Christian experience. There’s a lot spoken about Christian liberty these days. And someone might say what about this? Or what about that? Whenever you’re considering Christian liberty. And isn’t this a grey area? I would say there are a lot of things that I don’t have a verse that speaks directly to it. Most of those things, there’s a principle that covers it. Sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes it boils down to this right here: I tell someone I wouldn’t do that if I were you because I don’t think it’s consistent with a wise and a careful walk. Ephesians 5:15. So, conduct. Speech and conduct. Then he speaks about love. Love to God. Love to the brethren. If you love God, you’ll love the brethren. It’s inescapable. Faith. I define faith as being confident in God. It’s a simple definition, but it fits. Confidence in God in my definition is faith. Find someone who is confident in God, has faith in God, who loves God, loves the brethren, and their speech and their conduct are right. That person is making obvious progress. He speaks about purity. Being unpolluted and undefiled. I believe that to be scruples regarding things moral. Pure motives. So, whenever you look at a list like this, let me see – there’s five of them. Speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Be an example in those things. If you were to find a young person that was being an example in all of these ways listed right here in this verse, you might say that person is mature. There’s a level of maturity there beyond their years. You know that does happen. Sometimes you meet someone and you say this is an exceptional individual beyond expectations. There are achievements made by young people. In my studies, I discovered that Napoleon led the army, he commanded the army of Italy when he was 25 years old. Achievements do happen to young people. In the realm of Christian living and Christian walk, there are those who are exceptionally mature for their age. A recommended young man. An exceptional young lady. Humble, gentle, controlled, disciplined, dignified. Those are the things we should be looking for rather than perfections in any other way. But those ways right there indicate someone who’s going to be making obvious progress in the Christian faith, v. 12. Next, verse 13.