I was having a conversation with a really close friend of mine. He’s one of those few people who will tell it like it is, and I value his opinion quite a bit. In the midst of a recent conversation, we hit on the subject of people claiming they know what God has planned for their life, specifically who he has planned for them to marry. We questioned whether or not these people really know or if they are just spouting declarations to sound holier than the rest of us. As we talked this out, my friend said “I hate when people say that. When you say that, and it doesn’t work out, you make God look like an idiot. And you ruin your credibility as a Christian.” I had a sudden epiphany:
Regardless of your age, or your amount of years as a Christian; whether you’re the senior pastor, a regular church member, or a new Christian, I believe we are all guilty of tossing God’s name around when it comes to validating our choices. I have always mentally called this using the “God Stamp of Approval.”
Let me paint a picture for you- You are in a relationship and things are going quite well. You are compatible, you hold the same views on God, and you enjoy each other’s company. You’re falling for them, they’re falling for you-everything is great. You’ve prayed about whether this guy or girl should be “the One” that you spend the rest of your life with, and you think maybe this is it. So when people ask you how serious you are about this person, the response is usually something along the lines of “It’s pretty serious…this is the ONE God has for me.” This is the Christian equivalent of “I want to marry this person and that may sound a little out there…but I want you to know how serious this is, so let’s bring God into it.” People can’t argue because they don’t know what God has spoken to you. What you have basically done is engaged in a game of Life, and in order to get an edge, or even win the game, you broke out the ultimate cheat code and stamped God’s name on your relationship to ensure its validity to yourself and others around you.
Now is this to say that I don’t think God can speak these things to us? By no means! I’m a firm believer that as Christians, we can talk to God and that God communicates with us as well. I also believe He has a plan for our lives, and lets us know piece by piece about these plans in His timing. I have known people who claimed God told them who they would marry and it came to pass-so I’m not saying that it’s completely impossible for this to happen. Yet the area becomes gray whenever we start tossing around God’s words like a game of catch. I wonder how many times we allow our preferences, or our guesses about God’s will to infiltrate our minds and hearts, and that muddle whatever God is really trying to say. How many times do we use the God Stamp to win at life?
But wait, hold on a second…it’s different with you, isn’t it? You know God has told you that this person is the right one for you. I really hope that this is true for you, and wish you the best. Yet I have two questions I’d like to ask you. Whenever you’re telling everyone (your parents, best friends, or random strangers at the grocery store) that this person is your one and only, have you ever asked yourself why you’re telling them? Is it supposed to bring validity to your relationship that wasn’t there prior? Is it bragging rights? Is it supposed to ease the minds of those around you that you’re committed? Despite what the reasons are behind it, there is a pretty easy solution-let the relationship speak for itself. Allowing people to see the way you two care for each other, and that God is the center of your relationships, speaks volumes louder than any declaration you can make, period.
The other question I have to ask is this; Has God told this other person? I mean is it possible that God would only tell one of you and not the other? I don’t see any reason why God would only tell one. Even in the bible, God told Mary AND Joseph, separately, about his plans for their life. Imagine if Mary went through the streets and to Joseph and said “So I’m pregnant with the savior of the world, BUT I’m a virgin, and yeah you’re still supposed to marry me, because God said so?” People were already freaking out enough without her going around telling people about the situation, and I guarantee that if God hadn’t told Joseph what was going on, then he wouldn’t have married her. Instead God let Joseph know what was going on too. THAT makes more sense to me.
In the end, being a young adult Christian in the dating scene isn’t really an easy thing. Heck, the dating scene for anyone isn’t an easy thing! It can be really easy to want to make your relationship a sure thing by using the God Stamp. Yet please, refrain from making declarations like this, God has His timing, and I promise He has this all figured out. Half the fun is just taking this one step at a time.