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The Distraction of Attraction

Have you ever noticed how distracting attractions can become? Of course you have-we all know about distractions regardless of our age. School, sports, television, the Mall, entertainment, books, over indulgence of any sort. However, when you are young and single there is an additional distraction that older, married believers do not have: the desire to find a mate! This desire is a good thing; how we handle it determines whether it becomes the blessing it is intended to be or a distraction.

The foundations for a godly marriage should be laid in your heart long before you actually marry. They should be in place before the desire for a mate even begins. Most people, however, seem to begin laying these only after the attraction begins to consume them and, therefore, suffer much emotional heartache. Jesus has a different Way; one that brings blessing instead of distraction; joy instead of heartache; liberty instead bondage; freedom in place of jealousy.

If you want to have a wonderful marriage, the time to prepare for that is NOW! There are some foundational areas of human development that need to be cultivated in order to be a Godly husband or wife. The following are three areas that you should be cultivating in your lives now and that will bless your future mate in ways that are almost unimaginable.

1. Brothers & Sisters: Your Relationship with Jesus!
Same song-He is the foundation of all Life. He is the Anointing in any relationship. I spend much more time with Jesus than with Debby. When I rise up in the morning I spend the first part of my day with Him. When I go to work I am constantly asking Him for wisdom. Throughout my day I am praying in the spirit while I am laboring on many different projects (He created the first multi-tasking system). During lunch I am with Him, often just reflectingon the creative thoughts that He floods my mind with. As I look forward to dinner with my family, I am ever grateful for His provision. While eating I am looking for His wisdom in the care of my family. When I lay down at night my thoughts are on Him. As my body sleeps my soul waits on the Lord, looking forward to rising and spending time with Him again. Throughout the course of my relationship with Him, my life with Debby is woven in. He is the fabric of my life; Debby is one of the threads that He is weaving in. A most beautiful, delightful, desirous one: a treasured one-but only one of many. And, she is first betrothed to Him!

Scriptures for reflection: 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2-3

2. Brothers: Your Relationship with your Dad
My dad was a Marine through and through; his son was a drug infested hippie. Needless to say, we had our conflicts. Dad developed a faith in God late in life, even having a personal visitation from Jesus on his deathbed. I was never trained in the things of the Lord by my dad, however, there are many aspects to my character now that I first saw exhibited in him. His steadfastness and faithfulness were beacons in my life. He never panicked and, believe me, I gave him plenty of reasons to panic! He treated my mother with complete love and respect. In addition, he cared for the needs of both his own mother and my mom's mother until the day he went to be with Jesus. He was a friend to everyone, never seeming to play favorites. It did not matter whether they were rich or poor, French or English-he treated everyone with friendly respect. To my dad, all people had worth.

I realize now that the Lord was manifesting Himself through my dad even before he knew Him. He was anointed to be my dad. Was he perfect? Absolutely not! Do any of you have a perfect dad! Absolutely not! If dads are imperfect and prone to make mistakes why are they anointed? Could it be we all have a perfect Father who brought forth a perfect Son and because of their perfection His grace is sufficient?

If your dad is a follower of Jesus, hallelujah! If he is not yet a follower of Jesus, hallelujah! In either case, your dad has a very important part in establishing your life. Be sensitive to Jesus-build an honorable relationship with your dad-your future wife will be blessed.

Scriptures for reflection: Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Exodus 20:12

2. Sisters: Your Relationship with your Mom
I was born second in a family of eight children and was the first born girl. (Yes, this is Debby writing to you now, not John) Because of that position in my family, I was able to learn much about the responsibility of being a wife and mother. I know that God Himself placed me there for His intended purpose and the skills I acquired from my mom I have been able to pass on to my own children. I didn’t know then that I would one day be the mother of five daughters and the diligence that was imparted to me by my own mother was an important part of raising my girls.

I can recall so well that summer my mom was laid up in bed with a bad back for at least two months. My older brother and I were solely responsible for running the house all day while my father worked. Being trained in the ‘womanly’ skills more that he, the tasks mainly fell to me. I remember doing all the laundry, diaper changing (there were no pampers then), baths, and meal preparation (I did have to go in and ask several questions each day). The youngest three needed the most attention and I would line them up each night by the kitchen sink and wash them up assembly line style! It was no fun to stay at home for the summer while my friends played and went here and there, but now I’m so thankful for having learned to handle so much at a young age-God knew I needed that. He knew that I would one day have a houseful of people to care for. Even then He was teaching me to lay down my life. Although I’m sure I didn’t do it all joyfully, the seeds were planted in my heart.

I remember hours of standing by my mom’s radio, doing the ironing while the Saturday afternoon opera program aired. I’m sure that was one of the ways a love of music was imparted to me, although I must confess I would have preferred to listen to something else. My mother also played the piano and I remember she and my dad singing together. I can even recall their favorite song. It was a fun time for me as we gathered around them and I believe that it stirred a longing in my heart for worship without my realizing it.

My mom taught me to sew when I was twelve. Oh! The frustrations of making that first garment-it was a nightgown, something no one else would see. But my mother’s patience and insistence on doing the job right became a true blessing to me. Learning to persevere and work heartily unto the Lord was another seed planted. This particular skill I was able to pass on to Anathea especially and she is now blessing her family with the fruit of her labors. Tune in to His heart and glean all that you can wherever He has you and it will become a blessing you also will be able to pass on. The Lord says that these things are not just for us, but for the benefit of others.

I’m sure I could go on and enumerate many other areas that I now see as divinely inspired, but it probably isn’t necessary. I believe it all to be God's plan and He does have one for each of your lives. As you have been reading this I believe the Lord Jesus has pricked your heart. Respond to Him. Be satisfied where He has placed you. Ask Him to prepare you for your mate and pay attention to His voice. Ask Him for ‘heart eyes’ to see Him in all things and devote yourself to His purpose for you. Although I did not grow up in a house of believers, I know I learned to respect God. I did wander away from Him for a long time, but at just the right time He called me back and I became His, a servant to be used for His good pleasure.

Scriptures for reflection: Philippians 2:13; Colossians 3:17, 23; 1 Timothy 2:14-15; Colossians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:9

3. Brothers: Your Relationship with older Men
Building an honorable relationship with your dad will help you to establish integritable relationships with the other older men in your fellowship. These men are very important to your growing relationship with Jesus and ultimately to your marriage. Your dad does not have everything you need to grow in Jesus. He is still very much in the growing process and will be until Jesus Himself appears, either to take him home, or at His return. You are too!

The Lord desires us to have everything pertaining to life and godliness that our dads have learned and he wants us also to glean from those men who have gone before us in the Lord. Your fellowships have men who have different attributes of Jesus at work in their lives. I’m sure you have noticed these and have even admired them. Talk to them. Tell them the manifestation of Jesus that you see in them and desire for your own life. Ask them how they obtained that type of faith. Pray with them. I am sure they would be more than willing to spend as much time with you as you need.

The men in your life also act as a check and balance system for all the “great ideas” you have. Debby finds her security in Jesus, knowing that Jesus is able to make His will known to me and that He has enabled me to live honestly and openly with the men that God has placed in my life. One of the most important things that we provide for our wives is this type of security. True security comes from knowing that you are in the will of God!

Scriptures for reflection: 1 Peter 5:5; 2 Timothy 2:2

3. Sisters: Your Relationship with older Women
It's me again! I so wish I had some firsthand experience in this area to pass on to you, but I don’t. I never had a relationship with any of my aunts, and one grandmother died when I was very young and the other did not care for children much. I can only say that I do recognize the value of the treasure these women in our fellowships have. Here, I happen to be one of the older women and only recently is God adding someone ‘older’ for me. I have had to learn much through trial and error, joy and heartache.

I would like to say that I have certainly enjoyed and appreciated the part of the older women in Hosanna! Those of you who were present when Jessie prayed that wonderful prayer on a recent Sunday morning were truly blessed. My spirit soared as the words tumbled out of her heart and through her mouth. Yes! I want to be able to pray like that someday, or be able to flow as easily in any gift the Lord sees fit for me. For me, as I grew up in the Lord (and am still growing) that piece was missing. You sisters in Hosanna! and Jubilee! have a super opportunity and a great blessing to have available to you-just for the seeking-the wisdom, counsel, encouragement, experience, love, and friendship of mature saints of God. Do not let that resource go untapped! It is God's provision for you. The older women in your fellowship have been placed there by God’s divine plan and arrangement. Why not begin to ask the Lord to establish a lasting relationship with a few mature sisters? As John pointed out to the brothers, our parents are not perfect and cannot hold everything that each of us needs. Because He has a perfect plan for you, He has placed everything that you need to fulfill it right in your midst. Go for it! You may be surprised at what you find.

Scriptures for reflection: Titus 2:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7

Now, if you really want to be distracted, be distracted by your attraction to Jesus! When we let our attraction to Jesus rule our hearts we are distracted away from school, sports, television, the Mall, entertainment, books, and over indulgence of any sort. He is the primetime attraction. Let your attraction to Jesus consume all the distractions in your life.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”

As one betrothed love,

John and Debby