One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
There’s something about the Christian Mingle commercials that just makes me cringe every time I see one on television, the line: “Find God’s match for you.”
I cannot find a biblical basis for the belief that God has a “match” for everyone. In fact, I find more evidence that God does not have a “match” for everyone (see the Apostle Paul, Elijah, Jeremiah for example). What I do find a biblical basis for however is loving God with our entire being and being transformed to be more like Christ:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).
- I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
- For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).
- Colossians 3:1-17
- Galatians 5:16-26
The basic plot of the Bible is this: God created a world, then created humans to rule said world, then humanity disobeyed God and creation became corrupted and humanity became slaves to sin, God promised to redeem humanity from sin, God redeems humanity through Jesus. The goal of the Christian life then is to pursue Christ-likeness and no longer live as slaves to sin.
When I see the ChristianMingle commercials I see an underlying idea of: God has a wonderful plan for your life and wants to bless you with a great life; and I think this idea is one of the problems plaguing Christianity, at least in America. Furthermore this idea is blatantly false. If you don’t believe me read about the lives of the Prophets (esp. Jeremiah), the Apostles, and Jesus Christ. These people did not live wonderful, happy, blessed lives, but rather were usually on the run from enemies who wanted to kill them and were despised; not exactly a wonderful life.
At one point in my life I believed the idea that ChristianMingle is promoting: that God has a perfect match for everyone. However, all my praying and hoping for this only served to make me more frustrated and angry at God. Eventually God showed me that this is not the attitude that I should have when following Him. I began to learn that the attitude God wanted me to have was one of concern towards furthering His kingdom, and not towards my own desires. This was not an easy thing to accept, it took many, many months in fact. Once I was able to accept this though it has been one of the most freeing things in my life. It has shifted my focus from earthly temporal things (romance) to eternal things (God’s kingdom), which is where my focus should be as a Christian, because:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
Now just to be sure, being married and having a family is a good thing (and Lord willing I will be married and have one myself one day), but the focus of a Christian should be on pursuing Christ and furthering God’s kingdom, not on getting married and having a family. Christ needs to be the focus of the Christian life, not earthly blessings. Our attitudes should be similar to the Apostle Paul’s:
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…(Philippians 3:8 ESV)
The pursuit of Christ (serving Him and becoming more like Him) needs to be the focus of the Christian life. This needs to be borne out in the life of the Christian and not just merely intellectually assented to, which means that our lives should be marked by hardships and trials endured for the sake of Christ, and not by our “wonderful families.” The life of a Christian should be focused on Christ and eternal things, not on earthly things, of which I believe marriage and family to be one.
i also cringe when i see those ads taking aim at lonely Christians. it bothers me that many churches tell the congregation basically to follow God for selfish reasons, and when things go wrong, people leave the church because their faith wasn’t strong enough to endure tough times.
This is great because it gets to the heart of the issue. Now CM can be a great tool, but they market themselves through distorted expectations and desires. Their success is a testament to how much we prefer the things of God over God himself.
Came to your blog via your Youtube channel. Sadly, even among devout Christians there is this entrenched idea that God “rewards” us for being “good”. We see this manifested in concepts like the Prosperity Gospel. When trials arise, when we do not receive blessings we think we should, we wonder what we have done wrong. But it’s good to remember that ultimately that is not why we are here. We’re here to receive Christ’s image in our countenances. And the road to that is through bearing our individual crosses and, in truth, suffering. Those in the Refiner’s Fire may indeed live lives that might seem to others unfairly devoid of comforts and blessings others enjoy-even until the end. But I think that is where true grace is extended; not when it is an easy road. I have found the most strength in the book of Job, who did nothing wrong to deserve what befell him, and I also look up immensely to Jeremiah and Elijah. I always try to pray for a double portion of Elijah’s faith like Elisha. I’ve found solace in their trials and have prayed for faith like them. Never occurred to me until reading this to connect that with their (Jeremiah and Elijah’s) single status. There is power in submitting to the will of the Lord. It doesn’t take the pain away; it’s real, and loneliness hurts. I know. But it’s ultimately all about Romans 8:29. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for the comment. Job, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are always been encouragements for as well when I go through trials. They are indeed inspiring heroes of the Faith.