Having the right attitude goes a long way towards becoming a recipient of a blessing.
Readership: Christian Men;
In a previous post about Being Attractive in Service (2020 June 24), we discussed how being involved in the church and community could provide a setting in which a man could attract the attention of a female. It’s not even necessary for a man to serve in a formal manner. All he has to do is establish a friendly rapport with others, and carry himself with the right attitude about life.
Yes, a man’s attitude is extremely important. You might be motivated to get involved and serve in order to meet chicks or guy friends, but if you expect those things to just fall out immediately, you’re setting yourself up for frustration, disappointment, and even anger, which will only work against you. Instead, you need to have a purpose that transcends beyond your own self. You have to go into it with a posture of humility and service, and if you’re too proud, then this will feel like you’re a “dancing monkey”, as some readers have commented.
To safeguard yourself against having a counterproductive attitude, it helps if you become aware of what God is doing, and what other people want or need done. If you’re truly serving with the right attitude, then you will feel an internal burden of responsibility to do certain things and act a certain way. Accepting this sense of responsibility is the hard part for most people. It’s much easier to just do what you’re asked to do, and remain ignorant about the purposes of the larger enterprise. If you don’t feel this burden of conviction, then you’re probably only doing those things for your own glory and benefit, and you don’t have the proper mindset to glorify God through your service.
Stay focused on the Work, not on the Reward
As a comparison, let’s think about what it is like to work for a company. It is counterproductive to go into the job with the attitude, “What can I personally get out of this?” But this is the same common attitude that most 9 to 5 wage slaves at a corporation have, and they too feel like dancing monkeys who suck up to the boss and resent him at the same time. I don’t have to tell you, those employees who have such an attitude are the last to receive praise or get a promotion. The “good” employees are those who focus on the work, and try their best to understand what the boss is trying to accomplish, in order to educate themselves about what all needs to be done. These are the employees that are favored by the boss, and who receive not only wages, but also opportunities for advancement and honor.
When we volunteer our time and energy to serve the church or others in our community, we are working for the Kingdom, and our boss is God. We have to think about what God wants done in this situation, and then find a way to fulfill this need. The impact of our attitude is similar to what we would find when working for a company.
So what about finding a Wife?
I know it’s hard for men to get their minds off the bushy bullseye. AngloSaxon quipped,
“What I’m taking away from this post is find a way of serving which involves walking around shirtless and proceed to Win.”
It is not that simple. Going shirtless would only be appropriate for the kind of work that would be done alone or with other men. But if another man’s daughter showed up to the site to serve the working men drinks and food, then your six-pack abs might be noticed by her. That’s assuming that you have a six-pack, and that she’s the kind of girl who’s into that.
To make this scenario work, she must also have the mindset to serve in like manner. So this can also act as a filter for the kinds of girls that you prefer to meet. Remember the story of Rebecca at the well in Genesis 24? Rebecca had the mind to help a stranger passing through town. She did not expect to find a husband by doing so.
I believe even today God arranges things like this. But if you’re not serving in the right place at the right time, then you’re not going to have a “Rebecca at the well” experience. Of course, you have to be involved in the Lord’s work, and you need to have built up good rapport with the others (i.e. her father) before things like this can happen. The previous post about Being Attractive in Service is about how to do that.
But remember, there is no guarantee of finding a Grade A wife in all of this. You can’t expect to do A, B, C, and automatically obtain an obedient Christian wife with cup size D. But being obedient to God will certainly increase your chances of receiving what you desire.
Blessings come by Surprise
JPF answered the exit question, and adds that you can’t arrange for God to arrange your meeting your future spouse.
“[What are some church or community sponsored activities that you know of, which would offer good opportunities] For establishing marriages within the group? None. The successes I saw were few enough that it is reasonable to say they were an accident, rather than the intended and desired result.”
There is no “accident” with God. It only looks that way to us. I’ve often had the impression that God wants to surprise people with blessings, but He can’t do that when people are too self-conscious and are expecting specific things, including comfort zone preservation and personal rewards. “Taking yourself too seriously”, as Ed put it, is another very good way to describe this prideful, self-centered attitude.
Remember those sayings, “Life happens when you’re busy doing something else“, and “You’ll meet someone when you least expect it“? The idea here is to put yourself into a conducive situation and foster the corresponding attitude and mood in which that something or someone can happen.
Some “singles” ministries even stated flat out that if you were here to find a spouse, you have the wrong attitude.”
This is only half true. Focusing on what you can personally get out of serving is the wrong attitude. But being there to find a spouse? Pray tell, where else would be a better place for Christian singles to mix and meet? The Saints and Sinners nightclub on Bourbon St.? Or maybe Tinder is better???
It is to be expected that young people coming to church, or to functions designed to serve others in the church, may have deeper motivations for doing so. There’s nothing wrong with having other motivations to get involved. What matters is how it plays out.
I’ll offer the following true anecdote as an explanation.
Case Study — Wrong Motivations can be Redeemed
Many years ago, there was a college aged man — an unbeliever — who was invited by his friends to visit our church. After he came to our church, he saw that there were a number of nice girls in the young adult congregation (which had a separate worship service from the adult congregation), and he kept coming back for this reason. He talked openly about his interests in this girl or that girl. The other youths were alarmed by his talk and they told the pastor about it. The pastor asked to talk to him privately and he agreed. During their meeting, this young man had the balls to tell the pastor that his motivation for coming to church was to meet girls. The pastor wisely told him that if he wanted to keep coming to our church, then he needed to serve in the church, and he needed to adopt the mindset that he would marry one of the girls in the congregation. If he was unwilling to accept these two conditions, then he was not welcome to come anymore. He really liked the girls, so he agreed to these conditions.
He followed through on the agreement, and after a year, he became a professing Christian. (Of note, the pastor never required him to become a Christian in their agreement, but he apparently had the faith that it would happen.) After two years, this young man paired up with one of the sweetest and most attractive girls at church. Everyone agreed that they made a good couple. After about two more years, they got married. At the time they married, she was 23, and he was 25.
Today, they are very happily married and have two children. He is presently one of the church elders.
Men always want to keep looking for the easy silver bullet for bagging a wife (a list of things to do or say that have immediate, tangible results), but this is not the way to get what you want out of God. In fact, this self-centered approach is characteristic of a poverty mentality. It is not the right attitude to have in serving God.
God rewards those who love Him, obey Him, and who exercise faith in doing so. Furthermore, this love should be freely extended to those around us. This is the best attitude that we can strive for.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
Here is a general short list of some hallmark characteristics of spiritual obedience in serving God or man. You need to…
- Be where God wants you to be.
- Do what God wants done.
- Do the work with a sense of responsibility characteristic of a good steward.
- Have a sense of personal conviction, but do not take yourself too seriously.
- See the purpose of the larger enterprise.
- Do the emotional work of being upbeat, optimistic, and inspiring.
- Go with the Flow (viz. Csíkszentmihályi Flow).
- Don’t resort to disappointment if things don’t go smoothly, or work out as planned.
- Don’t become frustrated if God doesn’t reward you immediately.
- Have faith that it’s all in God’s hands.
Service is not supposed to be self-gratifying, so don’t expect this. However, the work itself can be fun and deeply satisfying, especially if it’s something that you’re good at.
Having a specialized knowledge, skill, ability, or qualification can put you way ahead in terms of confidence, spiritual authority, and responsibility, and this holds true whether it is recognized by others in the pecking order or not.
- Σ Frame: A Study of Csíkszentmihályi Flow (2017 December 29)
- Σ Frame: The Blessings of Flow (2018 January 23)
- Σ Frame: Wisdom, Spiritual Efficiency, and Flow (2018 January 26)
I had a professor at seminary (which was attached to a regular university) who stated it would be foolish to NOT BE looking for your future spouse while there. “You are all young, and there are plenty of girls around your age at the college. There is no time in your life more likely to produce a marriage match than right now” was his argument.
To deny that people in a church singles group are hoping to meet someone is just bizarre to me.
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A former church of mine renamed their singles ministry because it “was offensive” to a bunch of girls who didn’t want to be in a group that existed for relationships.
1- the complaint never came from those who attended
2- it was predominantly female, relationships formed in the group were anomalous
3- most of the women in the church dated non Christians anyways.
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Yes. I have mentioned this before, but I married a Good Christian Girl™ by being the Carnal Christian™ guy that needed to be brought back into the fold.
I had been brought up in church but during my teens and early twenties I was kind of doing my own thing. This was a big plus to my girlfriend (eventual first wife) because it stroked a lot of her own psychological needs — including sticking a finger into the eyes of her parents, who didn’t really like me. They saw me as a motorcycle, drummer, tattoo guy who was just cruising the church scene for innocent chicks. That was not really what I was doing, but I sort of played a role like that.
I will say this–the singles groups at church were lame, and I knew it then.
In the end, it was I who became a more serious faithful Christian and got dumped, but that’s a long story.
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It sounds like you (or your marriage) were her “project”. When you reformed, her project ended, and so did her interest in the marriage. She never learned to look within herself, nor develop a wifely mindset. I wrote a post about this dynamic before.
Excuse me for analyzing you.
It seems like your church was actually trying to fulfill one of the purposes of Christian community – helping young Christian singles pair up. But the leadership could not take a firm stance against its detractors. It’s not surprising, because singles ministries are a prime target of Satan.
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In the Bible, a critical element in what a faith community did was matchmaking. It was all about building the community and making it stronger through strong people and strong marriages. People were supposed to join because they wanted that shalom life. The community itself become something worthy of fighting and dying, and it’s that attitude that attracts a worthy woman.
I was friends with my father-in-law before I even met his daughter. I wasn’t looking for a wife, but I accepted the companionship of one that was looking for a mission-minded man. Still married to her since 1978, and she still supports my mission.
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The notion of having a mission is still somewhat foreign to me. Would you care to elaborate or explain what your mission is?
It refers to a driving sense of purpose, in this case related to my sense of divine calling. A mission is having a powerful sense that, regardless of the context, you have a firm idea of what your duty is. It can also be called a sense of identity. I know who I am and what God requires of me in any context.
@ Jeff and Ed,
One’s mission/purpose is an important concept. I’ll write a separate post on this. I’m already getting the inspiration from your question. Stay tuned.
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