I don’t’ know about you, but before I got married I had a list of qualities that I wanted to have in a wife.
Here is just the short list I had in no particular order except for the first:
- Loved God
- Heart for ministry
- Goal orientated
- A leader
- Knowledgeable about sports
- Wanted Children
I could go on and on, but I was specific about what I wanted to find in a wife because I deeply desired a successful marriage not just a roommate for life. Granted it would be understandably impossible for all of those characteristics to be found in one person, but I can honestly say my wife Cherie nearly accomplished my whole list when I met her. Now I did not have a small checklist that I pulled out on our first date to see where she stacked up, but over time and as I got know her I could see she met what I wanted in a wife and some cases exceeded. So much so that I began wondering if I even had a chance with her! I’m fairly certain she had a list in her pocket too with what she was looking for in a husband and I wondered I was able to check off any of her boxes knowing my bozo life.
Of course there are people that take this to an extreme. I know people who have lists so detailed and so unobtainable that the only way a person could match up to their expectations is if they created a robot version of that person. If that ever happened I would tend to think that snuggling with a robot might be a little difficult, but at that point you’ve made some bigger concessions than just that I’m guessing. :)
Did you know that God has lists for us too?
Clearly not lists of what He’s looking for in a mate for Himself, but actually lists of traits and character development that will allow us to live more productive and Godly lives. Lists of things that will strengthen our faith and increase our ability to pursue Him and love others.
One of those lists is found in 2 Peter 1:5-9 where Peter says:
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self control; and to self-control, perseverance and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and a blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
Now unpacking this fully would take more pages than you care to read so let me summarize as best as I can.
Notice first that God’s desire for us starts with faith in Him. Realize His expectation doesn’t require that you and I have all of these things listed firmly established in our life before we come to faith in Jesus. It’s only after we have come as we are, full of our junk, and let Jesus make us clean that we can begin to tackle this list of attributes to our life.
From that central point of faith, God gives us the building blocks of faith development that, in a way, cannot occur before the previous one is obtained. For example being knowledgeable without being good first may cause you to become legalistic and harsh towards those that are around you. The root of your search for knowledge must come out of good intentions with a good and pure heart or your search will leave you full of information but very little transformation or compassion. As Peter says you will become “ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of Jesus Christ” and in so doing actually stunt your faith.
As I said before, God does not treat this list as I treated the one for my future wife. These are not a list of non-negotiable things that if you don’t have them God cuts you off, but rather its a list of spiritual building blocks that are meant to develop the character of your faith into a greater fullness. A fullness that will allow more peace and joy in your life.
I encourage all of us to consider the list Peter provides and ask ourselves “How am I doing in these areas?”, but do so by starting at the beginning. Don’t jump ahead and consider your self-control greater than your goodness. See what pursuing these areas in order would look like for you and ask God’s direction and wisdom to know how to continue in this pursuit.
In the end you may still be single with an eight pages list of things you want in a spouse, but you should have a greater understanding of your relationship with your Father in Heaven and a peace about who you are in Him.