“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” — King Solomon via Proverbs 18:22
I think I can speak for almost every woman when I say that we would all beam with pride upon hearing a man calls us his “good thing.” That is the sort of report we long to hear a man tell his friends about us. It’s the way many of us would adore to be described. Women everywhere would fight for a chance to be a man’s good thing — one of the best things he considers to ever happen in his life. When I look at people like Michelle Obama, Shelley Giglio (my pastor’s wife), and my own mother, I realize that there are qualities in these women that I admire that I don’t feel I possessed. I realized that in order to receive that sort of report, I had to begin making serious changes — intentional changes — that would begin to reshape and restructure my character to look more like that of Christ as I prepare myself for marriage. I hope to share some of my challenges, findings and research as I prepare (and hopefully you will join me!) for marriage.
Training Day 1
I began my Good Thing Training as a personal challenge. I knew that I was not a good steward when it came to my finances. In fact, I was downright horrible. I was wasteful, irresponsible, and completely selfish in the way that I spent money. It didn’t matter how many times my mother scolded me for indulging my Starbucks fetish rather than paying for gas or handling my bills, I wasn’t willing to change because I couldn’t see the error in my ways. Sure, I could see the effect of them — it was obvious that I never had any money — but it never induced enough conviction in me to change. Pastor Tim Keller said it best, “No one has ever learned they had a flaw by being told. They had to be shown [by Holy Spirit Himself].” God definitely began dealing with me about where and how my finances were used. I began cultivating faithfulness in that area immediately. I was astounded at the results that discipline and grace produced.
This term was popularly coined by my pastor during his 6-part series entitled Boy Meets Girl (the series is also available to download on iTunes). Cultivating faithfulness is active waiting and active preparation for what is to come. Usually waiting on God suggests a passive, bitter attitude from a lazy believer who doesn’t have much else to do but wait. Cultivating faithfulness is active because it involves willing participation and preparation for that which we are hoping for. The concept of waiting on God with God is a way that I prepare myself for the desires of my heart that God has placed in my future. (For an in-depth explanation and practical examples of cultivating faithfulness, please visit The Beautiful Ashes.)
Cultivating faithfulness is putting your faith in motion with an earnest expectation of what is to come. James tells us in the Bible that faith without works is dead. The faithfulness we cultivate in different areas of our lives is the seed of faith that will eventually mature and produce the fruits we want to see in our lives, our character, our finances, our attitudes, etc. The goal is to make intentional improvements on areas of my life where I see anything that does not effectively represent Jesus. I know that God is not wasteful or frivolous. He is not prisoner to any carnal whim, so I was not displaying His character when I lost control when money appeared in my account. I must be responsible for every dollar to my name. In the natural sense, I must exercise restraint in this area now because if I am expected to be someone’s wife, then I cannot use our money for my own selfish exploits or caffeine indulgences. I must join forces with my future husband to establish a budget that will be beneficial to our family. Overall, God must be glorified in our finances. I cannot expect to see my poor budgeting habits vanish when I get married. That’s impossible. I must work now to cultivate faithfulness in my singleness so that God will get the glory in the way I control my money and how I use it.
What Happened to Content Singleness?
As I write this I can almost hear my readers saying, “Wait! Aren’t you the one who speaks so passionately about singleness? Are you suddenly jumping ship and abandoning all you’ve said about contentment? Have you become discontent with being alone?”
Let me reassure you. This is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, because I have embraced a healthy view and purpose of singleness, I feel better equipped to begin active preparation for marriage. My views on marriage have been radically shifted and obliterated by the wisdom of God. I hope to share some of those revelations with you soon. However, I want to make it clear that I don’t believe that the desire for marriage always insinuates a disdain for singleness. It is possible to enjoy and find complete contentment in singleness while simultaneously preparing for marriage. Good Thing Training is for everyone.
The Bible says that we are the Bride of Christ, but we have yet to attend the Wedding. At the end of time, we will sit at the Wedding Feast with our Bridegroom and we will see Him and be like Him. If we have not yet attended the wedding, then we are, in essence, Christ’s Fiance. We are betrothed to Christ (Hosea 2-19-20). Therefore, we have to actively work to prepare ourselves for the day our Wedding.
Revelation 19:7 reads: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.
This is testimony we all want to hear at the end of time. That we, the Bride of Christ, have made ourselves ready. When Jesus sees His wife at the end of time, may He look into the eyes of every soul staring back at Him and see the mirror image of Himself. May He see a willing and obedient wife who is subject to His majesty and sovereignty. At that time, we will be His good thing. You see, even if you or I never marry in this lifetime, we are all going to be married to Christ. Consequently, Good Thing Training is for all of us! It’s for the married believer as much as it is for the single believer. Naturally, Good Thing Training is teaching me how to have the mind of Christ, the authority of the Holy Spirit, and the wisdom and character of God. Those qualities will be more than enough to prepare me for earthly marriage, but it is primarily preparing me for a Wedding Feast in Heaven that is yet to come. Good Thing Training is actually just as much about Jesus as it is about an earthy husband.
Join the discussion! Question: What are areas in which you feel you should begin cultivating faithfulness?