Of late I’ve been reading a lot about what constitutes a godly woman. One theme that has been making the rounds these days is that of the Proverbs 31 woman. As women, we are encouraged to cultivate the traits written of in Proverbs 31:10-31. Godly, single men who are looking to get married are advised to seek a woman who has these characteristics.
Parallel to that, women are advised to seek out men with the character traits described in Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Timothy 3:2-7. Although these two references deal with positions of church leaders, elders and overseers, I believe that we can include all men in this category since every husband is the head of the family; thereby the overseer and authority figure in the home. Yesterday the Holy Spirit added some other characteristics that women ought to look for in a husband-to-be.
I was doing some homework in preparation for our Bible Study and was reading the book of Matthew. I nearly skipped the first couple of chapters because I thought I was familiar enough with the genealogy of Jesus, his birth and how he came to live in Nazareth. Yet something in me said to start at the beginning, obviously that was the Holy Spirit. Please bear with me because I want to set the stage exactly as the Holy Spirit set it out for me.
We know that Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph when she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We are also told that Joseph was about to break things off with her when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream explaining the whole scenario to him. Joseph proceeded to marry Mary and we are told Joseph did not consummate their marriage until after Mary had given birth. After Jesus’ birth, the angel of the Lord came to Joseph again in a dream telling him to go to Egypt with Mary and Jesus because Herod wanted to kill Jesus; Joseph complied. When it was safe, again, the angel told Joseph in a dream to go to the land of Israel and ultimately, they lived in Nazareth.
When I read this narrative, I couldn’t move past it. I read it the second time around and got nothing. But I still couldn’t get past it. I realised there was more to this story than what I was seeing, because I’ve come to realise that when I’m reading the Bible and can’t seem to move from a verse or passage, there’s usually something hidden there that I must uncover. So I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what it was that I was missing. And boy was I missing something big! Instead of focusing on Mary and Jesus, the Holy Spirit prompted me to focus on Joseph and the role he played in this scenario. Then I got it! Hence this list that I believe will come in handy for every woman of God who is looking to marry a godly man.
Joseph-like qualities to look for in a man:
- Right lineage – Joseph had to come from a specific ancestry in order to be Jesus’ ‘father’. When you read through Matthew 1:1-17, you see how God carefully planned out Jesus’ lineage in order to fulfill his promise to Abraham. Thus, the man a woman marries has to come from this royal lineage. The number one pre-requisite is that he should be born-again (son of Abraham and joint heir with Christ).
- Faithfulness to the Law – Verse 19 says that Joseph was faithful to the law; and the law of that time was that if a woman was found to have committed adultery they were to be publicly stoned to death; and at that time it looked like Mary had committed that sin. In spite of Joseph’s love for Mary, he was willing to lose her because of what she had supposedly done.
- Considerate, loving and thoughtful– Although the law allowed him to publicly expose Mary, we are told that Joseph decided to break up with her in private, to spare her from public ridicule.
- Obedience, even to his own detriment – When the angel of the Lord told Joseph not to leave Mary, he obeyed. As such, he ruined his own reputation, because now he and Mary were considered to have conceived a baby out of wedlock. Joseph totally disregarded the opinions of man in order to please God.
- Patience and not geting in God’s way – Verse 25 tells us that Joseph did not consummate their marriage until after Mary had given birth to Jesus. Joseph waited until God was done with Mary before he went about the business of marriage.
- Leader and protector – Although Mary was the one in the ‘limelight’ in this scenario, she was after all carrying the Messiah, God brought Joseph in as the leader and protector. It was to Joseph that the angel communicated all the warnings and instructions, not Mary.
What does all this mean, I hear you ask. Well, ladies, as Women of God, He has put some things inside of us. Call it purpose, vision, ministry, destiny or what have you, but in every single one of us, He has deposited something that is to be used to glorify Him and serve His Kingdom. Depending on God’s will for our lives, we can be single and still fulfil God’s purpose for our lives. But sometimes, God wills that our purpose be fulfilled in marriage. So, when God purposes that your ministry will best be fulfilled in marriage, guess who will help you bring it about and fulfil it? Your husband of course! That is why I always stress that marriage is not just about fun, sex and companionship. To God, marriage is about bringing two people together, who will help each other fulfil their individual purposes, and in most cases, these purposes are intertwined.
Now, when we get married, it follows that our husbands also have a part to play in our service to the Lord. Just like Mary, we are pregnant with something that God Himself has incubated in us. So, just like Joseph assisted Mary in childbirth (in the book of Luke, we are told that Mary gave birth in a barn with only Joseph and livestock present; so it goes without saying that Joseph acted as a midwife to Mary) our husbands must also assist us in birthing what God has put in us. Look closely at this; Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ father, he was Mary’s husband. He didn’t create or have any part in what was in Mary womb, yet he was instrumental in bringing it into the earth and protecting it. When the Bible says Joseph didn’t consummate his marriage until Mary had given birth, what does it mean? It means that Joseph did not interfere with what God was doing in Mary; instead, he assisted God in bringing it to pass and protecting it. What does that tell us ladies?
When selecting or screening someone for the role of future husband, you must find out the following: does he know and understand God’s purpose for your life; does he agree with and share your vision; is he willing to assist you in every way possible to realise your God-given ministry; and is he willing to be with you when no one else is around and stand between you and those who want to destroy your vision? Deep questions, I know, but they have to be asked and ascertained. When I ‘saw’ all of this, it dawned on me that just as much as God handpicked Mary to incubate the Messiah, just as importantly, he also handpicked the man who would be with her every step of the way!
So ladies, I know this sounds daunting but I believe that if we are meticulous in these details, we are sure to find husbands who will support us in our service to the Lord; husbands who will stand with us through thick and thin; husbands who will be our spiritual leaders and protectors; and most of all, husbands who are submitted to God, thus making it easy for us to submit to them!
As for my brothers, I have not left you out; before this week is out, I will share some pointers on selecting THE ONE.