Change The Bar

I was talking to a young man the other day and after listening to him for a while, I found something disturbing. But it wasn’t just him, which he’s a real good guy and nothing against him. It’s actually a trend, and it’s a trend that has been going on for, well, forever. I’m sure back in the ages of the Bible times, this was an issue as well.

Change The Bar

He started sharing with me about this girl that he liked, and he didn’t share much, but honestly, you don’t need to hear much. It’s amazing how much you can hear, and learn, when you’ll just close your mouth and open your ears. He shared with me a little bit about this girl that he liked and told me how great she was. In fact, it wasn’t that he liked her. It was that he loved her.

He went on to tell me how this girl, in all her greatness, had set the bar for all other girls in his life. He acknowledged that he would probably never get together with this girl, but she was so great that she changed his viewpoint on girls, women forever.

There are problems with though, great problems. And these problems are occurring all across the nation, all over the world, in the church and outside. It’s a human problem, not a race problem, a gender problem, not a national problem – a human problem. The same issue he is having is the same issue that women are having. While it occurs in all ages, it occurs greatly in teenagers and young adults because honestly, they are more immature in their thinking. That’s not to demean anyone. It’s just a fact of nature. We take longer to mature in our thinking, our brain takes time to mature to a point where this becomes easier. And it can even mature through experience sadly.

The problem is that this girl has set the standard by which all other girls will be judged. According to him, the rest of his life, he will take any girl that he has an interest in, set her up next to this girl and judge her by this girl. If she does not measure up, she is gone, or she is accepted, but with this little sub-conscience voice that will continually say, “well, she doesn’t do that as good as so and so did,” “she doesn’t hold my hand and make me feel like so and so did.”

Forever, according to him, this girl will be the one who determines whether all other girls are good enough or friendly enough, or pretty enough, or have a good enough personality to be with him. And that’s a warped measuring stick.

The Idea of Love

It’s a warped measuring stick because honestly, he wasn’t and isn’t in love with her – he’s in love with the idea of her. He’s in love with this idea that she would do this, or make him feel this way, or treat him like this or that. But honestly, he doesn’t even know her. He’s never dated her, they’re just friends. But even if they have dated or haven’t, you don’t love someone based on an idea of them. You love them based on them, not the idea of them.

You love someone because they do this for you, not the idea that they do this or would do this because you have never had the experience of them. In much the same way, it is more of an infatuation, much like one has for a celebrity. People “love” this movie star or that, but they don’t know them. Love is based on experience for one, not just an idea of what could be.

You hear people say they it was ‘love at first sight.’ No it wasn’t. It might have been attraction at first sight. You might have fallen in love with the idea of the person at first sight, but not the person. And if it was, it was a shallow ‘love’ if that’s what you can call it. Can you love someone who has never tested your love. Have they broken your heart and you still loved them? Have they annoyed you so much by their little habits and you still loved them? Have they left the toilet seat up? Put the toilet paper on the wrong way? Spent the last of the money on new shoes instead of bills?

Has that ‘love at first sight’ been tested? (This whole idea of ‘love’ has so many facets that they cannot be covered here. This is not even part of the message, but seemed beneficial to include it.)

Setting The Bar

But now that this bar has been set by this girl, this idea of this girl, what has changed? Everything. Every girl is now measured by this ‘goddess’ who is beyond compare, beyond being touched. She has been put on a pedestal that not many, if any, can touch. And so what happens?

What happens when the next girl who comes along who is beautiful, smart, loves God, has a great personality, likes you, and is all around a great girl? Nothing. Because she didn’t measure up to this last girl, she’s not good enough, even though she’s good enough. What happens when the girl that God has for you comes along and God even tells you this is the one? Well, if you’re not careful, you will dismiss it as being God because she doesn’t measure up to this idea of the perfect woman that you have set up in your mind.

Don’t think that this is applying just to guys, because it doesn’t. This definitely applies to girls as well. Girls do it just as much and in many other destructive ways. Both guys and girls will take this idea of the perfect mate and allow it to alter their perception of what the perfect mate really is.

You Won’t See It Coming

A major issue with this is that you won’t even see this happening. At first you might, you might take the guy or girl that shows interest in you and actually compare them to this “dream mate.” But slowly it may become a more sub-conscience idea. You won’t say this one isn’t like him or her. You’ll just think that they’re not good enough. You may even decide to date them, but there will be something that isn’t perfect enough about them. Then you’ll do an injustice to the other person and yourself.

This happened to one guy I went to high school with. He dated a girl that he really like, maybe even loved. But things didn’t work out and they broke up. But he still had this idea of how great this one girl was and how no one else measured up to her. He dated other girls and one even stated that although he was good to her, he never treated her like the other girl. He never loved her like he loved the other girl. Time went by and apparently no girl could ever measure up, so he turned to guys. And to this day he’s still looking.

When There Is No Bar

While setting the measuring stick upon the ideal person isn’t a bad thing, who you set it on and label as ‘the perfect mate’ can be. In fact, if after some time that perfect mate doesn’t come, you give up. You lower your measuring stick. But instead of lowering it, your self-esteem has been so damaged that you’ll accept anything that comes your way.

A friend of mine was desperate for a mate, a family, someone to love and be loved by, that he settled on whatever came his way. In fact, anyone that showed him interest, that wanted to date him, he said ‘yes’ to. Understand, it’s a good thing to say ‘no’ to some people. Some people don’t deserve your time of day. They don’t deserve your affection or energy. He went through many relationships that broke his heart over and over and ended up settling for someone that was less than God’s best for him.

Changing The Bar

There needs to be a bar, a standard of definition of who or what is ‘the perfect mate.’ There needs to be a measuring stick of what we will accept and what we won’t. But that standard must be set by the correct person. The problem is that many people attribute that standard to the wrong person. The only person – ONLY person – that should ever set that standard is Jesus Christ.

The only person who can truly and accurately set the bar, set the standard of who your perfect mate should be is Jesus Christ. Of course, once we know that He is the only one who can do this, we have to ask how is He going to do this. Jesus does this through two ways, just like He does many other things – through the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

There are certain characteristics that every perfect mate should have. These general traits can be found in the Word of God. It is our job to find these traits in the scriptures. Without these traits, any mate – girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse – will leave you wanting.

The number one trait that we, as Christians, must require in any mate – that Jesus Christ has set the bar at – is for them to be a Christian as well. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Without the common belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, nothing will be right. Jesus said that he did not come to bring peace, but to divide.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:34-36).

He meant that when someone accepts Him as savior and others won’t, that will divide them. Of course it will. There are only two powers working in the world, two Kingdoms – that of Jesus Christ, and that of the devil. If you’re not in one, you are in the other. When you are married, because the ultimate end to any relationship is marriage, or should be, everything is magnified. Problems are magnified. If those problems are because of Jesus Christ, then heartache will happen, without a doubt.

There are other traits that make up the bar that Jesus Christ has set for our perfect mate.It is up to you to find those in the scripture. Without those traits, it doesn’t matter how nice, handsome or beautiful, friendly the other person is, unless they have the traits Jesus talks about, it doesn’t matter.

If you look in Ephesians 5, you’ll see other traits that Jesus says the perfect mate should have. Now you have to understand in these verses that the apostle Paul is speaking to husbands and wives, so these traits have to be modified when you are dating and searching for the perfect mate.

For example, Ephesians 5: 22 says, “ Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” It doesn’t say girlfriend, submit to your boyfriend. But it does say that wives are to submit. So for guys, you’d want to find a girl that is Biblically submissive. Look at her life – does she submit to authority? Does she submit to her parents, to teachers, to church leaders? Of course, you need to understand the proper definition of Biblical submission. Submission does not mean whatever the man says goes. If the girl wants to eat and McDonald’s and the guy wants to eat at Arby’s, you work it out, you don’t just eat at Arby’s because the guy said so. (This isn’t a message on submission, so I’m not going into this now.)

Besides the Word of God, the other way that Jesus sets the bar is through the Spirit of God. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? We can look to the Word of God and see the general traits that any mate should have, but we have to look to the Holy Spirit for the specific traits. You may find someone that meets and exceeds all the traits that you have found in the Word of God. They may meet the standard, go over the bar, but they can still be the wrong person. I know people who have been strong Christians and met strong Christians and seemed great together, but the Holy Spirit said that they weren’t meant to be together. Why you ask.

I don’t know. That’s the Holy Spirits job. Your job is to listen and do what He says. Both the people in the relationship broke it off, felt the same way, and went on to marry who God has for them. You see, these specific traits that the Holy Spirit will show you, or maybe not – He may just tell you this one is wrong or this one is right – are ones that matches yours. The qualities that you may need are ones that someone else may not. The traits that should set your bar may be ones that compliment your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses.

It is easier to receive this when you aren’t in a dating relationship. When you are in a relationship, quite frankly, you get stupid. Your emotions overtake you and common sense, God sense, sometimes doesn’t get through. But if you listen to God, whatever He may say, you’ll be happier with the one that God knows will match you perfectly.

The Importance of Being Led By The Spirit

Now these traits, this bar that is set, can always be overridden by the Holy Spirit. But you better be sure it is the Holy Spirit and not your emotions. I dated this girl while in college and who had some of the traits that the scriptures tell us to have, but not all (see, I already had lowered the bar). When we broken up, I was devastated, but within a few weeks I was over it. Praise God for Godly counsel.

Within a few weeks I started talking to an old girlfriend who lived about 500 miles away. She had just recently broken up with her boyfriend as well. She wasn’t saved, but honestly, we were just friends, nothing more, and nothing more was intended when we started talking. But over the weeks, as I traveled home for Holidays and visit family in our hometown, I’d stop and see her. We’d talk, hang out, catch up on times, but that was it. After a while I started talking to God. I really liked her and told the Lord I’d like to date her. But two major thinks stopped that – one was the distance – 500 miles. The other was the fact that she was not saved, and I wasn’t budging on that. But I just told Him and prayed for her salvation.

While I was home for Thanksgiving, she decided she was going to come back to to where my folks still lived, and see her aunt. So one night we decided we’d go see our old youth pastor and just hang out. When we started out that night, I knew that I knew that she was going to rededicate her life that night. But I never expected what else would happen.

As we fellowshipped with our old youth pastor and his wife, he began to talk to her about Jesus and through the conversation, she decided she wanted to give her life back to Christ. So we all gathered together and prayed with her as she rededicated her life. As we were praying, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in such a real way and said, “Behold, your wife.”

I was amazed, thrilled really, but kind of caught off guard. Before we went to our youth pastor’s house, she smoked, drank, cursed, etc. She wasn’t saved. But after that night, she didn’t drink, smoke, curse, and she loved God. She desired God and the things of God.

Now of course I didn’t propose that night. I let time go by and she matured spiritually. But of course, I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and we’re married today. But that’s because the Holy Spirit gave me specific direction. But if you don’t have specific direction like that, you stay withe the general direction – the general traits – the bar that has been set by the Word of God.

If you do that, if you are led by the Word of God and the Spirit of God, if you judge that would be boyfriend or girlfriend, that would be mate by the bar that Jesus Christ has set, then you are sure to bypass a ton of heartache, money going out of your wallet, lost time, and you’ll get that perfect mate. God is with you.

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