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“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Seeing the outward appearance

It is not much of a secret that our culture places massive value on outward appearance. We look for it in others and we look to cultivate it in ourselves. Getting that someone to look our way, to come a little closer, or at least to show some type of interest in us seems the whole goal. If we’re the goofy type (like me) then we do something stupid or silly to make the other laugh. If we’re good at music or another talent, we’ll perform a bit in hopes of getting a little more attention. If we're athletic, we'll show off some skills to make an impression. We'll try to dress sharply, look cleaner, and smell nice to become more attractive.

Think about that for a second. All the perfume we put on, the nice clothes (with wrinkles in just the right places), the products we put in our hair and on our skin, the flowers or gifts we bring, all in the hopes of getting a glimpse, smile, or second look from someone else. Is it not a little silly? And I say that because I’m thinking about all those ridiculous things I’ve done in my past to impress someone.

Looking good and buying gifts for people is nice--but only a shallow beginning. One should put a little effort into making a good impression, but first impressions cannot build a relationship to withstand better or worse, sickness and health.  

God looks at the heart

Appearances are simply surface-level impressions, they do not share the heart.  The best foot put forward cannot tell you what kind of partner they will be. No antics can show dedication, love, honesty, and integrity. None of them show the type of godly man/woman that stands before you.

The things the Bible says we should be attracted to in a potential mate have little to do with physical beauty. The bible celebrates beauty, but values a beautiful heart over appearance. Physical beauty doesn’t tell me anything about the person's character, their soul, their hope, their desires, their loves, their passions, their relationship with God, and their desire to be led by him. All it does it tell me they're pretty in my eyes. If we looked for a relationship based solely on feelings of attraction, then every marriage is going to end in divorce. We need relationships grounded in God that seek him first.

The most important question

The first question of assessing any date is Godly qualities. Do they love the Lord before all else? Do they spend time with him, do they feed upon his word each day, do they seek his council before all else?  Two people who love and serve different gods will never be on the same page of what's truly important in life. You can be casual friends, but an intimate life together would be forever in conflict. Do not date someone who doesn't share your faith--it is a path to future misery. 

As a husband and father myself I simply do not feel that I could be a good husband/father unless I spend time with God. If I cherish time with God then I will also cherish time with my kids. If I truly love God then I’m going to want to do what he wants me to do, love how he wants me to love, serve how he wants me to serve--which means I care for, support, encourage, build up, and give hope to others. Those are qualities and attributes I want my kids to have and seek.

Simply put, the most important thing to seek in someone else is if they talk the talk and walk the walk in their faith. Now this obviously has taken time for me to realize because as a teenager and young man those things simply were not important enough to me, but as an adult I understood the value of a partner, a friend, and a woman that I love that would challenge me in good and healthy ways making better in whom I was and in my walk with God.

2 Timothy 2:22 instructs us to “... flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” We are to seek righteousness, faith, love, and peace for ourselves and if we are able to find someone who seeks those things too then we are well matched and following God’s heart!

Start with yourself

If these are the qualities we desire to be present in others then we should strive to cultivate those qualities in our own lives. Maybe we simply need to look within ourselves and internally ask “what qualities does God want from me as his son/daughter?” How can I best glorify God? And then when we can answer THAT and begin to live THAT way then we can seek THOSE qualities in someone else.

 

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