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Question:

I have a question about the concept of "building families" by faith. I have a friend who's attending . . . and she told me families are built up by faith. What does that mean? So, we cannot choose our own partner? She told me the purpose of family is for God's mission, so the Shepherd will pray and suggest a brother or sister for you and then the two of them will build up a family by faith. Am I saying it right? I just want to know more about this. Thanks. :)

Answer:

I do believe that the Lord gives us instruction in the Bible for "building families" by faith (by trusting in the fact that following the Lord's instructions will bless us). For example, believers should not marry unbelievers (but neither should those who are unbelievers divorce if one of the partners becomes a believer and the unbeliever is willing to stay in the marriage). 2 Corinthians 6 and 1 Corinthians 7 would be chapters that are helpful in this regard.

God also has a plan for our lives as believers, (Paul was told his by Annanias in Acts 9), and the Lord has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. Just as he sent a servant (a picture of the Holy Spirit) to find a bride (a picture of the church) for Isaac (a picture of the unique Son or Christ) in Genesis 24, the Holy Spirit will guide us in this all important decision of choosing a mate. God does work in families. For example in Acts 16 the jailer and his whole household believed the Gospel in one night.

Now the question is, how should this decision be made? You have mentioned that the Shepherd will pray and suggest a brother or sister. By Shepherd I assume you mean a leader in the church. In our church, we would give counsel and advice and Scriptural teaching on the Biblical guidelines for finding a mate and raising a family, but we would not presume to make that decision for any individual. We are here to teach others how to make Scriptural decisions, not to make those decisions for them. There are some people that may be called to a life as a single person so that they can better serve the Lord. I wouldn't presume to know if that was the conviction that the Lord had laid on the heart of an individual.

So in answer to your question, I do not think that someone in the church should choose your mate, but they should give you counsel about the matter. I do not believe that you should really "choose" a mate either, but you should try to discern through Biblical principles and through circumstances and the counsel of Godly men and woman, whom the Lord would have you to marry since you should marry "in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7 toward the end of the chapter.) Again, there was only one bride for Isaac and the servant found her for him. Many think that there are many mates out there and we can have any that "we choose" as long as they are believers. That is a very self-centered way of trying to find a mate and will leave you wondering if you got the "best" one when the marriage begins to mature and when difficulties develop.

To be operating by faith, a person needs to be convicted that the Lord wants him or her to marry.  Then those marrying need to be convinced that when they marry they will encourage each other spiritually and that they are united in their desires to serve the Lord.

I hope this helps.

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