From pretty early on in our relationship, Deedre would tell me that I’m a hopeless romanic, to which I would quickly respond, “No, I’m a hopeful romantic.” I liked romantic comedies, the quiet conversations while holding hands and walking in the park and thoughtful surprises. Ironically, Deedre, not so much. Whenever we would talk about marriage, she asked me that if I ever proposed, for it to be as private and low key as possible. So I, of course, proposed to her in the most public way possible, on the steps of the temple at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. I did it in front of a crowd full of people, with speakers blasting throughout the theme park. Now some of you may think that’s so sweet, but I know some of you just tuned me out right there. You may be single, had a series of bad relationships, are going through a tough time in your marriage right now or you’re divorced. And you may be saying, “Ok CJ, spare me the sappy love story. That’s not how my story is going right now.” And that’s how many people will feel over the next week as all the stores are full of red items for that special someone, the word love will be used in almost everything and people all around them will be talking about what their doing on February 14th. And for some will come that dreaded question, “What are you doing on February 14th?” So, I get it.
Our culture is obsessed with the subjects of love, sex and marriage. However, the most recent statistics will tell you we’re not doing a very good job at them. And I’m becoming increasingly convinced it’s because we don’t truly understand marriage, all that leads up to it and what I believe we’ll discover today is… the mission of marriage. It’s time for us to challenge and rethink some of the ideas that the culture around us has conditioned us to think about love, relationships and marriage. Now there is no better place to understand the relationship ideals that lead to a fulfilling marriage than in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, right on the heals of creation, in a perfect environment, when the world was the way God wanted it to be. It is the 6th day of the creation week and God has already formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and unlike any of the rest of His creation, He comes close and breathes the breathe of life into his nostrils, thus making him a living being. Then watch what God does with Adam in verse 15…
Spoiler alert! Now we know God would later give Eve to Adam and they would both be given dominion over the earth, but let’s just zoom in on single Adam for a moment. Because I believe that passage we just read is telling us that, if you want to experience the mission of marriage, you've got to first learn how to…
Be Fulfilled and Complete While Single.
It’s like hearing a good band. Each of the instruments played by each musician, could be played as a solo and I’d be blessed. Now something amazing happens when they all come together to create one harmonious sound, but often the individual musicians had pretty successful solo careers before joining the band. Some of us need to learn how to become fulfilled soloists, before we try to form a successful duets.
Let’s consider the fulfilling single life God gave Adam in the Garden of Eden.
God gave Adam purpose.
And since this was to be lived out on the dominion He gave them of the planet, one could say that God gave them kingdom work. This was fulfilling work, since work filled with toil wouldn’t come until sin entered the earth. He was to “tend and keep” the Garden.
God gave Adam more than enough to satisfy him.
The word Eden means delight, pleasurable and paradise. This means that God put Adam in an environment intentionally designed to fully satisfy him even as he worked. Every tree, every fruit, every sight, sound and smell was overwhelmingly beautiful and delightfully stimulating to all his senses. And beyond this, God gave it to him in abundance, saying “…every tree of the garden you may freely eat…” And this is just speaking of the garden! Remember, he had a whole planet full of goodies. Adam was fully satisfied in God and all He provided for him.
God gave him boundaries so as not to seek satisfaction in evil.
God gave single Adam boundaries so that he could remain free to be fully satisfied in God and all He provided. He was not to eat “…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” which was a minor restriction when compared to the overwhelming abundance God gave him. This boundary would protect his purity and reveal that he fully trusted God to satisfy him.
God gave Adam companions.
With no other humans on the planet, Adams initial companions were the animals. And though they are not human, it is instructive to note that God calls everything good on the previous days of creation, but man being alone is the only thing God says is not good…in a perfect environment! Now, of course this is the set up for God to give Adam his wife, but the divine pronouncement that it’s not good for us to be alone is not just speaking of marriage, but human relationships in general. We were designed to be social beings. We need friendships. And though Adam was alone, he was not lonely! He had the companionship of God, the animals and angels.
God gave Adam completeness.
This is evidenced by the fact that he was so in harmony with the mind and the will of God that when he named the animals, he gave them the name that was already in the mind of God! “…whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.”
Adam didn’t need another human being to complete him. He was already complete in God! Though it seems that Adam was aware he didn’t have someone comparable to him, single Adam didn’t ask God why he didn’t have a wife. He didn’t complain to God or give a list of requirements for what she was to look like. He simply focused on God and the fulfilling kingdom work He gave him to do.
You see sometimes when you’re single and desperate for a spouse, you miss the amazing, abundant and fulfilling life that God wants you to have right now. You are complete in Him! He’s got Kingdom work for you to do. As a matter of fact, it’s when you have this focus and confidence in God’s purpose for your life, that you attract the proverbs 31 wife and the Ephesians 5 husband. Preparation for being a great spouse is by being a fulfilled single!
Now in the context of Adam having this primary focus, God now leads him to the next step beginning in verse 20…