Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Romance & Relationships (Part 1)

Recently, I was able to read a series of blog posts on "Romance & Relationships" from my friend Becky Hill that really helped me think through some practical questions I had in my heart in this area. For most of my life, I have kept my romantic life private and I will continue to do so. I will be quite frank that I haven't had much experience in this arena simply because of the fact that I have been on a 7 year commitment to not date anyone since I was 21 years old. Well, that season has just about ended so I hope these next few posts from my friend Becky will help you as much as it has helped me to seek the Lord's hand and to keep a pure heart when it comes to divine romance...God knows I've made my mistakes in the past. May God have mercy upon us all as we seek His perfect will in choosing a life partner. (ps. my friend Becky may possibly even respond to your comments and questions if you have any hehe)

Becky Hill's Blog


I am finally continuing my Romance & Relationships series. I’ve been caught up in trying to have one, so I haven’t had time to write. ;) As a reminder, the three over-generalized, broad-stroke core principles to healthy relationships are:

1) A free (honest/truthful/pure) motivation is the key
2) Confrontation is necessary and God given
3) It’s God’s hand & our heart

So, let’s start with the first aspect. What do I mean by having a free/honest/truthful/pure motivation? There are many factors that play into this, but the bottom line is simply that when you are attracted to someone or unattracted to someone, you don’t shy away from it but carry yourself with honor in the truth. This means that you are willing to be vulnerable and have an honest approach to relating with the opposite sex. By honest I don’t mean transparent (tell them everything that’s going on in that little heart of yours), but open to real interaction (conversations) and grounded in reality (what’s actually happening between you two, not what’s going on in your fantasy world). The other main point of this is that in order to actually walk this out, you must have your identity and satisfaction fixed upon the Lord before trying to establish a relationship with another. Tall order? Yep, but we’ll talk about it.

Many people (especially in Christian circles) have a tendency to feel as though any kind of romantic inclinations are evil or “worldly.” Thus, to remove this ungodly distraction from themselves, they simply suppress the desires they have inside or ignore that they even exist. Whether it be trying to pretend like you aren’t interested in the person you like or feeling guilty for wanting to look attractive around a certain someone, it springs from a skewed view of the Lord and of relationships. We must understand that the only way we will have strength to walk through a relationship under the leadership of the Lord is by knowing that He is pleased with us in it. Otherwise, if you have a mindset that the Lord is disappointed or angry that you are pursuing a relationship, you will feel as though all that you do in it is unclean and violate your conscience by even doing things that are pleasing to Him, rendering you unable to rather partner with Him to have a godly relationship.

The solution to this is through the renewing of your mind in the Word and in prayer. First of all, it is a part of the command of God to “be fruitful and multiply,” and unlike the somewhat gnostic mindset of the Church, the priests of Israel who ministered before Him were encouraged to have wives (please look at the Old and New Testaments concerning the issue of marriage before claiming that celibacy is holier based upon two passages). Relationships are a part of the blessing of creation, and the curse was a break in that communion between God, man, and woman. Secondly, the Lord has given us an opportunity to grow in maturity and love through relationships (whether friendships, dating, or marriage) if we partner with Him in the midst of it instead of hiding from Him. To partner with Him is to ask His advice, to ask for a wonderful spouse, pray for strength, pray for/with the other person, tell Him your frustrations and fears, obey His commands and the nudges of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and all in all to just TALK TO HIM. By the way, as a side point, please do not only pray for your spouse or for someone you’re interested in; pray for friends of the opposite sex on a consistent basis as well (it’s not weird or stalkerish, it’s a command of the Lord that will keep you balanced in your view of the relationships).

Then, the hardest part about this is that you actually have to talk to the other person, not just God. When you’re attracted to someone and it seems as though you might work together as equally-yoked partners in life (not after knowing them for two weeks but after some time of interacting with them on a friendship level in different contexts), then you should begin to move forward in a relationship. For a woman, this is a little more tricky and for a man it’s a little more dangerous. Women, I beg you on behalf of every godly man out there, please do not be an enigma. If you like a guy, show him you’re interested. This doesn’t mean that you have to be the “stalker girl” or you should pursue the man or tell him you’re interested in him, but it does mean giving clear signs that you would not be opposed to a relationship (like smiling and saying “hi” when he approaches, talking to him when he’s around, being pleasant with him in a way that you’re not with other guys). Men, let me begin by saying that you are not a woman. You can’t move forward into a relationship by doing the things aforementioned–you have to be more intentional, which is obvious. If you see that a woman may be interested in you or if you’re interested in a woman but aren’t ready to marry her, just make your intentions clear. Chances are, they’re in the same boat. Yet you have to act on it. Now if you want to be friends with her for a while before getting into any kind of official relationship, just know that there is a point at which any honorable woman will close her heart to you if you do not act upon anything for an extended period. If she has any self-respect, she’s not going to wait for you even in her heart. Vulnerability is hard, but attractive if done progressively and honorably.

On the opposite side of the fence, there are some people who are so adamantly seeking to find that special person who will fulfill all of their hopes and dreams, bringing their loneliness to an end and balancing out their weaknesses by having corresponding strengths just in the right areas. This is a lie. Although most people can assert logically that this is a delusion and would never admit that they believe this, their practical life and day to day thoughts betray them. As mentioned before, this entire portion of honest motivation can only be realized through a foundation of being rooted and grounded in the love of the Lord.

Why? Because you can only pursue a relationship with the right motives and mindset if you are not seeking to find yourself in another person. A relationship is about finding the other and serving them, not finding yourself by leaning into the other. This is why it is so important to make sure you are as “equally yoked” to the Lord as the other is–you must both be first partnering with the Lord and leaning into Him in order to partner with one another to go further in Him. It’s not simply about making sure you marry a Christian (which many consider to be the only “must” of a godly relationship); it’s about partnering to pursue the Lord and serve another’s vision.

How do you know if you’re trusting more in a relationship to complete yourself than in the Lord to be your fulfillment? Look to your thought-life: what are you mostly thinking about when you get ready for your day; who is the first person that comes to mind when are you considering life decisions; what thoughts get you out of feeling depressed or in despair? If the answer to these is not Jesus, you are in real danger. If you’re feeling depressed and fearful of being alone, do not console yourself by thinking, “Well, I’m sure I’ll find the right person one day.” While this may be true, it is fixing your hope upon a spouse instead of looking to the Lord in prayer. Jesus cannot be your boyfriend, nor will He fill the same place as a spouse, but He is the only One who can satisfy the even deeper more fundamental longings of your heart. Biblically, the Lord never promised a perfect spouse, and He does not appoint “the one” from before you were born, but He will give you the desires of your heart if you come to Him in prayer. Let me make this more concrete. When you feel the ache of loneliness, say to the Lord, “Father, You know my heart and You know that I desire a spouse. This is what I’m asking for in a spouse, and I know that you care about this more than I do. I am lonely, and I need Your strength to be given to You in this season of my life. I love You and need You more than any other, and Lord give me a partner to love You with.” Even with this being prayed, there is a real chance that you may not find someone to spend your life with, and you have to trust the Lord’s leadership while wrestling with Him about it all the way.

Lastly, I must address a pitfall that is easy to stumble into, though it is quite obvious that it is an ungodly mode of operation. I speak of being manipulative or double-minded. Many people, both moral and immoral, do not use good discernment in their communication and interaction with the opposite sex. Sometimes this is intentional (especially on the part of women), because there is a longing to be desired even by those that we would not necessarily want to be in a relationship with. This is natural, but should be greatly resisted. Truth is the only way to live clean before the Lord, and you will (not might) end up hurting others and confusing yourself if you go down the road of sowing where you did not want to reap. Whenever you put out signals that you are interested in a person, you are sowing seeds into their heart and your heart that will bear some form of fruit whether you want it to or not. People can do this unintentionally as well all the time, but this is also just as dangerous: we have to ask the Lord to give us discernment and the ability to walk in the light before others. It takes time to learn and intentional seeking to grow in that area, but it’s worth it. This is not simply a skill that is necessary before marriage but especially after, since it is an abhorrence to sow seeds in another man’s garden.

Please let me know if anything I’ve said is unclear. I jumped around from paragraph to paragraph somewhat when writing this, so hopefully I hit everything with no confusion.

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11 Comments:

At 9/10/2008 09:48:00 PM , Blogger To Serve Jesus of Nazareth said...

Hey everyone,

I just bought a new book: Purity - The New Moral Revolution by Kris Vallotton. It's an amazing book, not only abut sexual purity and divine romance, but how to 'enter into the joy of passionate purity'.

check it:

http://www.amazon.com/Purity-Moral-Revolution-Kris-Vallotton/dp/0768427118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221108499&sr=8-1

 
At 9/10/2008 10:17:00 PM , Anonymous Some1 said...

hey thanks for this post its wonderful

 
At 9/11/2008 04:47:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

good jobs. Keep on :)

luv also = sacrafic and giving


pray 4 China & Russia wil attack Is
& my rel??

child

 
At 9/11/2008 05:45:00 PM , Blogger David said...

Hey Jaeson, so..what's the one thing you have to do before Jesus comes back? And why?

 
At 9/11/2008 05:55:00 PM , Blogger Philip said...

funny how this was posted the day after i made a vow to pursue sexual purity and consciously remain single for this season in my life. already i have faced some serious warfare in my dreams and thoughts. pray i will lean on Jesus and be consumed by His love as i commit to this high calling.

 
At 9/11/2008 11:56:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaeson,

Thanks for this post..
It bless me a lot.. really guide my heart.. I will send this post to my girlfriends..

Thanks so muchhh
Rina. Purmawinata

 
At 9/12/2008 12:23:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes!
core healthy relationships based are:
1) A free (honest/truthful/pure) motivation is the key
2) Confrontation is necessary and God given
3) It’s God’s hand & our hearts
Thx for your sharing! Be blessed I am tooo.
May be we are able choose to taste the bible under daily bible scheme (portion each day &/or night) e.g.3, 7 days etc. Apart of understand the leteral meanings, God's heart, deeper functions/priciples of life spending; the "pillow-talk" will bold and be found by two way communications by telling HIM your inner , & his words will drops into your inner! Seeking His face!Then, unknown saint signs and words given, environemnt signs shown again! one of ways to seeking HIS Face (inner to inner)
Thx again to Jaeson and Becky courage & divine message in my this season!

T.WY.D Basemen Axxzon

 
At 9/12/2008 04:45:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^
i like this..
thanks for the post...
its really help....
because i am strugglinh with this recently...cuz i realize i have fall in love with a person but i do not know how to handle it...shy =p

somehow i am not quite sure what guys will do if he interested in a gal....

anywhere, 10s =)

 
At 9/13/2008 06:04:00 AM , Anonymous Camphire Koh said...

"...you will (not might) end up hurting others and confusing yourself if you go down the road of sowing where you did not want to reap. Whenever you put out signals that you are interested in a person, you are sowing seeds into their heart and your heart that will bear some form of fruit whether you want it to or not."

This is really a good reminder... Thanks for sharing...

 
At 9/13/2008 09:51:00 AM , OpenID barbieding said...

I love this post. It helps me a lot...

 
At 9/13/2008 02:28:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

100% work it out with agree! "...you will (not might) end up hurting others and confusing yourself if you go down the road of sowing where you did not want to reap. Whenever you put out signals that you are interested in a person, you are sowing seeds into their heart and your heart that will bear some form of fruit whether you want it to or not."
thus, seeking HIS face for choosing right one, right way in His priciples for dating and work his words out before marriage! most importance is inner purpose of our(guys and gals) marriage/ relationship.

hehe! Purify! at least for your future soul-buddy!

 

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