Monday, September 22, 2008

Romance & Relationships (Part 3)

Part of the reason I have been posting this series of blogs on "Romance & Relationships" from my friend Becky is because her posts really helped me in gaining right perspective on God's purpose in relationships in general. For most of my life, I came from a Christian charismatic tradition that believed in "the one". Although, this idea is a good notion, I believe it can be dangerous if not understood in the right context. It's not that I don't believe in the one, but I believe God is a God of LOVE and relationships are about love, not obligation. God does not obligate us to love Him, so why do we think He would obligate us to love someone else? Love is a choice, an act of the will, a personal decision that requires choosing to love someone not because you have to, but because you want to. I choose to love God. In the same way, God is a good Father who will in His sovereign love suggest someone to us that would be a great match, but ultimately it is our choice to respond in love to that person.

It would be dangerous to marry someone simply because you received multiple prophecies, dreams, confirmations, and advice from others, but you never actually got to know the person. It would be sad to marry someone only because you were afraid of disobeying the will of God. The foundation of a strong relationship should never be fear, duty or obligation. The foundation of a strong and lasting relationship was and always will be love. The kingdom of God is built upon relationships, not power, miracles or prophecy (1 Cor 13). It is about a love relationship with God and loving relationship with others. Point being ~ don't build a romantic relationship upon prophecy, build all relationships upon love. And trust me, love takes time. Feelings come and go, but love will always remain. God may choose to use prophetic signs to catch your attention towards another, but take time to get to know the person, and ultimately it is your choice in choosing to love him or her. All the best! Read below...

Becky Hill's Blog

As we end this series on romance & relationships, let’s review the three over-generalized keys presented to healthy interpersonal relationships:

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

We now come to the place where most Christians try to begin their journey of understanding godly relationships - the Lord’s soveriegnty. Yet, my goal in this post is to clarify what I meant by my statement in my first post that “the one” does not exist. I will grit my teeth and clench my fists to stand firmly by this statement, but it does need to be qualified.

First of all, let me state that I do NOT mean to say: the Lord is not concerned about who we marry, or that there is no chance we will find a spouse that is better for us than any other person in the world, or that we are destined to always question whether the life covenant we make was from the Lord, or that God doesn’t set people up, or that it is solely our choice and Jesus leaves us to figure it out.

There are two main aspects to the Lord’s involvement in our search for a spouse: a) the counsel of the Lord and His intimate commitment to seeing us find the best life partner out there, and b) the real decisions we choose based upon the wisdom that He gives and the desires of our hearts. In every arena of life, there is a felt tension in this because it is messier and more painful than blaming things/putting responsibility on either the Lord’s overpowering force of will or entirely on our own choices, but this is reality. It’s God’s hand and our heart: His sovereignty, our free will; His advice, our decision; His commitment to us, our commitment to Him. Let me break this down a little.

A) We have a good Father who knows us well, and it is His hand that is ruling over our lives. He sees every desire of our heart (both good and bad), which means that He knows more than any other what we want and need in life. He is much more concerned about our welfare than we are. This means that we actually have to seek Him and listen to Him in every arena of our lives before Him, which definitely includes relationships.

We should be talking to Him about that certain person we’re interested in much more than we talk to friends or family. He has set up our lives so that they will not work unless we come to Him. PRAY about your future spouse in a general way (”Lord, this is what I ask for in a spouse”), as well as a specific way (”Father, what do You think about Marcy?”; “Lord, give me wisdom of how to interact with Jack”; “Jesus, I really like Susan, but I don’t know if she likes me - what should I do?”; “Lord, if Jacob would not be right for me, I ask that you would take this attraction towards him out of my heart”). He is so zealous to see you with a good spouse. You do not need to worry that you will never find the right person, as long as you are leaning into Him (prayer/listening) and taking initiative in time and space (active participation and pursuit of a relationship with someone).

Now, it is helpful here to mention a common reality in the body of Christ around the subject of marraige (especially among more charismatic Christians): dreams and inclinations. Personally, I have had several of my guy friends have dreams and words from the Lord about me being their wife, and I too have had dreams and impressions about marrying this person or that. I know of some healthy marriages that have been established through prophetic insight, and I also know of many people who have been significantly hurt and disillusioned by this practice. The best way to understand any prophetic activity around the subject of relationships is that it is the Lord’s counsel, not His command. Just as a good father has an opinion about his daughter’s choice of a husband, so the Lord does as our Good Father. He will give us advice through prophetic activity that we have to then walk out with discernment in the Sermon on the Mount. If you have a dream about Susy, it probably means that your Father in heaven is saying to you, “Susy would be a good option for you. What do you think of her?” Just as He gave Adam the decision of what to name the animals in the Garden and eventually what to call his wife, so He gives us a real decision in the midst of presenting us with good things.

Some practicals with prophetic activity:

1. DON’T tell the person about your dream or word from the Lord - if they don’t love you without prophetic persuasion, they won’t love you with it.
2. Hold your words lightly, just as you would a suggestion from your close friend. Although you may feel the Spirit moving on your heart, you must give room for it to grow into a real decision instead of a momentary passion.
3. Be as wise and godly with the situation as you would if the Lord had not told you about this person. The word of the Lord is no excuse to throw common sense to the wind.
4. Actually act upon it (don’t just ignore it and put it on the shelf). Instead of thinking, “Boy, that was weird that I had a dream about marrying Susy. I should probably stay away from that…” instead, try to be cordial to Susy and see if you could actually be interested in her.
5. Remember that the other person IS A REAL PERSON and not the fulfillment of your prophetic destiny or the answer to all that you’ve been hoping for. Don’t be selfish in your love, and don’t be idealistic in your approach.

B) The second aspect is a little trickier because “the heart is more deceitful than all else.” The Lord truly gives us the privilege of choosing who we will be yoked to in this life. He will not command us to marry someone we think is horrid, just to teach us humility. He desires that we would be lead by love in this life, not by obligation. He wants us to fall in love with someone so madly that we desire to give all for them and serve them willingly (Song of Solomon 8:7).

Marriage is the picture the Lord has given us of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). If our marriage is one that is based upon staunch obedience rather than on ardent desire, we will never be able to express His love for the Bride (Hosea 2:16). He laid down His life willingly for the joy of being with her (John 17:24-26; Hebrews 12:2).

Therefore, just as the Lord Himself will only take love that is freely recieved and freely given, so too we must actually choose to receive and give love with our future spouse. This does not mean that you give love without it being asked for, but it does mean that you will have to give of yourself when you are unsure of things and that you will most likely be hurt at some point. For practicals on this point, please see post #1.



At 9/22/2008 10:27:00 PM , Blogger Sarah Weichhand said...

Butterfies and Free Spirits

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a free spirit again. I will always have my freedom. Freedom from sin and legalism. Freedom to love and to be loved. (I love that...Freedom from...and freedom TO...)

Freedom is not the absence of restraint, but it is the ability to choose where to focus time, love, attention, etc....

This is what is so beautiful about love. It is a choice--made out of freedom. I choose to bring myself into the flight pattern of another or to run with another. I choose to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I choose who I want to be in covenantal relationship with.

No one can take away my choice. They could take away my life before they can take my choice.

Love has to be given freely.

(I wrote this earlier in the day for my blog, but seemed appropriate to comment on yours instead.) :-)


At 9/23/2008 03:27:00 AM , Anonymous Some1 said...

This post is deep...but very true indeed


At 9/23/2008 06:59:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks this post is great! I'v always been afraid of having close friends or starting a relationship. i find it very hard to believe in other people even friends i hav known for years. i find that there isnt much mention about the issue of abandonment in christian ministry. I'm not afraid that God would leave me i know he wont. but i'm afraid of other people leaving me...including my friends that's y i never have really close friendship with anyone. i dont hate being alone. i actually enjoyed being alone most of my time but i would also like to have friends and socialize as no man is an island. but i really don't know where to look for help. I pray, i read my bible and i have a relationship with God, but i really dont know how to overcome this. I would really love have "real friends" and someday maybe even getting married. even though i love spending most of my time alone but this problem has not left me and it is bothering me. If you would dedicate a post to this area i would be very grateful of it.Anyways thanks for reading this.have a blessed day.


At 9/23/2008 12:14:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for this post

At 9/24/2008 12:55:00 AM , Anonymous anonymous said...

amen. good stuff, fyi for all singles, Free Audio Downloads for Christian Singles:

At 9/25/2008 08:03:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear pastor,
sorry to be odd.
i just cross by.
and am very mixed right now.
can i ask,
what's your relationship with your father, i mean, your father on earth?
please ignore me if i ask the wrong question.

At 9/26/2008 12:13:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jaeson,

It's sarah from VOH! I just wanted to show you an interesting Christian movie that you may want to promote - on relationships! It's called fireproof and it's sort of to have a healthy marriage type of movie. check out the trailer!

At 9/26/2008 09:30:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Personally, I have had several of my guy friends have dreams and words from the Lord about me being their wife, and I too have had dreams and impressions about marrying this person or that." which guys thought you were their soulmate?


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