When Dating Is Wrong

dating 2

We’ve heard a lot of opinions about dating.  When is it appropriate to date?  At what age should a person start dating?  Is courtship better than dating?  Is dating even healthy for a Christian? With so many views, we could get confused and frustrated in culture where dating many times over is totally acceptable.

When we get down to the root of it all, however, it’s not about dating vs. courtship, or dating only at a certain age.  It’s about staying in the will of God in every area of our relationships.  Though dating in general may not be sinful, a wrong heart motive behind it may be as wrong as dating the wrong person at the wrong time.

God first looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).  He always has and always will.  In fact, we can’t even get saved unless we believe in our hearts (Romans 10:9,10).  Many people can “date” with a pure heart motive. However, if the heart motivation behind a dating relationship is wrong in God’s eyes, that dating relationship is not from Him. Dating then is not the issue; the heart is the issue.  Is the heart wrong?  Then the dating is wrong.

As we read the following points ask ourselves, “What is the condition of my heart? Am I dating for the right reasons?”

  1. Am I motivated by filling a need like loneliness?
  2. Am I motivated by the thrill of accessing a certain group?
  3. Am I motivated by avoiding responsibilities?
  4. Am I motivated by ignoring a season of growth and maturing?
  5. Am I motivated by lustful desires?
  6. Am I motivated emotions, and nothing more?
  7. Am I disobeying God when He specifically said not to date this person?

If we answer “yes” to any of these, it’s time to step back and analyze our relationship-.

We must always remember that our actions toward and with people are to be motivated by love.  Love for Jesus and love for others (John 13:34).

When we obey Jesus and His will for our lives, we are loving Him (John 14:15). We don’t ask questions, but simply do what He says, even if it means overcoming disappointment that a relationship may not happen.

When we love others, we don’t use someone’s attention and time for personal gain.  Love doesn’t lead them to do something that will hurt them.  Instead, it strives to lead them into a stronger relationship with God, and helping them stay in – not out – of His will for their lives.  Anything less is selfishness.

When is dating wrong? When it’s not motivated by love.  When is dating right?  When it’s motivated by love . . . and love only.  When this is our motivation, God’s best relationships are sure to find us . . . because our hearts can be trusted!

 

Photo courtesy of Google images.

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What If God Doesn’t Send You Boaz? – Guest Post


So often, I hear within the single Christian women community to just keep working in my field. I hear that Ruth was found working and busy doing her purpose when she positioned herself to be found by this man of perfection, Mr. Boaz. So many women post statuses about being found by this famous man and even caption photos that tell the story of her wait. We’ve been sold this lie that when it comes to singleness, Boaz in all of his manliness, will come and rescue us from our singleness.But I must ask you, “What if God doesn’t send you Boaz?”

It’s clear that he’s a hot commodity and millions of Christian women are a part of the rhetoric that if we just position ourselves, flow in purpose, and know who we are, that our prize at the end of it all would be marriage with our Boaz.

But what if God sent me a Moses?

A man who is a leader, but sometimes emotionally driven and in need of my assurance to stand in the fullness of who He was called to be? Although Moses was called, He still felt extremely inadequate and battled insecurities that almost caused him to forfeit the leader that the Lord was trying to pull out of him. What if it were my responsibility to encourage him into his identity?

What if God sent me an Elijah?

A man who has had his share of great victories but still wrestles with fear in such a way that he falls into bouts of lowness and crushing depression? Could I be the woman that God has sent to help draw him out of those cave moments and like the Angel did with Elijah, speak the words, “get up and eat?” Could I be a woman of patience, grace, and love to look beyond his bouts of discouragement and see the man he’s destined to be? (See 1 Kings 18 & 1 Kings 19)

What if God sent me a Jonah?

A man who has a sure call upon his life to deliver a difficult message, only to be so discouraged with the mantle of his calling that it sends him running? Could I be the woman who, like the whale, was sent to remind him of the importance of obeying the voice of the Lord the first time? Could I be the woman who is sent to help him instead put his fears to flight, instead of his purpose? (See Jonah, Chapter 1)

 

What if God sent me an Abraham?

A man who has received a word to leave everything behind and just follow the Lord to a land that He would soon show him? A man who received a promise and didn’t have the patience to wait for it? Could I be the woman to help him steward the word of the Lord properly and correctly? Could I be the woman who has a husband who receives direction to leave a place of familiarity and help my husband walk forward in absolute and unrelenting faith in obedience to the Father? (See Genesis 12)

 

What if God sent me David?

A man after God’s own heart but had a past of infidelity, adultery, and murder? Clearly, this man was chosen by God but had a past filled with all sorts of things that would cause many to question his qualification to be used by God. Could I be the woman to help purge the record that holds his confidence hostage and loves him for who He was called to be, not who He used to be? (See 2 Samuel 11)

 

You see, if we continue to believe that we are only created to marry a Boaz, we will be conditioned to believe that he will come perfect and not flawed. We will be conditioned to believe that all of the responsibility will be on him to be perfect, all while forgetting the grace it takes for us to love the man we come into covenant with. What if you position yourself, glean in your field, wait on the threshing floor and the Lord sent you a man mentioned above? Would you have been so occupied in being found by perfection that you forfeit the man that was created to help you do destiny and purpose with and you the same for him? So, go on, keep waiting for your Boaz. I can assure you, I won’t be doing the same. I’ll be too busy praying that my heart is prepared for the encouraging, pouring, sharpening, and purging that I may have to do with my David, Abraham, or Elijah.

Take Heed & Live Free,

Chelle

 

Richelle is Florida-native with a heart for all things Jesus and loving on people. Her passions include counseling, writing, hanging out with friends, family, and cooking! She hopes that in presenting her scars and giving others the courage to reveal their own that it would ultimately put the Father’s love on display to transform, heal, and completely restore! Find Richelle over at her blog http://www.showthosescars.com.
Image courtesy of google images.

Hand’s Off!

Facebook-add-friend-button

In the past, I have tried to make things happen or tried to figure out how I think God should make something happen!  I have a detail-oriented brain that likes to organize everything under the sun, lest –gasp!—the whole world should come to a screeching halt.

One time, I returned from a trip where I had met a bunch of neat people—including a guy.  Once home, I got on the Internet and searched for his name on Facebook.  As soon as I went to click the “Add as Friend” button, God stopped me and told me not to initiate.  I was irritated at the thought, but after a few minutes of mental war, I pulled my cursor away from the button.  The next day (yes, the very next day!) I went to church and got further instructions from God through a traveling evangelist: “The favor factor is on your life.  Don’t mess it up with looking.  Don’t check. God has a plan.  When it’s right, the plan will be perfect.”  Okay, okay, I get the message!

Later there were times when I still had to control my impulses. I was so tempted to try to look up a potential candidate on Facebook, or “innocently” ask questions about so-and-so.  As God pointed out to a friend of mine, who will you thank when you initiate the relationship and get the guy?  You would only be able to pat yourself on the back for the relationship.  That doesn’t honor God, and in the long run, it doesn’t satisfy you.  Better to step back and let God hold the reins.

I’ve heard a pastor put the faith-and-wait issue like this: “Faith is the constant; time is the variable.” Your job is to keep your faith solid and unchanging.  The only thing that may seem uncertain is the timing that only God can handle.  Since God’s capable of doing everything and anything, it would seem logical that He should be the one working out the details.  If you’re anything like I was, though, you want to help God take care of His business.  You know, take some of the load off His shoulders….

Abraham tried to do just that—and paid for it.  While God had a great plan in mind to get Abe’s son, Abraham tried to step in and choose the method himself.  He had a baby through his servant woman.  From then on, nothing but chaos ruled in the house.  Abe ended up sending the woman and his new son away, never to be seen again.  After a good discussion with Abraham, God put His plan into action.  Even when it seemed naturally impossible, the promise showed up through Isaac.

Like Abraham, God wants your dreams to come true through the promise He’s given you, not through your human efforts.  God instructs you in Proverbs 3:5, 6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  If you’re truly trusting God with all your heart—including those romantic dreams—then you’ll be willing to let Him do the work.  Your tiny mind can only reason things through so far before you come up short.  Your benefits result in letting Someone else be the mastermind behind it all.

To be continued…

Love Is a Verb

love is a verb

Love.  We all want it and can’t live without it.  We seek it, idolize it, and make it our life’s goal.  But do we know what we’re really looking for?  Is that object we call “love” really what we’re expecting?

Love is depicted in many ways in the world.  We see movies, novels, and dating relationships describing love as an emotional tie to another person.  We’re given the idea that love is found only on Valentine’s Day in the form of a box of chocolates.  We’re convinced that love is found in the physical attraction to someone through a kiss or an embrace.  Worst of all, lust is portrayed as synonymous to love, despite all its harmful effects.  Out of all the choices, which one is truly “love”?

God, of course, gives the most accurate description of love:

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

Here is a definition of love most of our culture knows nothing about!  We see very little giving, much less dying for others.   But according to the God of the universe, the greatest form of love is giving up one’s life.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. Romans 5:7

The greatest example of this, of course, is Jesus.  He dared! People all over the world have laid down their life for someone or something, but never for so great a cause.  Others have laid down their lives for their friends, but rarely for their enemies.  In contrast, Jesus did this for people in the present and people in the future, regardless of their love for Him.  He allowed Himself to be given.

For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Our human instinct is to fulfill its cravings at the expense of everyone else, with no pain toward ourselves.  Jesus, however, commanded us to love our neighbor – friend or foe – as ourselves (Mark 12:31).  When we love “us,” do we take advantage of ourselves?  Do we take from ourselves more readily than we give?  Do we deprive ourselves of our daily needs?  They answer is clearly “no”, yet we often do exactly that to others, not realizing that we’re stepping out of the boundaries of love.  We forget God’s command to do unto others as we would have them do to us (Luke 6:31).

It’s easy to give a gift or assist someone we like.  We feel more inclined to show love to someone who loves us in return.  But what about the times someone isn’t able to return the favor, or chooses not to?  That’s when we are called to be the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

A man was beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road.  Shamefully, two devoted Jews passed by without offering aid.  They were followed by a Gentile, focused on a destination of his own.  He stumbled across that horrific sight crying out to him for help.  He hesitated. Time was ticking away.  He was human like the rest of us, so I could imagine the debate that went on in his head: “You’ll be late for your meeting!  If you’re late, they’ll never promote you to that new position!  Let someone else come and help him.”  Thankfully, he didn’t give in to the argument.  He stepped aside and assisted the man, inconveniencing himself and his pocketbook.

This Samaritan was a “good” Samaritan.  But what separates a person from the just “good” and the “loving” is the action taken to back up the goodness.  A “good” man has a few compassionate thoughts fly through his head, yet still continues on because he must keep his schedule.  A “good and loving” person will go beyond inward goodness; he will put aside his desires and help the person less fortunate. Greater still is when he pays the extra bit to keep the other person going, even after he must leave. That is love.

Just the same, negative feelings often arise when our flesh wishes to do anything other than show love.  It may be that it’s going to take an uncomfortable amount of effort to show it.  We might have to swallow our pride and humble ourselves in front of someone we’ve wronged.  Someone who has hated us might be a candidate for love, but our flesh may cry for justice rather than mercy.  Whatever the situation, we cannot rely on our senses.  The greatest test of love is how we act when our feelings don’t line up with our actions.  It’s an act of faith that says, “I will do this out of a tender heart toward God, regardless of the way I feel.”

An emotion-led relationship is often controlled by hormones and has nothing to do with commitment.  The feelings change the moment someone does something we don’t like. The fuzzy feelings of getting a gift and a special night out eventually fade.  Physical touch and sexual “love” is temporary and subject to a person’s presence.  Lust does nothing but take out of selfishness.  The only reliable and authentic form of true love is found in only one place – in the nature of the Father.  Apart from Him, we flounder in our own strength to accurately show and receive love.  When we don’t know Him, we don’t know love, for He is love.

A minister once said that “love is a verb.”  It’s an action, not a feeling.  It’s a decision, not a fleeting thought.  Thankfully, Jesus understood this.  He acted on His love to the point of torture.  This may never be demanded of us; but like the Good Samaritan, we still have opportunities every day to put down our flesh and its desire to take rather than give.   We may have to reprogram our minds to think without selfishness interfering with our actions.  We may have to start with the small actions of love in order to attain to the big actions.  The opportunities are there if we’ll keep our eyes on the greatest Example God gave us – Jesus, love in the flesh.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:7, 8

.Photo courtesy of Google Images

Christ Is Enough

We live in a culture of romance. So much romance that it seems our lives are incomplete without it. But if we are Christians, we are complete, with or without a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife.  He is enough, more than enough, because He alone can fulfill us. He has taken care of the most important part of our lives. Our sins have been forgiven, our eternity set in heaven, and our value determined by Him alone. No person or relationship can fulfill all that. Though God may bless us with a spouse, Christ is ultimately enough.

17 Tips to Help You “Love Tough” – James Dobson


Let me get very specific with those of you who are single but wish someday to be married. (No insult is intended to those who are single by design and wish to remain unmarried. That is a legitimate choice that should be respected by friends and family, alike.) Listed below are seventeen suggestions that will help you conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.
1. Don’t let the relationship move too fast in its infancy. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Relationships that begin in a frenzy frequently burn themselves out. Take it one step at a time. 

2. Don’t discuss your personal inadequacies and flaws in great detail when the relationship is new. No matter how warm and accepting your friend may be, any great revelation of low self-esteem or embarrassing weaknesses can be fatal when interpersonal “valleys” occur. And they will occur. 
3. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone. 
4. Don’t call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you. 
5. Don’t be too quick to reveal your desire to get married–or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic. 
6. Most important: Relationships are constantly being “tested” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling backward from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival. In each instance, the question being asked is “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one. 
It wants to know, “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure, and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs. 
7. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, as Shirley did with me, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything. 
8. Do not depend entirely upon one another for the satisfaction of every emotional need. Maintain interests and activities outside that romantic relationship, even after marriage. 
9. Guard against selfishness in your love affair. Neither the man nor the woman should do all the giving. I once broke up with a girl because she let me take her to nice places, bring her flowers, buy her lunch, etc. I wanted to do these things but expected her to reciprocate in some way. She didn’t. 
10. Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc. Believe me, a bad marriage is far worse than the most lonely instance of singleness.
11. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return. A man should open doors for a woman on a formal evening; a woman should speak respectfully of her escort when in public, etc. If you don’t preserve this respectful attitude when the foundations of marriage are being laid, it will be virtually impossible to construct them later. 
12. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Don’t let love escape you because of the false values of your culture. 
13. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don’t begin believing “no one would ever want me.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another! 
14. Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to “check your assumptions” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage. It is surprising how often men and women plunge toward matrimony without ever becoming aware of major differences in expectation between them. For example:
a. Do you want to have children? How soon? How many?

b. Where will you live?

c. Will the wife work? How soon? How about after children are born?

d. Who will lead in the relationship? What does that really mean?

e. How will you relate to your in-laws?

f. How will money be spent?

g. How important will spiritual matters be in the marriage?

These and dozens of other “assumptions” should be discussed item by item with the help of a premarital counselor. Many future struggles can be avoided by coming to terms with potential areas of disagreement. If the differences are great enough, it is even possible that the marriage should never occur. 
15. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual, and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. It’s pronounced “NO!” 
16. Country singer Tom T. Hall wrote a song in which he revealed an understanding of the concept we have been describing. His lyric read, “If you hold love too loosely then it flies away; if you hold love too tightly, it’ll die. It’s one of the mysteries of life.”(4) Hall’s observation is accurate. If the commitment between a man and a woman is given insufficient importance in their lives, it will wither like a plant without water. The whole world knows that much. But fewer lovers seem to realize that extreme dependency can be just as deadly to a love affair. It has been said that the person who needs the other least will normally be in control of the relationship. I believe that to be true. 
17. There is nothing about marriage that eliminates the basic need for freedom and respect in romantic interactions. Keep the mystery and the dignity in your relationship. If the other partner begins to feel trapped and withdraws for a time, grant him or her some space and pull back yourself. Do not build a cage around that person. Instead, release your grip with confidence while never appeasing immorality or destructive behavior. 

By Doctor James Dobson

None But You – Hillsong

No other person should receive our greatest desire above Jesus.  He’s the lover of our soul, our most intimate relationship.  Should someone else try to distract our devotion, our cry should be, “There is no one else for me, none but Jesus.”
In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence
I know there I am restored
When you call I won’t refuse
Each new day, again I’ll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know you’re sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

I am yours and you are mine…

All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord
Forevermore

Song by Brooke Ligertwood/Hillsong