For the next few weeks I’m going to be looking at relationships. Specifically guy meets girl, sparks flying everywhere, love-struck style relationships, and how they fit in with our call to love God, to serve others and to become like Christ. How as Christians we should engage in relationships in a way that will help us grow to maturity in faith. How we can avoid being conformed to the ways of the world with its shallow, physical gratification focused relationships. Because for most of us, God’s plan for our lives will involve spending a good chunk of it married to someone, so it makes sense to approach relationships, dating, flirting and all that jazz with a biblical attitude. And this isn’t going to be a 10 step guide to finding your perfect God intended wife/husband (because I need to read that, not write it!), but hopefully it will be helpful. Hopefully you won’t find it dull or preachy, but relevant and Biblical. Hopefully it will help you look at things differently, with a more Christ-like attitude.
First though, we need to establish the ‘basic milk’ and then after that we’ll move on to further understanding the solid food for the mature (Hebrews 5:11-14).
So here goes:
- God made males, and He made females (it’s all there in Genesis 1:27) and he made females attractive to males and vice-versa. There is nothing wrong with looking at a member of the opposite sex and finding them good looking. That is the way God has wired you to think. What is wrong is lust, where you look at someone and want something physical from them. Jesus says that effectively you have committed adultery with them if you do that (Matthew 5:28).
- The Biblical context for relationships is guy with girl. God is quite clear that He isn’t happy with same sex relationships (Have a look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 or Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.” With this in mind however we should note that all sin is equal in God’s eye and we shouldn’t get focused on judging someone for a speck of dust in their eye when Jesus says we should be more concerned about the log in our own eye (Matthew 7:3). All sinners need to be shown God’s love and encouraged to repent, not shown harsh judgement and rejection.
- The Bible is clear you shouldn’t have sex before marriage (this is called fornification). If you have slipped up in the past the good news is God forgives, but that is not an excuse to carry on. As Christians, we should believe that sex is a gift from God, and we should strive to respect his guidelines about how to enjoy it. After all they exist to stop us getting hurt emotionally and physically.
- The question ‘how far is too far’ isn’t one we should be asking. Rather than trying to get as close to the line as we can without sinning we should be trying to stay as far away from it as we can as we strive for purity in pre-marital relationships.
- There is nothing wrong with being single, contrary to what message the media may give out you don’t have to be in a relationship or looking for someone to have some “fun” with. It is perfectly ok (and recommended by Bible letter writer extraordinaire Paul) to say you are going to stay single for a time to work on a more important relationship – your relationship with God.
- God intends that we should have relationships with those who share our faith. In 2nd Corinthians 6:14 Paul warns us “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” It is much easier to pull someone down than to pull someone up. An unbelieving partner is more likely to compromise your faith than you are to convert them – it happens over and over again in the Old Testament when people like King Solomon are compromised in their walk with God because they would rather have a bit of fun with someone who doesn’t follow God.
“The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.” 1 Kings 11:2-3
So that’s the basic milk, the principles that we will build on over these next few weeks as we look at how we can have mature Christian relationships. Stay tuned!