Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2
We have been discussing Hollywood’s formula for love sex and lasting relationships and the phases we have naturally learned to go through as a part of dating and being in love. Last week we ended with the idea that God’s formula is the exact reverse order of what we have learned. Let’s compare the two formulas, and consult with God’s word. (Sorry, the chart has been omitted to blog posting )
Look at the verse from Ephesians at the top of the page. Notice that the first 2 phases of God’s plan for Christian living are listed right there for us! Become the right person instead of looking for the right person. Imitate God by first reflecting to how God loves us, and then be so filled and renewed with that love that it changes you and turns you into the person God wants you to become. It is important for us to build a relationship with our Father and creator before we try to bring someone else into it. Next, instead of falling in love; walk in love. This means walking in love for others the way Christ did for us; sacrificially committed! Phase 3 in God’s plan for us is fixing our hope on him and seeking to please Him through our relationship. We can very easily make idols of the person we are dating when we have our priorities mixed up, but if week keep focused on God then we can have confidence that we are doing it the right way. Phase 4: If you fail, do not be discouraged. Bring it to God and start back with phase 1.
Verses for Reflections:
Luke 16:13, Luke 12:32-34
Ever feel like you are working hard and getting nowhere? Like all of your work is for not? Your not getting the credit you deserve for your continued dedication, so really what’s the point?!
Serving God is no easy task, and people often look at Christians and expect us to be perfect. But the truth is we get tired, stressed and frustrated just like everyone else! We are even guilty of making some bad decisions because we forget that we don’t have to do it on our own. Isaac did that too. I’ve been reading through Genesis and was encouraged by Isaac. Even though he was not perfect and would panic from time to time making some bad judgments just like his dad.
(She’s not my wife she’s just my sister! 26:7) God still blesses him for his faithfulness. God knows that Isaac isn’t perfect but he worked hard when no one else would.
Genesis 26:19-25 shows us how Isaac spent time building and reopening wells that were closed up during a time of famine just to have the herdsman come and take it away claiming it as their own!!! The nerve of those guys! But Isaac says ok, I will move and build my well somewhere else and they come and do it again and again. After digging the third well he praises God for giving him room. He wasn’t disgruntled, but thank full, counted it as a blessing, built an alter and worshiped God!!
Remember that every trial small or large is a way for us to be servants of God and show he is working in us. God chose to bless Isaac because he humbled himself in serving God. Abimelech saw that God was with Isaac because he was clearly blessed. So Abemelech wanted to make peace with him.
Serving God humbly no matter how many wells we have to dig up will breed fruitfulness. Either in us or others. Some one who is misguided, unsaved or completely against you could see the work God is doing in your life and decide they want it too, and to see the Holy Spirit work in that way is truly a blessing to us.
Breaking down the typical process of dating and falling in love into 5 phases.
This week we are looking at the steps we take naturally/subconsciously to find that “one” person that is made for us. First we notice a person that is physically attractive to us and we try to see if there is a connection. If there is we then move on to phase 2; emotionally connecting to that person. (Infatuation; commonly confused with failing in love. More about this in chapter 4) the next phase is social. Where now family and friends are being introduced. After a couple has had some time to soak in each other and learn each others habits and routines in life they enter the psychological phase. This phase gets more serious. A couple starts to talk about their future together. Also, this is where one or both of the person’s involved might start to get stressed, or find flaws or “fall out of love”. Lastly there is spiritual .The couple who is ready and has naturally gone through the first 4 steps and wants to commit and declare their love for each other. This is the order that the Hollywood formula takes. This all sounds pretty normal. I’ve been there, you’ve probably been there, and if you ask anyone how they go about dating they can probably relate.
So what’s wrong here, and how do we go about change as Christians? First, notice that so far (even in the Spiritual Phase) there is no mention of God! God, the creator , and the Father! As Christians who recognize that the way the word has naturally trained us in how to find love lets remember Romans 12:2 . Do not conform any longer to the ways of this world. Let’s now be transformed as we open up our mind and discover God’s prescription for Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships. Take the same phases and look at them in reverse and reflect on how God would redefine these 4 phases. When we do this; we start to get an idea for what God’s prescription looks like. However we have to understand the difference between infatuation and true love, as well as consult God and His word on these 4 phases on His prescription for Love Sex and Lasting Relationships. Take sometime now to reflect on these ideas and talk to God about his approach on loving others. We will pick up from here next time.
I have forgotten your majesty and everything you have done for me. I confess that I have made life about myself and not you. I have dishonored your name by my thoughts, words and actions, and made idols of earthly things. Forgive me father for living in these meaningless ways and give me transformation by your Holy Spirit; so that I may gain greater understanding of your glory and hunger and thirst for you every day. I thank you for your son Jesus Christ who died because of my sins and it is because of that salvation that I pray to you now. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Let me start with a commonly known story for the search of living happily ever after.
Sarah is 25 she is smart and has a degree, and a good job. She has worked hard to get where she is., but Sarah desires love. She is single and has been hurt in the past but she has faith that there is someone out there that is perfect for her. With so many people in the world there must be at least ONE! Sarah has her eyes on a gentleman that works in her office. He’s handsome, hardworking; they get along well, and seem to have a good connection. Sarah talks to her friends about him, blushes when he’s around and dresses up just for him to notice her. One day he does, and they start dating. Shortly after dating they are sleeping together and staying at each other’s place overnight. They are both happy. They fall in love and everything seems to be perfect in Sarah’s life. Sarah can see a future with him although he it’s sure he wants to be married or have kids. Sarah puts everything into this relationship. She does everything she can to keep his attention on her, so that he won’t want to leave and will eventually see her as his bride. Sarah notices one day that there seems to be distance between her and her boyfriend. The distance between them grows and after a couple of weeks he breaks up with her. Sarah is devastated. A year later Sarah has labeled that relationship as” it wasn’t meant to be” and goes in search of the “right man”.
Does this story sound like something you have heard before? Maybe you are going through this right now. Maybe you have been the consoling friend rehashing why it didn’t work out over a cup of coffee. Or maybe you have watched women in your family search for love in the same manner. In this first chapter we are going to discuss the 4 steps of the Hollywood formula according to Chip Ingram. 1. Find the right person. 2. Fall in love 3. Fill your hopes and dreams on this person for your future fulfillment 4. If failure occurs repeat steps 1, 2, and 3. We don’t realize how much Hollywood, media, and fairy tales have influenced our thinking and trained us that this is the proper way to carry out a relationship. This week we will discuss what went wrong. Next week we will discuss how God wants us to make it right.
Verses for reflection
Song of Songs 2:1-7
Ephesians 1:4, 5:22-33