Category Archives: Love Sex and Relationships study

Love Sex and Lasting Relationships-Devotion 8

This week in Chapter 8 we are going go thought the 4 steps needed for commitment to God and his plan for lasting relationships. But first I just want to touch on a discussion that Chip had with a group of Christian men who challenged him to give them one good reason to not have sex before marriage that didn’t come from the Bible. Chip gave them 5.

  1. Couples who abstain from sex before marriage have reported the highest sexual satisfaction in marriage.
  2. Couple who live together before marriage have a 50% higher possibility for divorce than those who don’t.
  3. Couples who abstain from sex before marriage have the highest rates of marital fidelity.
  4. Couples who start having sex in a relationship commonly break up soon after.
  5. Sexually transmitted diseases can spread without the person knowing they have one as STD’s can remain unnoticeable/dormant for up to 10 years.

Clearly, purity and abstaining from sex before marriage yields amazing, lasting results, but how do we do it? How do we not just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well? First you need to know that loving relationships demand two things of us. Sexual purity; where we walk in Agape love, and we walk in the light of God. Secondly, we have to make a game plan. This where is don’t just talk but we make action to separate us from the world.

Step one to this is to make a commitment. “Purity requires a personal commitment to the truth.” I can tell you from person experience that saying to God “I choose to be pure and to live and walk with the Love you’ve shown me though Christ.” Has actually made it easier to separate myself from the world. That doesn’t mean that there will be no temptation once you make a commitment, but once you make this decision it is easier to stand apart from the world’s temptations. Next, we need to meditate and reflect on the consequences of sexual sin. If hind sight is 20/20 then it is time for us to have perfect vision by studying the failures of those who came before us. Thirdly, we know that the closer we try to be with God the harder Satan will work to pull us away. So it is important that we decide who we are going to react in the face of these temptations.(Timothy 2:22) Lastly, something all Christians need ;Accountability. We have talked about the importance of community and brotherly love. This is a great example why. Having a brother, sister, mentor, pastor or someone you can talk to without judgment who will pray for you, encourage you and empower you in your walk is an essential step towards staying committed in your decision to walk in purity. Next week we are going to discuss in greater detail how special purity is. Over the next week pray, study, and meditate on your commitment to God.

Verses for reflection:

Ephesians 5:2-10

2 Corinthians 5:17, 20

Timothy 2:22

Romans 12:1-2,9-13

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Love Sex and Lasting Relationships:Devotion 7

God‘s prescription for lasting relationships asks one man and one woman to enter a relationship of such intimacy and commitment that the two become one for life”- Chip Ingram

Many people might feel stifled by God’s plan of just one person. They think that just one person might end their desire for genuine love. As Christians the truth is that Love is a gift from God. We are not promised anything. We are not entitled to having a spouse. It is simply a gift God allows us to have and experience. Genuine love with another human being allows us to feel a portion of the love God feels for us. This is why impurity is so damaging to relationships. Impurity in any form of thought word or deed goes against what God originally designed, but thankfully for our case there is a way out. God wants us to break away from what the world has taught us about love and come into a relationship with someone where we can trust them; where there is emotional, and  spiritual oneness.

One thing we need to do is look at our views of sex. Do we view sex as one of God’s gifts? We should be. Our culture has worshiped sex , made it about taking care of our needs and our right to do whatever we want. We have separated sex and love, and become separated from God. But  as Christians remember we a called to separate from the world(Rom. 12:2). Which means that we see sex as a gift given to us from God, and we should handle it with care in the correct ways to show God that we are thankful for the gift of sex. Imagine what our relationship with God and our relationship with the one we are in love with would look like if instead of giving into temptation we gave thanks for the desires and focused on God, waiting for God’s timing to experience sex?

My prayer for you this week is that you will take encouragement from God’s word and know that he has made  something better than what the world can give you. If you feel shamed or burdened and you have not brought it to God now is the time. He already knows the desires and the pains of your heart, and he already gave you the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ~ who takes away your shame. He takes away your hurt, and he has given you eternal salvation so you never have to pay for your sins.

Verses for Reflection:

Romans 1:21,3:23,12:2

Ephesians 5:6

Genesis 2:4-25

Isaiah 1:18

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Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships:Devotion 6

Knowing the difference between love and sex

Sarah’s letter to God.

Father in heaven forgive me. I don’t know how to make a relationship work on my own accord. I just did what I knew, what I have seen. I wasn’t sure that having sex was the right thing to do in my relationship, but I thought is was the next step and that I was in Love. I thought I had to have sex in order to keep his attention in order to keep his love. Isn’t this what sex is for? It feel’s so good and I don’t feel bad doing it and the world tell me it’s right. But then the relationship doesn’t work out and I get hurt. I am confused. Help me Father to change my view of love and sex. Show me the difference so I can change and honor you.

Sincerely, Your daughter

Have you ever prayed like this; wanting to know the difference between love and sex? That’s what we are going to discuss this week. Throughout chapter 6, Chip gives us different stories of people who have had ruined relationships because of sex outside of Gods terms. To find God’s terms we have to look at God’s word.  Paul addresses the Ephesians in chapter 5:3-4 about the importance of giving thanks for what you have and not letting there be any greed or immoral deeds, talk or joking. He is addressing all relationships. “We are to refuse to take, exploit, cheapen or substitute sexual activity for genuine love and authentic intimacy.”-Chip Ingram. We also have to remember that sex is not wrong. It just has to be done in a pure manner with one person in the union of marriage. Song of Songs is a great account of how God intended sex to be in a marriage. Several times with in the book is the verse “Do not awaken love until it so desires”. Even on his wedding day Solomon still had to wait till his beloved was his wife.

Sex has become a servant to love, and love as a result has been mislabeled, mistreated and God’s way has been forgotten. As Christians it is now time for us to remember that sex is not a meaningless way of casual entertainment, and it is not equal or greater to love. We have been wrong and influenced by the world. God created us to have sexual desires so that we could share a special intimacy with our spouse. In the next chapter we are going to talk about why he created us this way and why it is so important.

Take some time to evaluate your view on sex in relationships. As always remember to talk with our Father. Sexual temptation is all around us and it is only by His Spirit that we can resist them. If you have things to confess and you want to change; remember that you are forgiven and Jesus died because he loves you and wants eternal salvation for you. Please use these verses for further reflection.

Verses for Reflection:

Song of Songs

Ephesians 5:3-4

Matthew 5:28

Luke 6:45

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Love Sex and Lasting Relationships :Devotion 5

Last time we learned about the 3 types of love and briefly introduced the idea that we are confusing the term “love” with infatuation. Today we are going to go through Chip Ingram’s 12 steps to discerning the difference when you are asking yourself …

“Is this true, genuine love?”

Remember Sarah that I mentioned in the first week? Well Sarah’s best friend gave her some advice on what love is and now she has a totally different outlook on love.

Her friend told her that (1) love needs to grow through time, not go in and out like infatuation. (2) Love grows out of seeing the whole person for who they are. Where infatuation only sees’s one thing. I.e. job, looks, and money. (3)True love is focused on the other person. Infatuation is self-centered. (4) Genuine love is only focused on ONE person. Where you can be infatuated with one or more people at the same time. (5) Love not only requires and nurtures trust and security. Whereas infatuation is blind to problems. (6)When you are in love you work for the other persons benefit. (7) When a couple is in love they face problems realistically and try to solve them. Infatuation ignores problems and pushes them away. (8) Love knows that it’s ok to have a little distance and it is important for the relationship to grow. Infatuation see’s true love as being together 24/7.(9)Physical attraction is a small part of Love but it is the main focus of infatuation. (10) Love waits for the appropriate time later in the relationship to show affection. Infatuation shows it early on. (11) Love endures, commits and is stable. Infatuation is sporadic and unpredictable. And lastly, (12) Love doesn’t rush into marriage; it’s takes it’s time and knows the importance and value of the commitment. Infatuation rushes and feels and urge to commit instantly with little thought.  Used together with God these steps will change how we look at the meaning of love.

 

Verses for Reflection:

Genesis 29:1-20, 2 Samuel 13

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Love ,Sex and Lasting Relationships Devotion #4

 Discerning and getting down to the true meaning of Love.

I love autumn. I love a good caramel macchiato and I love my family. In each of these statements love has a different meaning. We tend to use the word “love” in a different ways meaning; enjoy greatly, or hold a favorable opinion towards, or infatuated with. This week we are going to define the three kinds of love listed in chapter 4; Eros, Phileo, and Agape.

Eros Love : Attraction, sexual desire. Song of Songs 1:1,

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.

God created us with passionate desires, and these things are good when we observe God’s design and sanctity of intimate passion and sex between a husband and wife. (Don’t worry we will dig deeper in chapter 6)

 

Phileo love: Brotherly Love, companionship, and fellowship. Romans 12:9-13.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Having fellowship, companionship, and community are important. It is very dangerous spiritually to be alone. God wants us to have community and companionship to offer us a chance to relate to Him by relating to other Christians. It also helps us hold each other accountable for our actions. Jesus spent a lot of time in fellowship using it as an opportunity to teach and in Genesis 2 God saw that Adam was alone and needed a partner. So God created one for him.

 

Agape Love: Giving, sacrificial, and selfless. John 17:22-23

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus prays for his disciples and all believers just before he is arrested. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Every time I read it I am humbled. Agape love is given even when someone doesn’t deserve it. A person with this love see’s beyond their own personal reasons, gain or needs. They do not focus on the small picture, but the big. A mother will overlook her own personal needs to see that her children are provided for, and Christ died to see that we would have life everlasting.

 

Love is confusing and we often misuse the term when we are actually just infatuated. Next time you think you are “falling in love” reflect on the three kinds of love listed here to help you determine where your love lies. Next week we will touch on 12 differences to help you further discern between Love and Infatuation.

Additional Verses for Reflection:

 

Eros-Genesis 2:24-25, Phileo- Genesis 2:20, Agape-John 17

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Love Sex and Lasting Relationships Devo 3

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

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Love,Sex and Lasting Relationships Devo 2

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.

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Love Sex and Lasting relationships wk-1

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

John15:12

Ruth 3:10-18

Song of Songs 2:1-7

Romans 12:1

Ephesians 1:4, 5:22-33

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