” 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:
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
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
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