If you have been following my blog for any length you will notice that there has been a strong theme over the past few months that have to do with 1. identity and 2. Relationships. This is because at my youth group we have been talking about Identity (Who we are in Light of who God is), Resolving to Follow God, and then how those two play out in our relationships, especially dating, sex and marriage.
In our Identity series we talked about Determining the Relationship and that we must resolve to love those we interact with not as the world calls us to love but instead with God’s love. A few weeks ago we touched back on this idea of Determining the Relationship but more in the context of relationships.
Our original design was as the image bearer of God , male and female together. As the imago dei (image of God/image bearer of God) we were created for:
- Relationship with God
- Relationship with others
If we are made as the image of God – then we have to understand who God is:
God is love.
1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.
This word love is the Greek word “Agape.” This love…
…is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I) something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.
…it sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something they have done or not done but just because of who they are.
…is not shown by doing what the recipient
desires (wants) but instead what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient, even knowing this may lead to rejection.
We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.
God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.
If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?
And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.
A love that gives what people need not what they
A love that is willing to be rejected to truly love.
A love based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.
A love not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.
But the question is, how do we do that?
- A love that gives what people need not what they want.
I firmly believe that with both friends and with the suitable partner God has for us – that they will challenge us to be more of who God created us to be. They will give us what we need – feedback, challenges, encouragement, room to grow, etc.
not necessarily what we want.
We also need to be willing to be those people. Those friends and even those possible suitable partners. Are we giving space for them to seek God first and not us, are we challenging what they are hearing from God when it sounds off base? Are we calling them out when their actions don’t line up with what they say God has said?
2. Love with willful purpose – not a love based on feelings.
In resolving to relate – we need to be intentional – we need to have willful purpose in our relationships. We need to know what God is calling us to.
In our relationships we need to care both about those we are relating with today but also those we will be relating with and who they will be relating with in the future…
Listen to me, it isn’t just about how far is too far. But it is about honoring each other and those you will end up being with.
3. We need to be intentional today for the promises God has for us tomorrow.
We need to not just think about today but we need to ask God what He has for us in the future and then make decisions based on those promises.
Noah started building the Ark when there weren’t any clouds in the sky… when they didn’t even have a concept of what rain was. His actions were in light of God’s Word for the future not what he saw or felt in that moment.
4. We need to know who we are in God.
Adam and Eve were suitable partners for what God had created them to do. God’s plan for us includes suitable partners for what we were created to do. But that means that to know who is suitable, we have to be willing to wait until we know what God has called us to do.
This doesn’t mean that we have to know the exact specifics but we must have a sense of the direction that God is calling us to.
God gave me this picture:
Imagine that you are back in high school and you have a huge project for one of your classes. Each person has a unique project they are working on and it has to do with who they are and how they were created. Each project was created to bring out that specific person.
With this project, you will be working with a partner of the opposite sex. The teacher tells you as you are receiving your projects that you can choose your own partner or you can wait on the teacher and they will pair you with someone who has a project that would complement your own.
You decide to pick your own partner. You see someone who you think is cute and looks as though you would get along great. You introduce yourself and ask if they would like to be partners. They quickly agree and you start talking. You find out that you have similar personalities, you likes similar things and everything looks perfect to you.
Over time though, you find that your projects are less compatible than you first imagined. Conflict begins to arise as your research and resources are incompatible. You find that either you must separate to find new partners, you will stay together but work harder to try and make things work or one of you will have give up their project.
If you had just waited on the teacher they would have brought you a suitable companion. A companion whose project would have complimented your own.
The questions that God has challenged me and I challenged my youth with is this:
Are we willing to be intentional today – in our relationships –
for the promises of God for tomorrow?
Are we willing to be intentional today so that our marriages, our callings,
our families tomorrow will be all that God intends them to be?