(Taken from the teaching series ‘Blurred Lines’ looking at what is Godly sexuality in a Confusing World)
The most searched for phrase on Google in 2014 was ‘What is Love?’ The world is looking for love and meaningful connection. Historically we would ‘court’ someone to gain the approval of family, or ‘go out’ with someone to a local event to gain the approval of friends, but now we can ‘hook up’, by swiping a photoshop-ped picture of a stranger, to gain no strings attached sex – all thanks to the dating revolution of the smartphone app.
But Romans 12:2 reminds us not to, ‘copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’
First of all, we need a better understanding of our STATUS. We label people by their relationship status – whether they are married or engaged, divorced or separated, widowed or single, but it seems many people are often looking for a status update. Paul, a single man and the writer to the sexually promiscuous town of Corinth in 54AD, encourages his readers (1 Corinthians 7:7) to see their status as a GIFT not a label. That they should enjoy the grace that they have been given to live life in the present and not looking to update their status.
Secondly, when we change our relationship status it creates emotional baggage, whether it be disappointment, shame or guilt, that we end up carrying into the next relationship. But, although there are consequences to our decisions, Jesus said he ‘won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’ (Matthew 11:30, MSG). We don’t have to be overwhelmed by our relational history, Jesus wants us to be in relationship with him so that we can live fully.
Just because there is forgiveness for our mistakes and wrong choices, does not mean we should rely upon cheap grace and do whatever we want in our relationships, knowing that God will clear up the mess we leave behind. If you are trying to live like Jesus did, then we need to treat people well and have a higher expectation of ourselves and others. Relational decisions that are made in haste are often regretted forever – endeavour to make decisions today that will regret-proof your future.
Thirdly, marriage as a status is often seen as something that is nice at the end of a romantic story, but not very exciting to have as the main part of the film – it’s seen as settling down, giving up your freedom, gaining a ball and chain, but this is because people look at marriage the wrong way round. Instead of asking the question ‘what can I get out of marriage?’, ask what you can bring into a marriage relationship. Instead of asking ‘Can I find the perfect person that will make me look better?’, endeavour to become the person, that the person you are looking for, would like to marry. This means wives should submit to their husbands and for husbands, this means love your wives (Ephesians 5:24-25).
‘Marriage is a vehicle for spouses to help each other become their glorious future selves through sacrificial service and spiritual friendships.’ Tim Keller
We were designed to be in relation with one another since the beginning of time when God announced ‘it is not good for man to be alone’, but building great relationships is hard work.
Your status history, is just that…history. From this day forward, be thankful for the gift of the status you have today and commit to creating,
God Honouring, Self Sacrificing, Others Centred, Community Enhancing relationships.
The Meaning of Marriage – Tim Keller
Swipe Right: The Life & Death Power of Sex & Romance – Levi Lusko