What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more: Part 3

This is the third and final week in this little dating series. I also feel that this is the most important of the three because if you don’t get what I say here, the previous two posts will be worthless. While we need to understand men’s and women’s shortcomings and roles in dating, the most important thing to understand is why. What is the purpose behind dating and marriage? Anyone who is married or has ever dated knows all the difficulties involved, so why do we put ourselves through it?

Culture tells us to go through with dating and marriage because it will make us happy. Terms like “soul mate” “better half” and “what I have been missing all these years” make it sound like finding our spouse will finally make us feel complete or happy. So, many people want to date or marry to find joy. They feel like finding a mate will fill that void in their life and make them happy. But is that all dating and marriage is about? Happiness?

Actually, this is what has gone so drastically wrong in our world. Almost every movie, TV series or song now has something about affairs, one night stands, or sleeping around. In fact, many movies and shows even show cheating and sleeping around in a positive light! Our culture tells us that dating and relationships are only about what you can gain from it. And this is what we have become. Every time I turn on the news or get on Facebook I see another affair, unmarried pregnancy or some guy bragging cause he hooked up with another hot chick last night. Sadly, the movies and the TV shows have become our world’s sinful reality.

People no longer view a relationship as it was meant to be but rather as a means to satisfy their own desire for happiness. The cultural thought is “If she makes me happy I love her, but if someone else can make me more happy then I will run off with her.” This is extreme selfishness. We may care and even consider the other person, but ultimately it comes down to what makes ourselves happy. Culture has taught us to pursue happiness and pleasure above all else, even if it hurts others. Affairs and one night stands are at all time highs because people no longer care for others but only for their own pleasure or happiness.

So if culture is so wrong, where can we find the right answer? The Bible of course! The first thing we have to learn about dating and marriage is that it is not about you and your happiness! The most important reason we date and marry is to represent Jesus and the Church. Ephesians 5:22-33 is probably the best section in the Bible about marriage. Throughout these verses Paul shows how the way a husband and wife relate to each other is a representation of how Jesus Christ and His Church relate. Men are to love and sacrifice everything for their wives just as Jesus did for the Church, (Verses 25-28), and women are to follow the leadership of the husband just as the Church follows the leadership of Christ, (Verses 22-24).

This is a much different call than that of culture. While culture tells us to live for pleasure and for self, the Bible tells us to sacrifice for others and represent Christ. Think about it guys. Our job is to represent Christ! People get all excited if they get to represent their company at a meeting or their country in the Olympics. Men, we get to represent Jesus Christ in how we relate to women! And women, you get to be his pure and perfect bride. Instead of being that hot girl with a new guy every week, you get to represent sinless perfection and submission in your relationship.

Secondly, we need to know where joy and happiness comes from. If you are looking for a boyfriend of girlfriend because you are lonely or because you think it will make you happy, STOP! It may bring you momentary happiness, but at what cost? You cannot possibly find pure joy in another person. While non-Christian marriages may seem happy and joyful, they will not and cannot ever possibly be as fulfilling and joyful as a Christian marriage. This is not because Christians are better people, but because Christians will seek their joy in Christ first, and their spouse second. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Lastly, the reason we date and get married needs to be mutually beneficial. When I say mutually beneficial I do not mean that I make her happy and she makes me happy, but rather that I help her to see and serve Christ more and she helps me to see and serve Christ more. I believe happiness is a fairly natural result of this. This is why Paul warns about being “yoked with unbelievers” in 2 Corinthians 6:14. When looking to date and marry we need to find someone we can work together with that will cause each of us to grow closer to Christ.

They have found that two oxen yoked together can actually do double the work of two oxen individually. So who we decide to yoke or join ourselves with in dating and marriage will be very important as to the service we can do for Christ. We will all have tough times and struggles. In those down times we need our spouse to be able to pick us up and push us towards Jesus, (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). If our main concern is pleasure or happiness it may cause us to marry someone who is there in the good times, but gone when we are really in need or hurting.

I hope you all understand that while dating and marriage are important and can bring you a lot of happiness, that is not the ultimate purpose for love. So what is love? 1 John 4:16 tells us that “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” May we all come to see that dating, marriage and love are all about God. Stop following the lie of culture that tells you pleasure or happiness is the goal of love. Realize the goal of finding a spouse is not self-satisfying but rather God honoring. May we all live for and represent Jesus and the Church in our relationships, and may we find our joy and pleasure in Jesus above all else. And finally, may we all find someone who will help us know, honor, love and serve Jesus Christ more.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more: Part 2

Last week I tried to be gentle with the ladies because I know they are delicate flowers. This week I am speaking to men. Men are not delicate flowers. We are more like a thick piece of metal. This is why when men talk with, encourage, or rebuke women they need to do so very gently because women tend to be more delicate, (I know a lot of tough women as well, but in general, women tend to be a little more delicate). But for men, delicate and gentle talk usually doesn’t work. Just like you can’t change steel without a hammer. So men, let’s try to look at some of our issues, but in a much more direct and hammer like manner. Hammer time!

While women are looking for security, men are fishers. We are looking for that one great catch, that one girl all the other guys will stop and stare at. She doesn’t need to be safe as long as she is hot. This is why men are more likely to break up or get divorced, because we always think maybe there is someone else more beautiful or young out there. This is why the pornography, prostitution, and human trafficking industries are mostly full of women. These industries exist because of men. It is basic supply and demand. As long as men desire pornography or prostitution there will always be a supply of it.

Christian men also have become quite timid in modern times. A “Man’s Man” is hard to find these days in Church. Instead, our culture’s idea of tough guys fight in cages or in bars. Whatever happened to the brave and tough Godly men of the past? Now, many Christian men feel like they must wear sweater vests and are afraid to even talk to a woman. Men also have a tendency to isolate or stonewall problems. While women typically like to talk more openly about such things, men just shut down or run to comforts like sports, alcohol or work to distract them from their issues in relationships.

So what do guys need to learn? First, we need to know what to look for. Men we need to raise our standards a bit. Just because she is hot and fun to hang out with does not mean she is a good girlfriend or wife. When you are looking for a wife, you need to find a girl that is a good life, not just a good time. For example, you could get one of those super hot girls from the bar, but is she someone you really want to bring home to mom? Is she someone you really want your kids to look up to or your daughter to be like? If mom wears 5 inch clear heels the daughter is most likely to follow suit. Instead, look for character qualities in a woman like patience, kindness, and a servant’s heart that will last and actually matter in life. “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10).

The truth is men we are absolutely sick. For some reason we think that the less a girl wears the better she is. We don’t care how smart or caring she is as long as she has big boobs, (It is just two pieces of fat! Why are men so attracted to fat on the chest but not on the stomach?). We have exchanged a good thing, (sexual pleasure in marriage) for a lie, (pornography, prostitution, one night stands, etc…), (Romans 1:22-23).

Men we need to wake up and fix this. We fix this by seeking true and lasting joy rather than one night of fun. It starts with your relationship with God. Just like women try to find security in men because they don’t think God is enough, men, we try to find our pleasure and joy in women because we don’t think God is enough pleasure or joy for us. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10-11). Jesus is more than enough joy, so stop exchanging ultimate and perfect joy for temporary and sinful pleasure.

Secondly, men we need to step up and be men! Man up! We are called to be spiritual leaders and instead we have traded that for a timid hope that the perfect woman will just show up and we will live happily ever after. Yes it is good to be humble and meek, (I don’t want anyone to think that a real man has a 6 pack on his stomach and in his hand), but we are also called to be courageous. Christian men are called to be leaders, (Ephesians 5:23). So guys, its time to be willing to step up and ask a girl out. Yes you need to get to know her first, (group activities and Bible studies are a great place to do that), but once you feel like she is a Godly woman you need to man up and ask her on a date. I will even tell you what to say: “Hey if you’re not busy this weekend would you like to get some dinner or coffee?”

Now guys, even though you are great, she still might say no. IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD! Remember, your joy is found in Jesus, not whether this girl says yes or not. I don’t want guys to have the Chinese or American method. Usually a Chinese boy has decided, (even before he really knows the girl at all), that he loves her. So he will do anything for her to reciprocate the feelings and when she says no he is so heartbroken he gives up dating. The American tries to ask as many girls as possible and figures if he asks 100 girls, at least one will say yes. We need to find a balance that says it is ok to get rejected and to move on, but not to the extreme that we move on to every and any girl that walks by.

Lastly, we need accountability. This may not make much sense to women, but men know what I am talking about. This is why it is so easy to tell a guy he is a sinner. All I have to say is that God knows his thoughts and every guy knows right away how sinful he is. So men, if you want to find a good girl, you need to have good Godly men around you. Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” When men try to go alone and figure out dating or relationships by themselves they either end up in sexual sin or looking to distractions. Instead, men we need to be open and honest with each other about our struggles and triumphs. We need each other. So men, if you haven’t already, find yourself either a small group of men or even one other man for accountability. Be willing to be completely open and honest about everything, (I mean EVERYTHING). But do this with another guy who understands the struggle because it will only overwhelm and discourage your girlfriend or wife.

So men, may we all know that Jesus is more than enough joy for us. May we stop trying to find joy in stupid sinful pleasures that don’t last and never satisfy. May we man up and be the courageous leaders God has designed us to be and that women want to follow. And may we sharpen each other as we openly share our lives together and push each other to know and live for God more.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more: Part 1

So I decided to name this post after a 1993 song for two reasons. First, its a stinkin awesome song! If you haven’t heard go download it and dance the night away. Secondly, (and obviously more important because I am not going to write about dancing anymore), is the fact that most of the people reading this website are in the young adult category. Seeing as the majority of people I work and talk with are young and that I myself am a young person, this question about what is love comes up pretty frequently. Everyday, I either hear or see someone struggling with this question as far as dating goes. So I wanted to share some of my perspectives on this topic. Obviously, we will need to look to the Bible for our ultimate guidance with this question.

When I first started writing this I was hoping to make it into one post, but instead I thought I would make it a 3 week series in order to be a little more thorough. So in order to talk about dating, I thought I would break it up into a men’s and women’s section and then close with the whole purpose behind dating and marriage. Again, I am no expert! I am just a young person looking for answers to questions. I hope my insights can help some of you who are looking but feel like you are still not finding. I also hope that as we seek we would look first and foremost to Jesus Christ.

I will start with the ladies because I want to be a gentleman, (guys take note!). Now I am not a woman so I can only speak from my perspective. Ladies, if what I say here is way off base, then let me know. But ladies also remember, this is the perspective I have. Whether or not this is reality, this is the image that I feel most girls put off and thus how most guys feel about them.

I feel like girls naturally have a deeper level of insecurity than boys. Thus, many girls look at dating and marriage as a type of security blanket that can protect them. In China, this is why young girls will marry much older men. It is usually not for money, but rather that these older men have jobs, homes, cars, etc. The older men look like a much safer and secure choice than a young man just out of college looking for work. I also feel that because of this, many girls rush ahead and like the first guy that gives them attention. Instead of waiting to find the right person, many young girls fear being alone forever and thus date a guy who is not good for them. Also, I feel like girls, in order to find a guy, spend much of their time worrying about what others think of them. Why do girls like to be told they look good? Men don’t usually seem to need that reassurance, yet because women have a deeper insecurity they are constantly comparing and worrying.

So what advise do I have for the girls out there? First, girls you need to guard your heart. Don’t just fall in love with the first guy who gives you attention. Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life” and Song of Solomon 8:4 says “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” This is obviously a problem for girls, (which is why you see daughters and not sons in verse 4), and something that girls need to remember as they look to date. Just because a boy asks you doesn’t mean you need to date or marry him. Girls, it is ok to have some standards in what kind of guy you are looking for. Even if the guy seems really great, keep that guard up because men are masters of acting polite at the beginning in order to get what they want in the end.

Secondly, instead of spending so much time and energy worrying about your appearance, spend more time on your character. A great place to read is Proverbs 31:10-31. Take special note of verse 30: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Girls, you may look outwardly beautiful now, but that won’t always be the case. Add 20-30 years and you most likely won’t be quite as good looking as you are today. Again, this is why girls are always comparing. I usually don’t hear about girls comparing themselves with other girls on generosity or servanthood. Rather, it is about hair, style, and whose butt is bigger. I feel like this worry is demonic and causes women to be preoccupied with things that will ultimately fade away. Yes girls need to keep up their appearance, but I don’t feel they need to be so preoccupied with it. Don’t find your value in your appearance, find your value in Jesus.

Thirdly, my personal advise for girls is that you find a balance between guarding your heart and getting to know boys. I feel like it is the man’s responsibility to pursue and ask a girl out, so ladies, let the men do their jobs. But I also feel like many Christian girls have gone to the opposite extreme. It’s not good to be a flirt, but it’s also not good to be cold. Spend time with boys in groups. Be friends with boys and with girls. Let’s stop saying the whole, “I am dating Jesus” thing. It sounds ridiculous and silly. Guard your heart, but do so in a way that builds up the body of Christ. But also remember that these men are your brothers. Again, don’t isolate yourself with any guy except your husband, but group activities and study’s with groups of boys and girls is a great way to get to know the opposite sex.

Lastly, I feel like the root of insecurity is a lack of desire in Jesus alone. Ladies, is Jesus enough for you? I mean is Jesus really enough? I know God has put a motherly instinct into the hearts of women, but that doesn’t mean that we change the Gospel. The Gospel does not say Jesus and a husband, children or beauty. The truth of the Gospel is that Jesus is more than enough for us. Check out Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus doesn’t say go find a husband and you will find rest. He doesn’t say have children and that will be enough. Jesus says HE alone is enough. So ladies, my last bit of advise is that you would seek Jesus alone. Stop looking for a boyfriend or husband in order to be satisfied. If you think those things will fill this lonely feeling you have now you are wrong. Jesus is enough and HE alone can satisfy you. So ladies, if you struggle with insecurity and loneliness, come to Jesus. Come and see that Jesus is more than enough for you and all your needs and longings.

So I tried to be delicate with the ladies out there. Men, you are next week and I will not be as nice. So get ready guys cause I have a lot to say to you all next week!