We're down to our last week of our February series on love and relationships! It's been a fantastic month with great conversations all around. Each week, students submit anonymous questions to be answered in front of the group. If you have questions you'd like to submit, click on this link to do so anonymously!
This week, we're talking all about girls! Let's jump right in. Here are the three main things we'll be discussing.
1. Women are beautiful and precious daughters of God.
Proverbs 31:10-11 - "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life." Women are more precious than rubies. We are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, James 1:18). In the creation story in Genesis, there is an escalation in the text - each new thing that is created is greater than the thing before. God crowns all things by creating woman! He even goes as far as saying that it is not good for man to be alone. Adam breaks into poem at first sight of Eve. Woman is beautiful and precious. Women deserve to be treated with respect and validation as the pinnacle of God's creation.
2. A woman of God puts her identity and value in Christ.
The world tries to define womanhood in so many different ways, mainly centered around their bodies and what the opposite sex thinks of them. God's definition couldn't be more different. We are God's masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), and it isn't about our bodies, it's about who we are. A woman of God doesn't count on a boy to "complete" her. She is fully complete in Christ. Her heart, mind, and body are devoted to God. A godly man will find nothing more attractive than that.
3. A woman of God uses her beauty and value for God's glory.
Your body does not define you. Our sexual culture builds up impossible standards that really has nothing to do with beauty. 1 Peter 3:3-4 - "Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." Beauty comes from within. Girls, you have so much more to offer a boy - to offer the world - than your body! The greatest thing you can offer is your heart, your mind, your character. When you use your body as the "attraction", what kind of guy will you get? The kind who is only interested in your body.
We'll be watching a short video about how the male brain reacts to women. The speaker is Jessica Rey, a Christian girls' speaker who designs her own line of swimsuits. You can watch the clip (2 minutes) here, or watch the full video (1o minutes) here.
Girls, you are NOT responsible for guys' actions. Guys, control yourself. Be a man, not a boy. Girls, guys are idiots. If you're offering them your body, they will overlook the real treasure - your heart. Modesty is not about hiding your body or being ashamed of the beauty God has given you! It is about focusing on where your true value lies. You have so much more to offer than your body.
We've spent the past two weeks setting the foundation for what love and relationships are all about. For an overview of the entire series, read this post. In Week 1, we talked about how to pursue Happily Ever After - through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Read the post here. Last week, we talked about what a healthy, God-honoring relationship looks like. Read the post here.
This week, we're talking about GUYS. Girls, what do you look for in a guy? Guys, how do you become the guy that girls are looking for? To frame our conversation, we'll be looking at the life of Samson, who had it all going for him on the outside, but had deep issues that ultimately were his undoing. Here are our takeaways for the ladies:
Beware the guy who only looks good on the outside. Outward appearances have no correlation to inward qualities. Samson had a serious anger problem - when Samson got angry, people died! Pretty boys generally know they're pretty - and arrogance quickly follows.
Beware the guy who falls in and out of love all the time. This may mean he's looking at women as conquests and status symbols. Girls, you deserve better than that. Delilah was just one woman on a long list in Samson's past.
Beware the guy who keeps secrets. Like we discussed last week, trust and honesty are foundational blocks to a healthy relationship. Samson had quite the closet full of skeletons. Who we are and what we've done are part of what we bring into a relationship - for better or worse.
And for the guys:
Be a man of self-control. Control your temper. Cling to your purity. Be intentional about pursuing godliness in all areas of your life. This takes discipline.
Be a man of your word. Think carefully about the promises you make - and then follow through by keeping them. Girls are attracted to guys who are dependable and trustworthy. Your words are powerful and you need to use them carefully.
Be a man who respects women. Women are more than sexual objects. Treat women like your sisters. Honor their purity. Don't be fooled by locker-room talk - it's all made up, anyway. As a godly man, you need to step above that. Be attracted to women for their internal qualities.
I look forward to this conversation this Sunday at Roots!
We're headed into Week 2 of our February series on love and relationships called Crappily Ever After. When God made Adam and Eve, he had something in mind for their relationship. Unfortunately, sin has entered the picture and distorted everything. Because we are all imperfect, our relationships are imperfect, too. Does that mean that we are doomed to Crappily Ever After?
Last week, we covered what "happily ever after" truly is - an eternity with God through a relationship with Jesus. 1 John 4 tells us that God's love for us is perfect. We will never be able to love with the perfect love that God has, but we are not without hope! This week, we'll be talking about what a Christ-centered relationship looks like. When two people are individually focused on glorifying God, a relationship between them is going to be healthy, uplifting, and inspiring. Here's the outline of our discussion for this week:
1. We date to find a mate.
The purpose of dating is to figure out who we’re going to marry. Does this mean we should only date when we’re ready to get married? Not necessarily. Some may choose that - and that’s great! We just need to remember that the relationships we develop, even in middle school and high school, are shaping us into the person that your future spouse is going to marry! Who you are today is the person you’re bringing into your marriage.
2. A God-honoring relationship has its priorities and boundaries set clearly.
We often talk about the idea of God first, others second, and ourselves third. The same holds true in a dating relationship! God comes first. Each person must have their heart and mind focused on God and glorifying Him. Second, we must honor our family and friends. Parents are still parents, and they deserve utmost respect and obedience. W2e also can't neglect our friends and alienate ourselves. Serving others should remain a priority in a relationship. Boundaries include physical/sexual boundaries, but also so much more. We must be careful not to give away pieces of our hearts and our body too quickly.
2b. Parents, read this: We will be discussing physical boundaries this week, but we will NOT be using any graphic language or innuendo. This conversation will be tailored to the age (middle school vs. high school), and we will focus on how to pursue purity, rather than discuss “how far is too far.” We will read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, which tells us to flee from sexual immorality. If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact Ted Northrop!
3. A God-honoring relationship is built on honesty and trust.
1 John 4 - Perfect love drives out fear. Fear has to do with punishment, not grace. Grace is a defining characteristic of love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us lve keeps no record of wrongs. We are to (try to!) love each other the way that God loves us.
4. A God-honoring relationship is selfless.
Imagine two people who are individually focusing on glorifying God first, then serving each other. Imagine a relationship where Happily Ever After, as best we can have it on earth at least, was possible. Imagine a husband that is committed to Jesus. Imagine a wife that is completely honest with you, a spouse who is trustworthy and completely trusts you. Imagine a marriage where you both selflessly gave to each other.
We're starting off our February series this Sunday! If you haven't yet read the series overview, take a minute and read it now!
In the first week of our series, we'll be looking at the bigger picture on love. What's it all about? We'll start by introducing the concept behind the series. God created us in His image, and told us to be fruitful and multiply! Relationships are instituted and ordained by God. However, when sin entered the picture, our relationships suffered the consequences as well. The first thing Adam does after sinning is to blame Eve! Not a great start.
That rift has been passed down to us. We are all sinners, and that sin makes "happily ever after" an elusive goal. The fact of the matter is that every human relationship we have will have problems. That doesn't mean they are bad - we just need to set our expectations realistically. Our culture tells us that we need to find "The One" that will make us happy - AND that there's only one "The One" out there for us. We are setting ourselves up for heartbreak and disappointment.
We will only ever find satisfaction and contentment in The One whose love is perfect: Jesus Christ. We can only begin to love one another because God loved us first. We'll be taking a look at 1 John 4, where John helps us understand that we will never figure out how to love one another until we put it in perspective with God's love for us.
Each year, during the month of love, we do a message series that covers love, sex, and dating. This year, we're looking at how sin has distorted our relationships. We're all looking for that "happily ever after"... but how do we find it?
Throughout February, we will be comparing and contrasting two big ideas: the way God intended love to be vs. what sin has turned love into to. When God made the world, when He made us, He had something in mind. He created Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply! [Gen 1:28] They were made to be together. And then sin entered the picture. Nothing is the way God intended because sin has distorted EVERYTHING - especially our relationships.
From the moment Adam and Eve took that bite, their relationship (and ours) was plagued by sin. Someday, God will make everything right again. He will restore us in a post-sin world, where we will be free from sin and its repercussions.
But what about now? How are we supposed to live and love while sin keeps getting in the way? We are not without hope! When we begin to understand God's love for us, we will better understand how to love one another. This is the big idea for this entire series: We love each other because God first loved us. He has set an amazing example for us in Jesus Christ, who shows us how to live and love.
Parents, Read This:
We are committed to addressing the difficult and uncomfortable topics. During this series, our focus will be on relationships and dating. We will surely be covering some aspects of sex, physical boundaries, and honoring God with our bodies, though these will not be the main focus of any single week. This conversation will not be graphic in any way, but we want to communicate very clearly with you about what we're discussing each week, so you can decide if it is appropriate for your child.
Here's an outline of the four weeks ahead of us:
Week 1 - The First Love. God's love for us shows us how to love.
Week 2 - Why We Date. What's the point of dating, and how do we do it in a God-honoring way?
Week 3 - Guy Talk. We talk about guys. Girls, what should you look for in a guy? Guys, how do you be the guy that girls are looking for?
Week 4 - Girl Talk. Converse of Week 3: Guys, what should you look for in a guy? Girls, how do you be the girl that guys are looking for?