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.