“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.” – Julia Childs
Right person? HOW WILL I KNOW THE RIGHT PERSON, JULIA? HOW?
Life comes with an overwhelming smorgasbord of choices. There’s literally billions of people on Earth…. and my “CORRECT” marital option is only limited to this literal ONE right person?? … Hopefully Julia meant finding one of the many right ones… because limiting my correct spouse to one of billions sounds like stress.com.
Quotes and sayings like these have had me highly frustrated during my lifetime. It wasn’t until recently that God granted me some peace of mind with navigating my options and choices in love.
A lot of us are sensationalists and love addicts. We want fireworks and whirlwind romance everyday of our lives, but the reality is… this is unrealistic. Love involves feelings but should never be reduced to mere emotions. When the fireworks die down, we think we’re no longer in love. We look for someone new to refuel the excitement we once felt. There’s a lot of problems with this type of thought process.. It uses fleeting emotion to validate actions. Love is action exercised IN SPITE of feelings, not because of feelings.
God has already chosen to love us. He is already sure he wants to spend eternity with us. However, like choosing to love anyone, even if that person loves us, we also must CHOOSE to them. It is our choice to love God.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you might go and bear fruit– fruit that will last– and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other. – John 15:16-17
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15
As you can see, there are other options. But Scripture tells us that God is the only way to true love.
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. – 1 John 4:7-10
God’s love is often compared to a marriage in the Bible. And in many ways, it is. God gave his life up for the church, choose to love us even when we don’t deserve it, and compares us to a wayward bride. We cheat on God with things and people we think will be more fulfilling. We look for other love elsewhere and often settle for counterfeits because we are not willing to make the sacrifices required to maintain the relationship. God doesn’t ask for much yet we run, leaving God at the alter while we gallivant all over the Earth under the impression that God is not the right choice for us.
The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
This same concept is backed by scripture.
For where your treasure is, there your heart WILL be also. – Matthew 6:21 AND Luke 12:34 (So important that it had to be said twice)
Your treasure doesn’t follow your heart. Your heart follows your treasure.
Feelings alone won’t make you value something. You have to pour the things you value (your time, your money, your effort) into something for it to be near and dear to your heart. You won’t, don’t and will never value someone (or GOD) if you refuse to invest your treasure in the relationship. Spend time with God. Give him the things that are near and dear to you.
When you live under the guise that love is a feeling, you are left unsatisfied. It’s like running a race with a moving finish line and will leave you tired and unfulfilled. Emotions change, fade and are highly deceptive. So when in doubt, invest.
2. We fail to recognize our own value and the value in others. You have to hold the person you love in high regard, the same goes for God.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
You have to value yourself. Value what (or in the above referenced case, who) goes in your body, what feeds it and what you do with it. When you love someone you don’t simply involve yourself in whatever or with whomever you find pleasing. There are things you should find disappointing to take part in because of your relationship with them. Often times we compromise on this standard because we want to be instantly gratified.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or a sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister – 1 John 4:20-21
Numerous times throughout the Bible we are commanded to love others as ourselves. The way we love others reflects the love we have for God and vice versa. Love is so important that God tells us that it is the MOST important commandment.
3. We don’t set standards and boundaries.
Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Our hearts (and souls) need boundaries. God knows we have emotions. He created them. When we fail to set standards for ourselves, we usually get ourselves in trouble. As giving and loving we are commanded to be, Love is not designed to be exercised recklessly.
Your love, time and efforts are valuable. And everyone won’t see it as such. Some people will simply stomp on it and use your love against you.
Do not give to dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before swine (pigs), lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. – Matthew 7:6
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20
4. We have a disdain for accountability.
Accountability is obligation or willingness to accept responsibiliy or to account for one’s actions. When Adam and Eve were found in the garden of Eden after disobeying God, they hid. Adam even blamed both Eve and God for his own choice. But we are ultimately responsible for what we do.
He who conceals his trangressions will not prosper, but her who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – Proverbs 28:13
In a romantic relationship, sometimes we avoid titles, commitments and making decisions so we aren’t held to a certain standards. Not trying or wanting to be held to a standard is a disservice to anyone you’re in relationship with. There are healthy expectations and requirements. By trying to evade these things, we ultimately will not prosper, spiritually or romantically. Relationships are intentional. Real Love does not occur by accident, only by choice. It is active pursuit. You won’tever fully know God if you don’t plan to spend time with him. Similarly, you won’t ever know another person if you don’t intentionally pursue them. If you’re knowing and capable of loving and actively choosing God but refuse to do what is required of you God knows.
The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. – Luke 12:47-48
God has expectations of you. You decide if you will meet them or run away.
5. We lack self control.
A man without self control is like a city broken into and left without walls. – Proverbs 25:28
As mentioned earlier, the greatest commandment God has given us is to love. & Love requires you to do things that you honestly may not want to do. Even in romantic relationships, you make want to do whatever your “flesh” wants to do. Your spirit is in conflict with your flesh constantly. And I know that doesn’t sound fun, but ultimately it requires acknowledging and accepting that God knows best. Similarly, in a romantic relationship you have to choose to value another person and exercise self control.
But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want. – Galatians 5:16-17
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run , but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Buuutttttt… there is good news. Disciplining your flesh comes with reward. You get to reap the “fruit of the spirit”.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
These fruit are priceless. Especially considering the result of continuously choosing your flesh results in death and not inheriting God’s kingdom.
Furthermore, the discipline and suffering is slight in comparison to what God has for us. Again, we must remember & accept that God knows best.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18
6. We’re selfish.
When Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:24:26
You have to surrender yourself to love and to God. Even in marriage God uses sacrifice to exemplify love.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
God loved us so much that he GAVE. Sacrifice is a requirement for love.
Additionally, the Bible speaks of how our desires to be selfish have no benefit. Some of us have hardened our hearts to the extent that we believe that isolation is better than love.
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment – Proverb 18:1
But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. – 1 Timothy 5:6
7.We are not satisfied and consistently question whether there’s better for us out there.
The love of people, money, sex, drugs, material possession, other religions, other Gods.. we try to choose so many things before God. They are often mere imitations for the real love we seek, which is the love of God.
Those who cling to worthless idol turn away from God’s love for them. – Jonah 2:8
Your love of idols keep you from finding real love. They temporarily satisfy and we think that this is the best we can get, so we are left compromising for the counterfeit of love. But real love is waiting.
Decisions should be made wisely. You should be well informed. But You can equip yourself with information for years, study millions of religions, date hundreds of people, study a gazillion books and still not “know” where you stand on things. But in the valley of indecision, you must make a decision… based on faith. Once you have experienced satisfaction, the search is over. God has and will meet our needs but we want to see if there’s better out there for us…. and it’s our choice.
you can accept God’s love as supreme or you can continue to look for alternatives. Maybe, just maybe a better alternative exists…. scripture s is there is no better alternative… but it is up to you to run the risk.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor and this was the reward for all my toll. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained after the sun.
When will you decide that your search is over?you will never really “know”. You can’t verify every historical fact. You we’re there. You can’t date every man or woman on earth. You’ll be dating forever. How far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go?
You have to decided to be planted in your relationships, spiritual and romantic. Doubts will come. But if you move at the sign of doubt, you’ll never decide. Faith is standing on your beliefs and your decisions in spite of.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, for who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Our relationship with God is the ultimate relationship. Only God satisfies. If God is not at the center of our romantic relationships, they are simply a waste of time. If God is not at the center of life, life is a waste of time.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live and in your name I will lift my hands. I will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with my lips my mouth will praise you. – Psalm 63:3-5
But whoever drinks of the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – John 4:14
Nonetheless, your love life, both spiritually and romantically, is for you to explore. You make the choices. But no one waits forever. Not even God. We play Russian Roulette with love. We think we have time. But Life doesn’t last forever… when the bridegroom, God, comes (or your life ends), you’re either going to ready or not. You will have either decided that you love him or you haven’t. There will be no time to prepare… because after he has left the alter, he won’t return. The window for opportunity will be closed. Romantically, if you’re not ready to love someone, the one who satisfies you, but you decide to continue to search, you run the risk of losing that person forever …or in the worse case, romantic love completely. There may not be another person who fits or satisfies as well… & You May be left trying to love the counterfeits, the second & third best thing, instead of the real thing you once experienced.. that doesn’t have to be your reality. Luckily for us, God stands at the alter waiting for your “yes” until death. I suggest you don’t keep him waiting. You never know when the door will close… But again, it’s your choice.