Prince charming rescues the damsel in distress and they live happily ever after. Or if you’re into bloodthirsty vampires, it may go like this. Picture a grungy dark image of deep woods of evergreens, dark clouds and of course rain (sounds like my backyard). A bloodthirsty teenage boy that is considered a dead corpse seeks out a romantic fantasy with a teenage innocent girl. They become madly in love and desperate enough for each other to the point of depression and suicidal tendencies. The Twilight books set record as the biggest selling novels of 2008 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list and have spent over 235 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children’s Series Books. The Twilight Saga became a number one seller and epic Hollywood film.
Hollywood, pop-culture, music and romantic novels have captivated our current generation with a dark fantasy. A fantasy that is merely a fantasy. From TV episodes, Vampire Dairies; to best selling books such as Fifty Shades of Grey. The story unfolds with a lustful love and dark fantasy. I find it interesting how romantic films and books start from the beginning stages of a fantasy relationship to a “Happily Ever After” conclusion. The Introduction and Conclusion conduct similar patterns in it’s narrative. There are really no distinct differences between both. Both start and end with happy romantic emotions, but never will you see the core of what holds things together.
Real authentic relationships are not simply built on the happy beginning and happily ever after, but relationships are truly built on the core substance of a strong foundation, full of protein. The reason why many Christian young adults struggle with relationships is because our culture has diluted the concept of relationships. I would hate to burst your Disney imagination, but someone has too. A fantasy is just a fantasy, meaning, IT’S NOT REAL. What films, books and even music portrays as “Love”, is not the same Love God intended for interpersonal relationships. This is what Pastor Rick Warren said about most love music.
“Lust is about satisfaction. Love is sacrificing, serving, surrendering, sharing, supporting and even suffering for others. Most love songs are actually lust songs.” ~ Rick Warren
My main objective of this blog is to throw major caution into the wind for all young adults seeking a serious relationship. Some people date just to date, while others seek relationships just for self-gratification. Those types of relationships become selfish and self-centered which is not the plan of God. A Christian based relationship is built upon biblical truths and moral stability. It’s truly about what goes on between the happy introduction of a relationship and a happily ever after. Don’t believe me? Listen to the words and stories of divorced couples and you will think twice.
It all started in the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter three. Humanity indulged their eyes with a forbidden fantasy that led to destruction. The spirit of seduction entered into the picture and the snake himself deceived humanity. It’s imperative to comprehend Spirit Led Relationships. If I can help anybody understand the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit, you can be saved from a lifetime of headaches and heartache. Here are three simple objectives to be cautious about.
1. The Man or Woman in the Mask
The first initial introduction of meeting an individual is like an untold story. You really do not know who this individual truly represents. Character traits and distinct personality has not been revealed quite yet. The first connection between two individuals of the opposite sex is physical attraction. For females, this may vary, but for males, this is the initial encounter. We should not judge a book by it’s cover, but we must keep in mind of discovering the content within the book immediately. There are consequences if we become passive prematurely within pursuing a relationship. I’m not applying that an individual must be perfect with no flaws. In fact, no one is perfect except the King himself. We tend to take first John chapter four verse eighteen out of context. We associate “perfect love”, with the idea or notion that if it’s meant to be, there will absolutely be no fear. To the contrary, it’s absolutely normal to have healthy fears. That’s the key word, “healthy.” We won’t dive into that for now, but let’s take a look at 1 John 4:18,19.
” Such Love has no Fear, because Perfect Love expels all Fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. ” (1 John 4:18, 19 NLT)
The bible clearly states that there is ” No Fear ” in Perfect Love. But what is this Perfect Love the bible speaks of? The only one that is considered ” Perfect ” is King Jesus. Only God can claim perfection. Often times, we enter into interpersonal relationships bearing this scripture out of context and when human love fails, we become easily heartbroken and disappointed. If we truly pay attention to the details of 1 John 4:18, 19, we will realize that the core of Love begins with the Love of Christ.
” We Love each other because He loved us first. ” (vs 19)
In other words, Love begins with God. The core of Perfect Love can only be found in Christ, not in another human being. Often times we commit a spiritual Love Affair and Idol Worship against God without even knowing it. No other individual can take the place of God. Intimacy with the King will direct you into a healthy relationship.
The subject of “Red Flags” is imperative to discovering the man or woman behind the mask. I don’t care how you slice it, red flags are red flags. No one can tell you what to do and how to go about it, but let this serve as a warning. There are some things in a person that only God can change. Character traits are learned very early in life and often times we become blind to character flaws. An individual can attempt to pursue and give all they have to rescue a stubborn heart with negative character traits, but if the heart is stubborn, only God can search the heart of man.
“ The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. “ (Jeremiah 17:9,10 NLT)
“ Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. “ (Proverbs 12:15 NLT)
A stubborn person will not get anywhere in life. They find it difficult to receive wisdom, counsel and constructive criticism. It’s simple, their attitude stinks and their spirit is not teachable. I have discovered that some people will never change, NEVER. I’ve known some people for years and they still have a negative spirit and sour character traits. Here are a few examples of red flags that only God can change:
Disrespect and lack of mutual respect as stated in Ephesians 5:33. Sarcasm eventually leads to emotional and psychological abuse. Anger, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, addictions, obsessions, abuse and such.
Observe the lifestyle of the man or woman behind the mask. Take mental and spiritual notes of who they really are. Observe how his or her parents treat each other, because that’s how they will treat you. Know who their friends are and who he or she associates themselves with. Friends do matter and it’s imperative to circle yourself with people that will challenge you to draw closer to God and obtain godly character traits. If his or her friends are gossipers, one day, you may become a rumor.
“ Bad company corrupts good character. “ (1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT)
2. Jesus at the Center
Jesus at the center of it all is the key to success in anything in life, but especially in relationships. This is such a simple and broad topic, but easily ignored by many couples. The phrase, ” Love is Blind “, is such a true statement. Handsome men are attracted to beautiful women and beautiful women are captured by handsome men. And they live happily ever after. And that’s where we get distracted and lost. What happened to the core of between the introduction and conclusion? We tend to skip the process of establishing a healthy relationship and become blind by the initial attraction. A beautiful face and a handsome stud will not build a solid foundation, but a godly character will set a strong concrete foundation within a relationship. If you keep Jesus at the center, He will hold everything together.
“ He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. “ (Colossians 1:17)
If we dare take Jesus’ out of the center, we fall into idolatry. Idol worship is conceived within the human heart according to Ezekiel 14:4, ” Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin. ” (Ezekiel 14:4 NLT) We become infatuated with imperfect human beings and worship “Love” instead of the ultimate Lover. God will not tolerate your idol worship of objects and human beings. For this is the first commandment God urges us to obey.
“You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. ” (Exodus 20:3-5 NLT)
There is an urgency that echoes from generation to generation. Idol worship is one of the greatest forbidden fruits the enemy will use against the church. It’s actually very simple to slip into idol worship, even without knowing it. God is jealous and will not tolerate your affection and love of other gods. No person and emotion should take the place of God. In fact, that individual should draw you closer to God and the divine purpose He has for your life. If an individual is not in love with the King, how can they love you as an imperfect human being? God promises an unfailing love that no other can truly give.
” But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. ” (Exodus 20:6 NLT)
When we idolize any type of interpersonal relationship, it draws us away from the godly principles of Healthy Love. “We love each other because he loved us first.” (1 John 4:19) If we abuse love with idolatry, it becomes an Anti-god relationship. When we idolize individuals, we create demigods that take the place of the One true God. Beware of Functional Saviors that begin to function as your personal savior. I invite you to destroy your idols, if you dare.
3. Spirit Led
What does it mean to be ” Spirit Led? ” One of the misconceptions we have as Christians about the Holy Spirit is that it’s just about speaking with other tongues and the ability of connecting with God. But the Holy Spirit is much more than that. The Spirit of God is our spiritual conscience. It will lead us to the truth and give us wisdom for the future.
” When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. ” (John 16:13 NLT)
When we receive the Holy Spirit, we obtain the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). The Spirit of God will direct you to all paths of truth. It’s imperative to exercise our spiritual gifting and the fruits of the Spirit. The gift of discernment will make life a lot easier on the context of the heart and soul. Not all relationships are God-given. In fact, we can become so wrapped up with emotions, we become spiritually blinded. When we lose sight with our spiritual eyes, we can no longer see the path of being led by the Spirit. Some individuals look so appealing, they can deceive the human heart, but not the Holy Spirit. Matthew 7:15 speaks about vicious wolves who disguise themselves in elegant sheep apparel. You must ask yourself: Are you falling in love with a forbidden fantasy? Vicious patterns will only escalate to the point of emotional and psychological abuse. When we become obedient to the will of God, we find ourselves in a safe place of genuine love.
” For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. ” (Psalms 84:11 NLT)
God will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. In other words, if it’s good for you, He will release it with favor. But if it’s bad for you, He will withhold it because He Love’s you with an unfailing Love. No matter how appealing an individual may seem, always be led by the Holy Spirit. You may find yourself strolling with the devil. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 speaks of ungodly partnerships and warning of unequally yoked relationships.
“ Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. “ (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NLT)
Most of us apply the content of this scripture to a relationship between a Christian believer and non-believer. The definition in the Greek for “Unbeliever” (ἄπιστος) means, as a negative particle. Actively disbelieving, without Christian faith (not being Christlike) untrustworthy person and faithless. There is something deeper to comprehend. Everyone who sits on a pew and profess Christ, does not mean they are “Christlike.” The bible speaks clearly of God’s original plan of a “Helpmate” (Genesis 2:18). I strongly urge you, especially those in ministry, it’s imperative to find a Helpmate and not a Destructive mate. If he/she is not emotionally connected with you and ministry minded; your calling and dreams may shatter forever. Partner up with Jesus and He will show you the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
I leave you with two key scriptures to ponder on.
” So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. ” (Galatians 5:16 NLT)
” Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ” (Galatians 5:25 NLT)
…. May the Holy Spirit be with you.