Lucas and Ariana Cecka gave the relationships talk yesterday before church.
To establish your view of gospel-centered relationships and to give you some guiding principles.
The ultimate relationship our hearts were designed for would be the vertical one -- the one that ties us to our Heavenly Father.
We are all spiritually unclean. On the outside, we can portray ourselves white as snow, but on the inside we have leprosy. Not only are we unclean, but our hearts are damaged and not white as snow in any regards.
Ariana presented a clip from the original Disney Beauty and the Beast. This clip included the scene the very beginning of the movie where the young man is turned into a beast because there was no love in his heart. In some ways, we are the beast. Our hearts are just as ugly as his. However, Jesus was Belle--the woman who fell in love with the ugly beast and saved him from eternal death. Belle saved the beast, even though he deserved death--this is true love.
Jesus loved us when we were unlovable. We, as Christians, need to realize we need Jesus more than a significant other or friend. Our hearts are craving someone to fill us up completely and look at our ugly, sinful hearts and love us despite the darkness in our lives. Only God can fulfill that desire--the desire to be loved unconditionally and completely.
"Everyone is looking for someone who is looking for you" - Ariana Cecka.
We are all searching for something or someone to fill the emptiness inside our hearts, until we allow Jesus to overwhelm our hearts with HIS love we will search for eternity for something to fill only He can.
God created horizontal relationships for us to delight in, too.
If He is filling us up, then He can fuel and lead our horizontal relationships as well. Our hearts will overflow with love that can seep into all of our other relationships if we allow God to work.
Marriage is a biblical example of the closest relationship we have that can relate to ours with God. However, marriage is NOT the mission. Marriage is disappointing because we are human and sin exists.
C. S. Lewis once said, "There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy."
This is so true! However, Jesus is our mission so marriage is being on mission together. Jesus IS the mission. Marriage can be a shadow of the pleasure God will offer in Heaven. Yes, it is broken, but it is also a glimpse of how much He wants us to delight in His works and in each other.
Colossians 2:17 states, "Theses are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah."
Though marriage is NOT the mission, it IS being on mission together -- to image Christ and the Church. Ephesians 5:22-23 talks about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands are also called to love their wives how Jesus loved on earth. Husbands are called to give all of themselves for their wife's joy, while wives are called to respond attentively and joyfully to his lead. It should look like a dance where the man leads while his wive submits but is attentive and helping him lead in the best way he can. Genesis 2:24 talks about Adam and Eve and their perfect relationships before the fall.
There are two biblical principles to build a marriage on:
- Must be someone of the opposite sex
- Must be a Christian
Love is not a feeling, but a commitment. Feelings can come and go and if we built marriages upon those feelings that relationship will break when the feelings are no longer there. However, if we look at it as a commitment it will fuel the feelings and affections, such as in 1 John 4:10.
So, what about friendships?
For the most part, there are two ditches when it comes with growing close to the opposite sex. The first is avoidance and the other is over indulgence. For avoidance, ask yourself why you avoid and what your fear actually is. When it comes to over indulgence, ask yourself what you are really chasing after.
To have quality, God-honoring friendships, we must relate to one another as family. John 13:34-35 talks about Jesus and His calling of us to love one another as He loved us on earth. Our mission must be to: Display the love Jesus has for you in your friendships.
Why do we date? We either date coming from a cultural perspective or a Christian one. Culture tells us dating is for "trying on" people to see who you will best "fit" with while Christians date to pursue marriage.
As a Christian, how can we pursue dating relationships that honor God?
For one, we can PURSUE CLARITY over intimacy. If intimacy is prioritized then emotions and physical affections will lead the relationship, but if clarity becomes the priority then pursuing relational purity will be a bit easier. Dating is the evaluation stage--look for someone who is mature and surrounds himself with good community while pursuing you with God-honoring intentions and don't forget to have FUN. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:18 seek to this standpoint.
Secondly, date to PRIORITIZE Jesus. Let your dating mission become: displaying Jesus as you pursue clarity for marriage.
Thirdly, use COMMUNITY! Date vulnerably by telling every detail of your relationship to an individual or group of women or men who will lead your intentions, heart, mind, and emotions back to Jesus. Proverbs 18:1 backs this up.