The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, July 25, 2011

Christian Romance: What Is It?

"By far, the best book in the Bible on this romantic and agape type of love is the Song of Solomon. An oft-quoted and many times favorite of romantics, this book demonstrates the parallel between the agape love Christ has for His church and the deep, abiding love a husband has for his bride. The lover and beloved exchange dialogue with each other, and the beloved speaks with her friends. Every passage attests to the deep and abiding love between the lover and beloved. The two are so consumed with that love that it fills them and gives them strength to face each new day. They find comfort and solace in each other's arms and are incomplete without each other. Being together excites them, and when they're apart, they anticipate their reunion.
But, above everything else that is demonstrated in God's Word, it's important to keep in mind that love/romance is an action. It's not passive, and it's not a feeling. It's a verb. It requires you to do something in order to bring it to pass. It also requires that you put the other person's wants and desires above your own. Whenever you need a reminder, go back and read 1 Corinthians 13. And remember, you don't have to do it alone. God's Spirit will work through you. All you have to do is ask."

The above quote is from this website:

I've been chomping at the bit to say something about this for a good while now, but haven't been able to because I am still visiting my sister. But, I figured I'd post a little something for now, and write a more complete piece later.

For now, let me say this. I think that the secular world's ideas and view of marriage and dating has so infiltrated the church that for many Christians, they do not realize there is any real difference. I really think that. Beyond not going all the way, still going to church, and saying you both love Jesus, there isn't much of a difference. And much of that is just lip service anyways. How much Bible study did I do with the girl I dated in high school? About zero. How much did I do that was inappropriate? Much. So there wasn't a whole lot of difference there, and both me and the girl were considered some of the more "Christian" of the Christians.

The unbelievers find dating and marriage for selfishness primarily. Sure, they would deny that. I would too. Yet that's simply the truth. If you don't have the Holy Spirit, you do everything invariably for yourself. Maybe that just means the good feeling you get when you make someone else happy. That is still selfishness. It is only once we are born again that we will do things for others, regardless of the potential good, or ill, that may come our way for doing it. Our motives change .We do good simply because it is good, and because it glorifies God.

Now I am not going to lay out all my biblical support for my positions in this post, simply because I don't have the time to do so right now. I will later tonight or tomorrow. Check out the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. I don't see anything there about guys being allowed to have a high standard for the physical appearance of the girl before he is willing to date. That would be what the world values, and that would be selfish. I don't see anything there about girls being allowed to demand guys be the most suave man in the world, that the very way he walks and talks could melt their heart away. That too is selfish, and what the world values.

So my convictions? That Scripture is clear. Our criteria alone should be whether or not a person is godly, and if they are someone we can live with. None of this "it's not the ones you can live with, but the one you cannot live without business," that's absurd. Nobody is like that. We are all sinners. That, again, is the way the world thinks. We are broken shards of hardened clay. The point of marriage isn't to be beautiful from the outset and marvel in each other's beauty. The point of marriage is to see each other's true needs and weaknesses, to unveil the ugliness that is there, and by the grace and power of God clean each other up, so that the end product, when both man and wife are old and gray, is the closest thing to a beautiful painting, a masterpiece, that we will ever see this side of heaven. That is because this true beauty, this true love, is not a mere feeling that cannot be explained, but a desire to grow each other in Christ, to kill sin in one another, to help grow one another, to find comfort and pleasure in one another, to raise children, flesh of your own flesh, with one another, and to ultimately, in all ways, become one flesh with one another. And it is all aimed upward, its focal point towards the glory of God. That is the destination, and that is the motivation. That is where all the good warm fuzzy feelings should come from. Not outward appearances, not common interests, not personalities, not wealth or fame or talent. Those things aren't what marriage is about, plain and simple. Reflecting Christ's love for the church, and the church's love for Christ in return, is what marriage is all about.

Does that mean that we must seek out the poorest, ugliest, smelliest, lamest, dumbest people to marry? Of course not. What it does mean is that we should seek those who love God the most, and those who we can get along with. Meaning, we must realize that as sinners we will never find someone who is perfect for us. For one, that person does not exist. Two, if that person existed, you would no longer have a purpose for marriage. The point of marriage is two imperfect, unsanctified people coming together to find in each other a sharpening tool that gets them closer to God. And THAT IS VERY ROMANTIC! It should be at least, that is what true Christian romance is. To think of a girl who wants nothing more than to help me grow in the ways of the Lord, and to be helped by me to grow her in the ways of the Lord, and to be flesh of my flesh, bone of my bones... that's the kind of girl I seek. That's the kind of guy I know I am supposed to be. Should we keep ourselves presentable, our bodies fit, our teeth brushed? By all means, both for God and our spouse, if we love them. But when we raise physical things, or personalities, or compatibility outside of growing in holiness, to the level that we won't date someone simply because they aren't quite what we envisioned, then we have created a false and unbiblical dichotomy. How much more compatible do you need to be when two people come together to sharpen each other and become more like God, more like Jesus Christ? That IS all the compatibility you need. Common interest is not, and should not be, a prerequisite to dating someone and marrying them. The only common interest that matters, is that both want to do everything for God's glory. And once that is the case, then you have everything in common!

Grant it, if one person feels called to be a missionary in Africa and the other person feels called to minister in San Francisco, you probably aren't called to marriage. But aside from things like that, what is holding our Christian young people from dating and getting married?

Sin, and a secular worldview of the purpose of marriage. That's what.

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