Friday, November 14, 2014

Dating, Purity, and Love... From a Guy's perspective. (Preparing for our Future, Week 5)

Thank you so much Austin, for your second post in the preparing for our future, blog series!  You have inspired me to go to great lengths in my faith, and to always stay strong.  You and Faith are such role models and are amazing encouragers and role models...  Xoxo, Gabby

This blog series has turned out wonderfully. I want to thank Gabrielle again for inviting my sister Faith and I to post on her blog. I pray this post answers questions you have and enlightens you to things you may not have known before. Also, is you have any questions, please comment below and I will do my best to answer. Enjoy!

Crush, boyfriend, girlfriend,the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song (person A and person B sittin in a tree K-I-S, you get the point) lovebirds, and the fish in the sea analogy, if you have heard these words(and song) before the fourth grade, then you are not alone! It seems as though every child from the time they can hold another's hand is drilled with concepts of "love", "dating", and and the K word(kiss, oops i said it). If you or your child was anything like me, he/she jumped on the band wagon and played along. Soon they had crushes because it was cool or the norm. Since this "love life" is pushed at a young age, kids in high school are no longer satisfied with just holding hands. Don't believe me go spend a week at you local high-school. It seems as though all they have on their minds is, "what can I get out of this person". All they feel is hormones not love. So are little kid crushes bad? I'll answer that with a pattern that has a main theme through this post; a thought becomes an action which becomes a habit that will either glorify God or glorify oneself. So you tell me if having a crush is glorifying to God or not.

When I had a crush I wanted to learn how to respond biblically, but I could not find a book written to boys about girls in a Biblical point of view(if you know of one please comment). I will do my best to answer questions and make important points that would have helped me with this topic. There may be some things you see in my post that a pastor or preacher has said that I don't credit, only because most things I know I learned from someone else.

What happens when something is broken, but then heals? It becomes tough, harder, and resistant to certain things(depending on what broke). Different types of martial arts require strong, tough bones. That is why some,who are training to fight, will break bones to make them resistant to breakage. The heart works the same way, the more it breaks the harder, tougher, and more resistant(to love) it will become. Having a crush or even the dating process( the art of getting to know someone personally to see if they would be someone you want to marry) can have tremendous effects on the heart. "Breaking up and moving on” is exactly what stiffens the heart to potential love in the future. Dating is a lot like divorce, most premarital relationships will end in a breakup, and in the United States, 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce. Why? Because people are no longer committed after the 5th(not an actual statistic) time being broken-hearted. "You can't be hurt by someone if you never love them", Charles Ingalls(yes, I just quoted from Little House on the Prairie, and yes, I watch that show). Why should we be faithful(loyal) to one another(especially in marriage)? As a Christian, simply because God is loyal and faithful. Again, do you think that dating and breaking up is a (thought that turns into an action that becomes a)habit which will glorify God or oneself?

In my experience at the high school by our house, finding a date is mainly off of looks and position. Guys tend to look for beauty while girls look for the more popular guy in school(and looks). Don't get me wrong I admire beauty as much as the next man, but we must not allow beauty to take precedence(become more important) over Godliness. Instead of chasing false pleasures that are pleasing to the eye we should be chasing the fruits of God that leads to sanctification thought the Spirit(Romans 6:22). So how does someone go from, "wow, she is beautiful!" to lustful thoughts? Well, is a process you may be familiar with, first there is a (lustful)thought, then the action is thinking that that thought is ok, then the habit forms of looking at girls(or girls at guys) lustfully, then that habit will be carried into a marriage, causing problems of unfaithfulness, leading to divorce, something that God shuns.

Dear Young Ladies, if the Lord has blessed you with physical beauty, save it for your husband. To many girls think the way to popularity or finding the best man is by wearing immodest clothing and flaunting themselves, sadly today's society makes that true. Dear Young Christian Men, do not take advantage of young ladies, but instead look at them as sisters, having compassion toward them, and rebuking them in love.

We as Christians should be running toward God as fast as we can. How do you run a race? Are you focused on the prize(in this case God) or are you looking all around? Have you seen those flaps on race-horse’s mask? Those are there to help keep the horse from seeing distractions. That is how we should run toward God, distraction free. Some may ask, “how can I find a spouse I'm only looking straight ahead?” Allow me to add to that question, “how can you see anything if you're only looking straight ahead?”  The only thing you can see is God, so God has to bring something in front of you in order to see it(including a spouse). Being pure isn’t just not dating or kissing and dressing modestly, its a lifestyle. You can’t just think about being pure, you have to(with God’s help) act upon it and make it a habit that will glorify God.

“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.”~ Elisabeth Elliot

You may be wondering, “Why hasn't he used scripture to prove his point?” First of all, you don't use the Bible to prove your point, you use your point to point to the Bible. Second of all, there is not a lot of verses on this topic. However, we have the greatest example of love in marriage. First is Jesus, and how He died for the church, second Hosea, who was told by God to “love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” I encourage you to read about Hosea’s unconditional love, that paints a picture of how Christ loves the church. Also, there is a standard Paul gives to the church of Corinth about being yoked with unbelievers. Although this verse does not refer to marriage, it does give a good standard toward marriage. The question is, how could a quality marriage be built and maintained if you disagree on the most crucial issue in the universe—the Lord Jesus Christ?

The Bible also does not give any reference to dating or courtship, but it does give principles to finding “the person”. We first know we shouldn't be like the world, in deed and thought. While the world’s view may be to date around as much as we want, the important thing is to discover the character of a person before making any commitment to him or her. We should find out if the person has been born again in the Spirit of Christ (John 3:3-8) and if he or she shares the same desire toward Christ-likeness (Philippians 2:5). The ultimate goal of dating or courting is finding a life partner. Men and women who choose to date often have no commitment to consider marrying the other person. In contrast, courtship is undertaken only when both parties are prepared to make a commitment to marriage. We need to be held to Godly standards in the way we look for a spouse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

In any situation, we as Christians are called to first glorify God in all we do(1 Cor 10:31)

Doing His Will,
Austin Ryan

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Preparing For our Future (Week 5)... Fellowship, Guest Blogger

I am so happy to announce that I have another guest blogger...  Who is coincidentally my Best Friend!  She has helped strengthened me so much in my walk with the Lord...   And I am so honored to be able to share her wisdom with all of you :),,,
Thank you Faith for being my mentor, role model, BFF, and sister.  Xoxo!

I am happy to be apart of this blog series, thank you, Austin and Gabrielle for strengthening my walk with the Lord.

Someone once said, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." The kind of friends you have and the people you spend your time with takes a big part of shaping your future.
Proverbs 13:20
"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."

My parents have taught and trained us to look for good friends. A few things we look for is:
Will they help us grow in the Lord?
Are they living a Godly life?
Are they trying to live pleasingly to the Lord?

If these are true about a person then they will treat you as a friend. Although I say from experience, good friends are hard to find. I went through a time where I had no one. I prayed to God to bring me a friend. I waited and was patient, although it wasn't easy. I grew closer to my family and God. Then I was blessed with a good friend.

A friend can help you grow in maturity and in Christ or tear you down and lead you astray. Be wise. You can also look at what kind of person and friend you are. Turn the questions around and question yourself. No one is perfect or good, everyone fails at a time or another to live pleasingly to God. So repent and turn around!
Friendship is important for God says to confess to one another and Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)  Discussing things with a friend helps strengthen both of you.
"A joy shared is doubled and a burden shared is cut in half" -unknown
 Like I said before.... Where do you see yourself in the next 8 to 10 years? Who are your friends? What future do they show you?
Living for The Lord always,
~Faith Ryan