Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Biblical Courtship: Radical Living for the Lover of My Soul

The following are some quotations which manifest the misconceptions about love and dating:

It’s not like I really have to have a boyfriend, but I do like the confirmation that someone likes me.(quoted from DeMoss & Gresh, 2008)

At school, it is really hard as Christian to try to stand up for waiting for the right guy to come along. It is really pushed to have a boyfriend, because that is what everyone else does. (quoted from DeMoss & Gresh, 2008)

I wanted the excitement of romance and the comfort of being liked. (quoted from Harris, 2004)

To find true love, a young woman must put a huge amount of effort into the pursuit of romantic relationships. (quoted from Ludy, 2009)

Courtship and dating are supposed to be synonymous in meaning. However, both have developed different connotations that made them so opposite from each other. What do I mean with that? Let us see this insight from Scott Croft:

"Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman's father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family, or church, whichever is most appropriate. Courtship always has marriage as its direct goal.

Dating, a more modern approach, begins when either the man or the woman initiates a more- than-friends relationship with the other, and then they conduct that relationship outside of any oversight or authority. Dating may or may not have marriage as its goal."

Kissing Dating Goodbye; Embracing Biblical Courtship

The Principle
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

The whole aspect of our being should shout and display the glory of God...and that includes our principles, our attitudes and our approach towards love and courtship.

Practical Applications

1. HEART: Biblical Motive
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1Corinthians 10:31)

The very purpose and end of courtship is marriage; therefore, if we have a motive other than that, then we have to seek God's grace to change our hearts. Christians should not be selfish to pursue their own desires and needs.

"The motive for dating or courting is marriage. The practical advice I give the singles at our church is, if you cannot happily see yourself as a married man (or woman) in less than one year, then you are not ready to date." (Scott Croft)

"Therefore my counsel is that as the electric charge begins to happen between two seventeen-year-olds, they better think really clearly about how to manage that. And if they don't intend to get married in the next year or so, they better not pair off but keep it in groups and step back from it." (John Piper)

2. MIND: Biblical Mindset
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)

Courtship could be one of the best ways to show servanthood. It is not the way of finding the one who can make you happy or who can boost your ego and never to complete you (no human relation can ever satisfy you, Christ alone can give that satisfaction). Whatever reason/s you hear around you about their fanaticism about this "love thing", BE DIFFERENT. Time to be a freak in their sight. But remember, a radical and different action starts with a transformed mindset. You can not act against what you believe in; so the very principle that shapes you, that is what you always do.

"Modern dating asks, 'How can I find the one for me?' while biblical courtship asks, 'How can I be the one for her?'...Biblical courtship means that a man does not look for a laundry list of characteristics that comprise his fantasy woman so that his every desire can be fulfilled, but he looks for a godly woman as Scripture defines her — a woman he can love and, yes, be attracted to, but a woman whom he can serve and love as a godly husband." (Scott Croft)

3. ACTS: Biblical Method
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

A transformed mind leads to transformed acts. If you know that you never intend to marry someone, then do not cross the line over friendship. I thought at first, since Bernard is my bestfriend for more than a decade now, change is minimal with our new romantic relationship. I was wrong! God gives us different intimacy and deeper godly affections towards each other since we agreed to have this commitment with each other. More surprises of His grace await us everyday that whenever we are together, we are always in awe of His workings in our lives.

God-glorifying relationship is not satisfied with "kiligs". It aims that the relationship will lead each other for a deeper relationship with God and portrayal of Christlike service towards each other.

"In modern dating, intimacy precedes commitment. In biblical courtship, commitment precedes intimacy." (Scott Croft)

"A Christian who is waiting upon the Lord is a figure of faithful activity – praying, expectantly anticipating God’s action, not obsessed with his or her own unfulfilled desires but looking beyond the horizon of personal need, ministering to the needs of others. (William Risk)"

Gentlemen, it is your duty to lead and initiate. Lead the ladies in a way that Christ will be their sole treasure and not you. I remember an insight I learned from Joshua Harris (I think it was from his book) that do not say "I love you" to a lady if you will not and you can not marry her ("can not" denotes your capability to wed her).

Ladies, pray for a man who will make you his number two only (for GOD alone is the Lover of his soul). We are prone to the pride of exclusive attention, of pampering. And we can easily fall with somebody who lets us feel to be like a princess. But pray and wait for a man whose blood and passion is to deepen your knowledge of God. Pray and wait for a man who wants you to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with God each day and not that man who just wants to be intimate with you.

Lastly, may we learn from Leslie Ludy about how he describes Eric (her husband):

"Whenever I was around him, his spiritual fire seemed to ignite my own, and after being with him I would usually end up on my knees poring over my Bible, digesting all the new thoughts and insights he had inspired within me. Throughout our friendship, Eric had never attempted to draw my attention to himself, but always pointed me back to my true Prince, Jesus Christ. He actively helped me protect my inner sanctuary...
Every stage of a love story that is truly initiated by our Prince—both the friendship and the romance—only enhances our intimacy with Him. If a relationship is not leading us closer and closer to Him, it will quickly become just another one of the “other lovers” cluttering up our sanctuary. Sadly, too many of us begin to build an inner sanctuary for our Prince and then get thrown completely off course because of a romantic relationship. A romantic relationship might very well have been initiated by God, but the moment our focus moves from our Prince to a human love story is the moment we cease to guard our sanctuary, and our entire foundation for success crumbles into ashes. A relationship that leads us closer to our Prince and carefully protects our inner sanctuary is the key to discovering romance as it was truly intended to be—a little taste of heaven on earth."
Copyright His Beloved 2011.