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Author Topic: Re: can you date a lady that smokes?  (Read 6909 times)

feezco

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Love, Sex, and Dating
« on: October 07, 2012, 07:26:21 PM »

But Jesus didn't teach that. In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached just the opposite. In a speech called the Beatitudes-maybe, we should think of it as the "Be Attitudes"-Jesus taught us what it meant to be blessed. Being "blessed" means more than being happy. To be blessed is to experience abundant hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To be blessed is to experience happiness at the deepest level, a place where the heart and soul smile.

Jesus didn't say, "If you want to experience the kingdom of heaven, no kissing for you! If you want to be comforted, no snuggling for you! If you want to inherit the earth, no dating for you!" Jesus didn't say these things because God isn't the Fun Nazi. Despite popular opinion-and may I remind you that popular opinion encouraged William Hung to cut a solo album-God isn't in the business of squelching your passions. He is in the business of fulfilling them. He wants us to embrace our individuality and chase after the dreams He has etched on our souls.

But because we've taken the amazing freedom God has bestowed upon us and reduced it to a list of irrelevant, unbiblical rules, we, as Christians, have made Him out to be the Fun Nazi. Because we haven't thoroughly understood and embraced His mercy and grace, we have established unreachable standards in our personal relationships that none of us can fulfill. And it has left us disappointed and ashamed.

There is a difference between Christianity and Churchianity, and when it comes to relationships, we've been guilty of the latter. Rigid rules such as "don't date," "hang out in groups," "avoid physical contact," and "don't be romantic" are standards that have been taken to the extreme. And either extreme, whether it is too liberal or too conservative, can destroy a relationship. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, "Such regulations have the appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." All these rules sound impressive, but they don't make you holy. They leave you hollow. And that is not how God designed it. Our God is a God of freedom, and He wants nothing more than to set your heart free so that love can pour into every aspect of your life.

Fenced In and Set Free

When I was ten years old, I had a friend who lived in the country. I always enjoyed going to see him because he had an enormous backyard where we could play any game imaginable. Surrounding the yard, there was a tall, sturdy wood fence that his dad had built. Even though we had all the space we could possibly need, we still thought it was unfair that there was a fence keeping us in.

A couple of years ago, I traveled home to see my friend. As we stood in the same backyard, we joked and laughed about growing up together and all the games we used to play as kids. Because we were adults (translation: older, but certainly not more mature), we decided to venture out of the backyard. You know what we found? Wolves, snakes, and big honkin' spiders! (I hate spiders.) As we rushed back to the house like a couple of frightened little girls, we both began to realize something- the fence wasn't there to keep us in; the fence was there to keep all the terrible things out.

Our Father in heaven has built a fence for us. The fence is tall and sturdy, and He has given us plenty of room to date, build relationships, and discover our passions. He hasn't locked us in a cage or tethered us to a pole to keep our romantic interests in check. In His wisdom and mercy, He allows us to explore our feelings. The fence is for our safety and protection. It is the heavenly framework within which love ought to reside and flourish. Inside of God's perfect boundaries we have the individual freedom to explore the intricacies of romance. He is not trying to keep us in-He is just trying to keep all the terrible things out.

We've been all wrong about this God thing. Not only does He want us to fall in love-He wants us to experience a completely fulfilling, blushingly unpredictable, emotionally empowering, and recklessly romantic love that is guided not by laws, but by the Lord. By doing things our way, we haven't set ourselves free. We've limited the width and depth of love by what we think is possible. The God who is love and who created the heavens and the earth has a far greater imagination of what love can be than we do. And it certainly doesn't involve one night stands, unreturned phone calls, broken promises, and shattered hearts.

Do you know why couples often long to be alone? Because when everything else is silent, they can finally enjoy intimacy with one another. But it doesn't happen until the surrounding environment is completely tranquil. Many of us have experienced a long silence in our single lives. Some of us have embraced it; many of us have endured it. For years and years, we have been alone with God and all we can hear is the quiet beating of our aching hearts. We've been listening intently for His voice, hoping that the silence would bring answers. Ironically, the silence is the answer. It is full of meaning and purpose. God created this silent moment to cultivate intimacy with us. He is preparing us for a love that is about to come.

Love isn't about undressing our bodies-it is about undressing our hearts. We have to strip off the layers of expectations, preconceived notions, and fears to experience a passion that will truly move us. When we do, God is free to clothe us with a love that warms our souls and our hearts.


 
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