The following are the notes from this week’s CROSSROADS lesson. Words in bold identify key phrases from notes pages handed out each week. If you would like copies of our slides, please feel free to reach and request them. As these are from the notes pages for each week, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors.
This lesson is part of a series called “What Does It Mean To Be A Christian”. To see an overview of this series, click HERE.
It’s that wonderful time of year where we have delightfully awkward conversations about boyfriends and girlfriends. Most people like to launch into a talk about purity and not having sex until marriage. You’ll be happy to know that that’s not what I’m talking about tonight.
Tonight, I want to focus on the root of a lot of our problems… including sex… in relationships: what do you look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend? At this stage, most of you are at least around people who are getting into relationships. Some of you have relationships, yourself. The question I ask of you is this: what do you look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Before we get too far into this discussion, let’s agree on a few basic principles.
1) Dating has a PURPOSE. Really, this isn’t any different than other relationships. Your relationships with your parents has a purpose of raising you and making sure you have the basic essentials needed to grow up. Your relationships with your friends give you support and companionship. So what is the purpose of a romantic relationship? It comes down to this simple fact: you’re looking for someone to spend your life with. That’s what it’s about. Genesis 2 says…
Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said:
This one, at last, is bone of my bone
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called “woman,”
for she was taken from man.
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22-24)
When you go into any relationship and see that dreamy guy or girl, maybe pump the brakes before getting in a serious relationship or getting too involved at first. What you’re aiming towards is finding the person that you think you can share a meaningful life with. I want you to think about this purpose in dating because it changes the dynamics. Instead of that guy or that girl just being someone whose fun to hang around, is this someone I could completely unite with and become ‘one flesh’. That’s a WAAAAAY bigger questions then just “is she cute?”.
2) You have VALUE. This is something I can’t stress enough. You have value that comes from a God who has bought you with the price of his son. God so loved you that he was pleased to let his son die the death of a common criminal, a reject of society. Christ took every hammer of a nail for you so that you could enjoy a life with him forEVER.
Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
What does this have to do with dating? Sometimes we start tricking ourselves into thinking that this other person “completes us”. It sounds romantic, right? Right now, there is no one who completes you but God because only God was willing to sacrifice his life for you. He bought you. Have you ever heard someone say how you know the worth of an item? The answer is ‘however much someone is willing to pay’. Christ gave you value by his purchase price for your life. If you are looking for someone else to complete you or feel you need someone else to complete you, remember that the hot chick or guy you like isn’t the one who is giving it all in an infinitely selfless way. Your value is through Christ alone.
3) God is EVERYTHING. We just got done with the first few lessons in this series talking about who God was, what it means to submit to Christ daily, and whether we were ready to commit to God’s calling. Just about all of you made a commitment or said you were already committed. Here is where your money gets put where your mouth is…. Is God really everything? Does God mean more to you than dating that person you really like or having a little fun with someone? It’s easy to be a Christian when you sit in church, but our faith is proven when we are put in a situation where the answer may be something we don’t want to do. Hopefully it’s not something we don’t want to do. Hopefully our life circumstances spare us from even being tempted to get into relationships that tear us down or put us in compromising situations, but for many of us we will come face-to-face with these things as we navigate through the dating scene. It is when you are tempted by those things that you must ask yourself, “Is God really EVEYRTHING to me?”
When you take all three of these point and boil them down, you get this one phrase: if God is at the center of our LIVES, he should be at the center of our RELATIONSHIPS. If I believe God has a purpose for my life, then I must believe he has a purpose for my relationships. If I believe God gives me value, I must believe that I don’t get value and completeness through the person I date. If God is truly everything to me, then there is no room for someone or something that attempts to take me away from God.
With God at the center, we can now begin to ask ourselves what a God’s relationship looks like.
First, having a Godly relationship means being evenly YOKED. Alright, so what’s that mean? Oxen are often used, even today, for agriculture. When two oxen are used, they are ‘yoked’ together.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Imagine this: if two oxen are carrying a load and one of them begins to slack, what happens to the other? The load becomes significantly heavier for the one still doing the work. Relationships can quickly go the same direction. If we aren’t on the same page with our boyfriend or girlfriends, we are now the only ones carrying the load of living in a way that glorifies God. Remember what we read previously about submitting to God in Luke 9:23?
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
That’s already not an easy task. It’s way harder if you’re doing it while your other half is trying to rip you away towards things that look a lot more like the world than God.
Second, having a Godly relationship means looking for a match to God’s MODEL for a couple. Remember last week when we talked about husbands and wives?
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (Colossians 3:18-19)
The model God has set for marriage is one where the wife is able to submit to her husband with the faith of knowing her husband is loving her in return. Don’t forget what kind of love we said is being referenced, here. Paul is using the Greek word for a selfless love; one that doesn’t have any consideration for your own wellbeing or interests. Ladies, that means you need to be looking for a man that you feel lives selflessly for God and can live selflessly for you. If they are too wrapped up in their own wants and desires, physically or emotionally, then that’s someone who isn’t interested in doing relationships God’s way. Guys, if you want to know what to look for in a girl, look for one that wants to trust you, not just hook up with you. You want a girl that you feel you could live selflessly for. If you think a girl is cute but isn’t the type of person who you feel you would live selflessly for, maybe that’s not a relationship you’re ready to have.
Finally, having a Godly relationship means making God the FOUNDATION. God must be the foundation of everything in life, especially something as important as the relationships you have with people who could… potentially… be your spouse. God is unchanging. God is unfailing. God is always faithful and always trustworthy. God always makes good on his promises and always works things out for his good. God has given everything for you and to you. Aren’t every single one of those characteristics something you want in your relationships? If God is at the foundation, the relationship will not fail.