Here’s a check list, to help you find out where your relationship is heading; and the first one in the list is :
“Did you check with God ?”
“Well, I have already committed to her, and it’s too late now to ask God if He approves of this relationship.”
“But there is nothing wrong in praying about it, and submitting it to the Lord.”
“You don’t get it. I gave her my word and I believe in keeping up my word and my commitment.”
“What about your commitment to Jesus – doesn’t that come first?”
“Forget it, I’m not doing this.”
This was the conversation I had with a friend around 10 years ago, after a message we heard at the youth fellowship : the message challenged us to lay our will, lay our crowns down and do God’s will in our lives.
The same guy, after couple of years, called it quits with his girl, whom he had been dating since high school, and both mutually split up and now are happily married to different persons. What happened?
What matters most?
It felt nice to hear a guy say he will keep up his word no matter what, and that his yes is a yes. He was a man of integrity, no doubt. I have not been in touch with him and I really don’t know what exactly happened, since we all grew up and started to work and just got busy. I only remember getting his wedding card, and I was pretty much shocked that he was not marrying the same girl. But when I saw him with his bride at the wedding, they were perfect for each other. In fact, some of us wondered why they never realized this earlier. He was still a man of integrity. He chose to remain faithful to God first, rather than himself or any other. ‘Sounds so inhumane’ – you must be thinking …read on.
So what is important? That’s something you must decide. What matters to you the most – God’s approval or yours or others’ ? Everyone is scared to even think of giving up their guy/girl they’ve been seeing for long, because of the pain that it causes, and because of the fear of being alone. Agree or not, everyone fears loneliness.
So, we come to church and sing songs of worship and surrender, and surrender everything to Jesus, but our relationship. Why? Obviously, we are scared. What if God says NO.
Is he your enemy? Of course, not. He wants the best for you. How do you know that? Well, you can gain that kind of trust only if you know His righteous character and that comes by having a personal, REAL relationship with Christ.
We all, at some point in life, come to Mount Moriah, like Abraham, and face the ‘giving-up-your-Isaac’ test. Isaac, at that point, was the most precious thing to Abraham. He already lost his son Ishmael, and now Isaac was his promise son – a miracle son and his only son. And God asked him to give him up!
He just wanted to test Abraham’s heart – will he say yes or no; does he really love me enough to be willing to give up the most precious person/ thing ?
The key here is “be willing”
Why do you want to wait till you both go to the end of the rope, and realize that this relationship was not meant to lead to marriage in the first place! But here we are, already dreaming and planning, and publicly declaring our love, without checking even once with the Lord! If you don’t want to check with the Lord, it just means one thing: His approval does not matter at all -and you’re not really bothered about pleasing Him.
If you are really seeking, He is really speaking
It is never too late, to sit down as a couple (if you are dating or about to date), and pray together. Take some time off alone, fast and pray, and submit the relationship to God. Ask Him to speak to your heart, through His word, through His Spirit. If you are really seeking, He is really speaking. You just have to wait, to hear and obey.
I laid my relationship down also. At that time, Mark asked me to pray about him, and I began liking him a lot after sometime. We would hang out together almost every day, as friends, but I knew he loved me and was praying about me. After a while, I stopped. I suggested we stay away totally, and spend more time fasting and praying. We did speak occasionally, but cut off all display of love and affection. Totally. (Man, at this time, I thought Mark stopped loving me, but he actually stopped showing it, because he had our best interests at mind.)
It was quite clear – if either of us feels this is not God’s will and doesn’t have the peace that comes with it, we will wait and pray for a definite answer. If its a NO, then we will move away completely (cos that thing about ‘we’ll still be friends’ is not a done thing, and definitely not healthy too).
True love is not scared of tests
Actually, I knew he really loved me when he agreed to do this. Only someone who truly loves you can take the pain of staying away from you, to allow you to seek God, and wait patiently for an answer. I remember once when we were at church, and I was leaving and he just said ‘bye’ without any attachments – no love in the voice – nothing. My face instantly changed and tears swelled up in my eyes. He immediately ran to me and said, “I’m doing this for us. I am really serious about marrying you and that’s why I’m willing to take this test. Don’t ever doubt my love just because I am not showing it.”
Fortunately, Jesus put his stamp of approval on our relationship. I remember those days, when I was fasting and praying, I had so much fear inside me. Still I persisted because I trusted God completely. If it is a NO, He will give me strength to move on. I trusted Him, and therefore I obeyed!
Do you trust Him to take care of you?
If you trust, then you will entrust. Entrust God with your heart and your life. Here’s what Paul said in I Tim 1:11-12
“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
Paul says he does not mind the suffering for the sake of obeying God, and these are the reasons for his courage:
- I know whom I have believed (adhered, trusted, relied on – AMP version)
- ” .. the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.” (MSG version)
Again, the question: Do you trust that He is able to take care of you? The one reason why we are unable to give 100 per cent obedience is simply a lack of trust in God. There’s an old hymn which nailed it:
Trust and obey,
for there’s no other way,
to be happy in Jesus,
And to trust and obey!
But there was a time , earlier in my life, when God clearly spoke to me to break off with someone. It was so hard, but I did it, and today I don’t regret it. I’ve been through that pain of de-attaching but the rewards of obedience are far greater.
I could use my time to serve the Lord, to work on my gifts and talents, to build up my career, and the greatest reward is this: Those times of loneliness were the closest times I had with Jesus. All my devotion, my emotional energy, was then focused on loving God.
If you really love and care for this person, take the Isaac test. Once you are ready, you will have to speak with him/her to pray about it too. And that takes courage. That’s why you start with God!
Let’s start with the first one in the check list.
First things first – DID YOU CHECK WITH GOD ?
I’ll just give you a few more, to check if you’re sure about the relationship you’re into. I’ll expand more on that in the next article. Meanwhile, start praying about the relationship and answer these questions truthfully.
Pray, sit alone (please do this alone), and answer:
- In this relationship, do you feel valued and precious?
- Do you think you are adjusting too much – another way to put it is – do you feel he/she has too many expectations out of you that pressurizes you a lot ?
- Do you feel that you have compromised, and that you might find someone more understanding ?
- Do you both share the same vision for life ? (Do both of you share the same vision for ministry or for your calling to serve God)
- Do both of you, or only one of you have a heart that loves Christ?
- Do you both support each other equally in your respective callings for your careers?
- Do both or only one of you insist on maintaining purity in the relationship?
- Have you become a better person because of this relationship? Don’t think of how you have become better over the years with all other influences. But just focus on your boyfriend/girlfriend’s influence on you as a person. Has she/he helped you to become more like Christ?
- Are you 101 per cent sure this is the person you want to marry?
- Do you constantly doubt in your mind whether or not you both are right for each other?
If your answer is No to most of these questions, then you definitely have to pray about your present relationship.
I recently saw a little boy standing on a high platform, waiting to jump. His dad was down asking him to jump. He was so scared of falling, but he just took the leap, and landing in his dad’s arms. Both of them were so excited – one was excited to jump, and the other was excited that his son trusted him enough to jump, and overcame his fear.
If you trust Jesus, JUMP!