Today our family attended a workshop about romantic relationships God’s way. Here is the write up we received about it ahead of time:
EXTREME ROMANCE CHALLENGE -A Romance Worth Waiting For!
*For teens and young adults, singles, parents and grandparents * We are blessed that Jesse and Heidi Jost (purityandtruth.com) are coming to our church to present an all-day seminar on purity in relationships. (Jesse is the oldest son of Dale and Lisa Jost (josties.com) - they were the keynote speakers at the AHEA conference in 2008 or 2009). Such a needed discussion in today's society which does not honour God and His wonderful design for relationships. "It is our desire to warn young people about the lies that will sabotage their lives, but also to share the truths that make love and sex the satisfying gifts that God designed them to be".
It was a good day of learning, laughing, and spending time with friends and discussing the topics presented to us.
Jesse and Heidi shared their journey into a romantic love relationship. They didn’t date and I wouldn’t say they did the courtship thing either, I think theirs was more of a betrothal story. They waited until there were enough signs from God, their parents and each other…. and then they moved into a committed relationship with each other with the intention of being married.
These are the notes I took today during the workshop:
- 1 Thessalonians 4
Living to Please God1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
- there will be consequences from your youthful choices (good or bad consequences)
- We need to guard our hearts and direct our hearts
- love is a commitment (a choice of actions)… love can also be romantic feelings (attraction… a fire that can consume you)
- love is to be a forever glue holding you together to your spouse BUT when you break up with someone there is an awful pain, the heart tears and then develops a callous and then the next time you are in a relationship it is harder to truly stick to the other person (imagine scotch tape that is placed over and over again on different surfaces… it is no longer sticky). Break ups are like practicing for divorce.
- make a commitment to the person and relationship FIRST then allow romance/romantic feelings to bloom
- submit your love life to God’s principles and guidelines… His design.
- betrothal is a time to bind emotionally
- the sacred equation is one man plus one woman for life…. guard against intruders (other relationships such as dating, emotional intruders, pornography, lustful romance novels, music etc)
- each person is SOMEONE’S future spouse… and activities such as kissing, cuddling, holding hands are not innocent type things… just imagine seeing your mom walking down the street holding hands with someone who isn’t your dad… or your dad cuddling with a woman on the couch who isn't your mom… not so comfortable to think of it in that light is it?
- goals – purity and selflessness
- is there a “perfect” person for each person? No. What matters is choosing to be the right person in your marriage.
- ask yourself… what is the best way I can love my spouse? NOT are they loving me in the right way?
- relationships are work, require sacrifice and should be powered by God
- most of married life involves friendship
- things to look for in a future spouse: 1- do they have a close walk with God?, 2- do we have a compatible life calling?, 3- are they morally pure (does he guard his eyes, does she present herself cheaply (immodestly), 4- do they have a good relationship with their family? (how do they treat other people?)
- how do I prepare myself for my future spouse? 1- learn to be a servant (you will serve your spouse), 2- practice repentance and forgiveness, 3- practice affirmation (be positive and encouraging), 4- focus on inner beauty (true beauty) which involves your character
- in your married relationship, ask yourself… what can I do to make this work?
- when you feel guilt, you feel cut off from God
- guilt is a roadblock to intimacy in any relationship (including your relationship with God)
- lust is selfish and corrupts God’s gift of sex. Lust is like being thirsty but choosing to drink salt water which starts a vicious cycle of more thirst but never getting it quenched and finally the wrong choice kills you. Lust is a cycle of arousal and then guilt… and then eventually numbness . With lust your sexual appetite grows but pleasure and satisfaction lessens.
- how to escape lust
E ternal perspective
S acrifice your body and mind to God, starve your sex drive
C ontrol your mind and keep a covenant with God about your purity
A ccountability, and apply the warnings of Scripture (James 1:16,17)
P ercieve women as Jesus did (with caring and love… cherished treasures)
E njoy God
- the “cult” of sex… women get caught up in this cult believing they are powerful in their sexual appeal but then things change, beauty and appeal fades and then they feel worthless and used
- Your guilt and shame will keep you cut off from God… Satan has you trapped as his slave
- CHOICES – either lead to death or life
- choose to not participate in things that stir up sexual feelings/thoughts… protect yourself
- God has a purpose for you.
- HOW TO LIVE OUT YOUR SINGLE YEARS – live your life with an audience of One; young men need to protect young women’s hearts; young women need to treat young men as brothers, encourage them in their walk with God; young women dress modestly, draw attention to your face (emotions); do not defraud your Christian brothers; modesty; seek to love others with an agape love; learn to be satisfied with God (He can meet your emotional needs); depend on God, not people for your needs; meet others needs; be satisfied with God
- love your FUTURE spouse in your choices and actions NOW
- be selfless
- self-centeredness (stress, complaining, unhappiness, anxiety, guilt, shame, discontent) blocks out the pleasures of life God gifts us with
- God has a revealed moral will for us. Listen for His directions, ask Him to guide your mind.
- recognize God is sovereign
- we have freedom to choose, so we need to make the wisest decisions possible
- in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs)
- rest in His sovereignty
- do the next thing, the next step (don’t worry about far into the future)
- God will speak to us through our desires and gifts
- His sovereignty keeps us in the center of His will as we stay in His revealed will and follow His principles.
- rest on the knowledge of who God is (His character) (His love and wisdom and power are infinite)
- God is worthy of your trust.
- you are in control of your choices (your way or God’s way) and every choice has a consequence (positive or negative)
- God knows better than you… trust Him.
All in all it was a very informative workshop. I wish there would have been time spent on how to be in a boy/girl relationship without “romantic” feelings getting in the way, or how to keep those feelings in check. I would also like to see more discussion and practical advice on how to be in a relationship. I have spoken with many who have never seen a healthy married relationship modelled, so they have no idea how to practically make that happen in their own life.