Monday, April 28, 2008

the greatest of these

I'm sad for a handful of Jesus-lovin friends right now. I don't know their hearts, but I hope that they are not seeking companionship for the sake of companionship.

A verse that has helped me is Proverbs 4:23:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

I think it's important to look at the context prior in Proverbs 4:1-22. We see that to live righteously, we need God's Word instilled in our hearts and for the Word to guide our actions so we don't fall into disobedience. So when we look at "guard your heart," we're talking about more than just something along the lines of "don't let your heart get broken" which is what I feel most people think of when they look at this verse. Guarding your heart is about guarding your decisions, discernment, thoughts AND your heart (1 Kings 3:12). It's about being completely honest with yourself and God about what motivations and worries are at the core of your heart. We are told to guard it. Preventing ourselves from being in sketchy or misinterpreted situations is a good start. But the world suffocates us with gossip, immorality, greed, idolatry, and lust to enter into our hearts--it would be impossible to guard it ourselves. Who better than God (Isa. 43:2, 2 Thess. 3:3, 1 Samuel 2:9, Psalm 61:3)? How? We can do this by letting His truth apply to our life.

It's so important that our heart is right with God because from our heart comes our words and actions (Luke 6:45). You're not going to be able to separate them--it might work for you for a little while, but not for long.

As an individual that has been there (a lot), I know the longing to be adored by someone and I know how good it feels when you're valued and wanted in a committed relationship. The big mistake that we make is that we are way too quick to assume that what we want and what feels good to us must be what's right. I'm not going to lie, it's really hard to let God write our love story. We have our own timelines and agendas, and we can pursue (or be pursued by) person after person, but what it comes down to is evaluating where your heart is (Prov. 23:15). If you're pursuing someone or even thinking about pursuing someone, I would strongly encourage you to question why you're pursuing them. Is there desire in your heart to connect with them at a physical level? Is it because you feel like the only one not in a serious relationship? Do you just want to be loved?

It's so cliche', but it's so true: God has the most amazing love story in the works for you. He loves you more than anyone ever did, can, or will. I was once told to think about my favorite romance/love scene of any book or movie of all time. For me, it's Somewhere In Time, and I like to think about the whole movie rather just one specific moment. This guy (Christopher Reeves) is absolutely intrigued by the lady (Jane Seymour) and travels backwards in time (kinda Sci-Fi weird, I know) to figure out why. He gets to know her and they fall in love, but are separated once again by time. Now that Reeves understands his love for her, he realizes he cannot live without her. Recollect any love story, be awestruck by the fact that God loved you before you were made and loves you more than anyone else, and know that He knows you better than anyone (Psalm 139:23).

Don't settle. If you pursue, pursue someone that will build you up in Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1), not leave you where you are, and pray for oneness with that person so that you have the same heart and that you might add to His kingdom (John 17:20-23). 1st Corinthians 13 is so commonly acknowledged as what we define love to be that we almost look past each of its promises. "Love is..." There's a lot of good and common-sensical stuff in there and it's easy to say "yeah, yeah, 1 Corinthians 13, I know." If you're pursuing someone, ask God to reveal to you each day for... let's see, there are 14 (15 if you include the one in verse 8) promises of what love is... so, if you asked God to show you each of these promises every day for a year, you'd have reflected about each promise at least 24 times. Excessive? Maybe.

Also, I think there's this funny notion that men feel like they have to be constantly pursuing someone. Okay, so God probably isn't going to drop someone in your lap, but He will provide someone who's going to capture your heart and He knows what you need (Psalm 37:4-5, Romans 8:32). Seek God first. (He's going to throw someone at your heart anyway.) Constantly seek Christ. You don't have it all together, none of us do. We all need Jesus and you can't overdose on Him. Are you content with God alone (Isaiah 58:10-11)?

I think a common flaw in our mindset is when we treat love like we are fishing. Love is not like fishing. We cast our little theoretical pole into a lake, aiming for the good fish, hoping it bites and when that doesn't bite, we can always ease the line over to the next best fish still swimming there and hope to lure it in, oh that didn't work either, but fortunately there's another one to try... and so on. "There's plenty of fish in the sea." Of course you're going to get a bite.

Love is more like hunting. I actually know very little about hunting, but I do know that it's about patience and going after the one you've been waiting for. I'm completely guessing with these terms... but it's more like seeing a 6-point buck when you know that there is a 24-point buck that is going to walk by if you chill for 30 more minutes. "Wait for it... .... ... wait for it... .... NOW!" Kinda like that.

Regardless of where you are in your relationship, I'm pretty sure you'd rather choose the hunt while holding fast to a guarded heart on God's timeline, not yours.

Now playing: The Almost - Drive There Now!