Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Relationship Article-Part 1 Spiritual Red Flags

So, my friend sent me this article from Focus on the Family that I really like. It's something that I feel God has been speaking to me of late, since I am in that stage of life--ready to date. I thought I would share it. I like to post things like this on my blog occasionally not just for the purpose of giving out the information (although I am sure it helps other in the process), but to help me as I look back and can read it again any time I want. ;-)

There are a series of part belonging to the topic of Relationships that I will post here. Here is Part 1-Spiritual Red Flags for those of us in the dating world.

Ineligible to Remarry
If your friend was married before, is there freedom to remarry? Society views remarriage as a given, but the Bible speaks to this important issue. Focus on the Family believes there are three situations after a divorce in which a person does have freedom to remarry. 1- The previous marriage ended as the result of sexual unfaithfulness by the person's spouse. (Matthew 19:9). 2- The person was divorced by an unbelieving spouse who was not willing to stay married (I Corinthians 7:15, 16). 3- The divorce took place prior to a person coming to faith in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).

One word of caution- Typically, a person will learn the details of a previous marriage from the person of interest. The details of the previous relationship and its demise might be accurately portrayed, or they might be one-sided, presented in a more favorable light toward your friend (Proverbs 18:17). If you spoke with family or friends of your partner, would you understand a fuller, more objective picture of the former relationship?

Spiritually Distant
For the person who has come to faith in Jesus Christ, finding a mate who shares a similar commitment and spiritual walk is vitally important! Since II Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers," some have concluded that if a person is a Christian, he/she should only marry another Christian. It does mean that, but I think it runs deeper. If Paul simply wanted to convey that two people were heaven bound, he could have used a different word-picture. He could have used a corral or field of oxen- creatures in proximity with each other. Instead, he uses an agricultural picture of a yoke, one that would have been placed upon the necks of two oxen as they pulled a plow or agricultural tool. The yoke would require two things of the oxen. 1- That they walk in the same direction. 2- That they walk at a similar pace. What happens when two yoked oxen walk at different speeds? It's not pretty!

"He believes in a higher power." "Oh, she'll come to faith after we marry." "He says he'll come to church with me." Those things may happen, but they are not guaranteed. Marrying someone who doesn't share your faith in Christ is saying, "God, I think I can handle this one on my own, thanks." But even if your friend knows Christ, is there a hunger to grow spiritually?

You first need to understand your own spiritual walk to see if being yoked together is going to work. Is God my delight? Am I growing in my understanding of His infinite love for me? Have I committed to follow Him daily? Do I believe and trust in His Word? Notice, I didn't ask if you are perfect, all of us fall short. But yearning for a deeper walk with God will enhance a marriage, not hinder it.

Has your friend received God's free gift of forgiveness through faith in Christ? If so, what impact does it have upon his/her daily life? Does he believe what the Bible says, or is there a more culturally correct worldview that's held? Does she have a tendency to compromise when it's convenient? Is he like the seed that fell among the rocks in Matthew 13: 20, 21- quick growth, but no deep root system?

Time and again, I've spoken with people, who thought they were marrying a Christian, but once wedding rings were exchanged, spiritual interests fell like a rock. That's why it's so difficult to start a relationship with someone who subsequently receives Christ. You don't know if the interest expressed thereafter is really about the Lord, or about one's interest in you. You may need to see what your friend's relationship with God would look like if you were not in the picture. Would the person attend church without your presence or prompting? Would the person walk with the Lord, or walk from the Lord if you were no longer involved?

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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