Guarding Your Heart: Romance
I didn’t plan to write about romance when first starting this series, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that few things have a more direct line to one’s heart than love itself. The Bible tells us that love is a beautiful and noble thing (1 Corinthians 13), but romantic love has several unique qualities – most of which are obvious – when contrasted with the “brotherly love” spoken of in Hebrews 13:1. Although both were created by God and are in some way a reflection of His Own goodness, romantic love should always be combined with discernment and maturity whereas Christian love should be had toward all people without prejudice.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
The first and most important thing to consider about a person you’re attracted to is whether or not they are a believer. Don’t make the mistake of disregarding his or her beliefs now with the intention of changing them later; this rarely happens. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:39 that “the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” Why this stipulation? Because according to Matthew 11:28-30, the burden of the sinner is heavy while the load of the Christian is light. When a believer and nonbeliever are joined in marriage, thus becoming in the eyes of God “one flesh” (Mark 10:8), it becomes exceptionally difficult to“stand fast…in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1) That’s not to say those already in such a situation should by any means leave their spouse (see 1 Cor. 7:13), but it’s best not to put yourself in this position if at all possible.
Secondly, don’t take for granted that you are supposed to pursue a relationship with somebody just because they meet the above criteria. The facts that the girl next door calls herself a Christian and that you find her attractive doesn’t mean God has predestined her to be your wife. Does she share your values and doctrinal beliefs, or do you disagree on issues which may prove controversial in the long-run? Of course you shouldn’t be so critical that you’re impossible to satisfy – it’s probably okay if you read different translations of the Bible – but keep in mind that deeper issues such as the necessity of baptism and tithing will likely prove contentious unless you see eye-to-eye on them.
Finally, understand that any decision of this magnitude made without prayer and fasting will likely be wrong. Even relationships that never consummate in marriage will generally have a very lasting effect on those involved and so rushing into romance without first seeking God’s will is never advisable. You may be sure you have found the one God has for you, but don’t spoil His perfect plan by taking things impatiently into your own hands; seek His guidance and accept His timeframe, even if it differs from your own (it probably will).
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
My intent in writing this series is to prepare you for the daily war fought for the attention of your mind and the affection of your heart. Not only does your heart influence the decisions you make, but it determines the very emotions you feel and the thoughts you entertain. This is what Solomon meant when he said “out of it are the issues of life.” And yet despite our general awareness of this I see too many Christian young people willing to grant a place in their hearts to anybody who will take it just so they can change their relationship status on Facebook. This is too small a thing to live for. First make sure you’ve given top priority to your relationship with God, otherwise your every pursuit will be a wasted effort to fill an emptiness only He can satisfy.
Dakota has been writing since 2009 when he started sharing frequent devotionals on the now-popular blog, “A Look at Life from a Deerstand.” As a lover of both God and the great outdoors, his goal is to share Christ with his readers in a way that is easy to understand while encouraging the saint and seeker alike to explore the truths of Scripture on their own. He is currently authoring an e-book, “In the Cool of the Day”, which is scheduled to release in 2012 and resides with his family in St. Louis, Missouri.