Do They Love You? (Sacred Sex Series Part VII) 

Morning Devotion (for the unmarried): Do they love you? What matters most in covenant is agape (God) love. 

Our culture praises fun, romance, sex, lust, and quick hookups. There is hyper focus on fantasy and eros love (sexual attraction/romantic love). 

There is little to no focus on agape love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love). 

Agape love is the love Jesus demonstrates. He tells His followers the world would know them by this love. 

Some may say, “Agape belongs just between you and God or in church and not in marriage or friendship.” I strongly, strongly disagree. Why? Trials may hit your friendship or marriage. Eros (romantic love) or philia (brotherly love) or storage (family love) may jump ship or not hold up in testing and extreme trials. Why? Because when love hurts, when that person disappoints you, when they no longer can meet your needs, when the sparkle has fizzled, the flesh says, “Let’s ditch this zero and look for another fix.” 

I personally do not enjoy mistreatment, so there are some unrepentant people not a part of my circle. I still pray for them, would feed them if they were hungry, clothe them if naked, keep their confidences, and seek to do no harm. 

Only agape says, “Even in the worst of times, I still love you. I am praying for you. Even if it costs me greatly I am looking out for you. My love for you is unwavering, unyielding, stead fast, and will not be moved. In sickness, and in health. In good times, and in bad times. When you make my heart flutter and when you don’t. I will remain faithful in love for you.” This does not mean love fails to set boundaries (see paragraph above). Yet boundaries are for protection, not punishment or an excuse to withhold love. 

Agape love is covenant love. It will cost you. It is not based on feelings, it is a choice you make to show up and do right by someone even if they do not deserve it. It is the love that says, “Even if you have nothing to offer me or you loose it all. I am not going to abandon my covenant with you.” 

Agape love is what God demonstrated to Adam and Adam and Eve were supposed to demonstrate to each other. Agape is what Jesus tells us to demonstrate to the world, even our enemies, not just who we like.

So in navigating through the choices for a mate or a covenant friend, think, do they love you? Do they demonstrate the unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional love of God for you and others? Are they a servant or looking to be served? Are they in any way looking out for you, your best interests? Or are they looking for someone to bless them, care for them, be there for them? A deeply selfish person will hurt you. 

Lust vs. Love

Lust is selfish and can be mistaken for love. It is an intense feeling that wants to take from someone else for it’s own pleasure or personal gain. Lust will pursue to conquer. Lust will also abandon. Lust is never satisfied. 

Marriage goes not cure lust anymore than going to a bar cures alcoholism. Lust is a spirit and heart condition; Jesus can deliver anyone from lust. The natural condition for mankind is love, not lust. Lust came when sin came. Before lust there was blessing given by God for physical intimacy out of agape love. 

Love is looking for ways to give, add value, bless, empower, protect, and enhance. Love seeks to do things God’s way. Love is holy, pure, and eternal. 

Okay, you may be saying, “Love sounds hard. I just want to have fun!

Fun is great! I love to have fun. Yet just having fun does not make us covenant friends or marriage material. God and I have tons of fun; laughing parties, dancing, sharing dreams, life together. Yet we both know our love for the other is not dependent on having fun. There are times where He just had to hold me while I mourned. Times where I had to wait patiently on Him to finish what He started. Not always fun, yet we are in covenant. I love God even when walking with Him is challenging. He promises to never leave or forsake me. I know every day with me is not fun. Yet He stands in unwavering love. 

What about that spark, physical attraction? 

God is pro chemistry. Hormones were His idea. He was the Author of attraction, sex, and romance. Yep. God, not Hollywood. God’s version of romance leads to greater intimacy (knowing) in a safe environment. God seeks to protect hearts and bodies, not destroy them or use them. 

God created physical intimacy with boundaries. Those who live their lives based solely on what pleases the flesh will often find they are led by lust not love. What if your spouse can no longer meet your physical needs? Are you leaving? Cheating? Withholding love? Angry? What if that person loses their health, looks, or possessions? Lust says, “Go where your needs are going to be met.” Lust is selfish. Love is unselfish and faithful. 

In a world that says, “Do what feels good to you.” God offers something so much better, agape love. 

Does that potential mate or close, covenant friend love you? Really love you? Do they love anyone besides themselves, their family, and friends? What is their character and heart? 

If presented with the chance to be close friends or a spouse I am examining how the person loves. I have met many people in my lifetime who claimed to love me, I am their best friend or like family, and several men who said I was their choice for a wife, yet in the end they did not truly love me. Some loved the idea of me. Some loved the way I loved them or loved their families. Some loved or lusted after what was on the outside. Some evaluated how I could add value to their lives or business or church. Some just wanted to check their box, “Found me a wife or good friend.” Some were deeply selfish. And at the end of the day, I do not care how much money you have, or about titles or superficial things, how well do you love? 

Sweet friends, God loves you and wants you loved in return. One sided love is not a relationship, it’s charity. Charity (ministry) is great. Love without strings attached. Yet in covenant you will need someone willing to pour back the love you pour out. God set up relationships for mutual love and blessing. 

God bless you in your unmarried years and those who never wish to marry. Follow hard and fast after Jesus. God loves you and has incredible plans for your life, whether married or unmarried. He is your eternal covenant, stronger and better than any earthly covenant. He is the best Lover of your soul. You are so valuable to Him and SOooooooo deeply loved.

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Prayer & Discernment 

Photo Source: Pinterest

Morning Devotion: Give it 12 months and pray (talk about relationships (friendships and marriage)). Prayer at the end. 

I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor/evangelist/chaplain. My mom prophetic, a teacher, preacher, and quite discerning. They taught me oh so very much. One of the greatest things they taught and modeled was agape love and prayer. I was taught to pray expecting God to show up. He has! My word, He has. My parents also modeled sacrificial, lavish love. We were taught to love everyone and be generous. They are part of my family culture. 

One thing I will add to what they taught me is look at the fruit of someone’s life who wishes to connect with you. The character and fruit matter so much more than their words, gifting, or performance. Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruit, not it’s gifting, words, church attendance, performance. 

How many of you pray about the people who want to befriend you or for singles, date you? 

How many pray about the opportunities presented? 

How many look for good fruit in the person’s life or with that business, church, or organization? 

How do they treat people? What is their track record? 

Some Good Fruit: Love, respect, honor, taking responsibility for actions, honesty, integrity, kindness, self control, wisdom, peace, handles conflict instead of avoids it, keeps their word, keeps confidences, loyalty, things bloom/get better with their addition, value added, you are better because of the situation, seeks to build up instead of perpetually tear down, tells you what you need to hear, not just what tickles your ears, treats your heart like it’s theirs, unselfish, fair/just, free of control and manipulation. 

You see there is good, and there is God. There is good, and there is His very best. God gives good gifts. 

I am not stating run from every person who is not perfect; there are no perfect people btw. I am not saying run from broken people either. Everyone has something God is working on in their lives. I am saying look for some good fruit, examine character; prayer may save you some unnecessary drama and trauma. 

We are called to love everyone. We are not required to be best friends, confidants, or partners with everyone. 

Every opportunity is not God sent. Every cute or handsome person may not make a great spouse. Every person who tries to befriend you at church does not make a good friend. Every person who says, “I love you. You are like family or my best friend,” does not necessarily mean those words. You must look for fruit. Actions scream over words. 

It’s easy for people to put their best foot forward at first. The goal is (maybe) to impress the other person, connect, and for some to latch on to the other person. The trouble comes when masks fall off and you see the real deal. We are still to love people (seek to do no intentional harm, look for ways to bless them). Yet it is better to know before your heart is entangled or connected if that person is going to put your heart through a meat shredder. 

I placed 12 months on relationships (trial period) because, from experience, you begin to see more of the real person after a year. Some people can pretend for much longer. Yet I have noticed after a year the guard is lowered a bit and you get to see more transparency. Each person do what is best for you. It is not a law, just an observation. 

God wants you and me treated with respect, love, honor, and dignity. 

When I meet people and they have this toxic relationship going on, some will say, “God brought this person into my life.” So I ask, “Would you set someone you love to be in a relationship with someone who treated them this way?” The answer is normally no. Yet there is a belief that God desires less for His kids. 

There is a misbelief that God enjoys the hurt, heartache, abuse, and suffering of His children. He does not. This is a lie based off the treatment of Jesus. The Father delighted in the redemption of mankind through His Son. He did not delight in watching humanity mistreat Jesus. God loves His Son. He also loves you. 

So, with many learning bumps on this heart I have learned and am learning to do the following. 

1. Pray. 

Lord You know this person and their heart/character. Please reveal it to me. Help me not to connect with people who will leave my heart shattered or beat up. You bring in the people who are loving, trustworthy, good, kind, and will leave my heart better than before. 

Lord show me who this person really is. 

Lord is this opportunity a blessing from You or just a distraction or a setup to be mistreated/used? 

2. Pay attention. 

I am speaking from experience, not “Thus sayeth the Lord.” God does not always come out and tell me, “This person is up to no good.” Mostly they show me through their actions. Their words and actions conflict. They reveal two faces. There is disparity between what they say and live. If you remove their words and just look at their actions, you see their character. God will also sometimes reveal their heart/character in dreams. 

3. Love the person with appropriate boundaries. 

It’s easy to throw people in the garbage. We throw trash in the garbage, not people. Just because someone is not the best fit for us, does not make them worthless. No one is worthless. Pray for the person. You may seek ways to bless them. It does not mean you tell them the inner parts of your world or bond like besties. It does not mean you are forced to spend time with them or give them access to you. 

There are people I love, yet my connection with them is limited based on their behavior that brings drama, trauma, chaos. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, I would clothe them. I pray for them. I am not inclined to treat them like my confidant. 

Papa God thank You that You love us all. Thank You that You are good. Thank You that you answer prayers and we can trust You. You know the perfect matches and opportunities for us. You know it all. Give us Your eyes and discernment. Cast out fear and suspicion by Your great love. Help us to make wise choices in relationships. Help us to be a tremendous blessing to everyone. Bring in Your choices for friends, mates, opportunities. Thank You for the ability to choose ourselves, yet we invite You in as the One who knows all and loves us more than anyone else. You desire Your very best for us. Heal any wounds from the not so great connections, make us whole. In Jesus mighty name amen. 

Choosing the Right Mate (Sacred Sex Series Part VI) 

  

  

Morning Devotion: God loves to pair people for mutual blessing and a catapulting of destiny. A look at Godly connections for marriage. 

Marriage is more than sex and fun, it’s a Kingdom partnership to help establish God’s Kingdom on earth. 

When people look for a car or to buy a house, they do some research. Most homebuyers do a home inspection. Car buyers may get a Carfax report. They examine the condition of the inside. Yet when people are thinking about marriage or even friendship, there can be minimal to no research on the character or inner workings of a person. There may be an assessment of 1. Do we have fun? 2. Do I like this person? 3. Am I attracted to what is on the outside? 

Here are some problems with ignoring what’s inside. 

1. When storms come and they do, pretty/handsome and fun mean nothing. Beauty fades. What happens if your significant other is injured, their beauty taken away, and you have to care for them. A shallow person may jump ship, abandon, or leave you hanging. Why? Challenges and storms are not fun. To be in a place to care for someone who can do nothing for you is not fun to the flesh. 

What happens if that person can no longer meet your physical needs? Will you abandon them to get your needs met someplace else. Covenant says, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I am going to love you and stand by you.” 

Our culture focuses so much on chemistry, sex, fun, and the flesh. I am so not against those things. Yet if they are the foundation, they are a very shaky foundation. 

The married couples I know who lasted 40-55 years focused on friendship, learning to love, forgiveness, compromise, and doing what was best for the other person. They sought to honor God through their interactions with the other person. Even when they did not like the other person, they chose love. 

Does the person you are interested in demonstrate noble character and unselfish love? Do they exhibit faithfulness? Are they loyal? How do they treat people who can do nothing for them? How do they love God? How do they handle finances? How do they spend their free time? How do they feel about themselves? 

If they are unloving, unkind to other people and loving to you, that is a red flag. If they only connect with God for what they can get, they will do the same to you. If they are unfaithful in other areas of their life, that’s something to investigate. 

The flesh will easily go along with what it thinks will please it. Flesh does not do so well when it is challenged, there is pain, delayed gratification, or challenges. The flesh tries to avoid pain or challenges. You will be surprised how many divorces or infidelity happen after a major sickness, trauma, or tragedy in a marriage. 

2. After all the hormones subside and the flesh is gratified, you are left to live with their character. 

When we first meet someone and we like them, hormones are high. If there is chemistry it makes a person feel on top of the world. The hormone high does not last. Scientists have studied the hormones involved in attraction. After a year, the intense high starts to lower. After 7 years your body becomes accustomed to them. Hence the phrase “The 7 year itch.” Then if you do not have real love, many jump ship for what’s new. The first year, after the 7th year, after kids, and after kids leave the nest are markers for marriage. If you only have lust and fun, your building will not stand. 

3. Destiny is not examined. 

Every person has a divine purpose for being born. Some seek God for destiny, some choose their own. Yet examining a potential life partner just for what’s outside and fun can lead to a wrong choice. 

Example (names changed): 

Lisa and John met. John loved her beauty and love for Jesus. Lisa married John. Lisa always felt called to teach and impact the world through teaching children. John after several years of marriage makes Lisa quit teaching school and stay home. They have over a half dozen children and it leads her to have a total mental breakdown. She recovers, yet feels her dreams are not even considered. They are not considered. John is about building his Kingdom. Lisa is there to serve him. She can do nothing without John’s approval. Lisa eventually dies. She was happy to die, she was tired of being drug around by her husband. 

Some may say this was a good marriage. I disagree. God looks to advance and enhance our destiny, not diminish our destiny. Lisa wanted to teach. She taught John many things. He, however, felt men are the only ones to work. He also felt headship meant boss instead of support/servant/the one who sacrifices the most. He modeled worldly dictatorship not the Christlike love of Jesus that seeks to elevate, sacrificially serve, empower. 

I believe Jesus would have empowered Lisa to teach, cheer for her dream, support her, and be her greatest support. Head also means source or support. Yet many use head to mean dictator, boss, parent. Jesus did (does) not model dictatorship. He modeled support, a source of life/encouragement, and sacrificial love. Jesus never tries to kill my dreams to benefit himself. Why? Jesus is not selfish nor insecure. 

I have had people try to push me into marrying a certain person, yet I know part of my destiny. When I was quite young God told me why I was born, some of the countries I would travel to, and my purpose. He has confirmed His words through many people and it matches my heart desires. When men come wanting to diminish who God says I am or negate what He told me to do, I say no. Why? A man is not more important than God. 

Any person who wants to diminish who you are is insecure and insecure people make relationships challenging and in many cases toxic or one sided. Insecurity is self focused, “What about me? Me! Me! Me!“. It’s fruits are jealousy, constantly needing affirmation/validation, easily offended, suspicion, selfishness, rejection/self rejection, emotional instability and can cause abuse (verbal, physical, or sexual). 

How can two be joined together lest they agree? I know part of my destiny involves global missions and actually going into other countries to share the Gospel, part of my destiny involves evangelism/teaching/and doing what Jesus did. 

Men who think women can not do those things is not for me. Men who believe women were only created to be their slaves and sex partners are not for me. Men who care nothing about who I am and focus only on their fleshly attraction are not for me. Men who do not truly love God and seek to honor Him are not for me. Men who are grossly selfish and do not care about the poor are not for me. My life is centered around a passionate love for God and intimacy with Him. My ministry in the world is seeking to heal, feed, deliver the oppressed, least, last, lost. 

May all the singles spend time with God when choosing a life partner. It is a more important decision than buying a car or house. Everything that glitters is not God. The flesh will say, “Pick the fun, super attractive one.” The Spirit will say, “Pay attention to their character. What will you build together?” 

May singles look with eyes of the Spirit. This person will either draw you closer to God and help catapult your destiny or diminish it.