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Dating, Sex and the Search for Intimacy

I recently wrapped up a sermon series from the Song of Solomon on dating, sex and the search for intimacy. Yes, it was challenging; most preachers like to avoid this romantic book of the Bible. However, the topic is so relevant today because our culture is confused. We all can benefit from a biblical framework on the subject to be better equipped.

The following 7 highlights from Song of Solomon are summed up below to enrich your  relationships.

  1. Attraction – what is attractive? Is it a perfect face with no blemishes, dreamy eyes, a curvy figure, six-pack abs? Our culture says it’s all about beauty that’s skin deep. The Bible says it goes deeper than physical beauty to character and commitment. Character flaws always cancel good looks.
  2. Dating – why and how should I date? A date is an event between two people for two purposes: edification and observation. A date is a precursor to dating, and dating is a precursor to marriage. The person you date perhaps will be the person you marry, so date wisely.
  3. Courtship – moving toward engagement/marriage. This is the time when you define the relationship and share your intentions and desires. There should be an easiness to being together. Passion is growing and it’s important at this stage to protect the relationship from whatever might spoil it. Perhaps even bring in a trusted mentor.
  4. Intimacy – marriage is a gift from God for man and woman, for the family (children), and for the society. Marriage is a shelter of protection. It’s safe. And the marriage bed is a place of safety. We’ve lost this in our culture and it’s the reason there is so much confusion. God designed sex to intimate oneness. It’s not just a biological or physical event. God made sex to have enormous implications—love, honor, cherish, respect, children.
  5. Conflict – there is a right and wrong way to handle it. Conflict will arise. It’s important that you don’t mirror the behavior of your mate. Let God work in your own heart and in the heart of your spouse. Kindness elevates, but harshness deteriorates. Be resolved—don’t walk away or hide. Work through conflict. Don’t ever drop your marital vows because you don’t want to change. Give and receive forgiveness.
  6. Romance – Biblical romance is more than just remembering to buy a nice gift for a special occasion. It’s expressing value with words of praise, appreciation and thankfulness. It’s viewing your spouse as a blessing and being responsive in a positive and engaging way. It’s being creative to keep the relationship from becoming dull and boring.
  7. Commitment – only comes through the providence of God. In a culture where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, you have two choices: 1) Never get married or 2) Learn what it takes to increase the likelihood of staying together. Commitment is about persevering. There's a healthy possessiveness and a feeling of permanence. Most of all, it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s built into the relationship in its early stages.

All this to say, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. When we struggle in relationships or marriage, maybe the reason is that we are first struggling with God. Give your important relationships a quick review today and see if you are doing your share of the work to maintain a healthy and growing adoration.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

The True Test of Your Spirituality

Years ago, I went with a group of pastors to a conference called “The Toronto Blessing.” This was a charismatic conference that centered around spiritual ecstasy, healings, signs and wonders. Since I’m not from that background, it was quite an eye-opening experience, to say the least. People were “slain in the Spirit,” clucking like chickens and laughing uncontrollably. I was definitely not in my comfort zone.

I confess, I’m a little jaded and skeptical when it comes to an overemphasis on signs and wonders. But over the years, I’ve also realized how a number of Pentecostals are a little jaded and skeptical when it comes to an overemphasis on rational Christianity that avoids anything tied to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

And then I came to this realization: Anything that takes a higher priority in our Christian walk than living daily in Christ through the Spirit is wrong.

If someone seeks the “blessing” of spiritual signs and wonders more than seeking the presence of Jesus, he or she is only looking for an effect of faith, not the cause for faith. Jesus is our cause; spiritual growth is the effect. 

If someone seeks the knowledge of Scripture as the center of faith, he or she is substituting the presence of the living Word (John 1:14) with the written word. Bible knowledge is important, but it is a means to a greater end—knowing Christ.

I have seen too many of my charismatic brothers and sisters disappointed with having to return to ordinary life after some spiritual manifestation because they didn’t want to leave that state of ecstasy. But I’ve also seen too many of my non-charismatic brothers and sisters live powerless lives, even though they claim great Bible knowledge.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor martyred for his faith during the Nazi regime, once wrote, “This is the place where we find out whether the Christian’s meditation has led him into the unreal, from which he awakens in terror when he returns to the workaday world, or whether it has led him into a real contact with God, from which he emerges strengthened and purified” (Life Together, 88).

The goal in studying the Bible is not to become more intelligent but to seek the One of whom the Scriptures speak (John 5:39; 1 Corinthians 8:1). The goal in encountering the Holy Spirit is not to get a spiritual high but to develop a spiritual depth. When you leave a worship service that was particularly moving, does your faith vanish when everyday life returns, “or has it lodged the Word of God so securely and deeply in [your] heart that it holds and fortifies [you], impelling [you] to active love, to obedience, to good works” (idem.)?

That is the test of your spirituality. Not whether you speak in tongues or have the entire Bible memorized. The test of your spirituality is active love, obedience and good works. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Now, let’s go love, obey, and work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) as we keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Amen.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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