Finding "the One," and Keeping Them - Nate Heitizg
You've gotta hear this song.
Everybody said it. Everybody's heard it. It doesn't matter what age you are. Certain songs just have that timeless quality. And so do certain biblical truths. And just like every generation discovers these songs, every generation needs to discover these truths. Mixtape, fresh perspective on timeless truths.
Good morning. Welcome to Calvary. Go ahead and turn in your Bibles. Pre-mark them to Matthew chapter 22, as well as the Book of Song of Solomon. Today, as we dive into a message I'm calling Finding the One and Keeping Them. One thing I found as relevant to everyone in all walks of life, every era, every generation is the idea of male and female relationships. And even more so, each and every one of us is obsessed with finding the one, right? It's like this mythical creature, the one ring to rule them all.
And if you can find the one, your life is set. And we also have all these weird ideas that if you pass them on the street without saying hi, that you're shot at love is forever gone, and it's an obsession that we have with finding the one. But it's easier said than done, isn't it? Because at times, finding the one can feel like a quest for the holy grail, complete with battles, some trolls along the way, maybe a few dragons here and there.
And if you're lucky, you might get that fairy tale ending with a little bit of magic. Britney Spears said, I don't understand the whole dating thing. Can I just point out and just say as a side note, don't take relationship advice from somebody who shaves their head after a bad breakup and writes a song that says hit me baby one more time. It's a bad idea. Bad person to take relationship advice from.
But what is this whole dating thing? How do you do it right? Who in here has ever had a bad relationship? When I was preparing this message, I asked myself, why do so many people date the wrong way? And I realized one of the primary reasons is because we have bad examples. See, we get our dating lessons from Hollywood, from celebrities, from media.
And what do they tell us about dating? Well, I found some quotes from celebrities on dating. Richard Gere said, I don't know if any of us are truly honest in relationships. It doesn't exist. Mitch Hedberg said, I don't have a girlfriend, but I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that. Amy Schumer said, there's a guy I've been texting with, and I really don't see myself having a fairy tale wedding with him, but I'll still probably have sex with him. Jack Nicholson said there's only two people in your life that you should lie to, the police and your girlfriend.
So not great advice from Hollywood, from celebrities. And then I realized that maybe we get our dating advice, our dating ideas from popular television dating shows, reality dating shows. I have a lot of friends who watch The Bachelor and Bachelorette. And people get so caught up in this. Who's going to get the rose? Who's going to be the winner?
And so I did a little research and I found that if we live our lives based off of reality television dating shows, it would tell us that dating is not exclusive. It's OK to date and hook up with as many people as you want. Dating is simply a game. If you get lucky, you might date and marry someone rich, and then your life is set.
And then finally, a private chef, a hot tub, and lots and lots of wine is what makes a good date. This is not the way that God intended it to be. This is not how he intended for us to live our lives. And I would just say this-- and I could end my entire message today with this-- whatever you see on TV and in the movies, if you do the opposite of that, your life will probably work out OK.
Whatever you see in media, whatever you see in Hollywood, do the exact opposite, and most things in life will probably work out. See, society looks at what can please instantly, rather than what can please ultimately. We live in this have it your way culture, where we want what we want when we want it how we want it. We want to be gratified. We want to have the person we want to be with. And we want to be gratified in that relationship immediately, not long-term.
We desire what we want, and no one should tell us that we shouldn't get it. We want things instantly, but scripture is all about that which will please ultimately. Sure, it might be a little bit harder work to begin with, to live your life righteously, to conduct your relationships righteously. But the long-term outcome and benefit of that far outweighs the instant pleasures that sin can bring. As we saw last week, sin might be pleasurable, but the wages of sin is death.
Here's a few statistics to show you where our society is at with dating. There are 54 million single people in the US today, and 40 million of those people have tried online dating. 53% of people say they have dated more than one person simultaneously. Man, players, right? Couples wait until six to eight days before they enter into an exclusive relationship, which means that most people will, for about five to seven dates, be dating more than one person at the same time. On average, it takes 12 to 14 dates before couples will trade house keys.
And because of these statistics, these ideas, this reality, we have a huge problem with dating today where we view dating like these tiny marriages. Have you ever seen a couple that just starts dating, and they might have been dating for two weeks, but you think they've been married for 10 years? I mean, they're all over each other. They're connected at the hip. They're rubbing each other's ears.
And you hear them have these phone conversations. Oh, baby, I love you so much. I miss you so much. It's been three hours since I saw you last. It makes you want to vomit a little bit. But they treat these relationships like this mini marriage. And then they get so tied to this person because of sexual intimacy that once this mini marriage finally splits up, it causes a mini divorce, complete with Facebook unfriending, toaster ovens being thrown at your head, friends choosing sides. I mean it, gets nasty, right? It gets bad.
I do a lot of counseling, or at least I used to. And I would counsel couples. And every now and then, this couple would come in. And they just had such a vitriolic hate towards each other. The way they looked at each other, the things they said. Well, he's never going to change. You don't understand. He does this, and this, and this. And I'm kind of taken aback. And I usually ask the question, well, how long have you guys been married? Well, we're not married.
Oh, well, if it's this bad, have you guys been engaged for, like, six years or something? Is that where this is all stemming from? No, we've been dating for three months. What? And you guys have this vitriolic hatred towards one another. It's because they've created a mini marriage, which is now experiencing a mini divorce. So no wonder the divorce rate is so high.
We're teaching ourselves it's OK to give something meant only for marriage, and then to leave when we get bored or when things get hard. But this is the way human nature is. We want at times to have all of the benefits of a relationship without the righteousness that God commands from a relationship. I get people who have come to me and say, Nate, would you do a message about how far is too far, about how emotionally and physically connected I can get with my boyfriend or girlfriend without crossing a line so that I don't get in trouble with God?
I do a show called Shock Therapy Live on the radio. And one of the biggest questions we have is couples calling in. And usually it's something like, hey, we're both believers, but we want to move in together, and we just want to see if that's OK. And that's because we, as a society, want someone to draw us a line that we can walk up to, put our toes just ever so lightly over, and peer over the edge, and get just close enough or we get singed, but just safe enough to where we know we're going to heaven.
And it's this way with anything in life. We want to get as close as we can without losing our salvation without losing our relationship with Jesus. And the answer is, no, I'm not going to draw that line, because this goes with anything in life. Rather than asking how far can I go before I'm sitting, why don't we start asking ourself this question-- how holy is too holy?
Or perhaps in your relationship, you're struggling with purity, start asking yourself this question. How pure is too pure? The answer is never. You can never be too pure. You can never be too holy, because as children of God, we should be seeking the highest, not the lowest. We should be seeking the abundance of God's grace, and his mercy, and his love and his plans for our life, not taking the scraps that fall off the table.
We should be settling for the worst, the bottom of the barrel that God wants for us. We should be seeking His highest, the greatest, His desires for us, His plans for us, which are good, not evil, to give us a future and a hope. And so our question today is, what does the Bible say about finding the one? And more importantly, once you've found the one, how do you keep them?
Because as a culture, we can put so much emphasis on finding the right person, finding the person to pursue. Who is that person? Where are they at? But then we forget about how to keep them once we have them. And we spend all this time, all this energy reading all these books, doing all these things to find the one. And then when we finally find them, we lose them so quickly because we have not taught ourselves what to do once we get into a relationship to strengthen and build intimacy and friendship based on Godly principles.
But as we look at this topic, we have to look at it in the light of biblical culture, because some people can get so dogmatic about what the Bible says. Now, I am all about what the Bible says. I believe every word that is written in scripture. But do you know what the Bible says about dating relationships?
Well, in the Bible, most relationships, most marriages were arranged marriages, which means that if you want to do what the Bible says when it comes to relationships, your parents get to pick the person you marry. Now, all the parents are like, yes, and all the kids are like, no. When I was a kid, I hated this idea, because the way that I thought about it is my parents couldn't even pick good dinners for me, so why would I let them choose my spouse? I'm like, man, I just want pizza, and Cheetos, and Mountain Dew, and you're trying to give me vegetables. There's no way I'm going to let you pick my spouse, because I'll totally end up with a creeper if you do.
But that was then and this is now. Now that I'm a parent of my own kids, this whole arranged marriage thing is a very viable option for me. I pray that God prepares me for my daughter's first boyfriend, or actually, I pray that God prepares my daughter's first boyfriend for me. Let's just say that ever since Cadence came home having her first crush, dad's been stockpiling ammo like nobody's business.
But here's the thing-- nowhere in the Bible does say this is how thou shalt date. If you do this, and this, and this, you'll have a perfect date. There's no chapter on the perfect Christian date, like, well, he'll pick me up in a white carriage, because Jesus is going to come back in a white carriage with horses. And we're going to go to Mediterranean food because Jesus likes falafels.
And then we're going to go to the Hillsong concert and worship Jesus together, and we're going to fall so in love as we sing Oceans and stare into each other's eyes. And then we'll pray together, and that'll be the perfect Christian date. There's no chapter that gives us that. And this is why there's so many Christian books written on the topic of dating. And some of them are good and beneficial. Lots of them are trash.
But when it comes down to it, we always have to come back to the Bible, to this book and what it says, because although it might not give us a chapter of guidelines for dating, it gives us some very good life application principles that, when applied to dating or any other relationship you have in your life, it will help and change your relationships.
So today, whether you're here and you have kids, and this is a big question for you, maybe you're married, you're dating, you're single, this is going to help you, because we're going to look at some things today that are beneficial if you're seeking to be in a relationship, and then also some things that you need to know if you are in a relationship to keep the one you found.
So, today, I'm going to give you three principles based on Matthew and the Song of Solomon. And let's look at Matthew chapter 22, verse 36 to 40 as we see our first point. Verse 36. "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it-- You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Let's stop there. Last week, we really dove into this concept and this idea. We referenced this verse as we talked about the reality that, as human beings, our hearts are worship factories. And we are constantly worshipping something or someone. But we also found that if we, as Christians, seek first and foremost to put Jesus Christ on the throne of our hearts, if we love Jesus with all of our heart, our soul, and our mind, then the things we want to do-- and I would also add to that-- the people we want to date, the way we treat our spouse, the way we treat our kids, the way we have relationships within our lives, if Jesus is first and foremost, and we love him with all of our heart, soul, and mind, then all of those things will happen the way that God wants them to happen, but we've got to start by adorning and loving God.
So the first point, if you want to find the one and keep them, is to be a God digger, not a gold digger. This is the first and the greatest commandment, and this is the first question that should be asked before you even think about entering a relationship with somebody else. You should ask this question before you check out their body and see how good they look. You should ask this question before you get tied to them emotionally and you love their funny jokes. You should ask this question before you spend any time with them. This is the question that should be asked. Do they love God?
This is the foundation that should be asked and answered before you even consider dating, or courting, or whatever with that other person. Do they adore God? 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers." And so the question for us before we enter into a relationship is, are they converted? And ultimately ask yourself this question. What do I want in a relationship? What does God want in my relationships? And are they the same?
This is the foundation. I've found that a lot of people think that a relationship and walk with Christ is about convincing God to give you the things that you want. Well, Lord, I really, really, really, really like this girl or this guy. And I know they're not a believer, so Lord, I just pray that they'll get saved. And that our entire life is about convincing God to give us the things that we want, aligning God's will to our will, but the opposite is true. The Christian life is all about taking your wants and your desires, and making sure they match God's wants and desires for your life, and then doing that. It's about aligning your will to God's will for your life.
And the sad thing that I've seen is whether you're a high school student, a college student, or you're a grown adult, is people have a tendency to drop their standards. When you're young, when you're bright eyed and bushy tailed, you have all these hopes and these aspirations, these dreams for what your life is going to look like, you have a certain set of standards.
And it usually starts with if you're a believer-- well, he has to be a believer. He's got to love God. He's got to love his mom. He's got to treat his mom right. He should be handsome. Maybe have this color hair, this height. He And we have this list, and it slowly goes down. And then what happens is usually because a lot of time passes, you let a few of those things drop off that list and say, OK, well, maybe he doesn't have to look like Brad Pitt. OK, I'll take that one off. And you start to lower your standards.
And then what happens is you see that cute guy or that girl who isn't walking with the Lord. They go to church, but they're really not a Christian. And you drop it just a little bit lower. Then you get in that relationship, and that cute guy or that girl asks you to do something you know you shouldn't do, something you know is wrong, but they attach three words that just get to your heart. They say, butt I love you.
And you don't want to lose that relationship. You love them too. And so you compromise, and you do something you know you shouldn't do. And you end up in life at the bottom of the barrel, looking up, saying, how did I get myself in this situation?
Look, no one wakes up in the morning when they're walking with the Lord and says, you know what? Today, I'm going to get pregnant. You know what? Today, I'm going to go get strung out on heroin and die of a drug overdose. Hey, you know what? Today, I'm going to become addicted to alcohol. I've never touched a sip of it to my lips, but I'm going to become addicted to alcohol. No one wakes up and decides to get trapped in sin.
You know how they got there? Slowly. It was a series of slow, deliberate decisions as they dropped their standards. And that's not the way it should be, is it? We shouldn't be settling for the worst that God has for us. We shouldn't be driving the Pinto when God's got a Ferrari parked out front. And I'm not talking about the tall, dark, and handsome Italian stallion, ladies. I'm talking about the Ferrari on the inside, not the Ferrari on the outside.
We should be seeking God's highest, His best, His desires, and His will for our lives, because it doesn't matter if a car looks great on the outside. The question is, does it run? Right? Come on, guys, car enthusiasts. I go on Craigslist a lot, and I like to look at good deals. And sometimes you'll come across a vintage car that looks good. I mean, come on. The bodywork is perfect. There's no dents. The paint. The detailing is exceptional. The interior, the leather, the piping, the stitching-- it's primo.
And then there's a little caveat in the Craigslist ad and it says in parentheses, car does not run. Will need trailer. What's the point? It's not a couch, it's a car. It doesn't matter if it looks good on the outside. The question is, does it run? And sadly, some people, because of society and a lack of discernment, are left dating someone who's a Ferrari on the outside, but a Pinto on the inside, because society tells us the most important things to look for in a relationship are sexual attraction and money.
Hey, if they're loaded and they're a hottie with a naughty body, then go for it. It's good to go. As long as they can make money and look good doing it, you're set. That's what you need. That's what you deserve. That's what you should pursue. I did some research, and women who post a photo on internet dating sites received twice as many email messages as women who don't.
The same study found that men who reported incomes higher than $250,000 receive 156% more emails than those with 50. At 4M Multimillionaire Matchmaking Club, based in Seattle, clients are men who have made millions of dollars but are still single, and women can pay about $250 to be listed as potential partners. Don't be a gold digger. Be a God digger.
The first question we ask a couple who is seeking marriage is, are you both believers in Jesus Christ? Do you both believe in Jesus Christ? Do you both love Jesus Christ? Because if they don't, if they're unequally yoked, the marriage can never succeed. And I would even go a step further. Not do they love Jesus. Do they love Jesus more than they love you? Because if they don't, your marriage is destined for failure.
You say, Nate, no, no, you got it wrong. That's what I'm pursuing. I want to be a princess to somebody. But if you become the queen for somebody, and you sit on the throne of their heart above where Jesus sits, what's going to happen is when you finally fail, because all humans fail and they realize you're not perfect, their God, their idol is going to come crashing down. And along with that will be your relationship and the life that you've built. So you better make sure the person that you love loves Jesus more than they love you. Otherwise, your relationship is destined for failure.
So not just do you both believe in Jesus, but what do you believe about Jesus? Because lots of people say they're Christians. As a matter of fact, did you know that according to Pew Research, 70.6% of Americans, when asked, call themselves Christians? But the Bible says not that we're supposed to call ourselves Christians, not that we're supposed to go to church, but that we're supposed to be converted, that we're to be born again.
That means that we are to be changed. And being converted means more than just saying it with your mouth. It's believing it with your heart. Look, if you're a cute girl, of course that guy's going to say whatever he's got to say to get you to go on a date with him. Sure, he'll tell you he'll change. Sure, he'll say, yeah, I grew up in the church. I'm a Christian. Sure, he'll say, yeah, I'll go to church with you. But is it real? Is he truly converted? Is he truly changed?
Now, unfortunately-- and I'm going to put the guys on blast here for a second-- this applies mostly to men. Are they real? Are they really stoked about God, or is that just a mask they put on to be accepted? Unfortunately, I've known a lot of guys that will put on the Christian face. They'll speak those Christian words just to get some watered down, perverted version of a Christian booty call.
So the question isn't, are they Christian? The question isn't, do they go to church? The question is, are they converted? Are they real? Do they adore God? And does their adoration for God and their love for Jesus cause them to respect you? Do they respect the boundaries you've put up in place? Do they respect the convictions that you have? Do they love God with more than just their lips? Do they love God with their lives?
See, I'd be willing to bet that probably half of those professed Christians don't truly adore God. Sure, they go to church once or twice a year. But have they ever been converted? Have they ever been changed? You know how you can tell if someone is converted? Simple. They don't love the things of darkness. Instead, they love the light.
Are they perfect? No. Do they have it all together? No. Do they mess up? Of course. But they're trying. They're growing. They're trying to change. They're different. They don't just adore God with their lips. They adore God with their life. So the question isn't, are they Christian? The question is, are they converted? Are they different? Are they seeking to grow in their relationship with Jesus? When you look at their life, is there evidence of their belief in Christ?
Now, I want you to understand, there's nothing wrong with being attracted to somebody. That's usually how most relationships start. You see somebody. It's like, oh, man, she is so beautiful. He's so cute. The butterflies. That's OK. However, it's wrong to base your decision off of that infatuation. Whenever a guy sees a beautiful girl, his jaw drops and he's like, I think I'm in love. That's not love. That's just infatuation. That's just called a physiological attraction. Even the animals have that.
But what separates infatuation from love? How can we know the difference? How can we know what the difference is between simply being attracted to somebody and being in love with somebody? One study shows that between 9th grade and your second year in college, the average person will have five real loves. I would define that as what they think is real.
So what is the difference between a feeling and true love? True love stands the test of time. Let me rephrase that, because as we're talking about emotions, seeing somebody and thinking you're in love, how can you tell if you're truly in love? True love stands the test of patience. Wait awhile. Get to know them. Know who they are. Know their relationship with God. Get to know their family, because love is a constant devotion, not a passing emotion.
Now, we, as our society, think that love is all about emotions. And so what happens is when you meet that cute guy or that cute girl, you get to know him a little bit and you're like, well, we just get along. We understand each other. These emotions start to build up. And those emotions are like a tidal wave. And so many people ride those emotions into a place where there's no clarity, there's no understanding, and they make irrational decisions based off of emotion, not off of devotion.
And they say, well, I'm in love. So when I hear people say, Nate, we just have to get married right now. We just can't wait. We're so in love. I ask them, how long have you guys been dating? It's been a month, and we just have to get married. We're so in love. I know it. I know that they're the one. I usually take a step back and I question whether or not it's really from the Lord, because remember, the Bible says that love is patient.
And so I encourage you to take a little time, to take a step back, realize that love is not based on emotion, and when those emotions fade, when you ride that wave of emotions to the altar, and say your I do's, and you get home, and two months later after the honeymoon phase has faded, but you've already been on your honeymoon, will those emotions still last you through the relationship? I don't believe they will. I think there has to be something more. I think there has to be devotion.
Let God bring the two of you together. Take time, because there's a chance that you're going to spend the rest of your life with that person. And you might say, Nate, hold on, now you're talking marriage. I don't want to marry them. I know I'm not supposed to marry that person. I know I'm not supposed to marry an unbeliever. I just want to date them. I just want to hang out. I'm not at that phase that you're talking about.
Well, guess what? Dating leads to marriage. And if you've already dropped your standards to date them, what's next? We shouldn't date someone unless they are marriage material. I would go a step further and say, you shouldn't date at all until marriage is something that's in sight. And you say, Nate, that's so legalistic. That's so unfair. That's so unrealistic.
But I would challenge you and say that to date without the possibility of marriage is all but setting yourself up to fall into sin, because if it doesn't mean anything and if it's not going anywhere, What's to stop you from dropping your standards and doing some things that aren't going to matter because you're not going to be married to that person anyways?
If it's just a game, if it's just based on attraction and it's not somebody that you see yourself spending the rest of your life with, or you're not even ready to get married, what's the purpose? What's the point? And you say, well, we just want to have fun. I just want someone to hang out with. Guess what? There's an awesome word that you need to learn. It's called friends.
That's what friends are, people to hang out with, people to get to know, people to have fun with, people to spend time with. If you don't listen to another thing I say today, hear this. Whoever you're with, whoever you're dating should be a converted believer who has the evidence of God's work within their lives.
And that really leads us to our next two points. Matthew 22:39 says, "The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself." So not until we love God, not until he is chief within our lives can we appropriately love other people. So if you're at a place where you love God, He is chief, He is first, He is foremost within your life, and the person that you're interested in dating is in that same place, at that point, the question is, now how can I love others appropriately?
And here in these verses, we find our next two points. Once you love God and have Him first within your life, the next step is to love others. And I believe the primary reason why many relationships end is because of selfishness. We, as humans, are incredibly selfish people. We lie to one another because we're selfish and we don't want to hurt our own pride.
We seek our own needs instead of the other person's needs because we're selfish and we want our needs met. So the takeaway is that the more selfless you are, the better your relationships will be. And the first aspect of love for others that I want to look at is respect. And for that, I want you to turn to Song of Solomon, chapter 1, verse 9.
For our second point, if you want to find the one and keep them, you need to start acting like royalty, not rap stars. Royalty are known to be the most well-mannered and respectful of all people. They know everything that they're supposed to do. They know how to use all the different forks. When I go to dinner and there's more than one fork, I just take a pick, because I don't know what they're there for. Yeah, that one looks good. I can poke something with that. But royalty know all the manners, all the customs, how to do everything right. They're so respectful, while rap stars are not. Song of Solomon 1:9 says, "I've compared you, my love, to my filly among pharaoh's chariots.
The next question is, do they respect you? Do they treat you well? Do they respect the bibles and your boundaries? Now, we read this verse and think, Nate, how is that respectful? He basically just called her a horse. Like, hey, girl, I've been watching you, and you've got a horse's face and a donkey's butt. I mean, how is that a good thing? That is not respectful. That is not a good pickup line. Guys, if you're writing down pickup lines, don't use that one. It won't work. Actually, let's change that. If you're writing down pickup lines in church, use that one next time. It'll totally work out well.
No, we look at that and say, how is that respectful? But we need to understand that basically, Solomon is saying she is more important to him than his most prized possession. She is worth pursuing. She is worth protecting. She is worth cherishing. She is worth investing in. Let me ask you, does your significant other think that you're the bomb dot com? Do they treat you like they treat their car?
Ask yourself, does your significant other feel as cherished and loved as your most valued and loved fill in the blank? And, gentlemen, we need to step up to the plate in this. We need to be the leaders that God has called us to be, because you are meant to be the initiator. One thing that drives me nuts is when guys lead girls on. Guys, don't lead girls on. Don't toy with their emotions. Don't keep some girl in the wing as a backup plan while you wait to see if something better comes along.
That's not acting like royalty. That's like acting like rap stars. Act like royalty, not rap stars. Show them the respect, the honor. Cherish them the way that God has intended for you to cherish them. Don't go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers and the lakes. And until that girl comes along that you really respect, that you really appreciate, that you really value, don't you dare date that girl, because honestly, you don't deserve her.
But when you're ready to pursue her, make sure she knows how much you value and respect her. Make her feel cherished and special. And, girls, there's something for you, as well. I don't know why it is that girls seem to always be drawn to that sleazebag guy. It's like, he's the biggest player. He's been with so many girls. He's treated her so poorly. And she's like, well, you just don't understand that I'm going to be the one to make him change. He's never met a girl like me.
Sure, he's been with all those other girls. Sure, he's done this and that. But he's never been with me. I'm going to make him forget his foolish ways. And he'll be he'll be mine and only mine. Can we stop lying to ourselves and stop believing those lies? You've heard it said. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Well, I'm telling you, sure, don't hate the player, but please don't date the player, either.
When that guy comes hollering at you, you say, no, I don't want your number. No, I don't want to give you mine. No, I don't want to meet you nowhere. And, no, I don't want none of your time. Come on, ladies, let those guys know you don't want no scrubs. You're not going to take that. You want to be valued. You want to be respected. You want to be cherished.
One of the best ways that you can show respect is by asking what your parents think about the relationship that you're in. Even a step further, asking your significant others' parents what they think about you. What do the people that you respect think about the person that's supposed to be respecting you? What do your parents, what do the authorities in your life think about this relationship? Do your parents, do your authorities, the pastors, the people that you respect, do they approve of this guy or this girl?
And I want to let you know right now if you're here today, and you're a guy who's dating a girl, and her parents don't know about it, you're a jerk. You're disrespectful. And you might say, well, Nate, you don't understand, they won't like me. Well, then you need to change. You need to be the kind of guy they do like. You need to be the kind of guy they feel comfortable having their daughter spend time with, because these girls don't deserve a jerk. They deserve a gentleman.
They are made in the image of God, and they need someone to respect them. And if you start dating by being sneaky and disrespectful, you don't deserve to be in a relationship. If you start your relationship off in sin, do you really think it's going to get better from there? See, God gives us parents, and he tells us in Ephesians 6, "Children, obey your parents and the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother."
Because sometimes as people, we can become blind. We don't see all the points in the sides of who we are. We can become blinded by emotion. And we can tell ourselves, well, you just don't know them. You don't understand them. I understand them. They're different. You don't see who they are. But in reality, it's us who don't see who we are.
The plan of God is to give us people within our lives that can help us, that can help us see things we don't see, people who have been around the block. They've experienced things that we haven't. They might see something in this person that you are so in love with. That might be dangerous.
So I challenge you, before the waves of emotion take over and cause you to do things that are irrational and that you wouldn't normally do, ask the people you respect and love before you start the relationship, before you get caught up in emotions, hey, what do you think about this person? What do you think about their relationship with God? Is there anything you see about them that you think I should be aware of? Give those people that you respect the opportunity to speak into that relationship before it's begun.
And I'll be honest, some of it might be unreasonable, guys. Well, I don't like his hair. No one's hair should ever be that color. I don't like his tattoos. I don't like that ring she puts in her nose. What is she, livestock? Who does she think she is? Some of it might be ridiculous. You might say, that's so stupid. And you know what? You're right, it is stupid. But you still need to respect them. Why? Because God said so. Honor your parents.
Sit down. Talk to them. Ask them about this guy or this girl. It might blow them away. They might flip out when you say you want to introduce them to this person. And most importantly, they might be able to give you some insight, some advice. They might be able to help keep you accountable in this relationship.
When I first began having feelings for Janae, the very first thing that I did was I called her dad. And that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I wanted to show him respect. And so I called him up on the phone. I said hey, Mr. Chapin. I've been hanging out with your daughter a lot lately, and we've both developed some feelings for one another. And so I wanted to ask for your permission to date your daughter with the pursuit of marriage in mind. And he hung up on me.
I wish I was kidding. He literally hung up on me. And it wasn't until later that I found out he was driving to Mammoth, and drove through a tunnel, and lost reception. And so the call got lost and dropped. Not that he hung up on me, but the weird thing is it happened right after I asked the question. So thanks, God, that was really funny. I appreciate it.
But when I took that little step, he gained respect for me because I was seeking to honor his daughter and to honor him. Guys, this task falls completely on you. You need to be the man in the relationship. Girls, if he doesn't have the guts to do that, he's not a man anyways, so don't waste your time. When a guy comes and asks you out, you tell him, yeah, just call my dad and ask him first, because remember this-- whoever you're dating, you're also dating their family. And whoever you marry, you're marrying into that family. And you don't want to get on someone's bad side if that someone is going to end up being your father-in-law someday.
Now, maybe you don't live near your parents, or maybe you're at an age where that's weird. You're like, Nate, I'm 45. If I tell someone to call my dad, that's just going to be weird. They're going to be like, sure, go ahead. I don't care. My daughter is 45. And you just think that's strange. If that's the case, bring them to church. Ask people here what they think about this person. Ask your friends and your connect group what they think about this person. Ask your pastors what they think about this person.
And, hey, if you're looking for a way to get out of a relationship, just introduce him to us. Ask, hey, this is my boyfriend. What do you guys think? We'll look him dead in the eyes and just say, it's not going to work. Sorry. You're going to have to go. Look, I'll even clean my guns while we have that conversation, if that's what you want.
But, seriously, I encourage people, come and get prayer and counseling before a relationship starts. Some people wait until a relationship gets bad, and then they go to the church, then they go to the pastors. Come to the church before your relationship even begins and say, hey, we're thinking about starting to date. Can you give us some counsel, some wisdom, some advice? We can help you set up boundaries. We can talk about love and respect. We'll pray for you. Start it off right.
That little act of respect will mean so much to your relationship. Now, parents, you didn't think you were going to get off easy did you? All the parents so far have been like, yes, this is good. Parents, be the kind of person your kids feel comfortable bringing their boyfriend or girlfriend around. Talk to your kids about these things. Talk about these issues.
Don't let dating be the forbidden cuss word in your home, because if you don't have a hands-on role in their relationships, that's not going to stop them from having them. They're just going to start having them behind your back. And you won't have a chance to be a godly influence within their lives. Talk about these things. God is giving you an opportunity to give your kids a biblical world view about these issues.
If you don't talk about them, they're going to talk about them at school. They're going to hear about them in movies and the media. And they're going to get a worldly perspective, and you're going to have lost your opportunity to pour into your kids a biblical foundation for relationships.
Third and finally, if you want to find the one and keep them, if you've got game, use it. Again, we see that Jesus says, "The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Song of Solomon chapter 2, verse 4 says, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." This is one of the most important parts of the relationship. This now is the part of the message that if you're married, this speaks to you and your relationship that you currently have with your spouse or the person that you call husband or wife.
If you found the one, this is how you keep them. And this point carries on into marriage, and it can be one of the primary reasons why so many marriages fall apart. A lot of people spend so much time in the actual pursuit of love that once they finally find it, they don't know what to do with it. When you date your significant other, you use all the game you've got.
You pull out all the tricks, all the ideas. You do everything you can to get that person to like you. Why do you stop once you've won? When you're dating, you write songs. You have flowers. You go on romantic dates. You write poems. Who writes poems? People who are dating write poems. You stay up late on the phone. The conversations are, oh schmoozy pooh. Teddy bear, I love you so much. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug, kiss, kiss. It's just all ooh, ooh, ah, ah. And then once you get married those conversations change to, yeah what's up?
Well, you know I'm at work. I'm busy. OK, that's not my fault. OK. All right, fine, I'll take care of it when I get home. Bye. What happens from dating to marriage? See, girls and guys alike want to feel pursued and desired, even after they've been won over. And this requires cultivation. So if you've got game, use it. Use it while you're dating. Use it while you're engaged. And please, for the love of your relationships, use it when you're married, because it takes time for a relationship to grow.
Three different times here in Song of Solomon, we see this young couple spending time together in chapter 1, verse 12, chapter 1, verse 16 to 17, and chapter 2, verse 4. And that's because for a relationship to blossom and continue to grow, there has to be time spent with one another. If you want to see your relationship flourish, then you must spend quality time with one another. Not in a dark movie theater, not kissing in a dark room, but rather, personal time getting to know each other.
Song of Solomon 1:15 says, behold, you are fair, my love. You have dove's eyes. Solomon is on a roll. First, she's got a horse's face and now she has squinty bird eyes. Bro, pick something better. If you say she has chicken legs, I'm going to punch you in the throat. But what's important about this is that a dove has tunnel vision. A dove doesn't see anything but what's in front of them. Have you ever seen a dove or a pigeon walk? It's so weird, right? They do this weird thing. They walk like this. They go.
They constantly bob their head. They're looking up and down, up and down. Do you know why? It's because their brains are so small that they literally have to look at their feet and tell their feet to move, and then look at their destination, and tell their feet to move. It's a constant struggle with them telling themselves where to go, and not keeping their eyes off focused.
Guys, we could learn a thing or two from the birds. When you're walking through the mall, you keep your eyes on your spouse. Put those blinders up. Oh, that girl's got tight pants. Oh. Oh, look at that guy. He's got big biceps. Oh. Look at my wife. Look at my wife. Look at my husband. Look at my husband. Look at my feet. Tell myself where to go. Keep my eyes focused. Have tunnel vision. Don't take my eyes off the prize.
Come on, we need to be like doves. Keeping our eyes, the commitment, upon our spouse. Keeping that tunnel vision. Not letting anything else get in the way. And this couple, because of their adoration for God, and their respect for one another, and the time spent with one another now have a growing commitment to one another. And this is something that truly defines Christian relationships more than any others, and that is commitment.
Proverbs 5:15, speaking of relationships, says, way before TLC ever did, "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well." Again, don't go chasing waterfalls, other people, other relationships. You stick to your own well. And this characteristic needs to be cultivated in a relationship all the way to the day of marriage when you say before God, and before man, before a roomful of people that you will forsake all others and live unto that person as long as you both shall live.
And the only way that commitment will come is if you spend quality time with one another and with God. And it doesn't end at the altar. You've got to do this every single day if you want your relationship to grow. Song of Solomon 1:16 says, behold, you are handsome, my beloved. Yes, you are pleasant. She's complimenting him. She's building him up.
Girls, you have to understand that a guy wants you to think they're cool. That's why they do the things they do. That's why they doused themselves in way too much Axe body spray. That's why they tell you they're better at everything than they actually are. Isn't it funny how guys are always good at everything? Oh, yeah, I play a little ball. I mean, I can dunk. Really? Yeah. Yeah, of course. Of course I can dunk. Oh, yeah, I can bench about 350 at the gym, give or take if it's a good day or bad day. Oh, yeah, I snowboard. I can do a backflip. Guys are always good at everything. And then you go with them to do these things and you're like, eh, you're not that good.
You're not as good as you said you were, because guys want you to think they're cool. Look, the man in your life doesn't care what anyone else in the world thinks about them as long as you think that he's all that and a bag of chips. Now, guys, you need to let that girl know that she's the most beautiful girl in the entire world to you, that no one can compare to her, that you have eyes only for her, and that nothing else can get in the way of that love and the beauty that you see in her. In this dating to marriage relationship, there has to be constant affirmation of one another.
Now, as we close, it says there in chapter 1, verse 16 of Song of Solomon that he is pleasant. That is basically to say he is kind, he is friendly. Are you friendly and kind towards the people in your lives? Guys, this is how we should treat a young lady. We should be kind, pleasant, and charming. This is so important in a relationship. In order to cultivate relationship, you must first cultivate friendship.
It is so important to build a good friendship before you let it turn into a relationship. And this is what finding the one and keeping them is all about. It's not just lovers, but it's friends. It's not just a consort, it's a confidant. Most people who I've met who have fallen out of love fell out of friendship long before. And the reason they no longer love each other is because they don't really even like each other. They can't stand being around each other.
Janae and I were friends for about six months before we even talked about dating. And then when we did, it was a serious and planned decision with the intention of marriage. We knew each other. We enjoyed each other before we ever sought to love one another. And I can confidently say that Janae is my best friend as I am hers. And there is no one we would rather spend time with than each other.
I don't long for guy nights to get away from my nagging wife. The opposite would actually be true. I turn down most invitations to go hang out with the guys because I'd rather spend the night on a Friday night hanging out with my wife playing Donkey Kong on the couch, eating pizza. She's my best friend. There's no one I would rather spend time with.
So it's important. Invest in one another through quality time. It doesn't have to be a steak dinner or an expensive event, because it doesn't matter what you're doing, but rather who you're doing it with. And as you build that relationship, focus not just emotionally, but also spiritually, building up your relationship with Christ, your relationship and your love for God before your love for each other.
And I promise you, if you mold your relationship to these three principles-- be a God Digger, not a gold digger. Seek Christ. Act like royalty, not rap stars. Respect each other. And if you've got game, use it. Take time to build and strengthen your friendship and your relationship. You will not only find the one, you will keep them until the day you die.
As we close, maybe this stuff sounds legalistic or stiff to you. Maybe you say, Nate, this is just so legalistic and hard to do, and it just seems so unrealistic. I encourage you, ask someone who's chosen the wrong mate because of a lack of patience, a lack of counsel, or a lack of prayer. Ask someone who's in an unhappy relationship because their husband or wife isn't a Christian.
What I encourage you to do is make a checklist. If they pass all of those things, then and only then spend some time with them in group situations first. And ask yourself in those situations, are they a representation of Jesus to you? Not do they have long hair, and a beard, and wear robes, but do they have spiritual quality? And then even if nothing becomes of the relationship, at least you've developed good fellowship.
Let's pray. Lord, we thank you for your word and the truth that it brings. Lord, we thank You that it speaks even into the most practical and real areas of our lives. Lord, I pray that You would help us to love You and that as we love You, Lord, we would learn to love one another properly. I prayed for all the couples in the room, the married couples, the dating couples, engaged couples, Lord, I pray that You would help them to love one another appropriately as they put You first and foremost within their lives.
And I pray for all the single men and women in the room. Lord, I pray that You would help them to never drop their standards, but to seek Your highest and Your best for their lives, that their lives might be fruitful and multiply upon this earth. In Your name we pray, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.