If I had Only known then, what I know now . . .
How many times have we heard someone say they’d love to be able to go back and do it all over again, if they had only known then, what they know now.
The truth is . . . We can not willing ignore God and expect to have the life we’ve always dreamed of. This was the younger me . . . Ignoring God . . . in pursuit of what I thought would make me happy.
As a young woman, everything I learned about relationships was by making mistakes, instead of listening to wisdom. Many times I chose to take the advice of my girl friends, or to follow the examples I saw portrayed in movies, instead of doing what I knew was right. This was a painful road to travel, and not one I would choose again if I could go back, nor would I suggest this road to anyone.
This is not to say, that along the way those who knew me didn’t share their Godly wisdom, I just chose to ignore it. Always thinking I knew what was best for myself and my own life. After all, who could possibly know better than me, what the best choices for me were, right? Wrong. God always knows better, and He sent loving people across my path with warnings, I just chose not to listen. This is where I say, “If I had only known then, what I know now.”
Today, by God’s loving grace and restorative power, I have been able to find true healing for my brokenness. My heart and mind are at peace knowing that I am forgiven by my Loving Heavenly Father. This has been a long painful process of healing, and something that could have been completely avoided, had I only chosen to listen to God in the first place.
Wisdom is not simply knowing what to do, but actually doing it . . .
When it comes to Love and Marriage, there’s a lot of wisdom we can gain by observing the mistakes of others, praying and asking for wisdom, and listening to the advice of the One who created us.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Truly, the best life advice comes from seeking God’s will for our own lives. His will is simply found in the Bible. True, the Bible doesn’t tell us “who” specifically we should marry, but God does give us wise instruction. When we seek His will above our own, we can never go wrong. Ever!
First Comes Love . . .
God created boundaries for our relationships because He Loves us.
True Love ALWAYS Protects. Boundaries protect.
Love is what healthy relationships are made of, yet many end up confusing Love with Lust.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the LORD out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
God designed man and woman to be joined together for life, and to raise their children to know, love, and honor Him. He knows the choices we make will not only affect us, but our entire family and future generations.
LOVE is . . . self controlled, and not motivated by emotions. Love puts the other person first, and is not pre-occupied with it’s own pleasure. Love respects boundaries, and doesn’t invent ways to try and get around them. Love doesn’t pressure, coerce, or try to manipulate by making sexual suggestions. Love is respectful. Simply stated, Love is willing to stand the test of time and wait for intimacy until marriage.
God Says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
LUST is . . . an intense longing to have sexual desires fulfilled outside of a marriage relationship. It’s a craving for pleasure, filled with sensual fantasies. Lust is seductive, it seeks the temporary pleasure of the moment. Lust is selfish and skillfully manipulates until it gets what it wants, with an unquenchable appetite that desires more. Lust isn’t concerned with boundaries or with what God says about sexual conduct, it only seeks to please itself. Lust is NOT respectful. If ANY of these types of of situations are present in a relationship then lust is the motivator, and not love.
We’ve all heard the phrase “follow your heart” but this is not how God instructs us to live.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Feelings are highly deceptive and can end up leading us down the wrong path, if we are not careful. We should be very cautious when we notice feelings beginning to develope for someone. It’s so easy to begin loving the wrong person, and then to be completely carried away by our emotions for them. Once we are swept away by our feelings, we tend to see this person through rose colored glasses. Feelings do not tell us the truth.
If we follow our heart, we are not using wisdom and we are deceived.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
We are to guard our heart above all else, not follow what our heart feels.
Honestly, this is where I should have listened to the advise of those who loved and cared for me, but I had already put on my rose colored glasses.
Guarding our heart is hard to do, especially once we have already developed feelings for someone. The people we give our hearts to have the ability to influence us, more than anyone else. If the person we give our heart to pulls us away from God, instead of drawing us toward Him, then we are headed down a path which can only lead us to destruction. The sad truth is . . . we don’t see this path clearly once we are on it, because we are caught up in our feelings.
When it comes to Love our feelings aren’t an accurate gauge of the truth, and to marry based upon them is foolishness.
Finding True Love . . .
We’ve all been created with a natural desire for intimate personal relationship. Each of us has a yearning to be truly known and loved. God put this yearning inside of us so that we would desire a relationship with Him.
Our relationship with God can not be replaced with any person.
If we attempt to fill this yearning to be known and loved with the love of another person, we simply will not have the fulfilling life we desire. We will feel an inner emptiness, and maybe even esperience anxiety without even knowing why. This is because God put the desire for Him in us, and it is only He who can quench this desire. God created an order to everything. He says we are to love Him first. When we choose to do this, then we can be sure that He will lead us in the right direction for finding our Happily Ever After.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
If we seek God first, He is going to provide everything we need, even our future spouse.
No one knows better than God, who is the right match for us. After all He created us, and He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. God is Omniscient. He knows who we need now, and who is going to be the best fit for our entire lifetime.
Involving God in our choice is a wise decision. Yes, we may truly love someone, but ultimately they may not be what is best for us, or our future family. Our feelings are not facts.
Then Comes Marriage . . .
Marriage is hard, but being unequally yolked together with someone can become almost unbearable, and this is one reason why God warns us against it. When we begin dating someone, it’s important to discuss what their beliefs about God are, and carefully examine their family’s faith heritage.
”Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Marriage is not just a contract, it is a spiritual union between a Man and a Woman. God says the two become one. To become one with someone who is not believer in Christ, is rebellion against God. When we willfully go against something God has asked us not to do, we do not end with the Happily Ever After that we had hoped for.
Marriage will affect every aspect of our life, until death do us part. If we are unequally yolked with someone it will also affect our children, and all the generations to come. We may fantasize now about what marriage with someone will be like . . . But the truth is marriage becomes a reality very quickly after the honeymoon is over.
Marriage is hard, and if we don’t include God in our engagement period, we are setting ourselves and our future family up for failure.
Before we consider marriage to our special someone, it’s advisable to consider the consequences of the life long choice we are about to make. One way to help us look objectively at our relationship, is to attend pre-marital counseling together. A pastor can help the couple work through any hindering issues, before entering into a life long commitment. This type of counseling will get things out into the open, where the couple can really think about their choices ahead of time.
Having key issues worked out ahead of time, can help ensure a happier more fulfilling union. No one wants to go through a divorce, especially when children are involved. Marriage is for life, not until the fun wears off.
We can “choose” to love anyone, but the “one” we choose is important.
Saving the Best for Last . . .
Sex, before marriage is not God’s design, and if we choose to rebel against Him in this area we will only find ourselves with brokenness.
Today, it’s common for couples to begin having sex while they are engaged, and many even choose to live together before marriage. Yet, this isn’t how God has ordered the marriage relationship, and if we choose to step outside of His boundaries we will only end up causing more harm than it’s worth. We know that sex before marriage is called fornication. Starting off with unrepented sexual sin, is not a good way to begin a secure loving marriage
We honestly can not ignore God on this, and somehow think everything will work out like we hope. Learning self control and restraint before tying the knot, will create a deeper bond and higher level of security and trust.
It’s never to late to get back on track.
God is forgiving. He wants us to have a good marriage. Good marriages produce secure happy families. If we have ignored Him thus far, and want to get things back on track, we only need to turn towards Him and repent. When we do, He is faithful and will give us a fresh start.
“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2
It’s so easy to fall in love, and when we do God tells us that we are to reserve having sex for our marriage relationship only. Sex outside of marriage is based upon lust, not love. When choosing a spouse we should not make choices based upon lust or a sexual experience with them, but instead make the choice to honor the other person, by understanding what God has asked of us. He’s not trying to spoil the fun, but quite the opposite.
God has asked us to reserve our sexual relationship until marriage, so that we can enjoy sex the way He intended, to the very fullest!
”Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4
If we choose to step outside the boundaries God has set, the intimacy we so greatly desire is broken, because it’s not the way God intended it to be. This is something we don’t realize until it’s to late. There’s an immense brokenness that eventually permeates our soul, when we willingly choose to sin against God. Because of this brokenness, unless there is repentance, we will end up falling further and further away from God. We may also try to drown out our feelings of guilt, by drinking or using a substance to numb the pain. These things may creep into a marriage gradually, and sometimes they will manifest years into the marriage.
If there is even a hint of sexual immorality before marriage, my own personal advice is to get rid of it first!
There is no way that we can read the Bible, and convince ourselves that sex before marriage is okay. His Word is crystal clear. His reasons are for our good, and the good of our future family.
If we know what God’s word says, yet attempt to justify our thoughts and actions to ourselves, we begin to allow reasoning to take the place of Godly wisdom . . .
Reasoning is exactly the same thing Eve did in the Garden of Eden, when Satan was tempting her, she reasoned in her mind. We may reason and say that we love this person, and so we want to share this love in the most intimate way possible. Or, that we are planning to get married later on, so it doesn’t really matter when we decide to have sex. We might even reason that everyone has sex before getting married these days, or that we want to make sure we are sexually compatible before we get married.
When reasoning steps in, we need to be highly aware that we are about to fall into sin just as Eve did, and sin always has a life consequence. Always!
“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” James 1:14
Reasoning can numb our conscience. The truth is our reasoning is not truth, it’s a cover up for a lie. The lie says, “There’s no harm in this, I will be fine, this is good for me, I need this.” If any of these reasonings were true, God would have told us it was ok to have sex before marriage with anyone we want, any time we want. But, He doesn’t tell us that at all. God calls sex before marriage fornication and He says that fornication is sexual sin.
Sexual immorality begins with reasoning in our mind, and then we are dragged away by our own evil desire, and enticed to give in to that desire.
“What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come ~ sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23
Sexual Immorality Begins in Our Mind . . .
What begins in our mind can destroy us, and what we value the most . . . Intimacy
Sexual sin is different from any other kind of sin, because it is a sin that we not only commit against God in rebellion to Him, but we also commit against our own body! I believe Satan tempts people more in this area than in any other area of life, because it has the ability to not only cause us to sin against God, but against ourselves as well! It is an internal sin. One that can cause us to loose intimacy with God, and with other people, including the person we are having sex with! Once we are given over to sexual sin, intimacy is lost, unless there is repentance.
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Everything Good is Worth the Wait . . .
Waiting before marriage is never easy it takes self control, but the pleasureful reward we experience later on is worth the wait. By waiting, we also reserve a special gift for our spouse that no one else can ever give to them. It is a gift that is priceless! If the other person does truly love and care for us, they will be willing to wait and do what it takes to protect us from sexual sin. They will not encourage us to follow our feelings, and get caught up in the lust of the moment.
Learning to be self controlled before marriage builds a foundation of good character, and says that we are a person our spouse can put their trust in.
Self control in a marriage, is part of what will keep the marriage secure, once we are married. Trust is key in every good relationship. With out trust the relationship is weak and begins to break down. How much more loving trust will a couple have with each other, if they were able to remain self controlled before they were married. Today, there are many sexual temptations all around us. Learning to be self controlled before we marry, sets the stage for a stronger more secure marriage, just as God intended it to be.
God intends marriage to be a safe haven of security for our children, and the generations to come after them. Today’s culture of anything goes, has broken the family unit apart. Even in families where husband and wife are together, if there is unrepented sexual sin in the relationship, the entire family suffers the effects. The Entire Family!
God designed sex to be pleasureful, yet with boundaries that He created with a specific purpose. Ultimate Intimacy. He set the boundary of sex inside of a marriage relationship so that it may be pleasureful, intimate, and ultimately bind the couple together as one flesh. This secure union, creates a secure family. People who are raised in a secure family, learn to have healthy relationships for themselves. This is God’s perfect plan for each of us.
It is our choice weather or not we decide to follow God’s good plan, or our own lusts and desires.
God’s forgiving grace . . .
For anyone who has stepped outside of God’s boundaries for sexual relationships, it’s not to late. God is a God of forgiveness, and second chances, but we must humble ourselves before Him, recognizing our sin and humbly ask Him to forgive us. Then, we must turn away from that sin, and sin no more. When our hearts are repentant before God, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and wash us white as snow. Through Jesus, we have forgiveness and can be reconciled to God through faith.
Contact Me: If you have any questions, please always feel free to comment, or contact me privately at: firstname.lastname@example.org