The Christian Church – Understanding the Trap of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement – Relationship Between Singles – Godly Dating- A New Self Image for the Believer – 14 of 15

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The Christian Church - Understanding the Trap of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement - Relationship Between Singles - Godly Dating- A New Self Image for the Believer - - 14 of 15

#Discipleship #Christianity #Immorality #Trap #Entrapment #Sex #Adultery #Fornication #Relationship #Emotions #Entanglement #Purity #SexualPurity #SexualObsession #Obsession #Addiction #vulnerability #immorality #affair #Marketplace #rejection #loneliness #dating #Couples #Marriage #divorce #separation #Emotions #Pain #intimacy #SingleDating #ChristianDating #GodlyDating

Subject – The Christian Church – Understanding the Trap of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement – Relationship Between Singles – Godly Dating- A New Self Image for the Believer – 14 of 15

Check out this two videos 8 and 10 minutes each…enjoy!

  • 6 Reasons Why Many Christians are STILL Single!

Why are you still single even though you have the desire to be married? Our society glorifies marriage and family and it can be devastating for those who have the desire to be married to remain single. In this video I share 6 reasons why you’re still single and how you can prepare yourself for marriage if that’s what you believe God has for you.

And

  • My Deepest Struggle as a Single Christian Woman // Dating & Marriage

I almost didn’t upload this for the fear of embarrassment. I’m not qualified to give dating advice but I am qualified to give my opinion and share my experiences.

OTAKADA.org content count 2,115, 879

Sunday, 24th of November 2019

Blog link: https://www.otakada.org/relationship-between-singles-dating

Nuggets of Wisdom –

“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”

― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“Jesus didn’t come to save us for Sunday services, He came to redeem our everyday.”

― Bethany Bell, On Being Single

“If we want to have and enjoy such Christ-centered intimacy, we need to get married. And if we want to get married, we need to pursue clarity about whom to marry. We don’t pursue clarity by diving into intimacy. The right kind of clarity is a means to the right kind of intimacy, not the other way around. Careful, prayerful, thoughtful clarity will produce healthy, lasting, passionate intimacy. Any other road to intimacy will sabotage it, leaving it shallow, fragile, and unreliable.”

― Marshall Segal, Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating

“Let us crush these so-called biological clocks that give us nothing but fear, and encourage us to make stupid decisions. Let us crush these biological clocks that hurt us and rob us of the fabulous lives that Jesus died to give us. These clocks that not only hurt us, but hurt many generations after us.

It is time. We need you.”

― Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid

“…Singles, too, must see the penultimate status of marriage. If single Christians don’t develop a deeply fulfilling love relationship with Jesus, they will put too much pressure on their DREAM of marriage, and that will create pathology in their lives as well.”

Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

“I had struggled so hard and so long that I had simply exhausted myself, only to find that God had all the time in the world to wait for me to allow Him to free me.”

― Michelle McKinney Hammond

“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love…but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”

― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

Key verses for Today:

Luke 8:1-3

Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, pro­ claiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out ; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

Matthew 5:27-32 Message

Adultery and Divorce

27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.

31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

Matthew 7:21-23 The Message (MSG)

21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

Matthew 15:18-20 The Message (MSG)

16-20 Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 The Message (MSG)

11-12 These are all warning markers—danger! —in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

Exodus 20:14 –17

14 No adultery.

15 No stealing.

16 No lies about your neighbor.

17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

Introduction

Dear friends, second to the fin al episode on Let’s Talk About Sex – Understanding the Entrapment of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement.

In this series, we explore the following:

  • Relationship Between Singles
  • Godly Dating
  • A New Self – image

Enjoy, apply and share —–

Relationship Between Singles

Godly dating

Evaluate where you are.

The first thing to do is to evaluate your relationship with Jesus Christ. Is He first in your list of priorities, or are you hoping for a special someone to come along to answer all your needs?

Maybe the Lord is saying that you need to work on your relation­ ship with Him and that perhaps you need to wait a while to enter another relationship. Or perhaps you have not given yourself enough time to heal from a past hurt. If you are hoping fora new relationship to take away the pain of an old one, chances are you need to wait before becoming involved again. Allow Christ to heal you. Don’t depend on another person to do it.

‘When you are secure in your relationship with the Lord—aware that He alone can meet your deep needs and trusting in Him to do just that—then you may be ready to take the risk of beginning a dating relationship.

Decide your behavior before involvement.

What are your personal standards for a dating relationship? Have you even established any specific ones? If you don’t have some guidelines established ahead of time, it may be difficult to start them after you get emotionally involved.

Each of us must examine his or her own heart before the Lord. We must be willing to submit to what He dictates. Once again, the key is to put the relationship with Him first. Then we will see more clearly  what is acceptable and what is not.
If our relationship with the Lord is not our top priority as it needs

to be, we are in great danger of slipping below any bibl ical standard of moral conduct. The temptations of the flesh are too strong to be combatted with a list of “do nots. ” The stronger the relationship with the Lord before we begin dating, the better we will be able to see clearly that moral purity is a blessing meant for our protection.

Much has been written about the physical limitations Christians should adhere to when dating. You can read advice covering the whole gamut from absolutely no physical contact to what is referred to as “responsible petting.” There is universal agreement among Christians that sexual intercourse is always wrong outside of mar riage. The biblical standard, of course, is that sexual contact and fulfillment must be limited to marriage.

There are no pat answers. Some people can enjoy some physical contact and not be stirred to a point where they will lose control. A kiss may be a warm, affectionate expression of love and caring. For others, a kiss is the beginning of a fire that they may not be able to control.

Once again, rationalization can be a danger. We may justify considerable sexual contact because we are going to marry the per­ son. Or we think we can become involved to a deeper level physically because we love the other person. But do these things make it right?

Right behavior before the Lord is moral purity. Biblical moral purity means that sexual activities are limited to the arena of marriage. A person must decide for himself or herself what specific activities are sexually provocative. Is kissing okay? Is a little more than kissing okay? Is no contact at all the only appropriate behavior?

Why not simply state what God’s standard is? Because I believe that the central issue is our relationship with Him. If that is being wholeheartedly pursued, godly relationships will be a byproduct. This may seem like mental gymnastics, but I think the distinction is important. If we have a list to live by, we can easily change or justify that list when temptation arises. If, on the other hand, we have a valid relationship with the living God and we seek first to please Him, we will have more motivation to live a pure life.

There is an old saying, “When in doubt, don’t.” As a genuine relationship with Christ grows, so does one’s discernment. When we walk in spiritual unity with the Lord, we experience a sense of His pleasure. The more we walk with Him, the more we become aware of the security that we are in the center of His will. In the same way, when we begin to falter, we will sense His displeasure.

If you begin to feel an uneasiness creeping into your dating situation, look closely to see if there is any behavior that may be displeasing to the Lord. Sometimes we call this “conscience.” I prefer the word “discernment.” If you discern some unrest—that something is not quite right—you should be open to the possibility that you are displeasing the Lord.

A telltale indicator of too much physical involvement is justification. “We aren’t hurting anyone”; “It wasn’t too much involvement, so it was okay”; “It only happens once in a while.” When these kinds of rationalizations slip in, watch out. When in doubt, don’t.

The complexities of adult dating

Even as adults, our emotions still behave much as if we were still teenagers. We need to be aware that although we may feel like we did at sixteen, we now face many issues we didn’t as teens.

Very often there are ex-spouses, children, and two whole life times of different experiences between two dating adults. If you have been alone for any length of time, there is also a sense of independence that now clashes with another person’s independence.

As we enter dating relationships, we need to determine what we are willing to change and what we are not. If we marry at twenty-five, there aren’t many habits that need changing. At forty-five, there are years of establishing certain habit patterns that now suit us, and we may not be as willing to change. This can cause problems in dating.

Time – Biological clock…

You may sometimes feel that you are running out of time because of your age. It is important to realize that no matter how old you may be, you have all the time you need. Your time is in the hands of the Lord. You need not rush ahead on some manmade deadline.
The flip side of this coin is to recognize when time is no longer a

factor. I have known some couples who have dated for several years. They keep talking about marriage, but never make the step. The familiarity of such close relationships could easily slip into immorality.

We live in a “couples” society.

To further complicate the already difficult struggle to maintain a biblical morality, our society reinforces a “couples” world: If you are normal, you are part of a “couple.” According to these standards, it certainly doesn’t matter if you are married or not, or even if it is a man and a woman who comprise the couple. A large part of a person’s identity is just to be going with someone.

In the Christian world, the implications of this mentality are strongly felt. There is an underlying insinuation that if you aren’t dating, there is something wrong with you.

Relationship with Christ

A close relationship with Christ must be the priority of your life. There will be a tremendous temptation to continually daydream about your new relationship with another person. I know this one well because I do it well. My mind can be almost totally consumed with thoughts of how to please, how to improve myself, how to be more feminine, etc.—which takes up a lot of energy and diverts my attention away from the Lord.

But keep-the Lord first. Keep Him first because it pleases Him, because it is the obedient thing to do. Keep Him first because He will bless your new relationships as a result.

Dating in a godly fashion is an enormous challenge. You will often feel like the Lone Ranger. There is much compromise in this area of the Christian community. Decide today to be different. Decide to make your life before the Lord conform to Scripture, not to the standards of the day.

If this area of your life is ungodly, you cannot expect to be blessed in other areas. As committed Christians, we simply cannot afford to let this dating standard slide. The move from “thoughts” to “involvement” happens all too quickly.

A New Self -Image for the Single Believer

We constantly put people in boxes. For example:
Are you married or single?
Are you an outgoing temperament or a quiet temperament? Are you a “dominant initiator” or a “responder”?
 Are you conservative or liberal?
Are you up or down, in or out?

The result of labels

There can be some positive benefits as a result of better understand ing yourself in terms of your temperament. It can be fun to know what colors look best on you. In the work arena, you may be able to improve your working relationships by better understanding your leadership style. And, doctrinally, we all tend to align ourselves with a church that adheres to familiar interpretations of Scripture.

But what kind of emphasis should we and other people put on our marital status? How should we respond when someone makes more than a passing comment on whether we are married or single? labeling or categorizing people leads to a preoccupation with self.

Marital status, of course, greatly affects our lives, roles, response bilities, and image of ourselves. But our error is when the view of self becomes negative because of singleness. Paul was a strong proponent of the single state, and there are numerous others. Their singleness did not, however, determine their self-worth. Neither did the married status of others determine their self-worth.

What has happened?

Most of us live in a “couples” society. Our society evaluates people based on a number of criteria, including with whom they are coupled.

If you’re single and not dating at all, there’s an unspoken attitude of “What’s wrong with you?” When enough people start asking you why you aren’t married, you may find yourself asking the same question: “Why am I not married?” The answer may reflect deep feelings of inadequacy.

If, on the other hand, you are single and dating, then who you date becomes the focus. The typical questions asked are, “What does he (or she) do for a living?” and, “Is he (or she) a Christian?” Women ask other women what he looks like. All of this is normal, but unfortunately the emphasis is on the externals.

Our value system has fallen into line with that of the world. If you are alone, there must be something wrong. If you are with someone, it needs to be someone that the world would deem successful.

Our images tend to come from role models. In most churches today, it is difficult to find godly role models who are single believers. Leadership in churches is generally occupied by married believers. That’s okay. We don’t want to qualify people based on their marital status at all, so married is as good as single. But there just aren’t many singles in leadership roles. There are more within the singles minis tries of churches, but, again, that’s usually because they are single.

There is also the controversial issue of whether a divorced person should be in a leadership position at all. If people are prohibited from leadership because of divorce, they still have the opportunity to be a role model by virtue of their relationship with the Lord.

Somehow, we need to come to the point of viewing ourselves as whole and complete people based on our relationship with Christ and not our marital status.

Women: biblical model, and church model

What about biblical role models of single women? Mary and Martha were sisters from Bethany. We read of Mary pouring perfume on the Lord and wiping His feet with her hair. We see the two sisters as they interact with Jesus at the death—and resurrection—of their brother, Lazarus.

Mary and Martha believed in Christ. Here is an example of Martha’s faith in action:

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. …”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:21-27)

Mary and Martha were women of faith. It did not matter if they were married or not. If they had been married, the account might only have been different by describing them by their name and the name of their husbands. None of their personal qualities were based on their marital status. Their character is described in Scripture by their relationship to the Lord.

Many other women played key roles in Jesus’ ministry:

Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, pro­ claiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out ; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3)

Joanna was married, and the others were not. It was of no issue whether they were married or not. The only thing common among these women was that they were helping to support Jesus and His disciples out of their own means.

Paul on his visit to Philippi met Lydia, who proved to be another woman of faith:

One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:14-15)

Paul and Silas indeed returned to Lydia’s house to meet with other believers.

In Romans 16:1 16, we see that Paul sent greetings to a number of people. Many of them were women, none of them mentioned by marital status.

When the Bible mentions women (and men), it identifies them by their relationship to the Lord or to the apostles. It talks of their hearts or their ministries. A woman was often mentioned as the wife of her husband, as was the custom of the day. We still do that today: “Mrs.” followed by her husband’s first and last names. It did not then, nor should it now, denote anything specific about the woman’s character or worth.

I am not making a case here for the role of women in leadership. I am pointing out that when women were mentioned in Scripture, it was not emphasized whether they were married or not. They were not

complete or incomplete based on whether or not they were married. Contemporary churches have a role model for the Christian woman that is almost always presented as that of wife and mother. They consider the classic Scripture passage on women to be Proverbs 31, which describes a woman who is married and has a family. But

where does all this leave the single woman?
In Isaiah 54:5, we read, “For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.’’ What a full life for the woman who takes the characteristics of the woman in Proverbs 31 and applies them to a relationship with the Lord! As for having children, there is such a crying need for spiritual mothers (and fathers) within the Church that the single woman need never look far for someone to nurture.

We need to turn a deaf ear to teaching that suggests that a woman is not complete without a husband. We need to turn to the Lord and His Word, and find that total completeness is possible with or without a man. At the end of this chapter, we will look at how we should balance the desires of wanting to be married with the reality of being single.

What about the account of Creation where God brings woman into existence to be a partner with man? How does this square with Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 7:8? “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry. . .What happened between Genesis and 1 Corinthians? What God intended for Adam and Eve was tarnished by the Fall. Because of that earliest sin, we live in a world that will always struggle with proper relationships. None of us, married or single, experience the perfection that God originally intended.

So, the issue is not whether we should marry or not, but that we should live obediently. Obedience includes living a morally pure life. If we are single, we are called to live a life of chastity. If we are married, we are called to live faithfully with our mate.

Our wholeness and completeness before the Lord is not deter­ mined by marriage or singleness, but by a relationship with Him that puts Him first.

Adam was not worth less in the eyes of God without his wife, Eve. The faithful women mentioned in many passages of Scripture were not worth less in the eyes of God because they were single. Our worth is established with God—not because of anything in us, but by His Son.

Our self-image, our self-worth, should not be dependent on our status in this world, but only on our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

To have a godly estimate of ourselves does not mean that we will feel happy all the time about whether we are married or not. It does mean that we can become aware that we are valuable people in God’s eyes regardless of our marital status. In fact, the very fact that God did send Christ to intercede for us validates our worth in a way that no other means could accomplish.

Men: world model, biblical model, church model

The role model for men in the world is a real potpourri. While women are moving in the world from the kitchen to the boardroom, men are moving from the boardroom to the gay communities, to “do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want.”

The macho image still exists, but it is challenged daily. It depends on the circle in which you travel as to what is the ideal. Married or single seems almost totally irrelevant. Unlike women, men are not viewed as having something wrong with them if they are not

married. Now if they are over forty and have never been married, then they may fall suspect to having some deficiency. Because homosexuality is now so commonly accepted, the never-married male is still more accepted than the never married female.

Rather than by marital status, the world seems to judge men by the amassing of wealth. There is a popular slogan that says, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” While the collecting of material things is the major preoccupation expressed in this slogan, there is also a sexual aspect to this lifestyle of hedonism.

Celibacy is not lifted up as a lifestyle for men in our culture. The world does not place worth on men according to their married or single status, but it does assume that some kind of sexual expression is being lived out. So, while the emphasis is not on the sexual habits of men, there is an assumption that unrestricted, but “safe” sexual conduct is occurring. The world simply does not understand a single man who does not engage in any kind pf sexual activity—unless he is a monk.

As with women, the biblical model for men was based on their relationship with God, not their marital status. In Scripture, men are sometimes identified as being married, but that is never an issue in the description of their character. When Jesus was calling the disciples, He identified them by profession: fishermen, tax collector, etc. (Matthew 4:18,9:9).

As already mentioned, Paul made a strong case for being single. He gave plenty of room, however, for the institution of marriage. Does the Genesis account mean that man is not complete without woman? God said that it was not good for man to be alone. Perhaps in most cases it is better for us to have the strength of two together—but it is not an issue in determining our self-image, or self-worth. A man who is unmarried is of great value to the Lord because of his relationship with Christ.

Men in church leadership are usually married. However, single men have an opportunity to display a godly role model by the visible evidence of their relationship with the Lord. A single Christian man who lives a celibate life can be a great encouragement to all the men around him, especially the single men. Because so few single male role models exist, there is a great need and opportunity for godly men to strive to be an example.

A biblical view for men and women today

Have you ever made any of these statements to yourself?

• “1 will do this for the Lord—until I get married.”
• “I want to get married, so I will do this ministry until the Lord

brings someone along.”

  • “I’m not dating, so I know I must be doing something wrong.” 

  • “Surely God intends me to be married.” 
Maybe God does intend for you to get married in the future. Maybe not. The focus is not whether He will bring someone along or not. The focus is what He wants you to do with your life for Him now. Not now until you get married, but now and until He changes what exists now. 


 We all have a calling before the Lord. If we fill our minds with thoughts of being married versus being single, chances are that we will never hear that call. We will become so preoccupied with our­ selves and our wants that we will miss the call of the Lord. And to miss the call of the Lord means to miss the most rewarding and fulfilling life possible this side of heaven. 
We need to determine our moral standards, put Christ first in our lives, and go on to pursue Him and what He wants of our lives. Our worth is not even based on our fruitfulness in ministry. Our fruitful ness is a reward for service to the Lord. Our true worth, once again, is in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. 


 Questions for reflection and application:

  • Have you learned something new today in this study? What is it?
  • What would you apply and when?
  • Who would you share this information with as a mark of fellowship and equipping of the Saints of Jesus Christ to aid in their pilgrimage work here on earth?

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord God, for today’s message/study, help us to nail down what we have learnt and the wisdom to apply as you provide the needed grace for the willing heart amongst the singles. Help us to think outside ourselves, to think well of others and to share what we have learned to those who need it so dearly, in Jesus name, amen

Shalom!

Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe

E – Discipleship @ Otakada.org

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