Young Relationships and Parental discernment.
by Mark Farnon....................................................
This brief study is definitely aimed at young people who desire to pursue relationships with the opposite sex that involve feelings of love and attraction. It is aimed specifically at those young persons who are without life experience and maturity.Generally aimed at those under the age of 18 and in particular, those who are brought up in Christian homes with parents who seek to honour the Lord in all things.
Notwithstanding these specifics, there is a benefit also to a more general audience.
This message can also help any person contemplating relationships with the opposite sex.
First of all, I would like to mention the all too obvious tragedies of our present society.
Divorce, abortion, sexual immorality, youth suicide, single parenthood and a multitude of other related realities that are ever increasing in our midst. These situations produce broken relationships and ruined lives. No one can dispute these things. Read.2 Timothy 3-1
That being said, it is with conviction that we as Christians do not play the ostrich about these matters and should therefore be most diligent in the addressing of these situations, and therefore we should be at the helm of offering positive and responsible actions which aim to provide and prevent such tragedies in our midst. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Of all people, we who profess faith in Jesus Christ, have been given the mind of Christ to discern and provide remedies to such social disasters. 1 Corinthians 2:16 Sadly, we are not thinking critically about such matters and as such fail to responsibly teach our children. It is sad to see many such Christians surprised and shocked when their own children become sad statistics to these ever present realities.
I remind Christian parents that your children are precious gifts from the Lord, and as such you are required to be responsible stewards of their lives.
It is our responsibility to teach and guide our children, Proverbs 22:6 but many today are allowing the world and popular opinion to be their tutors. This should not be so.
I write with a genuine concern to help address the often-tragic situations that young people get themselves into, due to the influence of the World and peer group pressure, as well as the natural feelings of entering into young adulthood.
As Christian parents we should give our attention to such things with great seriousness. It is our God given responsibility to teach our children about life.
Many parents have been victims of these tragedies themselves in their own youth 1Corinthians 6:11
Do we love our children enough to be firm and warn them of such feelings? Sadly, many Christians today are not thinking through these issues and the results are the same as what we see in the world. Broken relationships and hurt individuals.
To be loose about such issues is to court danger and be caught up in the spirit of the age. Ephesians 6:12
Let us love our children intelligently and seek the Lord’s wisdom in such matters.
To simply assume that our children will be protected from harm is sheer folly and lacks biblical discernment and responsibility. John 10:10 If we err on such issues let it be on the side of caution.
The alternative is everywhere to be seen. Statistics are real people, and the statistics are ever increasing at an alarming rate.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
When we try to instruct from God’s word we must do so with the fear of the Lord.
What is this fear of the Lord ?
Let me simply suggest that it will lead us into much wisdom and knowledge and enable us to be spiritually discerned.
- Job 28:28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’"
- Psalms 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
- Psalms 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
- Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
- Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- Proverbs 1:29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
- Proverbs 2:5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
- Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
- Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.
- Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.
- Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.
- Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
- Proverbs 16:6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.
- Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.
- Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.
- Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
- Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
In the subject of Human relationships the Bible has much to say. We would be wise to study it.
In the ordinary course of life, how do members of the opposite sex come to establish a relationship.
And when the Bible speaks about Relationship, What is it? And how can it be pursued?
How are we, as Humans supposed to go into a relationship. What type of a relationship is it to be?
What emotions are involved? Are we to be careful and disciplined about such relationships?
Are we to be ruled by our hearts?
God answers all of these things both in his word and it is even written in our conscience.
As the conscience becomes hard to the truth of God we see the result in the very world around us.
Broken relationships, Divorce, Sex before marriage, relationships of convenience to satisfy each other’s desires, rather than true biblical commitment and Love.
Let me get to the practical issues.
We humans enter into relationships for the very same reasons that God does. What do I mean?
God tells us that all relationships of love and attraction between the opposite sex are for the purpose of union that lasts for eternity, and not to be broken, and as such a picture of that Great Spiritual marriage between Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as his bride. This is a great mystery of Love and sacrifice. Ephesians 5:32
The Scriptures use this very language.
Our views of relationships and marriage must be understood by this relationship between Christ and his Bride, that is all believers.
The understanding we get is for us to teach to all men and not just believers.
Here is the biblical teaching on this subject.
A relationship that is formed or is forming between two people of the opposite sex, who declare a mutual love for one another must always be viewed as that which leads to marriage. No other relationship in Scripture is encouraged.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Eph 5-31
This does not mean that relationships between friends of the opposite sex are not real relationships.
They are a different kind of relationship. They are friends without the feelings of love that leads to marriage.
Sometimes this type of relationship can develop into the biblical ideal of relationship.
A man goes out and looks for a wife. In other words he freely chooses his bride. The bride is taken in by the man and falls in love with him. It is the man pursuing the relationship not the woman in the first instance.
That is why the whole history of mankind has generally been this way, except in those countries where they rejected the God of the Bible and decided to force people to marry or practise arranged marriages.
That is why we men say that women play hard to get! It is the man’s role to pursue his bride. This is the way Christ himself seeks his bride. It is not the bride seeking Christ.
We need to be God centred in our thinking as Christians.
Today in this man centred world the opposite is true. Women chasing men. It is called the new morality. The progress of women. The empowerment of women. Women open their own car doors, pay for their own meals, and pursue their partners.
In all this they have been told that this is women’s liberation.
It is a Satanic lie and not of Christian origin. It does not give liberty to women. It brings dishonour to women.
No man truly respects a woman who makes the first moves. It is I believe dishonouring for a woman to act like that. It may be old fashioned but it is biblical.
An incorrect view of men and women in light of how God created them is at the heart of these problems. Christians today are putting aside these God ordained roles of people. God knows best, but we are beginning to think and be influenced by the world, which in its rebellion against their creator thinks to be wiser than God.
How many abortions are because of this behaviour of women? How many children do not have fathers by this behaviour? I know some of these people personally, and they are both in and out of the Church. This so-called “new morality” is destroying relationships and destroying the biblical teaching on Marriage and family. Even the church does not see this clearly. Modern statistics are frightening on these issues.
This new morality is not of God. It is of the Devil and humans.
The right way is our Lords way.
We have this wonderful freedom to choose our partners and yet we rebel against God doing the very same thing!
There is no more fiercely fought thing than the idea that God can elect a people for himself and leave others to themselves. Yet we do this in marriage!
He chooses his bride. He chooses his people. We give this right to sinners but complain when God, who alone is holy, does the exact same thing!
Alas this is another subject for another time.
And those people, Christians, are knocked off their feet at his pursuing and choosing us. We can say the same as any wife on the earth, we love him because he first loved us.
Because he pursued us. He melted our hearts. This should be the confession of all earthly wives of their husbands. If it is not so, it should be so. I believe you can see this love in the marriages of unbelievers and certainly in the marriages of Believers more so.
And to us husbands, we need here to be imitators of Christ who is our model of what it is to be a HUSBAND. May God give us strength to be such.
Much could be said about this grand subject but let me just hone in on my purpose for this brief study.
We need to know what relationships are. What is their purpose? To take serious these things. To be wise about these issues and not lazy or indifferent.
What about young people?
Do not simply be led by your heart on these issues. Do not be deceived into pursuing such relationships without knowing the mind of the Lord on these matters.
There is no Scripture that even hints about relationships of love between young people in this context. It is God’s will that we try to be mature in our understanding about such important issues. These ideas about young sincere love come more from the writings of men such as Shakespear and the like, not from Scripture.
To be young is simply to not have this mature understanding due to lack of experience in life! This is not to offend young people, it is simply stating the facts. It is therefore the God given responsibility to your parents to advise such things and for you to be obedient to their instruction.
Young immature love is not biblical love and the young people one-day will know this. Does that mean we simply let it run its course and stamp approval on it?
It is therefore necessary to advise and hinder such situations with the person’s best interest at heart knowing that it is the gracious mind of the Lord on the matter.
The young might say, well if it is harmless then why not just leave it alone?
It is just a phase! It is harmless! It will come to nothing!
Well, here is the heart of this message.
Love is not just some mushy kind of feeling that is harmless. Sentiment and emotionalism can lead to moral weakness. What we initiate leads to action. Action leads to situations and sometimes these situations end in despair and shame etc.
True love, biblical love comes at a cost.
The greatest love in the entire world cost the Son of God his life upon the cross.
The apostle Paul tells those who would follow Christ to count the cost of being Christians.
If we do not discipline our feelings by the standard of Gods wisdom, then we will walk in our own ways and our own understanding, which is SIN. A great offence against God.
If we call ourselves Christian, then I would suggest that we put our Love towards him instead of towards our own selves and our own hearts. This is one of the costs of being a true follower of Jesus Christ. You have a future yet to live! Live it wisely and seek to be in no hurry to enter into relationships that require maturity and patience.
It is natural for our self-esteem to be warmed, but do not be ruled by our hearts which often deceive us.
At such a young age we need to be instructed by parents who seek the Lord about these matters. This is a blessing that will reap rewards in your own future and hopefully in your own children’s future. This has not been happening in these last few generations of parents and now even of Christians who should know much better.
Ignorance is not innocence and neither is it bliss.
Think critically Christian parent, and cease from being influenced by this fallen and dark unbelieving world.
For your children’s sake I implore you to be mindful of these issues. Don’t simply say that The Lord will take care of these things. This is a problem amongst Christians who will not be responsible in these areas. We do commit these matters to the Lord but we also must act positively with what we know to be true. To do otherwise is to be willingly ignorant and careless and lazy.
The guiding principal that separates those who would follow Christ and the world and its brokenness and complete disobedience is the Love of God shed abroad in our hearts.
This love should propel us into action. Love is never passive, either in the one giving it or the one receiving it.
Unfortunately many parents today are passive and the balance needs to be restored.
I see today such an attitude of apathy being displayed not only in the World but in Christ’s holy Church as well. It grieves me greatly to see this.
Let the Lord give us much understanding on these issues or we may just become a statistic. Again I say this. Let us err on the side of caution and be vigilant.
Our children will one-day be most thankful. It may seem tough but it is truly wise.
Mark Farnon 2003
A father of five who needs much wisdom from the Lord and much help.
If we ask him for wisdom he will give it. We should seek his glory in these matters.