Relationships With the Opposite Sex - A Biblical Approach
by Lawrence Farlow
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Before we can even think about entering into a romantic relationship with a woman, we must be sure our PRIMARY relationship is where it should be. Our relationship with God must take precedent over every other relationship in life.
Consider this verse from Matthew:
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
First and foremost the success or failure of all relationships in life is determined by what our relationship with God is like. If our relationship with God is growing, obedient and submissive, then our relationship with others is likely to be healthy as well.
Secondly, our motivation for entering the relationship must by right. Consider these scriptures:
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:25-31)
Notice that we’re to do everything that we do in order to bring glory to God! This includes our relationships with the opposite sex. If we are pursuing relationships with women for any reasons other than these, we are outside the will of God.
Notice in the Ephesians passage above the reason a man gets married. We become 'one flesh' with a wife in order to bring glory to God. To relate to our wife sacrificially as Christ does to the church and to present her to the Lord one day without spot or blemish, not to satisfy our own selfish desires.
Remember, a relationship with a woman is not a way to obtain self-esteem, contentment, personal fulfillment, happiness, etc. Only God can bring us lasting contentment and a sense of who we are. If we look to a human being to do for us what only God can do, that’s called idolatry. Only when we are in a position to minster to and give sacrificially to a woman are we ready to pursue such a relationship.
Also, the relationship also must conducted within God’s parameters. This means, first and foremost, it must always be with another believer.
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? (II Corinthians 6:14)
For the Christian, ‘dating’ is not an end unto itself, it is a prelude to marriage. Some Christian authors even refer to it as ‘courtship’ rather than ‘dating.‘ There is no Biblical model for a romantic relationship between a man and a woman that does not lead to marriage. That’s not to say we must marry someone just because we ‘date’ them, just that ‘dating’ as an end unto itself is a purely worldly concept. Therefore, we should not ‘date’ anyone that is not someone we could potentially marry, i.e. who is not a Christian.
Another of God's parameters is that it must be a non-sexual relationship until marriage.
1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (I Timothy 5:1-2)
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (I Corinthians 6:18-20)
Oftentimes we get hung up on the sexual aspects of the male/female relationship when we don’t need to. We sometimes worry/wonder if we would be sexually compatible with a woman we’re interested in pursuing marriage with. That’s not something we need to be concerned about until the time is right for such things. Worrying over something that God says we shouldn’t act on anyway is counter-productive and could even lead us into sin in an attempt to deal with our curiosity or fears.
Remember, we aren’t men because we are ‘successful’ (as the world defines it) with women, we are men to the extent that we are obedient to God!
Notice this verse about Joseph:
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25, emphasis mine)
It takes a much more mature man to say ‘no’ to his passions and let Christ rule his life than to give in to them and be ruled by them.
So, make sure your motivation is correct, make sure you're pursuing the relationship for Biblically sound reasons and commit to conducting the relationship in a Biblically sound manner. These are the first steps to having a fulfilling relationship with the opposite sex.
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Great article. We need more of this material.
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