This series, I hope, though specifically focusing on relationship, will serve as an invitation for all of us to seriously ask the question: “How do I glorify God with … (fill in the blanks)?” We must realise that we are simply stewards of everything good that God has given us. God has put us on earth and He has blessed us with many things in order that we enjoy them and use them in accordance to His purpose. So, if I want to know the answer to ‘How do I glorify God with my relationship?’, we must first ask what the purpose of relationship is to begin with. Why does God give us that attraction to someone? Why does God give us the desire to be with someone? What is the purpose of such desire? Deviating from the purpose means not bringing God the glory. On the other hand, fulfilling its purpose does bring pleasure to God.
So, what is the purpose of our relationship?
Today’s society will probably say that our relationship is simply for fun. We don’t need any purpose … as long as we are happy, as long as we have lots of fun together. The purpose is perhaps to have fun and to have all the benefits of having a guy or a girl as our constant companion. However, that is not what God has in mind. It’s not that God is against happiness and fun. However, that’s not what relationship is intended for. From the beginning, God created us male and female, and God gave Eve to Adam so that they are united in one flesh (Gen. 2:24). God gives us the capacity to be in love, the desire for intimacy with someone, and the longing to be with someone. They are good blessings, and they are all designed to point us toward marriage. On earth, marriage is where those desires are fulfilled. Therefore, the purpose of our relationship is to get to know each other in order to ascertain whether or not we want to commit to each other in marriage.
Yes, you are right when you say that there are no relationships (or datings) in the Bible … at least not the kind that we know of today. In fact, the kind of relationship that we know of today cannot be fathomed even by people who lived a couple of centuries ago. That is because the kind of dating or relationship that we know of today is heavily influenced (and some are tainted) by the youth rebellion and the sexual revolution that happened a bit more than half a century ago. Now, I am not saying that all relationships today are sexually charged and born out of rebellion against authority. That’s not what I said. But we have to realise that the way we do relationship today is not what it has been from the beginning.
Now, am I saying that we all have to do what the people of the Bible did? Yes and no. YES in the sense that relationship must point toward marriage because that’s what it is for. NO in the sense that we don’t have to copy exactly what they did. After all, human beings have unique experiences and the Bible records rather diverse ‘relationship’ experiences of different individuals. Eve was given to Adam. He had no choice, but he did not have to choose because Eve was perfect for him. Abraham sought Rebecca for his son, Isaac, and when Isaac met Rebecca, he loved her. Isaac did not begrudgingly marry Rebecca. Jacob ran away from his family to his uncle’s place. And when Jacob saw Rachel, Jacob fell in love with Rachel. He decided to pursue her and he had to work seven years for Rachel’s dad to prove his salt, during which he must have taken time to get to know Rachel. Joseph and Mary were betrothed for some time before they were married. That indicates some period of getting to know each other. Those are only a few. So, if you think that every marriage in the Bible is arranged and people got married as soon as they met, then you would be wrong.
Having said all that, my point is simply this: God gives us the desire to want to pursue (or be pursued by) someone because God wants male and female to experience emotional, physical, and spiritual intimacy in marriage. That kind of intimacy reflects the intimacy that God has in the Trinity and it reflects the marriage of Jesus and His bride – the Church. Therefore, the way we use that desire must be accordance to His purpose. Everyone who embarks on a relationship must have the attitude that they are working towards marriage, not simply having fun with one another without any possibility of commitment. Because our marriage is supposed to reflect Jesus and His Church, therefore, one of the ways we glorify God with our relationship is by not toying around with each other and by intentionally growing in love and commitment towards marriage.
Now, am I saying that all relationships must end in marriage? Not at all. It is absolutely fine to break up and to decide that both of you are not suitable for each other. However, this renewed attitude towards relationship will definitely affect the way you choose your boyfriend or girlfriend. And we will save that for the next post. 🙂
- HELP! I am in LOVE (Part 1) – Is falling in love biblical?
- HELP! I am in LOVE (Part 2) – Is dating biblical?
- Is there such thing as biblical dating?