Late getting this posted but last week at WNW was week 3 of our relationship series called "Silly Little Love Songs". We began the night with a worship set that included: "Tell the World" (Hillsong United), "Sovereign Over Us" (Aaron Keyes), and "Hosanna- Praise is Rising" (Paul Baloche). Between two of the songs I showed this video on the topic of how do you know you are in love and had a quick discussion surrounding it.
I began the message with a quick recap of the series so far and talked again about praying for your future spouse like we did the previous week. I made the point that hopefully you are beginning to see that what you are praying for your future spouse is what you should also pray for yourself. As I heard Andy Stanley put it "Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?" The answer to this should be yes. More than searching for the right person you should be becoming the right person. We looked at this more specifically on not being someone you really are not by settling or compromising.
The silly little love song for this week was "As Long As You Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys. They lyrics we focused on was in the chorus: "I don't care who you are, where you're from, what you did as long as you love me". If you back up to the verse they says something about "loneliness has always been a friend of mine". So the point that they are getting at in this song is that they want someone to fill the empty void and it doesn't matter what their past has in it. Too often this is the way people are. They are lonely and want a relationship so badly that they lower their standards to be in one. I do not mean that you abstain from forgiveness, because Scripture commands us to do so. However I wanted the students to see that they do not need to lower their standards or be someone they are not in order to have a relationship.
We looked at the life of Samson like we had in the first part of this series. We looked at a few of his terrible relationships. In Judges 14:1-4 Samson sees a Philistine woman and decides he wants to marry her so he tells his parents to go get her to be his wife. First of all if you tell your parents to go get you someone that you just spotted so you can marry them, then I hope your parents smack you in the face. That is just silly. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First of all the Philistines were their enemies. Secondly he makes the statement "get her for me, for she looks good to me". He obviously was not concerned with who she was as a person, but only on her appearance. He was marrying an unbelieving foreigner which God had forbid in Exodus 34:16 and Deuteronomy 7:3 because their unbelief would lead them astray. Finally it was the tradition that the parents would arrange their child's marriage, not the other way around.
Next we looked at Judges 16:1 where Samson meets up with a harlot or in other words a prostitute. Then he goes on to meet Delilah (Judges 16:4-21). This is another example of Samson's standards being low. He did this time and time again. Was it for love? Well the Bible does say that he loved Delilah, but I believe it was a blind love. The other times it certainly was not for love though. Not only did Delilah's withholding of the truth lead to Samson's demise, but the fact that he settled and lowered his standards also led to his demise. You can't compromise or settle just so you can be with someone and feel loved. If you settle and compromise and that person accepts you for it, that DOES NOT equal love. In doing so you put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. I shared a story about myself in high school. I had dated a girl for a few months and we broke up. I then almost dated another girl that I was friends with. She was nice, pretty, great personality. However she had a past that was not what I wanted to be a part of. I felt like she was interested in making a change, but she was still showing tendencies of these past sinful behaviors. Thankfully we never ended up going out because I could have possibly put myself in a dangerous situation. At this point I told the students that there is nothing wrong with being picky in their relationships. It is completely ok to set the bar high and not settle for less than the best.
So why can this be a dangerous situation? First of all 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 tells us to not be married to a nonbeliever. This does not mean to completely disassociate with nonbelievers because if we do that then they will never hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. However we are not to be married or even date them because more than likely they will bring you down. The language used "unequally yoked" is using the example of a wagon being pulled by two different animals. One will pull the other one down. If it happened to Samson and even Solomon then it will happen to anyone. Also Proverbs 13:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:33 tell us that we will be negatively influenced by them if we associate too closely. Often people think that they can change the person they marry, but that almost never happens.
So if we know the dangers, what are some of the warning signs?
1) You don't know where they stand in their relationship with Jesus?
If this is the case then ask them. If you are unable to ask them, then the relationship is going to fail because of a lack of communication anyway.
2) Their life shows no signs of Jesus or is completely against Him.
3) The direction or path that their life is going in does not line up with the direction or path that your life is going in.
Does not mean that you have to go to the same school, declare the same major, take all the same courses, go into the same career, and work in the same company. However if you see that their life direction does not match yours, especially in their walk with Jesus, then it is a sign that you have lowered your standards.
4) You pretend to be someone you are not when you are with them.
If you start to act and even talk differently when you are around them. If you try to impress them constantly then you are lowering your standards. When this occurs then you begin to be tempted to do things that before were not even an option to you.
5) When you hope that the people you care most about do not know what you have been doing.
Proverbs 6:27-28 tells us essentially that if you play with fire, then you will be burned. I know myself because I have scars from actually playing with fire as a kid. If you begin to compromise in some areas, then you will begin to compromise in others. But 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us to stand firm in Jesus Christ. We stand firm in our convictions. I got real serious with the students at the point and really challenged them to stand strong and to never compromise. To the girls I told them that a guy is not worth it and he does not love them if he tries to get them to compromise. To the guys I told them that the girl is not worth it and does not love them if she tries to get you to compromise. Do not throw yourself away for something that is not love. I told them that they ARE loved even if they do not feel it. They are loved by me and every adult volunteer. Even beyond that God loves them so much. That love is so great that we should not compromise our standards or lower them to be accepted by someone because that acceptance does not equal love. I love how the end of verse 58 says that "your toil is not in vain in the Lord". This means that when you stand firm for what you believe in that it is not for nothing. It is to help grow you in Christ during this preparation stage of life. God wants you to know that He has someone better.
We ended the night with a prayer time. I challenged the students to make a commitment right now to never lower their standards and to never compromise. I challenged some that may see that the relationship they are in is a compromise and that they need to end it. Finally I challenged those that may have already compromised to confess to Jesus and be forgiven. Then make a fresh start and commit to never compromise again.