"Hmmm ... is he/she the one?" might be the most-pondered thought in America.
Songs like "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Bublé or "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" by the Moody Blues bring hope, but then it's back to facing the mirror, wondering if and when that day will come. Also, secretly watching shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette may enhance fantasies, but then consciences are pricked watching participants cheapen themselves as the guilty think, "I'm never going to get sucked into that again."
Pew Research just released findings on the dangers of dating apps, which are increasingly seen as an avenue for finding one's "soul mate." Thirty-five percent say they've been sent sexually explicit messages or images they didn't ask for; 28% have been called offensive names; 37% of online dating users say someone continued contacting them after being told to stop; and threats of physical harm are a brutal reality especially for younger women (18 to 34).
I am a man of God/cultural commentator and not a dating/relationship coach, but I'm here to tell you that the commentaries and podcasts this week and next week are going to help you immensely if you approach them with a humble and obedient heart. Stay tuned and stick with me for a transformative experience.
The Most Important Decision
The most important decision you'll ever make in your life outside of your commitment to Christ is your choice of a life partner. From 50 years of ministry experience interacting with thousands who are single, I hope I can help you navigate through this area and avoid heartbreak and failure.
I'll share this in two installments so you have sufficient time for reflection and conversation with other like-minded singles. Part 2 comes next week, and you'll derive maximum benefit by reading both and listening to the podcasts. Also to be upfront with you, this is a biblically informed presentation, not a pop-culture perspective.
Proverbs and Maxims Mold Lives
In 900 B.C., King Solomon, considered one of history's wisest individuals, compiled a book of life-transforming proverbs. A favorite of mine that shaped me on a pathway to success, peace and prosperity is this pearl of wisdom: "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed" (Prov. 13:20).
To make a great burrito, you need the right ingredients. The same goes for successful people. It's essential to hang with the right friends; focus on the whole person (spirit, soul and body); cultivate good habits and discover and develop your God-given gifts.
It's critical you understand three maxims of life. For decades I've encouraged people to post these on their mirror or refrigerator to help them stay focused. Someone once said, "Life is a combination of amnesia and déjà vu," so it's smart to remind yourself of what's really important.
—Life is a series of choices.
—Choices have consequences.
—Choices determine destiny.
Michael, Marilyn and Freddie Mercury
How I wish I could've had the opportunity to sit down and share some of these insights with individuals like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and multitudes of other multitalented celebrities whose lives ended prematurely. Megastar Kristen Stewart currently plays "free spirited" actress Jean Seberg in a film revealing her immorality and eventual suicide at 40. Tragically they fell short of God's best for their lives, but you don't have to.
There are dangers on the road ahead, and you need to be street smart as to what's going down. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).
We live in a time described in the Bible where "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judg. 21:25b). Deception and seduction abound.
Attractive, affluent and articulate "cool" celebrities, high-profile athletes and politicians lead millions from truth onto paths of compromise, ending in confusion, regret and destruction. You don't want that to be you!
The Great Renunciation
If you are single, I invite you to join scores boldly declaring "Jesus is my Lord!" and making "the great renunciation." These spiritual revolutionaries are radical and completely serious. Just days ago, the new heavyweight boxing world champion, six-foot nine-inch, 254-pound Tyson Fury, declared to the world immediately after his win: "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior!"
They're unashamedly embracing biblical patterns with God's rewards as opposed to cultural practices with their fallout
Twenty-five-year-old pop star Justin Bieber spoke frankly for the first time about his near-death experience in his just-released documentary, Justin Bieber: Sessions. Seduced into smoking marijuana at a time when legalization is pushed, along with heroin and meth, led to dependency on "everything" where he "felt like I was dying ... My security would come into my room at night to check my pulse. People don't know how serious it got. It was legit crazy scary. I was waking up in the morning, and the first thing I was doing was popping pills and smoking a blunt and starting my day. It just got scary."
Thank God Justin engaged in much-needed renunciation as he was beginning to "crash and burn." He was then able to recalibrate his life under God's guidance and godly friends. Soon thereafter, just as God brought the woman to the man in Genesis, He provided the world famous artist with his beautiful and virtuous wife.
The Great Affirmation
"With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, as an act of intelligent worship, to give God your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remake you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed. Thus you will prove in practice that the will of God is good, acceptable to Him and perfect" (Rom. 12:1-2, PHILLIPS).
Following a healthy renunciation of ideas and involvements leading to potentially destructive practices comes the positive step of affirmation.
The great renunciation comes first: You make a quality decision to not allow the values, standards and trends of society as the basis for your decisions in life.
Then you embrace the "great affirmation." You make that same quality decision to commit your life to Christ and unreservedly embrace God's playbook of `precepts and principles for all areas of your life.
These are deliberate decisions. You confess Jesus as Lord of your life and believe He was raised from the dead as you put your total trust in Him and His finished work on the cross. You then begin the adventure of a new life centered in Jesus, not just renouncing worldly ways but affirming the ways of God. You don't have to understand everything but you begin to trust God who created you and has a destiny for you to fulfill.
"For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11, MEV).
The Person I'm to Marry
God's plan encompasses the person with whom you're to spend your life in marriage centered in His will and your divinely inspired desire.
Billy Graham remains one of the most influential and iconic leaders in all of Christendom. The turning point in his life came when as a student, he placed his Bible on a tree stump, renounced doubt and unbelief, then affirmed to God that while he didn't understand it all, he would receive it by faith and obey all it reveals.
Billy went on to change the world.
When the girl he was convinced he would marry turned him down ("I felt as if the stars had fallen from heaven.") he didn't go into a tailspin but continued trusting and serving God. By his pleasing God and persevering, the Good Shepherd soon steered a beautiful young lady into his life. Billy eventually proposed to Ruth after asking her parents for permission to marry. They celebrated over 60 years of covenant marriage.
Direction for Dating
The very day I finished the first draft of this article, I received an email from Prager University, which has over 1 billion views of their five-minute videos addressing relevant issues from a biblical and historical worldview. The title was confirmation that I was tackling a topic extremely needed today: "Dating: Don't Waste Your Time."
The title was provocative, although it wasn't about disregarding the practice of dating but that it be purposeful not follow current worldly trends. It reinforced what I'm putting before you to renounce conformity to cultural standards that are selfish, sexual and siphon off valuable time.
Here's the deal: Jean Paul Getty, one of America's richest men, married and divorced five times then finally said, "I would give all my wealth for one happy marriage." If you'll let the Good Shepherd guide you as you renounce the unscriptural practices of the world and affirm His life-changing plan, watch how He'll help you with this most important area of your life.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). and he has a variety of resources on his website (see www.larrytomczak.com). You can also hear his weekly podcast here.
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