Whilst listening to a sermon by Pastor Michael B. Kelly entitled, “How to Stay in Love”, he asked the congregation a question that stood out to me:
“What has your love produced?”
During my teenage years in particular, I was exposed to every kind of relationship.
I didn’t have to be personally involved in them to be exposed to them, and I saw many variations from my friends, to my family, to complete strangers. What I was seeing stood out to me during those years of my life, primarily because I was beginning to learn what it meant to actually be in a relationship. I remember times where I would long to be a part of the trend, and other times where the way people around me were acting would put me off the idea completely.
That’s the incredible thing about the way we are- we learn based upon the environments that we are exposed to. Now, this learning experience may not always be a pleasant one, but it will ultimately determine your understanding. This is why the division or differences that you face in the home, can end up determining the way you conduct yourself in and towards relationships. It is important for you to develop an understanding that will help you move forwards constructively despite your past.
I want you to take the time to consider something now:
When you were younger, and began to develop a genuine interest in the opposite sex, what were your reasons for wanting to enter into a relationship?
You might find that you need to think long and hard, or you maybe you just can’t answer such a question. Regardless, the reason I want to focus on your experiences then rather than now, is mostly due to that fact that your understanding of relationships then was still in it’s infant stages of development. Many people never progress from this stage, which is why dysfunctional relationships are so common. When relationships began at that age, they most probably started with someone saying “he fancies her”, or “she fancies him”.
You might smile at this because you can relate to hearing such a saying. Some people would describe such comments as ‘cute’, or ‘sweet’. But I want to go deeper than that. I want to look at the fact that Satan has done an extremely good job of twisting the very purpose of relationships, so that we are exposed to experiences that cloud our judgement long before we even develop an interest in the opposite sex.
Verb- feel a desire or liking for
Noun- 1. a superficial or transient feeling of liking or attraction
2. the faculty of imagination
Synonyms- desire, urge, wish, want
I desire him… I have an urge to be with her…
Notice how all of these definitions are based on self. It even goes so far as to say the feeling is “superficial”! So in other words, it only appears to be real until examined more closely. Nothing exists below the surface of what is taking place. Love is mentioned nowhere here, and it is clear to see how selfish this term really is when placed in the context of a relationship. Imagine, God Himself has asked us to put self aside, yet all we see around us are examples that directly contradict this.
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4 22-24 (NKJV)
As children, we were restricted with the things that we could and could not do, but the older we became, the more we learnt and therefore became capable of doing. In the same way, when we remain in the infant stages of understanding relationships, we restrict ourselves from experiencing them the way God designed them to be.
So let me round this up by asking you two questions that address those of you who are in a relationship, as well as those of you who are single:
What has your love produced?
What will your love produce?
Make your relationship your ministry.