A Christian's Guide To Relationships

A Christian's Guide To Relationships

Don’t compromise and be like the rest of them.
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The pastor at my local church has been preaching a series that talks about gender and marriage, and how modern culture has distorted God’s image of these two topics.

I’ve found these past few Sundays at church very interesting and his sermons very different from what I’ve heard preached before. You can find his sermon here , it’s worth a listen. It’s satisfying to hear what needs to be said, to feel in touch with other believers, and to know that Christians have not forgotten to stand up for biblical teachings even as we live in this convoluted culture.

This week I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned from this particular sermon. I’m no stranger to having difficulty in relationships just for being the "Christian one" and always refusing to compromise my “radical” beliefs. The lessons to take away from this series on relationships are endless and each leads me to ask other questions and search for more answers in the Bible. But here are a few points to note and they may help young Christians live in this world when biblical teachings are definitely not popular:

1. Sex isn’t casual.

What stops a hookup? No consent. It’s great that society has placed such a high value on both partners verbally consenting however, consent is the only boundary recognized. Culture demands society to do what makes you feel good but only if you both say yes.

That’s what society says but, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6: 12, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” Then Paul continues in verses 18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Even Paul lived in an immoral culture. Even he had to present this message to them. As humans, we have the right to make our own decisions and decide what we want to do with our bodies, but not everything is right in God’s eyes. Our bodies are compared to “temples” because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts. We shouldn’t live as the ungodly do. God declared sex before marriage immoral, it’s just society that has deemed casual sex acceptable.

2. The Bible only recognizes two relationship statuses, married and single.

The culture during the time period in which the Bible was written differs from modern day, dating didn’t exist yet then, so the Bible wouldn’t mention this phrase at all. That doesn’t mean dating is bad, but there is no direct guidance from the scriptures in dealing with this thing we call “dating.”

Despite this, here’s what my pastor says, if you aren’t married, don’t do things that married people do. He says, “Don’t do permanent things with temporary people” because when we do, things get very complicated.

3. Marriage reflects our union with God.

“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” Ephesians 5:31-32. Divorce wasn’t meant to happen. Yet it has and now we live in a time when marriage isn’t valued as highly as it should be. In marriage and in consummation, you become one body, one person. You are a unit.

God explicitly outlines His image of marriage and gender roles. Don’t let the world confuse you. Being a young Christian in modern culture presents a challenge. Dating is hard when people you come across don’t share your nonconforming beliefs but don’t give in to temptation. Trust that He will direct your path, and lead you to someone who shares your beliefs and values. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”




Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.
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Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry - what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.


Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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The Separation Between Church And Political Affiliation

My religion should not define my political affiliation, and vice versa.

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I was raised Catholic, but time and political awareness raised me to be a passionate feminist, social justice advocate, and progressive Democrat. While the Catholic church and its followers have historically aligned with conservative political stances, I have continued to remain Catholic despite my own liberal opinions. And I'm sick of people telling me I can't be both.

I am pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage, and yes, I know this flagrantly violates the Church's teachings. But I believe Catholicism is about faith and not politics. I believe God would want me to live my life, in memory of Him and the sacrifice He made so that I could sin and be forgiven. I believe that if I were to get pregnant through rape or an irresponsible mistake, God would not want me to sit around, telling myself this was His plan for me, but to take control of my life so that His son's crucifixion was not in vain.

I believe God loves all His children, no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. And above all, I know that there is not a sin in the world for which God would not have mercy and grant forgiveness and understanding. I believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. I believe God's son, Jesus Christ, is our savior. I believe in Heaven, Hell, and the Holy Spirit. And I believe God's teachings can be interpreted in more ways than one. The Bible contains arcane stories with lessons and guidelines to live a Catholic life, but the "rules" of the Church are created by the believer, Democratic or Republican.

My parents were married in a Catholic church by a Catholic priest. I was baptized in the Catholic church. I attended a Catholic school of religion once a week for eight years. I received my First Communion, and five years later I was confirmed and became a full member of the Catholic church. I have always bubbled in "Roman Catholic" as my religion on standardized tests. I know all the Ten Commandments. I attend Mass as often as I can. I pray in times of gratitude and hardship. And I attempt to follow God and his teachings every day.

Identifying as Catholic is ingrained in my person, and it is as second nature to me as identifying as Asian. And although I believe Catholicism has become stuck in a regressive past which prohibits change, the old opinions of the Catholic church do not change my faith. I have had friends, with the same political and social views as I, denounce their Catholic upbringing or convert to more progressive branches of Christianity, but I could not imagine ignoring the religion I was raised with.

Catholicism has history, holidays, traditions, and stories and lessons that are perceived by every follower differently. But that does not overshadow the brother and sisterhood we are bound together by. My liberal Democratic beliefs do not make me any less of a Catholic, and it's time we recognize that, with the right attitude, harmony can be found between religion and politics.

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