Going All the Way
Finding the Two
1 Corinthians 3:18
Welcome to week number three of “Going All the Way.” This is a series that will give you a refreshing perspective love done God’s way. We’ve been looking at what it takes to for relationships to go the distance. In the first week we talked about “Finding the One.” Not finding each other. Finding the One.
Let’s review a key principle from the first week. You want to be fulfilled in life you have to find the One. You have to find the One. Who is the One? Jesus is the one. To be fulfilled in life you have to find the one. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33. If you want to have massive doses of courage, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, comfort, security, and affection then you need the one. Jesus is the only one who can give you massive doses of this without limit. You must find the one.
Last week I brought in my in-laws Tom and Mary Hunt because they have modeled this in their relationship so well to me and Lisa. Over the years, I have seen them disagree on issues, have good times and bad times, stressed out times and happy times, and through it all, they have always had the one, Jesus Christ, first and foremost. They are an incredible model of keeping Jesus at the center.
Today I want talk about finding the two. Let’s do this. How do you find the two? Let me tell you a story that is very common today. . The story often goes like this: Once upon a time, boy meets girl. Boy thinks girl smells good. Boy thinks girl looks good. Boy asks girl out for a date. Girl giggles and says, “Yes.” Boy takes girl to a restaurant. Girl orders expensive meal. Boy panics. Boy pays anyway. Girl asks boy to her apartment. Boy goes to girl’s apartment. Boy and girl go in. Boy and girl sit down on sofa. Boy looks goggly-eyed at girl. Girl looks goggly-eyed at boy. Boy tilts head to the right. Girl tilts head to the right. Boy and girl kiss. Boy and girl like each other. Boy stays the night at girl’s apartment. Boy and girl start doing married things. Even though boy and girl aren’t married, boy and girl live together. Try out marriage. One day, boy meets another girl. Dumps girl. Breaks girl’s heart. Girl rebounds with another boy, and does this over and over and over again. One day, boy meets special girl. Girl meets special boy. Boy and girl marry different boy and girl. Ten years later, they are all divorced, and they all wonder, “What went wrong?”
That is obviously an over simplification but you have to admit there are a lot of common elements in that story to what happens today. Well, what went wrong? How about boy and girl do married things, even though they are not married. So, what happens in many people practice getting married and then when things don’t work out go through this practice divorce. And they have done it many times. Is it any wonder then when times get tough in a real marriage that divorce is always a very real option? Something they have already practiced for years?
What about married people? Married people. Here’s another story. You get married. You start this life together. You start your careers, you get the mortgage, you start sharing the bills. You start having a family or you may have children from other marriages. You get stuck in a rut of paying the bills, taking care of sick kids (no one told you kids can take the magic right out of a marriage!) and you get stuck in this life where you just kind of exist together. Maybe in your empty nest you started all over again. Then an issue comes up relationally, or financially, and your just not connecting or communicating anymore. As time goes the spouse feels more and more unappreciated and the husband feels disrespected. And you wonder, can we ever find each other again? It’s no fun and it hurts so bad. You get angry and controlling, manipulative. You think, “This isn’t what I signed up for,” but you settle cause you don’t see any other option. You never thought marriage could feel so alone. Again, an over simplification but it resonates on all kinds of levels.
For many couples, normal is drowning in debt. What is normal when it comes to relationships? Divorce or practicing marriage. Or staying together for the sake of the kids. A good motivation, but it’s less than God’s best. I don’t want what is normal for you. I want what is best for you and so does you heavenly Father who loves you very much. Today I’m going to present some ideas to you that are out of the norm- and that’s because they are better than the norm. Look at this scripture, 1 Corinthians 3:18, “If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.” “If you think you are wise…” If you think you know it all. If you think you are wise by what? What? By the world’s standards. What does it say next. If you think you are wise by the world’s standards then you need to become what? A fool. Really?
You need to become a fool according to our culture to be truly wise in God’s standards. Pay attention to that principle. Are you ready to act a little foolish today? To play the part of a fool?
If you are going to follow what we are talking about today a lot of people will say you are a fool. They will say you are acting foolishly. God’s standards are foolish. You may think that isn’t the way I was raised. That’s not what I was taught. That’s exactly the point. So, if you are tempted to say today that’s foolish you are getting the point. I’m going to give some thinking today that is incredibly different from our culture. What we have with God is a higher standard, a better standard. We will not conform to the standards of this world.
Three areas we are going to look at today. The first area is you. The first area is this: I will have a higher standard on who I am. Too often we think of the other person having this magical ability to fix you. We hear phrases like, “You complete me.” Or she helps me be a better person. That works up to a point. At some point in finding the two you must start “adulting” and take responsibility for yourself. Popular culture tells us your mate should take responsibility for your problems and shortcomings. God says take responsibility for yourself.
Too many marriages have problems because of Mommy issues, money management issues, anger, bitterness, deceit, or other childhood issues. Give your spouse an incredible gift and don’t bring all those issues into your marriage. You need to handle your stuff.
How can you start handling your stuff? Colossians 3:8 teaches us to “Rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Don’t bring that junk into your relationship. Deal with it. Don’t believe that your spouse’s grace to you makes it ok. You owe it to them to deal with it.
If you are a Christian, you have a great advantage here. Look at this scripture, “He (Jesus) gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” Titus 2:14 As a Christian you are a child of God and have God’s power residing within you through the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave his life to set you free from anger, malice, rage, and filthy language. He died to cleanse all of that from your life. Your spouse’s grace doesn’t make it ok, but Christ’s grace does! When I see people get baptized I always enjoy the look on their face as they come up out of the water. Before the baptism they are always very serious and dour, but when they come up they’re free, smiling, almost a look of astonishment comes to them. That spiritual weight is lifted off of them! They are set free! Christ’s grace set you free. When you allow Christ set you free then you can be totally committed to doing good deeds for your spouse! Get this- you would love for your lover to be that way- so why don’t you be that way?
As a Christian you have the power to put that nastiness behind you because Jesus conquered it and you now have His love to live by- not the past hurts, angers, and failures. If you want your spouse to respect and appreciate you then that starts by you taking the respect and appreciation Jesus give you and giving it to your spouse. If you want security, compassion, and comfort you take the comfort, compassion, and security you have in Christ and give that to your spouse. In short, through Christ, you start being the spouse you want to have in your life. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The righteous are as bold as a lion.” Will you be bold? Will you take the love and grace Jesus has given you and give it to your spouse? Will you be the spouse you want in your life first?
The second area says I will have a higher standard on what I do. For some of you that includes on what I will NOT do. First, I will have a higher standard on who I am. I am a Child of God. Secondly, I will have a higher standard on what I do. I Peter 1:14-15 says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do…”
Ever notice how in church we are tough on the guys? We talk about their ogling eyes and lust and stepping up and being the spiritual leader in the home. All true stuff, but many times we can let the ladies off easy. Not today. You know, when you are wearing that tight stuff, everything hanging out, singing, “Praise Jesus.” Really? You think you repressing Jesus? The Bible says women are to dress modestly in such way that it brings praise to God. And not in the attitude of “whoa! God put her together well!” Does the way you dress suggest moral purity? Why? Because God is much more interested in men being attracted to your heart and person and not your body. Beauty fades. Your heart grows over a lifetime. Our culture boasts beauty over character. God does the opposite.
Did you notice that in the verse I read where it said, “Lives in ignorance.” It’s like you’ve never thought about it that way before. Never saw it from that perspective. Maybe today, God will change the way we think. Notice the rest of the verse, “Be holy in all you… do.” That includes relationships! Holy means pure, unstained. Perfect. Complete. In means to be holy you have to decide ahead of time there are some boundaries you will cross or not cross.
Let’s play a little game. Real fast. I didn’t make this up. Someone else did. It’s called appropriate. It’s simple to play. If you think it’s appropriate you say, “Yes, appropriate.” If not you say, “No, no, no, inappropriate.” Imagine, say after church today, you see me talking with a lady not my wife and you overhear us say stuff like, “Of Kirk you so funny and wise. And you look good in that shirt.” And I say back, “Hey your cute too. How’d you like to meet for dinner tonight and come to the house. No one is home tonight.” And she agrees, “I think that’s a God thing! I would love too.” Now how many of you would say that’s appropriate, to go out on a date with a woman who is not my wife and invite her home? Inappropriate!!
Okay, what if Lisa tonight comes up to me and says let’s watch a movie and go on a date. And we go out and have a wonderful time and we spend the night together. You would say appropriate.
Now, why was the first part inappropriate? Well, Kirk you are married to Lisa. You are devoted to her and you reserve that stuff for your marriage. Why was the second part appropriate? For the same reason.
Question: If those things are inappropriate for me outside of marriage today, why is it appropriate before or after marriage? Have you ever thought of it that way? Have you ever considered having sex outside of marriage as adultery, if you are truly committed to the one you will be married too? Do not pursue the wisdom of this world. Let God change the way you think. Be holy, pure, in all you do.
The third area is I will have a higher standard on what I expect. I will have a higher standard on who I am. I will have a higher standard on what I do. I will have a higher standard on what I expect.
Some marriages in here are struggling. You’ve lost what you once had. You don’t love each other anymore. In Revelation Jesus says, “Repent and do the things you did at first.” If you want something you once had you have to do what you once did. One of the big things couples earlier in their relationship do is dream. They dream about vacations, kids, growing old together. What if you spent time dreaming again?
Look at this scripture, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20 God is a BIG dreamer! God wants so much more for your relationship than you can even imagine! Say it loud, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”
What does mean for me as a Husband of Lisa? It means I’m willing to lay down my life and serve Lisa and Christ served the church. I am to seek mutual submission, respect and honor, and presenting her holy and blameless before Jesus. That’s doing more than just keeping the peace at home.
Ladies, sweet ladies, why do you date a bad guy? Why do you say You don’t know him like I do? Listen, you are a Christ follower and that means you are not in the people changing business. Jesus is. You are special. God wants someone who will lay down their life for you and serve you. Why settle for less than God’s best?
Those of you who are married. God can save your marriage. Do you think God is big enough to do that? Even if you are in a happy marriage, do you believe God has better things in store? You show me any two people, who are submitted to God, and I will show you a marriage that continue to grow and renew repeatedly. So many people settle for a less than marriage. They settle. God is a God who makes all things new. Never settle for less than God’s best. Never settle for less than God’s heart.
God’s ways are foolish to this world. The good news is when you become a fool to the world you become wise to God- the one who created relationships.