Relationships: A Challenge to Young Men (Girls can read it too:))- Part 1

“…each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter” -1 Thess. 4:4. 6a

Ok! So today, I’m (random- I think that’s the longest title for a post on our blog ever) diving in to something a little different for this blog…and I’m leading it off (so I know you’ll read it!) with the most “interesting/complicated” category for us at our current stage of life. 😉 And the things in this post apply to about every kind of relationship…I’ve just chosen to focus on this specifically because I keep seeing things that remind me of it and how we as Christian young men need to work on it. 🙂

Here goes- so, guys, how do we treat other girls/young ladies, especially those who are saved by Christ? Not the “door holding” or “letting them go in front of us in line” that we do. That’s definitely part of it, but how are we doing on the levels that make the most impact and carry weightier consequences? How do we relate to them? How do we act around them? How do we see them?

We are giving them the wrong messages and we need to step our game up.

How do we see people of the opposite gender? It’s more of a natural tendency than anything that the first thing we notice about anyone (male or female) is how they look. It’s just one of those “initial scans” you do when you meet someone for the first time. But after that, what? Our culture puts WAY too much of a focus on outward appearance, and we (guys) are often the leaders in promoting that. We must learn to see people the way that the Lord sees them. We must see the heart: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b) The Lord looks at the heart. It about breaks my heart when I see a girl who is trying so hard to look good on the outside because she thinks that is how she will gain acceptance. The truth is that that is what the culture has told her, and she isn’t being told differently by anyone else. Guys, we need to take that back. Especially for those who profess Christ, we must show them that “charm is deceitful and beauty vain, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” We must show them that their acceptance comes from Christ, not from the friends they have. We need to look at them by Christ’s standards, and I bet that when that happens, fewer young women will feel defined by the world’s standards. We need to be the leaders (and no- I’m not saying we can’t look good. ;), just saying that as long as we give young women the impression that that’s all that matters, we’re pointing them away from Christ.).

How about in how we relate to them? The older we get, the more important it becomes to guard our hearts against anything less that Christ’s best, and this includes everything from our desires to our thoughts. It also encompasses, to some degree, the emotions of other people. How are we, as young men, doing in regards to helping young women save their hearts for their future husbands? Might we be going too far in a relationship with someone to whom we have no intent or desire of being married?

Here’s an illustration. Mary gives part of her heart to John. Then, a year later, Mary gives part of her heart away to Jack. Finally, after a couple years, Mary gets married to Jimmy. But what’s the problem? She’s already given parts of her heart to John and Jack. She doesn’t have her whole heart to give to Jimmy. Not only has she been “cheated” (defrauded in 1 Thess. 4), but Jimmy has been as well.  Each time you give a piece of your heart away to a different person, you have that much less of your heart to give to your spouse when you get married! What if, by our actions, we’re encouraging young women to give away a piece of their heart? We’re defrauding them and their future spouses. That’s what the world does. We need not do that. (And also think about how you would like other guys to treat your future wife. That always gets me thinking!)

We need to be modest. Yes, in dress, but more importantly in how we act. We need to be men after God’s own heart. We need to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. With everyone, we need to be pointing them to Christ. Defrauding them and encouraging them to focus on worldly things is exactly the opposite. And to be honest, there is nothing more beautiful than someone who is chasing after God’s heart. That goes for us guys as well.

Guys, it’s time. The culture is doing things one way. We need to do it the other. We need to be the light. We need to be the salt.

I’ve heard people wonder why there are so many young women these days who do things that aren’t respectable, that aren’t God’s best. And my response is this: we need to be like Christ. When we start treating our sisters in Christ like our sisters in Christ, they’ll be challenged to raise their game up as well!

The ball’s in the air. We need to grab it.

In Christ,

Christopher