Monday I wrote about 5 principles for students as it relates to giving. Tuesday I was out all day for a student ministry event, so today is a BOGO kind of day! You already had the BO, now time for the GO.
This post is 5 principles for relationships. Typically when we hear that word we think puppy love boyfriend/girlfriend kinds of relationships. And this post is intended to speak towards that. But beyond those who we spend our time with is an incredibly important thing, because those we put ourselves around have a big impact on who we are.
- Those closest to you need to share your faith – It’s great to have non-Christian friends, and to have non-Christian good friends. But the ones you let the closest to you, the ones who know you better than anyone else, the ones who you depend on the most, they need to share your faith. Those closest to you have the most influence over you, and you over them. So you need to develop friendships on this level that push you to godly living and accountability.
- Your parents need to be a part of your friendships – I say this as nicely as I can, if your parents don’t know who you’re spending time with and don’t know their parents, you’re in sin. You’re not honoring your father and mother as you should. They have a responsibility to watch over you, to shepherd you, and to help you grow until you become an adult. That means they deserve to know who you’re spending time with, what you’re doing, and when you’ll be home.
- If you’re going to date, avoid missionary dating – I’m not a huge fan of dating, I think the way we see it done is nothing more than glorified divorce practice. I’d encourage parents to think about putting parameters on dating relationships, and I’d encourage teenagers to consider putting that on hold until they’re ready for marriage. I get it though not everyone agrees with that. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “do not be unequally yoked,” and he’s talking about marriage. I’d extend that to dating too, because you’ll marry who you date (at some point).
- Choose your friends carefully – There’s an old Western from when I was a kid called Lonesome Dove, and there’s a part where the main characters catch a group of horse thieves and decide to hang them. In the group they discover an old friend who’d gotten mixed up with the wrong company. Before they hang him, they tell him “You ride with them, you die with them.” Be very careful who you choose to really spend time around, if you’re not careful there’s a whole criminal category called “accessory.”
- Do not sacrifice your love for Jesus for any other person – No one is worthy of your worship other than Jesus. And I don’t mean to think that any of you will build a shrine to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Although I’ve seen that before! What I do mean is that you’ll find your identity in that person, rather than finding your identity in Christ. And ultimately, every relationship we have (even a marriage) is a poor substitute for what the Bible describes as our “union with Christ.” I’m happily married and love my wife more than my life itself. But if I find my primary identity, purpose, and direction only in her (and likewise if she does the same for me), eventually the dumb idol will show itself for what it is.