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Restoring Love: A Few Last Words

To take a look back on Restoring Love, click here!

A Few Last Words

As we bring “Restoring Love” to a close I want to share a few last words about how the pillars and the example of Christ should impact specifically how we date. If our defining characteristic is love and dating is pursuing the one you’ll love for the rest of your life, we should value dating well.

Now, if you haven’t watched the last series this may be a little confusing, so I highly encourage you to go back and revisit those conversations. We left off discussing how God wants to have a full relationship with us, actually a relationship that’s overflowing. We talked about how we often will compromise one of the four pillars (or jars) to pour into something that doesn’t hold water; sexuality, power, success, being envied. God calls us, however, to something better, to live a full life experiencing a full relationship with Him. When that happens it changes almost every aspect of dating.

I want to take a second to talk through some of those implications. This isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully it’s helpful. I’ll start from the most obvious and move toward the more subtle.

Understanding the Pillars changes what we look for.

This is the most obvious. Rather than pursuing the person who’s the most successful or most attractive, we prioritize character. We pursue someone who honors their commitments and is committed to people not just projects. We value spiritual chemistry and intellectual chemistry not just physical and emotional chemistry, and we pursue people who are willing to be known and live in real community with others. I won’t spend more time on this as we talked about it at length.

The Pillars change what we develop in ourselves.

All of us are working to attract others. We all do it. We all do it in different ways. Some of you may say, “No, I’m not interested in being attractive!” You may not be interested in looking good, but you are interested in being attractive. You want people to like you. Maybe you use humor. Maybe you want to be liked by people who don’t like people, so you work to attract them and show how anti-people you are. Everyone does it. The question is what do you want to be your defining feature. What makes you attractive? When you understand the example of Jesus it changes what you want to develop in yourself to attract others.

But no one is attracted to the pillars.

Not true. People who are working to develop character, commitment, holistic love, and intimacy will be attracted to people who have them. You will attract the people who care about the same things. This is a fairly consistent principle in life. If you go for power, you will attract people who care about power. Good luck with that. If you go for sexuality, you will attract people who care most about sexuality. It’s not difficult to understand. If you work to build the pillars in your life you will attract people who care about loving the way God loves.

Are there many who are actually attracted to that? There are more than you think, and the whole reason we did this series is to help us all move in that direction. Are you one of them?

Where do I find them?

Church. The best place to find someone who values the example of Christ is church. The best way to find someone who wants to love that way is to get busy (maybe not the right wording) loving that way as part of Jesus’ family. Ana and I connected because we were engaging ministry together not because we were looking for someone else. Begin serving and start paying attention to those who are as passionate about serving as you are. It is absolutely the best way to develop the pillars in your life and to see them demonstrated in someone else’s life.

I can’t date someone I go to church with.

If that’s true, you’re dating the wrong way. I used to tell staff members who began to date, “I want you to know, if this goes wrong and only one of you can attend this church, it won’t be you.” I wanted them to handle themselves in a way that would allow the relationship to end without it being impossible to be in the same room together. The pillars actually make this possible for several reasons.

  1. You value character. This means you don’t date to take from one another but to make one another better. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, but it’s not devastating. I often hear people say, “that was a complete waste of my life” as they exit a relationship. Why? Did you not help each other become better? Unfortunately, we often don’t, but when you understand and value the pillar of character it changes what you want for them and what you’re working to show them.

 

  1. You keep intimacy and commitment linked. Usually when the breakup results in no longer being able to see one another again it’s because they broke this principle. They allowed themselves to become physically intimate when they weren’t committed in marriage. I know “Friends” taught you that you can sleep with all your friends and still be friends, but they couldn’t have lied more if they tried. Don’t test it, the principle always holds up. Once you allow physical intimacy without commitment (real commitment, marriage, not I REALLY like you) you make the future extremely difficult if the relationship doesn’t last.

 

  1. You value spiritual chemistry. You care about how they are growing! I can’t tell you how many times people will start to date or get married and pull back in their involvement. It shocks me. Why aren’t you caring about your spiritual chemistry? Why aren’t you helping them to engage more. Why would you be hindering their growth? Don’t you understand what feeds their ability to love you? IT’S NOT MORE TIME WITH YOU! It’s a better relationship with Him.

 

  1. You’re known by those around you. You’re honest with people in your life about how you’re treating the one you’re in a relationship with. They keep you honest about whether you’re giving or taking. They help you stay true to the first three points.

 

I could probably go on for quite some time on this one, but hopefully you get the point. If you love like Jesus, you don’t have to be afraid of dating someone you go to church with.

The Pillars give you the confidence to ask them out.

Remember, the heart of our whole conversation was not how we should love, but how we ARE loved. Jesus is the source of “living water”. He wants you to be full. He wants you to be loved. When you experience that it changes how you view rejection. We aren’t shaped by whether they say yes or no. We’re full. We can seek others not because we need love, but because we want to love.

Some of you need to step up, guys, and ask her out. You see the love of Jesus developing in her but you’re missing your opportunity because you’re afraid of being rejected. Maybe she will say no, it doesn’t change how you’re loved or how valuable you are to the one who loves you most. Embrace the love Jesus has poured into your life and ask her out!

The Pillars exist in all relationships.

You don’t need to get married to experience what we’ve talked through. I’ve said it before. You shouldn’t live alone. You need to be developing this in all relationships in your life. There is no magic in a romantic relationship that will transform who you are or how you engage those around you. Whatever you struggle with before marriage, you’ll struggle with after marriage. Don’t wait to start practicing loving this way.

  1. Set out to further develop your character. You know your weaknesses. Go back to our conversation on Jan. 2nd, 2022 and begin developing a life plan.

 

  1. Commit to people. Commit to a dinner group. Invite someone to be an accountability partner and commit to consistent time together. Start a family dinner for your friends and have dinner together once a week or every other week. Practice commitment.

 

  1. Engage with all of who you are. Work at ensuring people know every aspect of who you are not just one aspect. Share your faith. Work to serve others physically.

 

  1. Be known. You don’t need to be completely known by everyone, but you need to be known by someone. Work to develop two relationships with people you are completely open and honest with. Don’t hide.

 

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

We know what it looks like. We get to experience it with Him, and we get to share it with the world around us.

To take a look back on Restoring Love, click here!

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