Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are You A Mature Lover?

Maturity or the lack of it is always going to reveal itself in our relationships with other people. How we see people, act toward them, the manner in which we speak all reveal where we are in the application of God's love and instructions. Love is the key part of our maturity, not in words but in the actions we take toward other people. "Love is patient. Love is kind." We see the lack of maturity in this area when we see the number of failed relationships among believers.

I'll be perfectly honest with you, I too have failed in this area and have revealed the immaturity of my past. I write this as a divorced man and can tell you that self-centeredness always destroys marriages. It happens when two people who were joined together to be one either remain as individuals or unravel and become individuals again. Instead of a coming together there is a growing apart and when this happens sin takes root as a destructive force. Divorce is rife in the Body of Christ because people refuse to grow up in their relationship with Jesus. The Word is clear in this, God hates divorce.

Paul writes to the Corinthians:

A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

This is the command part of it but it comes from a deep root that goes back to the beginning of time. Marriage is not just a thing to do because we have fallen in love but a deep spiritual thing that has many mysteries to it. Long before the law was ever put in place this is what was stated about marriage:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

I don't think we meditate on that very much, "they will become one flesh". Whoever you join with in your body you have become one with. There are a lot of people out there who are really messing themselves up, thinking they are just having "innocent" fun when they are actually becoming one with a lot of different people. It can't be undone. In the New Testament, when Jesus was asked about divorce (because marriage is always something we have struggled with due to immaturity) he stated:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Now I am not arguing for or against divorce here because there are a couple of situations in which God does allow it, but I simply want to use this for showing our growing lack of maturity in the Church. We disregard God's will simply because we want what we want and we want it now. This is the basic foundation of most sin, self-centeredness. We have some notion of romantic love and fail to understand in our relationships that real love causes us to put the other person's interest ahead of our own. We often use 1 Corinthians 13 in our wedding ceremonies but fail to actually apply it to our relationships.

It really doesn't matter which relationships we look at, parent child, brother sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband wife, even friends, it still comes down to a love that sacrifices self for others. The Bible is clear on where God stands concerning marriage and divorce but we fail to apply it because of our lack of spiritual growth and understanding. Love is something that grows with maturity and shrinks with immaturity; it is a relationship of service as we learn to serve one another.

We thank God for his mercy and grace, that just because we fail does not mean we have to remain defeated. He covers over every sin, even ones that can't be undone when we repent with an authentic heart of repentance. But nonetheless, our sin reveals just where we are in our spiritual growth. We must move on from the foundational teaching of "milk" and move into the mature teaching of "meat and potatoes" but we must be willing to grow to do this. We must gain a greater maturity in love and the relationships we have with others. We must learn what it is to sacrifice for the benefit of those we love. When we see the divorce rate dropping in the Church we will know that real spiritual growth is starting to take hold.

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