How many times do I need to hear the same thoughts from God before I take a hint and slow down enough to really apply it to myself? I guess for me the answer is three messages in four weeks (Teen Camp, Kids Camp and Vital Beliefs) and one devotional day with God! The theme - holiness matters and God doesn't want me playing the field, He wants me all for Himself. God created me for relationship with Him. God's plan is for me to know Him not just as my Savior but also as my Lord. He wants me to be holy, because He is HOLY. He wants every part of me - every last little bit. God doesn't want me to hold back anything from Him. If I want to grow, then I am going to have to move on thru salvation and into purposeful full submission of my will and way to God's will and way.
James 4:4-12 The Message (MSG)
4-6You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."
7-10So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.
11-12Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
As I read thru the above verses I began to think of my marriage. God has blessed me with an amazing Godly husband. Matt has been my best friend (besides God) for more than 20 years. We are not perfect, and we have made our share of mistakes along the way. We dated and fell in love while we were still very young, and God has graciously grown us up together with a generous dose of His love and mercy. It is not luck (do not say we are lucky) and it was not always easy (real life and real relationships are never easy and uncomplicated); for us it was the choice to grow deeper in love with God and each other every day. With God's grace we are perfect together for Him.
Now for a fun little fact about Trisha. When it comes to my husband I do not share well with others - especially women, not even a little. Flirting may not be cheating - but I am still not cool with it. There are things that are reserved just for us...go with me now beyond sex...that could be shared with others, but should not be. There is the way Matt looks and me from across the room and gives me a head nod and a wink - that's for me...and the message varies within the context of the moment. Quiet moments together when we share thoughts, dreams, fears, burdens or divine inspirations; the lingering hug that offers comfort, compassion and strength; the way we can smile at each other in a crowd and understand the shared humor of a situation...no words needed...the smile means we both understand. There are things we have set aside - actions, words, expressions of tenderness - that are just for sharing with each other. To watch Matt treat another woman with the tenderness he has set aside for me, well that would hurt me. What we have is special. It is set apart. So we protect it and we grow it on purpose. There are things we don't do, because it could lead to problems or misunderstandings later; and there are investments that we make right now on purpose in our relationship because we believe it matters.
So when I think that relationship that God has given me with Matt and then compare it with what I think God feels when I flirt with the world and dabble with sin...wow. It must wound Him so much. Flirting may not exactly be cheating, but they are both steps on the same destructive path. God doesn't want me to slow dance with sin. God wants me. All of me. It's not something I can do on my own, so it's a good thing that God doesn't expect that.
My bold prayer for the day, God show me where I am flirting with the world. Help me to yell no to the things that tempt me away from you. I don't want to play the field, I want to slow dance with you. Amen.