Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Root of All Teen Evil-Part 2

With a broken hearted young lady having left my office, I sat and stared at my Bible. I thought, "Is this really the way God wants us to find our mate?" I opened my Bible and began to search...
But, where do you start? Where in the Bible did anyone date? The answer to that is NOWHERE!! So, where in the Bible did someone find their spouse? There are many such cases, so again, where do I start. It was then I had a novel idea..Genesis with Adam and Eve.
In Genesis 2:20-25 we read:
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Adam named the animals and in doing so realized there was no "help meet for him." So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, he slept, God took a rib from him, and made Eve. God gave us a principle about leaving and cleaving, and they were together not ashamed.
"What can I learn from this?" I was then God changed my life, my church, and my children's futures.
We have for too long taken the world's method of finding a mate and added our "standards" of not touching and waiting to it. I grew up in church and heard 100's of sermons, especially as a teen ager, about purity, abstinence, and keeping your hands off until married....but NEVER heard a sermon on how to Biblically find a mate. We just did it like the around until you get married. I went through the typical pattern from a young person into college of dating girls and dumping girls. I had six girlfriends, I believe, through that time. To this day, when I am around them, their is a sense of awkwardness. Why? I gave them some of my heart...and this was wrong and should not have been.
We have taught our young people to "like them, dump them" and consider it a normal part of teen/college life. Then we wonder why "marry them, divorce them" is a growing problem. That is simply the way they were trained.
Because marriage is the basis upon which the family is built, a lack of standards in this area will weaken the foundations of the family, ultimately the church and our nation. Let us be honest, what fruit does dating leave us with:
Confusion, insecurity, jealousy, bitterness, a craving for attention from the opposite sex, improper thoughts, loss of innocence, loss of time, loss of money, much tension in youth groups, lack of commitment, relationships with parents strained, covetousness, self centeredness, a sensual focus, and even thoughts of suicide

Hebrews 13:4-5 reads that "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." This verse really helped me in discovering God's will for the matter:
1.) Marriage is a wonderful thing
2.) God takes notice and is concerned and will judge our actions concerning marriage
3.) Our conversation (lifestyle) is to be without covetousness (a certain fruit of dating).
4.) It is better for our young people to be content (waiting satisfied) as they are
5.) The Lord is there with them and they should focus on a better relationship with Him
Back to Genesis....what lessons can I learn from Adam and Eve? Here we go:
1. God Created One Person For You
My how this is preached after people get married: "He is your husband, she is your wife, you are not to have eyes for any other but the one God has for you." God created one woman for Adam. He did not create Eve, Evelyn, Esther, Emma, and Elizabeth. He just created one. I believe it is true that God created Stacey for me, and I for her, and we are both to have eyes for no one but each other. Now if that is true...wasn't it true before we were married? Was it not God's will then also? We need to teach our young people that God has one person for them for one lifetime...wait until He reveals that person to you.
2. A man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.
This is not really applicable to the dating, but a principle found here that many miss. When you get married, you leave mommy and daddy and your focus is now on and with each other. No more apron strings, loyalty is not divided. I found it most interesting God put this here when THERE WAS NO FATHER OR MOTHER FOR EITHER ADAM OR EVE. God was establishing principles here for finding and joining a mate. This is an important point to remember as we examine other aspects.
3. There is no shame in the right kind of marriage.
I have seen too many marriages that should have been times of great rejoicing, but there was an aspect of shame to it due to a loss of innocence or a child already involved...all due to a lack of Biblical guidance in this area of finding a mate
4. Marriage is for persons of opposite gender
Thought I would throw that in there as it is a Biblical principle as well!
5. The man was to be asleep during the process
Why did God cause Adam to go to sleep. Some have said it was the first anesthesia. Not true, as there was no sin, therefore no pain, no suffering. Going to sleep, medically speaking, was not necessary. So why did God do this? He again is laying down principles. It is important to note that Adam was busy doing the work God had given to him and He was to be asleep as God prepares his mate for him. The man is to stay asleep emotionally, mentally, and physically in this area until God brings the mate to him. In our scenario last week, Timmy, due to his date with Charity, began to "wake up" around 15 years old. Problem is, Timmy is not ready for marriage emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, or in any other way. But as all of us can testify, once you are awake, it's most difficult to go back to sleep. That is why many of our young people fall. They are awaken way before it is time. It is common today for a 9 year old to have a 'girlfriend or boyfriend,' and we all have heard of the tragedies of a 12 or 13 year old becoming a parent. Why? Our young people are waking up before it is time and before the one God has been preparing is ready.
Many parents are afraid their child will "miss out on something" if they accept this Biblical teaching. You are right...they will miss out on broken hearts, coveting, jealousy....and Amen for that! Waiting is God's way of renewing our strength (Is. 40:31)
Adam was to do the work God gave to him and stay asleep until he and she was ready. The best thing our young people can do is stay asleep in this area and serve God and mature in the Lord. When they are ready, God will bring them together. Here is where I see many of our young people struggle with this new concept. They are soooo afraid that they will never get married. They are sooo worried that God will not do what He says He will do. They grow impatient and give up.
Can you imagine if our young people are reared this way, how much more spiritually, mentally, physically, financially mature they will be. My "transition" kids are behind schedule, because they have been playing this dating game and need to patiently catch up to get where God wants them. You see, a half-hearted participation will not work. "Staying asleep" while not maturing in the Lord will lead to frustration. Our young people need to surrender this area to God, let Him mold them, and He will bring the spouse to them. I am thrilled about our younger children being reared this way. I believe we will see them getting married not at a much older age, but rather a younger age as they will be mature in all areas of their life much earlier, and thus God will 'wake them up.' The most important aspect of this, where I believe most Christians lack today-making them most skeptical of these principles-is listening for and hearing the voice of God. We need to teach our young people to wait, mature, work for the Lord, and listen for when He says "Wake up!"
6. The lady is to be conformed in the Lord's hands to what He knows she will need to be for her mate
God took the rib and formed the woman into a perfect help meet for Adam. Our ladies need not to be dressing, talking, and looking to attract a man. No where in the Bible will you find a girl trying to get the attention of a man with the exception of a harlot. Our ladies need to be taught to be focusing on submitting to the Lord's workmanship in their lives, and allowing Him to perfect them in becoming the wife God wants them to be...mentally, physically, spiritually mature.
7. Wake up with the leadership of God given authorities in your life
God woke up Adam and brought Eve to him to wife. That is why in weddings, the father walks the bride down the aisle to give her to the groom. In Gen. 24, Abraham brought to Isaac a wife. In Gen. 26, Esau found his own wife without parental involvement and it was a "grief" to his parents. Isaac sent Jacob in Gen. 28 to get a wife-partial involvement with parents, and it led to problems because they were not there. Samson in Judges also found his own wives against parent's counsel, and we all know how that ended up.
Parents need to lead in seeing their children come to the spouse God has ordained for them. This is not a dictatorial involvement, but a Godly overseeing. Our children need their parents first and foremost, their pastors (2 Chron. 24), and all God-given authority to play a part in guarding the heart of the young people.
I have so much more, but need to bring this to a close...
All of this hinges on the necessity of our young people knowing how to hear God speak to them. That should be our drive and prayer for our young people. Their spouse, next to salvation, is the most important decision they will ever make. We cannot just leave this up to chance and trial and error. There is one way to Heaven, and I believe there is one way to find your mate...God's way of waiting and maturing and allowing the Lord and His ordained authority to lead in the matter. I began last week by quoting 1 Timothy 6:10,
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Behind this love is ultimately covetousness. I believe the root of all teen evil is the same, covetousness. Maybe not money, but in desiring wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard the rights of others. That person you 'dated' that you didn't marry, was God's choice for another person.
Here is what I did. I asked the Lord to forgive me for having coveted as a young person and not waited on His choice; and then I began teaching and rearing my young people in this Biblical way.
1 Thessalonians 4 reads, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (pre-marital immorality): that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;not in the lust of concupiscence (to long for something forbidden), even as the Gentiles which know not God (world's way of dating): that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter ("I love you...2 days later...we need to break up): because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."
Here are the results from our questionnaire:
I believe the teaching on NOT dating, but waiting and praying for the Lord to prepare me and my spouse to be:
A. Weird....10%
B. Biblical...58%
C. Biblical, but I will not do it...13%
D. The church's opinion....19%

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dating versus Waiting (pt. 1)

In the spectrum of human life, after salvation the most important decision with the most far-reaching consequences, is that of choosing a spouse. What single decision determines happiness, security, peace of mind more than finding that one with whom you will spend a lifetime? With all this on the line, why then, do we take such risks with our young people in this area of dating? This week and next we will take to look into different aspects of this topic. The Dangers of Dating will be addressed here, followed next week by the Wonders of Waiting. Having spent the last 20 years either as a teenager or working around teenagers, I've seen a lot of the dangers that are prevalent when people play the dating game. Unfortunately, by the time the dangers become evident( immorality, disease, unwed mothers, ruined relationships) it is too late to solve the problem. As we've talked much of the principles of sowing and reaping, in order to be able to prevent the problem in the first place, we must first be aware of what we are sowing. Let's look at the seeds of dating. 1.) First and most obvious is the seed of jealousy. When I first became youth pastor and administrator of our academy, one of the first things that came to my attention was the damage being done through the passing of notes. Talk about jealousy! Girls in junior high and high school were verbally shredding each other over who "this boy" likes more. Once Pastor Burke began teaching on Biblical waiting as opposed to dating, the problems of jealousy and strife became almost non-existent. 2.) Along with the seed of jealousy, goes that of bitterness. How many young lives have been ruined because of a broken heart. Many take that lightly, but that is damage not easily repaired. 3.) Biblically, the biggest argument against dating is it goes contrary to walking in the spirit. This brings us to the seed of impurity. What great work of God went undone because a young man got caught up in the web of dating and rather than following God, followed the lust of his flesh, leading him to destruction. 4.) As a youth pastor, it seemed the number one task that I once had was that of trying( most of the time in vain ) to repair the divisions among young people taking sides when one of these sweet, innocent, puppy -love romances went sour and turned into a junkyard- dog brawl. The seed of division, once planted, was very hard to remove. 5.) Dating plants the seed of selfishness and then reaps it tenfold. Just the opposite of what a true godly relationship ought to be based on, dating breeds and then feeds a mindset of ME. Dating is not, what can I do for you, but what can you do for me. Is it any wonder then, the majority of our modern marriages ends in divorce, usually over "irreconcilable differences"( a.k.a. - you don't make ME happy anymore ). 6.) When a person has been told "I love you; we'll always be together" by a half dozen people in their life, can there be any argument that dating sows seeds of mistrust? How many times can a person give their heart away before there's just nothing left to give? 7.) Finally, the biggest problem with dating is it sows seeds of rebellion. The search for a spouse ought to be done with the parents and pastor involved every step of the way, with everything being done openly having nothing to hide. How often in a dating scenario does one side ( usually the guy ) turn the other side ( usually the girl ) against the authority? In our church, in the last five years, there has been a clear line drawn; the seeds of rebellion have reaped a hard harvest for those who chose to go their own way and walk according to the flesh; those who have chosen to seek godly counsel, and walk in wisdom, have a peace and joy that only comes from living a life of obedience. It is heart-breaking to see a young person ruin their life getting involved with the wrong person. Let's beware the dangers of dating - sow the right seed that we might reap a good harvest.