Snapshots from Week 1 of The Adventure

Here are some excerpts from week 1 of ‘The Adventure’ (The Connection).  Song of Solomon 1:1-11.  Listen to the full message audio here.

Genesis…in the beginning.  The world is created, man and woman are created, and marriage between that man and woman is created.  Everything is good, perfect, and beautiful.  Husband and wife are in harmony, and they are naked and unashamed is what the Bible tells us.  There is no shame associated with sex, because this is how God has designed it to operate in a marriage.

But we know it doesn’t remain that way.  Genesis 3 happens, and sin enters the world for the first time.  God’s perfect creation is fractured.  The human heart is forever stained and marked by sin.  And now because of our sin, we are tempted to not find our greatest joy in our Creator, but rather try and find it in what was created.  God gives us beautiful and great things to enjoy, but then our sin wants to try and add something to them.  What was considered good in God’s eyes, our sin distorts, clouds, and pollutes.

So now sex in a lifelong husband and wife relationship is not enough.  We are prone to worship sex instead.  To take how we view, engage in, and approach sex, to take it outside of God’s boundaries, and try and find our joy in ways that actually destroy us, and lead to enslavement, guilt, baggage, and hurt, rather than in God’s ways that lead to our joy, freedom, and delight.

We either view sex as god, as gross, or as a gift from God.  And my heart for us over the next couple months, is that we’d allow the Word of God to remind us that sex is a gift.  Like all gifts, it is a good gift from Him, to be received, treasured, protected prior to marriage, enjoyed in marriage.  It is neither to be our god, nor gross.

Romantic love is not created by man, or Hallmark, or Lifetime movies, or Valentine’s Day for that matter.  Some naked angel called cupid is not shooting arrows around.  Romantic love is from God.  It is a gift, and He has designed us to enjoy it as His people.  In the Song of Solomon, we’ll find a book of God’s living, active Word that is dedicated to the subject of relationships, marriage, romance, and sex.

Yes we can assume here that there is physical attraction, but her affections for this man do not start there.  They actually start in his character.  His character is like sweetness, and a perfume being poured out.  Just a few spritzes of his cologne called character, and she can smell the integrity, faithfulness, and love.

Husbands, does your wife find your character attractive?  When she thinks of your name, does her mind drift to your character, Godliness, and integrity?  Men, your wife longs for you to be a man that would humble Himself and pursue Jesus above anything else.  They are not looking for perfection, but they desire for a man who would pray, and read his Bible, and not just provide for the family, but love the family supremely more than you love yourself.

Single men…are you pursuing Jesus in such a way where your character is looking more and more like Jesus?  Your focus needs to be much more on making sure your heart and life is under the authority of Jesus and becoming the man of God that a woman would one day say…his name is like sweetness.

Single woman…do not go into the world of dating unsure of what you are looking for in another man.  If you go into it without a standard, then you will inevitably lower your standards, settle for a man who you should not be with, and end up with a lifetime of hurt.

Let his character be what you look at first.  And you measure His character against the character of Jesus.  Where is the end goal of this man?  Is it to grow to love Jesus and love other people.  Does he ever ask you questions, or only talk about himself?  Does he respect his mom, does he respect authority?  If you mention his name among your friends or those who know him best, is his name and character like sweetness?

Ladies, you do not have in you the infinite power to change and shape a man’s character.  The Holy Spirit does that.  You do not.  So do not continue to pursue a man thinking you will save or change him, when in the process, you have lowered the standard of what God calls you to pursue.  Don’t gamble your heart.  Don’t go fishing and just settle for whatever bites on the hook.

Remember…not just single women, but all singles…your identity is not found in another man or woman.  It is found in Jesus alone.  So the Gospel reminds you that you are loved unconditionally, saved, forgiven, and made new, and so your approach to dating should look different than the world around you.

Men, you would be wise to pour words of encouragement into your wives about their appearance and beauty in your eyes.  And not just when you want something in return.  She hears enough negativity from her own mind, let alone what culture says, so speak words of life about her appearance.

The veiled woman…this is referring to a prostitute.  She is saying, I am not going to stoop to that level.  I’m not going to throw myself away at another man in hopes of catching him simply with sex and physical beauty.  Her character is intact.  Her identity is not in a man.  You see her hard working character in how she served in the vineyards.  She serves…but she is not going to serve another man physically in order to try and win him.

And this isn’t just a teenage thing.  Often times adults, or especially those who have been married before, and are pursuing another relationship, begin to think they are exempt from God’s standards and Word.  That sexual immorality is justified because we’re adults.  When in fact, what matters is are you honoring God in your relationship?  If not, then you’re in sin, you need to turn from that sin, and begin to walk in faithfulness to Jesus.  You can’t expect God to bless a relationship that is not done His ways.

If we base the relationship off of superficial things, the physical alone, the lust and sex, then the relationship itself will be superficial.  You are actually covering up or masking the dysfunction when sex is the primary connection.  You’re not allowing the more vital areas of the relationship to grow, and your relationship has absolutely no foundation.

Notice that Solomon only refers to her beauty from the neck up.  It won’t stay at just the neck up, but here in the attraction stage, prior to marriage, he is remarking about her cheeks, and her neck.  That is a man who is walking with integrity as he is pursuing a girl.  It is not about anything else.  It is about her character, face, and inner beauty.  He is not traveling south of the neck.

Husbands, is your wife your beloved?  Your darling?  Single men, is the girl or woman that you are pursuing your darling, or just there for your pleasure?  Are you treasuring her, or taking advantage of her?  Are you honoring her, or actually hurting her?

Men, women…notice their words to one another in these verses.  They are kind, gentle, tender, sincere, and sweet.