"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."---Isaiah 43:19(AMPC)
As we continue to do more unfolding and unpacking towards healing from our "first love", this week, let's look into a couple of answers to this question:
Share how your first love has affected how you view love/relationships now.
"Due to my past relationship with my first love..for the longest time, I struggled with the thought that there wasn't a man that was willing to honor the fact that I'm still a virgin. It caused me to not fully respect men in general but God is healing me of that. I'm also more careful in choosing whom I invest my time with..I need to see fruit of the Spirit on a man's life before getting with him. So ladies I'm pleading with you. TAKE YOUR TIME when getting to know someone and spend lots of time with God. Spending time with Him will keep you grounded emotionally and show you any red flags!"---Alicia
"If I was really honest, it's made me bitter, skeptical and not really open to giving men much of a chance."---Erica
"I don't have a lot of patience. My first love drained so much out of me that I can't really tell the difference between what's a normal challenge in a relationship and what is a flag that I should bounce."---Michelle
"He didn't really know how to commit to me, so I don't know how to commit to another man."---Jessie
"I have a hard time trusting God because I really believed he told me that my ex was the one."---Danielle
We can see from the first response from Alicia, that not everyone who is in a relationship is sexually involved (and by that, I'm not only referring to intercourse; a man is not supposed to "know" us, period unless he is married to us).
Yet I do want to address a particular point for the women reading this who are either A) currently trying to get over an ex where there was sexual activity or B) is in a sexual relationship and believe that they are hearing from God that the guy they are involved with is the one.
One of my favorite Message Version Scriptures is Proverbs 28:9(Message): "God has no use for the prayers of those who do not listen to him" and it's up in the Book of James that we see what *real listening* consists of: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22--NKJV)
If you are consciously, repeatedly and non-repentantly doing something that God says NOT to do (and sexual activity certainly qualifies---I Corinthians 6, Hebrews 13:4, Revelation 21:8), then it's going to be *extremely hard* to get your flesh out of the way so that you can truly hear from the Lord. As James 1:22 tells us, if you the Bible says "Don't fornicate" and you're walking around talking about "God said this man is his best for me" (a man who helps you to sin is NOT God's best for you, by the way), 8 times out of 10, that's not God speaking. That is your flesh:
"But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death."---James 1:14-15(AMPC)
"But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated."---I Corinthians 2:14(AMPC)
Why do I say "8 times out of 10" then?
Because there are a few exceptional cases where a couple sees the err in their ways, comes to the Lord, renews their minds (Romans 12:2), repents (I John 1:9-10) and does indeed end up together. Although I don't know ONE COUPLE who fornicated before their marriage who do not DEEPLY REGRET it and wish they had never done it. Sowing and reaping are a spiritual science. A consequence. You can be forgiven by God and still have to reap consequences for your actions. Always remember that (Galatians 6:7-8).
Not only that but, when lust (one definition of that is "overwhelming desires") is what's motivating you, then it's very easy to hear your flesh and *wish* that it was God. Yet remember that the Word (John 1:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:16-17) tells us that "God is Spirit" NOT FLESH and we must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). BIBLICAL TRUTH (John 8:31-32).
If you want to grow in more spiritual confidence that you are actually hearing from the Lord...
You need to apply the Word, as written, to whatever it is that you're seeking wisdom about.
Did you peep how one woman said that now she's impatient?
I Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love IS patient.
Another woman said that now she is bitter?
Hebrews 12:15 states that bitterness causes trouble.
Another said she doesn't really know how to trust God.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without having faith (IN GOD) it's impossible to please him.
When God designed marriage, these emotions/conclusions were NEVER a part of his plan. This is a part of the reason why we're not supposed to be out here just "looking for a relationship"; we're supposed to be trusting God to prepare us for our husband. The one who will help us to GROW in love not FALL into despair.
Here's the thing, though...
The more marriage counseling I do (Proverbs 12:15&24:6), the more I see why there is to be NO MARRIAGE (or intimacy that resembles marriage) unless GOD IS PRESENT. Two human beings simply can't handle the responsibility, accountability and expectations that God has for such a serious kind of relationship without him.
I discern that's a big part of the reason why Adam and the Woman were not created simultaneously (Genesis 2). Some people say it was so that Adam could see that he needed a helpmate. I personally think it goes deeper than that. Adam needed to have *his own relationship with his Creator* before a spouse was brought into the picture. Otherwise, he ran the risk of what *so many people are doing now*: putting the gift before the Giver (Romans 1).
Adam needed to be with God for himself.
Adam needed to hear from God for himself.
Adam needed to learn how to trust and walk with God for himself.
And because Genesis 2:22 tells us that the Woman was brought/presented to Adam, I personally believe that she had her own time with God too.
Marriage isn't about two people coming together and "figuring this love thing out"...
Marriage is about two people coming together to become students of biblical love...
James 5:16 *instructs us* to make confessions so that we can be healed and prayed for. What a lot of us don't realize is because we were more interested in making a connection with some dude (or for some, another girl) than growing in the Lord (Hebrews 5:12-14), our first love wasn't so much a *relationship* as it was an *idol* (Exodus 20:3, I Corinthians 10:14). Either we did things that the Word tells us not to do in order to maintain the relationship (idolatry) or we loved someone else more than God (also idolatry--Mark 12:30-31).
How can you know if you fell/fall into Category B? Well, if you had loved God more, he would've showed you how to properly guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). Your thoughts would've been established by him rather than you (Proverbs 16:3). He wouldn't have had you out here emotionally and/or sexually acting married when you weren't.
I don't know about you, but something I used to do was get caught up with someone *and then* ask God to join in/catch up. These days? Uh-uh. The moment I even sense that I have feelings for someone, I ask him to let me know his thoughts on the matter (James 1:5). I'm not interested in trying to convince him or compel him. If God says "no", it's no. Period. One way to know if that's his answer is to match someone's character up with the Word (Colossians 3:12-17). Also, if you want to know if someone is husband material to read articles like "The Husband's Duty" to understand what kind of character traits he's supposed to have.
For instance, my "first love"? He was a lot of good things. And, a lot of challenging things. Two things he was not? A biblical example of a Christian or a husband. So, that really should've been the end of it. Literally. Yet because my flesh was so caught up, I spent (or was it wasted?) so much time trying to convince God that I could turn him around that I wasn't listening to God tell me that it wasn't my job to do that.
Wives are helpers (Genesis 2:18)...
In the Bible, those don't even exist.
Sobering thoughts, right?
If any of this info resonates with you, it really is time to do what the lead Scripture speaks of. It's time to ask God to do a NEW THING in your life. Ask him to replace your hardened heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Ask him to help you to forgive your first love *and* yourself (you can't be forgiven by God if you don't forgive others--Matthew 6:14-15). Ask him to help you to stop making an...*idol out of your past and/or your past*.
Some of you? God has not brought your future husband to you because he's not going to put one of his sons through the torture of having to make up for former relationships you were in that you had no business being in to begin with. He'd much rather heal you first (James 1:4).
Speaking of new, two of my favorite definitions of new are "unfamiliar or strange" and "of a kind never before existing". Another reason why I'm not big on boyfriend/girlfriend relationships is it can make us get caught up in doing relationships humanity's way rather than *God's way*. God is the Creator. Even when it comes to matchmaking, he tends to be *quite creative*.
If you want a NEW love...
You need to release your first one!
BE OPEN to the unfamiliar...
Of God leading you into something that has never existed before!
If you know that you need prayer in this area, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FULLY RELEASE the past...
So that you can get ready for what's NEW!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...