Gideon made a sacred ephod from the gold and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and became a trap for Gideon and his family. —Judges 8:27
Gideon was a man of God! He made this sacred idol for the purpose of worshiping the LORD. But all too soon, people were prostituting themselves putting that idol above God himself. Prostitution: a pretty strong word but that’s exactly what we do when we put something else above God.
As single Christians we want more than anything to honor Christ with our relationships. I know I went into every new relationship thinking “I am going to do this one right. This time it is going to be different”.
You see I had failed so many times before, yet had gone into every one of them desperately wanting to do it God’s way. Before I knew it I was caught in the trap of making that relationship more important than anything else, including God. Idolization at its finest …
The problem was I didn’t have a plan. My only criteria … he had to profess that he was a Christian. What I learned the hard way was professing your faith and actually living it are two very different things. I was amazed at how many profess faith; yet don’t follow God’s commands for relationships.
I found myself in the same predicament one too many times, pushing the guy away, reminding him that sex outside of marriage is not God’s plan for us. Waiting until the moment of intimacy to push him away only led to me giving in.
Emotions were running high (not to mention hormones) and every time I failed. I would continue on this way for months and sometimes even years because my soul (mind, will and emotions) had become so entangled in that relationship, I couldn’t bear the pain of letting go. I had replaced God with this relationship and allowed my emotions to be my driving force rather than the Spirit of God.
What I learned in hindsight was I needed a plan; a plan for not putting myself in compromising situations; a plan for what type of mate I really wanted to spend my life with; a plan to attract someone who would honor me because of his love for Jesus. So, after my last failed relationship, my last attempt at trying to honor God without a plan, I came up with a list of non-negotiables and I came up with them when I was not emotionally attached to a relationship. I didn’t want my list to be skewed by my emotions. It was simple really:
He had to be a fully devoted follower of Christ (not just profess faith).
He had to believe that sex outside of marriage was not God’s plan.
He had to practice biblical conflict resolution.
These are things that were important to me and my walk with the LORD and I knew if it was going to work, it would have to come up very early in my next relationship; the second date was perfect. No sense in wasting time or getting emotions involved that would cause me not to see clearly.
So about a year later, I had my first chance to put it in action. I was ready for the second date. I was going to be bold and lay it all out there. After all that preparation, he called me before the first date and laid out the same plan. He wanted to make sure that I was as strong in my faith as he was. Today, we have been married for almost two years.
What about you? Do you value your relationship with God enough to make a plan for your earthly relationships? Do you value yourself enough to make a list of non-negotioables and then be bold enough to stick to them no matter what? I challenge you to try it.
Take it to God, and decide together what your list will look like. You will be amazed how different your next relationship will be.