One way to look at the world of love and relationships is to see it as a big, dark, and foreboding maze, with many paths we could undertake, each plotted with all kinds of options, potential traps, and dangers. As we venture into this maze, we come face to face with our fears, doubts, and into conflict with all kinds of opportunities and ideas, as well as with others, seeking the same path. When we are faced with so many paths and choices, we can become frustrated, and be led to the possibility of wrong decisions. This, in turn, can become a string of lost, and broken friendships that further direct our lives toward conflict and strife. Or, perhaps we find the right path, by chance, leading to a life of contentment, harmony, and love. Do we stay away? Or, do we proceed? If we stay off the path, we end up in loneliness and despair. If we take our chances, we can get lost and hurt. So, what do we do? We need to be willing to choose a direction, and move ahead on that path. Then, the questions become, what is that direction? How can I find it? We may ask, and even plead, what do I do? Where do I go? With whom do I share my life? Is there a Divine plan for me? Do I need to prepare myself first, or can we just dive right in and stay, on our own whims? Or, Do I seek God's precepts, so I can take the path with more confidence?
The key is to take seriously what God's Word has to say, His timeless, tested, and righteous path on which we can walk. We can go into that dark maze armed with the Light of His Word so we can take risks, and make right decisions; we can find, and form friendships that work! After all, the meaning of the Christian life is relationships, first with God, and then with the others around us. That is why we are on this earth. This is the only experience we take with us into eternity. When we are walking on His path, with His Light, we will experience the wonder and excitement of life. Let us be willing to look up and experience His Wonder!
Believe it or not, it has been my experience, as a pastor and counselor, that few Christians ever seek God in their relationship choices; they just dive into a pool that usually has no water in it. Choosing the right path through that maze of dark apprehensions will be the most important decision we ever make, because this is what will echo into eternity. Relationship choices are far more important than our other daily decisions, including what school or career to undertake. Yet, few take this seriously.
When we venture into the confusing maze of relationships, the options confronting us will cause us either to embrace others with eagerness, or become fearful, and alone. One path may make us content, the other bitter. These trepidations are a natural defense mechanism warning us away from dangerous situations. Added to these natural fears are all the various attitudes of our culture, and the desires of our will, all diverging with one another, causing chaos and conflicts. Meanwhile, Christ is seeking us, beckoning us to follow Him out of that deep, dark, dangerous maze to a path of solid, lasting relationships, close friendships, dating, love, finding the right spouse, even developing a healthy marriage.
Relationships are important. Yes, there are other activities and goals that preoccupy us in life, such as our jobs, cars, hobbies, money, and having fun. However, consider this thought: when you are at the end of your sojourn on this earth, what will you have received from it? What will you take with you? Will it be that successful career? What about that hobby that took all of your time? Would it be the wealth that you accumulated? I am not saying these things are not important to pursue; rather, they are just a few of the means to do what really is important, and that is, Relationships! Career, material accumulation, activities, money, and having fun are not the goals in life; they are only portions of the means to the goal. The reason for, and meaning of life is, again, relationships!
Read Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:1a; Colossians 1:3-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 John 4:7-21 then discuss this section and answer these questions:
1. What do these passages teach us about love?
2. Is there something that one or more of these passages are saying to you, perhaps something that needs your attention?
3. Have you ever felt you were in a dark maze when it came to understanding love and relationships? If so, why?
4. Have you ever felt, I cannot, or, I have failed in relationships? Why did you feel that way?
5. How can these passages help you develop the mindset to fear not, and trust Him? How does this apply to how you understand and handle love?
6. What are some of the experiences you have had in relationships?
7. What role does love play in relationships, in general? What about in your relationships?
8. Relationships do include a variety of options and challenges. We can easily see many choices. What can we do to investigate them with a Biblical mindset, and not in a worldly manner?
9. Why do so many Christians fail to incorporate Biblical precepts when it comes to love and relationships, such as, whom will I date? or, who will be my best friend?
10. What do these passages tell us about how to navigate oneself through the maze of conflicting wordy ideas on love, and refocus our attention on God's precepts?
11. Fear, and being overly cautious, also plays a big role in relationships. Some people fear being hurt, so they stay away. Have you ever felt so fearful that you decided not to proceed?
12. One of the things I have learned is, if we stay out of the maze, we end up in loneliness and despair. If we take our chances, and go for it without a map, we can get lost and hurt. So, what do we do?
13. Do you believe you can find God's real purpose and plan for your life?
14. Do you have confidence that there is a Divine plan for you? If not, where do you place your hope and trust?
15. So, what do we do? How do we proceed in this maze?
16. What we need is a Tour Guide; so, who, or what will it be for you? How can this choice be crucial to the developing of good and lasting relationships?
17. How can these passages serve as a map for your life and purpose?
18. What have you learned from these passages?
19. What can you do to make sure you do not forget, so that these passages stay with you, always?
20. Which passage(s) should you memorize, so it is always on your mind when you meet, and get to know people, and develop your relationships?
Rev. Richard Joseph Krejcir © 2002 Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org