Beyond Sex & Salvation 3: Life Decisions
Beyond Sex & Salvation – Part 3 addresses three crucial life decisions you want to make before you fall in love. These are decisions many choose to postpone making. Unfortunately, choosing not to decide is another way of deciding.
But making these three difficult decisions will set you free to experience the life you were meant for, both as a wise individual and in your future marriage, if God so leads. These three decisions address the single most important relational skill, how to deal with your past, and how to trade in your illusion of control for God’s sovereignty.
Determine to commit to these disciplines now and set yourself up for relational success:
- with family members
- with co-workers
- in friendship
- in dating
- in your future marriage
What are the 3 Decisions?
We share all three life decisions in an extremely abbreviated form in our LoveEd YouTube series beginning with this episode.
Still need more convincing that Beyond Sex & Salvation offers juicy, wholesome goodness that can empower you to succeed in relationships?
Want to read a little bit first?
Check out these blog posts from our Date Night Advice (DNA) which are taken right out of the book itself.
Make Peace, Not Love
Of course, the familiar refrain from the ‘60s was “Make love, not war.” (Those Flower Children were really creative with the old double-entendres.)
If only we could end all wars by making love. What a wonderful world – one without wars, atomic bombs or nuclear subs. The Twin Towers would still be standing. You wouldn’t have to outlaw guns. What outlaw wouldn’t trade in their guns to make love instead?
Of course, the serious side of that slogan (if there was one) was we should choose to love (in a brotherly way) our enemies instead of killing them. That’s an idea Jesus could hang His hat on, or more precisely, His little skullcap.
However, the more accurate antonym to “war” is not “love.” It’s “peace.” And it takes far more effort to make peace than to make love. [Read More]
How the Independence Illusion Kills Marriages
For all of the faith our modern culture puts in science and materialism and all the talk of being “real,” we believe some fairly ridiculous things.
Take this idea of independence — the belief that we can do it on our own, even that we should do it on our own. At least, we should if we wish to prove ourselves a “real” man or an “empowered” woman.
Regardless of how much you’ve accomplished on your “own,” you had some help at some point. Unless, of course, you pulled yourself out of the womb, gnawed through your umbilical cord and immediately began scavenging for milk and cigarettes.
Sadly, marriages fail every minute because of the myth of independence. For starters… [Read More]
Don’t Tolerate. Love!
My wife has a close college friend who couldn’t be further away from us in matters of spirituality, morality and politics. (My wife has always been much better about getting along with different people than I have.) One time she had a dream about this particular friend in which she was discussing one of the many issues upon which they disagree. In the dream, Julie recalled her friend saying they needed to be tolerant of each other, but Julie told her…
“No! I don’t want to tolerate you. I want to love you.”
If your loved one is living contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture, you can’t really accept them the way they want you to accept them. You can accept them as a child of God (or as your mom or your friend or your brother), but you can only tolerate the immoral behavior.
Here’s the crux of the matter… [Read More]
How to Make Peace with Your Past
It’s another one of those “sayings:” “People only change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” That’s a pretty fatalistic outlook, but more often than not, it’s reality.
Sadly, most will wait until they’re stuck in a dead (or at least severely disappointing) marriage where they’re contemplating counseling, an affair, divorce or all three, before they’re persuaded to deal with their past.
Even then, most folks will just settle for the affair and/or the divorce and move on without ever seriously unpacking their personal history. Even those who finally submit to counseling don’t want to dig any deeper than necessary.
But that’s not going to be your reality.[Read More]
You Cannot Disappoint God
It’s one of the most unbelievable truths. If you’re still holding on to your own poor choices, God stands ready to forgive and restore you the instant you’re ready.
How can that be?
For starters, our God is something Poseidon or Hades was not. The gods of Greek mythology were, at their very root, selfish; causing them to respond to offense with anger, vengeance, pouting, scheming or some combination thereof. You know – the way we respond to offense.
In contrast, Our God has proven himself selfless, to the point of accepting the required penalty for our sin at His own expense. [Read More]
Love is Being Willing to Say, “I’m Sorry.”
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Selah) – Psalm 32:3-5 (ESV)
As David already demonstrated, making peace with our past painful choices starts with confession, but confession isn’t enough.
NO, you don’t have to throw ashes on your head and parade around in sackcloth. We already covered that. But you do need to confess for the right reason. Here are three common wrong reasons for confessing… [Read More]
A Dirt-Free Little Secret about Sex
Believe it or not, Christ-likeness, maturity, patience, holiness, discipline and faith are just the sort of gifts God had in mind for marriage to give us.
If you’re pretty certain you’re not interested in such things, do yourself a favor and scratch marriage off your list of things to do. You may believe you still want marriage for the guilt-free, fun, passionate sex, but marriage is much more about sacrifice and selflessness than sex.
I know that might sound like a bummer, but it’s not.
I’m going to let you in on a dirt-free little secret about sex. [Read More]
The Problem with Submission
Now let’s focus on the other part of surrender: letting God have His way.
This requires submission.
Few words in the English language can elicit such rancor in our modern culture as the word “submission.” It brings to mind such contemptible practices as slavery, both physical and emotional abuse, and – worst of all – conservative religious dogma.
Regardless, please believe me. If you can’t submit to another in love, you simply can’t be happily married. And, no, I’m not just talking to the ladies, for Paul commands us in Eph 5:21 to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (NIV) [Read More]
Stop Asking for Forgiveness and Receive It
What if you asked me for a million dollars and I said, “Sure. To what Swiss bank account would you like me to wire those funds?”
Twenty-four hours later you check with your bank, asking, “Habe ich das Geld erhalten?” Which is, of course, German for “Did the transfer go through?” To which they report, “Ja!” (Yes.)
Then what if you never did anything with that cash – ever – not even when you got married and wanted to fly relatives in for the wedding, nor when you bought your first home, nor when your triplets needed braces, nor when you were unemployed for eight months, nor when all three kids were accepted by Harvard.
Instead, you worked hard to earn the money to pay some of those expenses. You went into debt for others. And some opportunities (like Harvard) you just passed on altogether. But you left that money in Switzerland. You never even visited it.
Is God’s gift of forgiveness like that million dollars for you? [Read More]
What does God want for You?
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NASB)
How could you not appreciate the encouragement emanating from that little gem, eh?
God causes some things to work together for good? No!
How about a lot of things to work for good? NO!
“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” That’s us, right?!?
Yes, it’s all true (if God’s word is true at all), but perhaps we should define exactly what “good” God is busy causing all things to work together for. Fortunately (though at first glance, perhaps disappointingly), Paul clarifies that in the very next verse.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; – Romans 8:29 (NASB)
So what’s the answer? What “good” is God causing all things to work together for? [Read More]
Still Wanting More?
That’s why I wrote the discipleship series, so why not buy the book?!
You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!