There are many people in America who call themselves “Christians.” Additionally, there are many more who say that they “believe in God.” If you walk the streets and ask around in small town America, you will probably find that many people consider themselves a “Christian.” However, it seems odd to me that so many people who consider themselves Christians are living in a manner that is specifically prohibited in God’s Word. The Lord really had to deal with me in this area. I was calling Him “Lord,” but I was living like the world. I wasn’t partaking in socially-unacceptable heinous sins, but I was hanging on to movies and television shows that went completely against His standards. I enjoyed talking to my friends about other people behind their backs and I justified disrespect of my husband (among other things). However, once I asked the Lord to regenerate my heart, and to make me hate the things He hates, I began to detest the things that God detests. In I John 2:15, it is written, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (NASB) Don’t gloss over that verse… it’s powerful. One mark of a true follower of Christ is that they hate what is evil (as outlined in the Bible) and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).
Dictionary.com first defines lord as “a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.” So I ask you, “Is Christ really the Lord of your life?” You might say, “Of course He is! He’s the center of my universe.” Well, is His Lordship reflected in your movie collection? Is it confirmed in the purity of your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend? Do you acknowledge Him as Lord of that area in which struggle with your boyfriend/girlfriend the most? When you are alone, is He Lord of what you view on the Internet? While it is rarely discussed in our culture anymore, there is a big difference between claiming to be a Christian and being a true, regenerated, Christ-following Christian. Many pastors have preached salvation as an easy four-step process where we can flippantly tell God we are a sinner and ask for His forgiveness (though, more of a subtle demand, than a request) without ever being truly repentant or contrite over our sins.
Every Sunday across America, many people walk to an altar, repeat a prayer after someone, and then return to normal living with no visible signs of an inward change. If you have been confessing Christ as your Savior and Lord, but you see that your lifestyle is not one that conforms to how the Bible says Christians should live, I urge you to read the book of I John to see if you are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and to ask God to make you hate the things He hates – and love the things He loves. Read I John for what it really says, don’t rationalize it away.
True love is of God and He teaches us how to truly love others; in fact, it is the distinguishing mark of a believer (John 13:35).There is a large gap between what true love is and what the world/media portrays as love. However, to truly learn how to love your future spouse, you have to be taught by the One who is love. Love is tremendously sacrificial and does not ask, “What am I getting out of this?” Love has to be tough sometimes. Giving in to wrong things is not love (e.g., some movies would outline leaving a spouse as “loving yourself and following your heart”). Rather… “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; …. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8,13; NAS)
When Christ is truly Lord of your life (and your future spouse’s life), so many potential conflict areas in your relationship are often no longer issues anymore. He faithfully provides for those who faithfully follow Him. One study found that only one-tenth of 1% of married couples who have daily devotions and pray together have marital problems that lead to divorce. Additionally, it is near impossible to have spiritual intimacy with someone while bitterness is growing in your heart towards him or her.
We should never initially come to Christ for the purpose of obtaining the relational benefits that He gives; however, when we do yield to Christ in all areas, it will be obvious in our relationships, both public and private, and especially with loving your future spouse.
What areas in your life do you need to give up and hand over to the Lord that is causing you issues in your relationship?