“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” – St. Augustine, Confessions 1.1.1
Just a quick word to my friends, young and old…
I have been witnessing so much relationship heartache from so many these days. And yes, I’ve known my share.
And through this heartache and suffering, which I usually brought upon myself, the Lord has taught me something of great importance that I want to share with you in the most simple way I can…
The ultimate reason for our relationship heartache is that we do not love the Lord first, and we do not love Him the most… AND, we do not choose someone who also loves Him first and most as our mate.
That’s it. In a nutshell.
If you enter into a relationship looking for someone who “ticks off all your boxes”, or who will “make you happy for all time”, or who “completes you”…then you are sure to be disappointed and your relationship WILL break down, eventually.
I never really understood this until I was in the midst of a young marriage about to go down the tubes and I found myself reading a book by Gary Thomas, called Sacred Marriage. This book, which I often gift to newly engaged or married couples these days, begs the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
What does that mean, exactly, to become “more holy”? It means that we are to strive to come to know Jesus Christ more intimately, and to become more and more like Him every day. To really know what that means you must study the Bible, the Word of God which is a true love story – the story of Jesus Christ, which teaches us how to live like Him.
When you place your relationships within that context, you will begin to order your life differently, and it will take your relationships into another realm entirely.
Timothy Keller, in his book, Prayer: Experiencing Intimacy and Awe with God, writes: “…if you love anything at all in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.”
Why? Because you will never be able to get all that you need from anyone other than God, who created you for perfect relationship with Himself. He created you for happiness that is complete only in Him.
Augustine taught that man seeks happiness, that we are on a continual search for that which will make us happy in this life. And unfortunately, we try to attach to the things and people of this world that we believe will bring us that happiness – money, wealth, fame, careers, beauty, others who “tick off all of our carefully crafted boxes”…
But, as Augustine wrote, “Wherever the soul of man turns, unless towards God, it cleaves to sorrow, even though the things outside God and outside itself to which it cleaves may be things of beauty.” (Confessions 4:10:15)
Seeking and attaining these things of the world, even though they may seem beautiful and attractive and greatly desirable, will never bring us satisfaction, never make us happy. This is true of us as individuals, and as a society.
People are searching for love. We are searching for happiness. We are searching for unity. We are searching for answers to the problems that plague us and our world. And yet, we are coming up empty. We are chasing something so far out of reach, or so “deep within” – because so many believe that we are demigods ourselves, because we are focused on answers that are worldly, and so far out of tune with God and His creation of order.
The answers to everything come only in love that is ordered in God’s order, and in lives lived out in that order, which means we must focus our search for love and answers on HIM, and Him alone.
If we love and worship those things that we mistakenly believe will give us what we want – wealth, fame, career satisfaction, adoration from others, relationships with those with whom we are unequally yoked (who also do not love the Lord God first and most), then our lives will continue to be disordered, unfulfilled, and full of serial disappointment and heartbreak.
Therefore, we must order our lives the way they were intended to be ordered…We must love the Lord God Jehovah first and most, and we must direct our love and our adoration and praise toward HIM, first and foremost. And as we grow in spiritual maturity, we eventually, over time, weed out all of those other things and direct our love and adoration and praise toward HIM ONLY.
Which brings us back to these earthly relationships which are bringing us so much heartache and pain. If we are to enjoy the fruits of earthly, loving relationships with others here on this earth, especially in relationship with that special someone whom we marry, or will marry, we must make sure that we “yoke” ourselves with another who also loves the Lord first and most.
We must FIRST order our lives together so that we give the Lord the first fruits of our love, worship, praise, adoration, gifts, and talents, so that our relationship with HIM is supreme. In so doing all other relationships come into such an order that supports the Golden Rule – to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, and then to love others.
In Matthew 22: 36-40, Jesus Christ was asked by the teachers of the law,
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Only when we love in this order will our earthly relationships begin to fall into place.