September 3, 2008

The VALUE of God-Focused, Christ-Centered Relationships

Posted in Update at 6:39 pm by Sarah Bosse

I was writing to a friend this week, and these were some thoughts that came out through my pen on the value of God-Focused and Christ-Centered friendships, courtships, and marriages….

Went to lunch after church with a married couple from my home group.  I’m so excited that they are pregnant (okay…it always sounds weird to me to say “they” are pregnant…but you know what I mean…I guess the term keeps the husband more respectably involved during that time, and in that sense I appreciate the phrase…….).  It was neat to share part of their joy and excitement!  I also was interested in knowing how married couples in Sovereign Grace use their time in conversation with one another. 

Let me preface….  I have a small handful of friendships which I appreciate so greatly because the sole focus of those friendships (with both guys and girls) is to encourage one another in our pursuit of Christ and Christ-likeness.  When talking, conversations very naturally and quickly turn to discussions about spiritual matters and quiet times and devotionals.  It’s not that we can’t talk of “everyday” things, but that our preference and desire is to spend the majority of our time talking about subjects that have eternal significance and listening to sermons or teaching material that can be applied to our lives.  It is these relationships with this singular purpose that I appreciate above all other human relationships.  And these are the kinds of relationships within the church that I intend to cultivate.  I do not want the things of God to be uneasy topics of conversation, the last thing on the list to address out of “duty” about five minutes before you drive away! 

Perhaps because my only true comfort comes from the Word when the situation seems “impossible,” no discussion can be more important than that which drives both contributors to dependence on Christ.  And it pains me that it can be so difficult, within the Singles ministry, within the Church after the service, in so many situations…to bring God back into the focal center of the conversation.  It pains me that this is true in my own life, and it equally pains me that this is so within the Body, Christ’s bride!  So, that was my preface.

Out of both curiosity and concern for the Church, I wanted to know how often married couples centered their daily conversations around the Cross, the Gospel, and the Christian life.  Does Scripture pour forth in the conversations of married couples as they talk to each other throughout the day and encourage each other’s pursuit of godliness?  If I ever do get married (which of course would involve a season of courtship and such), I would want to foster such a relationship with Christ as the focal point.  For what other purpose was marriage designed?!  Anyhow, the couple with whome I as dining are always gracious and honest with their responses.  They explained that there are a few couples in our church who make Christ-centered discussion a staple of their daily time together, but that the majority either do not or waver between “we should do more of thus and such (perhaps family Bible devotions)” and “wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve done thus and such”. 

In some way, I suppose I was disappointed.  Maybe I was hoping that it’s just my generation that has a hard time talking about “God things”.  But no; it seems to me that such difficulties have been passed down from one generation to the next.  I asked the next question which came to mind, “So, why does this happen?  Do people get married and suddenly stop talking about spiritual issues?”  They answered, “The few couples who really do make those kinds of conversations, devotional times together, family times…the focus of their family’s relationship have typically focused on making those things the center of their relationship before and during courtship.  The trend continues into marriage.”  I felt a small ray of hope.  Maybe my goal of having a Christ-centered relationship is like asking for the moon.  But if other couples have been able, by the grace of God, to maintain that focus in their relationship to each other and to God, then I think it is possible despite the stresses and daily interruptions of life, to put Christ first.  And if we sincerely ask (you have not because you ask not!), then would God not be pleased to give us grace to fulfill such request?! 

Anyhow, I suppose sometimes I have too much time to think.  Because I don’t enjoy watching TV or movies and doing many of the things that most people seem to enjoy, I tend to find I have lots of time for thinking and pondering (especially as I’m doing other household chores).  This is usually helpful and gives me opportunities to be creative and use the gifts that God has given me to edify the Church.  Yet when my mind is not properly focused, it can be terribly destructive.  What a double-edged sword! 

I’m trying, these days, to protect my heart and to trust the Lord for whatever He may bring into my life.  I want to be content in my singleness, yet open to marriage.  I want to be joyful in need and in plenty, in good health and in sickness.  I want to hold onto the world so loosely that I’m hardly disappointed when it slips away.  Oh, that my heart would be solely won by Christ and Christ alone!!!  Yet I, like the apostle Paul, fight with the flesh still in me.  What a joyous day it will be when the fighting is over and I am fully set free from this body of sin! 

Daniel M. and I share one thing in common (in particular) – we both have vivid imaginations that take us places our bodies and feet cannot carry us.  I’m grateful to God for this because Daniel and I can imagine things, do things, see things, be places…that we never will be able to do or visit and that many other people cannot imagine (and must do or visit to “experience”).  I think this imagination helps us see God too.  We may not know what it’s like to be without pain, fatigue, discomfort, but we can imagine it!  *Ear-to-ear grin.*  God is so good!

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