HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE TIME IS RIPE
Inconveniently, the bible has little to say on dating, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is, however, heaven and earth's greatest book on RELATIONSHIPS with other human beings. In fact, technically, from Genesis to Revelation, it's one big book about one big relationship - the relationship between God and mankind.
So personally I would rather read my bible than Cosmo when it comes to relationships.
And probably every other subject for that matter (no offence Cosmo, I just love my bible).
/// Song of Songs 8:4 /// “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up or awaken love before the time is right”.
Relationships with the opposite sex can be tricky. Sometimes our feelings try and stir up something prematurely. Ever bitten into a fruit before the time is ripe? Looks good, feels good, but doesn’t taste right. Gross. Bitter. Leaves a chalky layer on your teeth. You kinda wanna spit it out but that will look awkward in front of other people.
But if we JUST WAIT until the time and season is right - what a reward! How sweet it is to taste! How satisfying to our appetites! (yo, I'm still talking about fruit...) But seriously, when it comes to relationships, be like your fruit tree: WAIT until the time is right (or ripe!)
But how do we know when the time is right?
Great question. Let's explore what it looks like to “wait” while we still build relationship with someone:
1. FRIENDSHIP FIRST PEOPLE
You want to marry your best friend (Or at least someone you can see being great friends with)! That would require you to be friends before lovers! Pursue FRIENDSHIP before ROMANCE. We love romance. We love The Notebook. We love *insert comedy romance here*. But friendship is a SAFE platform where you can get to know your "special friend" without any unwanted pressure to look or act like someone you're not. By the time you put a ring on it, you'll want to be saying "I do" to your best friend, not a stranger or someone you're trying to impress.
2. ATTRACTION OR DISTRACTION.
Picture a triangle, with God at the top, you on the bottom left, and The Boy on the bottom right. (Or The Girl, for the lads reading this). As you both move UP the triangle, closer to God, the closer you two become. The question is: ARE THEY ATTRACTING YOU TO GOD OR DISTRACTING YOU FROM GOD? They will either point you TO God or side track you away FROM God. As Christians, our responsibility is to forever be pointing people toward God, and encouraging them to honour Him while honouring Him ourselves - no matter who the person is. So, butterflies or no butterflies, let's be people who attract everyone we hang out with to the Loveliest One of all - Jesus!
3. LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND
IF you're motivated truly by love, you'll wait for the right time. (If not - why not?) God won't leave you in the dark. He knows the perfect time:
/// ECCLESIASTES 3 : 11 /// "There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth"
When fruit is ripe to be picked, it drops from the tree. You don't have to pull it and twist it and rip it off with effort and striving and a tight (or possessive!) grip. It drops all on its own with ease and grace, ready to be picked up and enjoyed. If your relationship is "ripe" to be picked and love ready to be "awakened" then the grace of God will cause it to happen. It won't require your (or his) possessive grip, force, or haste. So don't try and manufacture a relationship before it's the right time.
You wouldn't want to deliver a baby prematurely, and trust me, you don't want to "awaken" a relationship prematurely early either.
Likewise, you can't force fruit - it can only be yielded in the right time and season.
/// 1 CORINTHIANS 13: 1 & 4-5 /// Love is patient, love is kind…love doesn’t want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't FORCE itself on others, isn't always 'me first'. "
Ah, that famous 1 Corinthians 13 love passage in the bible, read out at almost every wedding I’ve ever been to! But here’s my fave part:
/// 1 COR 13 : 7 /// "Love trusts God always"
This is it guys. If you feel like you're forcing a relationship, maybe you have to ask yourself: am I trusting God with this? Do I really believe that He wants what's best for me? Am I willing to lay everything down for Him & trust him with all my relationships?
At the end of the day, you can trust God with your heart, & his. He's got this.
words by guest author, nikki dent
My name is Nikila Dent, but you can call me Niks. I am a youth pastor, worship leader, teacher, writer, blogger, surfer, wife of a BABE, mother of 2 ridiculously amazing daughters, and the Daughter of a King. One of my greatest passions is helping people comprehend the written Word of that very King.
I live in Byron Bay on the far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. I've been teaching and preaching on the Word of God since I was 19 years old. For some reason God has yet to fully explain to me, I am insanely passionate about young people knowing, seeking, experiencing, understanding and falling deeply in love with: the Word of God.