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Relationships (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2022 4:00 am

Relationships (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 6, 2022 4:00 am

Media frequently insinuates that our significance is directly related to our appearance. But how important are looks when it comes to choosing a spouse? Hear biblical advice about what to look for in relationships, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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social media and TV commercials can Today on Truth for Life Alistair Begg offers practical biblical advice about what to look for in a relationship. life's partner in this institution or not. It may well be that in the next two or three years of your life you will in some context meet the person that will share your life with you, providing that God has planned for you to be married. And since the statistics on relationships and marriage are so horrendous, not least of all within the framework of the Christian church, it's important that we are constantly making reference to this in our own thinking, planning accordingly so that we do our very, very best if God intends for us to be entrusted into the custody of another, to come to that day and to that opportunity prepared and ready for the privileges and the responsibilities.

Let me just say certain things to you this evening. When you think about relationships at all, in every relationship, our relationship with God must come first. And indeed, unless we have a meaningful, viable, increasing relationship with the Lord Jesus ourselves, not being kept afloat by our family structure, but our own personal walk with God, practicing the presence of the Lord Jesus, memorizing His Word, being in it daily, sharing it regularly, then we really should go no further than that in terms of developing relationships, because it is in direct relationship to our walk with Christ that everything else falls into line. Now, that is particularly so when we think about relationships with the opposite sex. And it is important that when we find ourselves in a context such as this, where the opportunities for friendship are many and varied, that we never assume that a friendship has to be more than a friendship when it begins. We should never assume that friendship is going to be more than friendship when it begins. And by the same token, we should recognize that the absence of a friendship with someone of the opposite sex does not determine our significance or our meaning in life. And indeed, if we do not have such a friendship, we want to beware of anyone who would try and press us into that kind of friendship.

Many who have done so have found themselves in dire straits. We need to recognize that there is no good thing that the Lord will withhold from those whose walk is blameless. If we are not involved in a dating relationship, if we do not have a special other person, there's no need for panic.

God makes everything beautiful in His time. And to be unattached to someone of the opposite sex may actually be God's very best for you tonight. And it may actually be God's very best for you for always. But let us assume, since the Bible lays it out as the normal pattern of life, that each of you who has yet is not married is planning on being married. And therefore, you're going to be faced with crucial decisions as you go forward.

You're going to have to decide where you're going to take advice and whether you're going to listen to those who love you most and care for you the best of all. Few relationships, if any, in life are neutral. You remember that from high school. There were people in whose company it was easy to be good. There were people in whose company it was easy to be bad. That is true not only of fraternal relationships, but it is definitely true with those of the opposite sex. And when we make friends with the opposite sex, it is important that we take into account the way in which others view those friendships. And I wouldn't go so far as to suggest to you tonight that I believe in arranged marriages, but I think I'm quite close to the idea.

Because it has always struck me as very strange that our children grow up entirely dependent upon us. They want to know whether they should attend this function or that function, whether they should apply to this school or that school in the earlier days, whether these shoes are right with these trousers, or whether this skirt looks good with these heels, or whether my hair looks good here or over there, or whether you like this color on me now or then. And you're just dying under the weight of all the decisions that you have to make in order to help you chart your course. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, you show up at the front door on the arm of someone I don't even know called Rodney. Who in the world is Rodney? And then I see in your eyes this strange glazed look as you look up at Rodney. The look in my eyes is not glazed at all, it's piercing. I want to know all about Rodney, who his dad was, who his mom was, what size his shoes are, whether he washes his socks at night.

I want to know everything about him. Because as a father, I care for my girls. And the same is true with our sons.

That was plural. My mother died when I was 20. One of my sisters was 15, the other was 11. And so they grew up through their adolescent years without a mom. And certainly I could never be a mother, but I found myself fulfilling a role that was not a normal role for an elder brother. And I took far more interest in the friendships that my sisters were establishing than I think would be normal for the ordinary elder brother. Although I think it was a good pattern and I would recommend it to every elder brother.

And there were occasions when there was tears and argumentation and the banging of bedroom doors. As I explained to my sisters, this guy is a jerk. You want to have nothing to do with him. I know who he is.

I've seen him around. Get rid of him. But he sent me roses.

Yes, I already put them in the garbage. Don't worry about them. And in the providence of God, I introduced both my sisters to their husbands. They're both happily married, one in Scotland, one in England.

I picked them out almost. Of course, they like them too, and they've been living with them for a while. But if you find that in developing a friend, a father, a brother, a brother, a brother, a brother, a brother, a brother, a brother, developing a friendship, it isolates you from your immediate circle of friends. If you find that this begins to isolate you from others and from Christ and from your family, then you're probably without question on the wrong track. And so it is imperative that in all of these things, we come to the issue slowly with realistic expectations and without anticipating marriage in any of its aspects in the development of friendship. So often I listen to young people tell me, well, I know that once we're married, we'll be able to take care of that, whatever that is. When I know that he's got a little problem there, or I know she's a little difficult there, but we will be able to sort that out. Listen, most people on their dating relationships are on their best behavior.

And so you have to be very, very careful. You need to see this potential spouse in a variety of different situations. For example, you need to see what he or she is like visiting a hospitalized loved one. You need to see what he is like in the way that he treats his mother and speaks to her.

And whether he looks into her eyes when she asks him a question, you need to see what she's like playing with children in the street, being around their parents with their regular friends, participating in competitive sports, handling various stressful situations. And the tragedy that I face as a pastor is in finding couples coming to me to be married, and they've never seen each other in any of these situations. They've got a kind of hurry up offense, stirred by their emotions, fueled by their glands.

They're ready to be married. And very often they haven't decided whether they're actually marrying a person or whether they're marrying a body. Western society is obsessed with externals, and this puts tremendous pressure on our culture. Young women quickly assuming that their significance is directly related to their shape and to their dress size. Young men frequently modeling themselves after professional athletes, disappointed that their features are less than perfect. And products offered from toothpaste to self-tanning products with a covert message that image matters more than character.

Image doesn't matter more than character. Therefore, it is vitally important that when you think these issues through, that you're asking yourself the question, is the attraction that I feel for this fellow, is the attraction that I feel for this girl, motivated primarily by physical instincts? Now, I want to suggest for a moment that that is some marginal consideration, but beauty is for all of us in the eye of the beholder.

Now, there may be shared perceptions, but we often have very clear understandings of what we regard as lovely. And so the more significant questions don't have to do with shape and size and structure, but we need to be asking questions like, do I enjoy having a conversation with her? Can this fellow carry on an intelligent conversation? Is this character a social misfit? Does he or she have a growing interest in spiritual things?

Or do I get the impression that they're simply saying that because they know that it is important to me? My young friends tonight, listen, these questions get to issues that are enduring, age takes its toll on all of us. Physical beauty is passing. To invest in a person as simply a physical package is to set ourselves up for a dreadful fall because the package will begin to sag and will begin to droop over time. The law of gravity is the law of gravity. There is only so much you can do to keep it all up where it needs to be. And some of us never, ever had it up where it needs to be in the first place.

And so we are of all men most miserable. When I came to America for the first time in 1972, I came in search of a girl. I knew who the girl was. I wasn't trying to pick her out of the crowd. I was trying to pick her out of the crowd. I knew who the girl was.

I wasn't trying to pick her out of the crowd. But I tracked her down to Michigan, to the shores of Western Michigan, found her there amongst a bunch of young American fellows who had muscles in places that I didn't have places. They took great delight in teaching me how to water ski. They could ski in their bare feet. They didn't need two skis, one ski, no skis.

They skied in their bare feet. They gave me these gigantic doors on which to stand. Never telling me that if you don't get up the first time, you'll let the rope go. My hair was like on the front cover of Sweet Baby James, where he wears the blue denim shirt. Find it in an old-fashioned store somewhere, but it was long. And they dragged me through the water like a dead dog, much to their hilarity.

We'll get rid of this Scottish whippersnapper, 139 pounds, soaking wet, ugly little creature that he is, coming over here for our American girls. Then they took me on dirt bikes. That was a bad decision on my part. Some fellow's father had an agency or a dealership or something, and I arrived at a place that I don't know where it was, to find all these bikes. The fellows got on the front, the girls got on the back, and off we were going through the Michigan dunes. So I did what they did. I got on the front, the girl got on the back.

They all took off. I went about a hundred yards and ditched it in the sand with the girl as well. I got back up.

I can't bore you with the story. I had dreadful hay fever, the worst kind of hay fever. It produced horrendous nose bleeds. I ditched the bike in the sand. My nose began to bleed.

The hay fever began to go. And they'd given me a helmet of all things, and my hair was sticking out in bunches at the side. Boy, did I look good. And the final ignominy was that I had to ask the girl to drive the bike while I sat on the back. And she rode the bike back around in the sand, and they were all there waiting for me, the All-American Marines.

And here he comes, peering over the shoulder of his girl. What possible hope did I have? I was a no-hoper.

No chance. Now I have to go home across the Atlantic Ocean and leave this girl and the dirt bike and everything else behind. And sometimes when we ride in the car together now, all these years later, I look across at her and I say, my, my, my.

It certainly couldn't have been physical. I actually met her when she was 13. I decided pretty quickly that if ever this girl would grow up around her eyes and I got the chance, I would marry her.

I've never ever wanted to marry anyone else. From the age of 16, I wrote letters to her for seven years, four of those years across the Atlantic Ocean. So for those of you who are doing English, never doubt the power of the pen.

All those American water skiers bowed to the Scotsman's pen. So girls, your beauty shouldn't be that which comes from time spent in front of a mirror, but rather time spent in front of the mirror of the Word of God. And men, the biggest thing that you can bring to the possibilities of marriage is the character of integrity and a life of spiritual maturity. Now, what I would like to do in the remaining time that I have, and I'm not sure how much I have, is help you by suggesting what you should look for if you're planning on getting a husband.

This is just my opinion. There's nothing funny about this, nothing surprising. Number one, what should I look for in a husband? The man should be committed to growing in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do not be afraid to look for a husband. Do not take on a fellow as a discipleship project. Don't take on a husband who is merely mastered Bible trivia. Look for a husband who is serious about growing in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine that he's going to be in part your shepherd and your guide, that he's going to be the spiritual leader of your home, that he is going to be the nurturer of your children together.

And think about that long and hard before you sell out for anything else. Secondly, a husband should be an individual of obvious integrity. If he cheats on the golf course, beware. If you find him in an employer situation fudging the issue in his sales calls, telling somebody that he can get the product to them in two weeks when he comes afterwards and tells you that actually he knew that he couldn't get it there for four weeks, but he said that because he didn't want to lose the sale.

On the day he tells you that, you need to have a long, serious conversation with him. And if he seeks to undergird his deceptiveness with argumentation, you should probably kiss him goodbye. No matter how some men try to justify their use of untruth, those lies should serve as neon signs to prospective brides.

What makes you ever think that if a person would lie to a customer, to a boss, to a teacher, to a parent, he wouldn't also lie to his wife? You need a husband who is honest to the core, to a fault. Thirdly, you need to look for a husband who is able to lead boldly, to lead boldly.

Not everyone's going to marry the high school quarterback or the class president. That's not the kind of leadership to which I'm referring. But every girl needs to look for the kind of man who can think for himself, who can weigh options, and who can make good decisions. No person always makes good decisions.

Everybody makes mistakes. Many times good leadership demands the willingness to acknowledge that I've made a mistake and to turn around and make a second decision. In thinking of a man who is able to lead boldly, we ought to say very quickly that a girl should never settle for leadership that is selfish, bombastic, and domineering.

The leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, the leadership as espoused by the apostles, is a leadership that is marked by an attitude of servanthood, an attitude that submits to the leadership of others. And that is of vital importance. The flip side of it, of course, is simply that a young woman should be more than a little concerned if the fellow that she's dating has to check with his mother all the time.

Well, I need to find my mom about that. And all he's trying to decide is whether he should buy the large or the medium t-shirt in Gap. You know you've got a problem there. In fact, while he's choosing, just slip off ever so quietly into the mall and don't ever come back.

If he doesn't have the wherewithal to decide between the medium and the large in the navy blue t-shirt, you've got a problem. Trust me. Let somebody else fix it. Forget the project.

It's a bad idea. You heard it from your Uncle Ali, okay? When we're thinking about a prospective spouse, having a strong and growing personal relationship with Christ is the most important attribute we should be striving for ourselves and we should be seeking in others. You're listening to Truth for Life with Uncle Ali, with Alistair Begg. It is a privilege to study the Bible alongside you each day on this program. All of the teaching from Truth for Life comes to you by way of your fellow listeners. We call them Truth Partners. Truth Partners are listeners like you who pray for this ministry and who give a monthly donation. Their support is what makes it possible for us to provide books at cost in addition to unlimited access to Alistair's vast online sermon archive. So if you are one of our Truth Partners, thank you. And if you have been benefiting from this listener-funded ministry but have yet to become a part of the team that supports it, will you become a Truth Partner today?

It's easy to do. You can sign up online at truthforlife.org slash truthpartner or call us at 888-588-7884. One of the ways we show our gratitude for our Truth Partners is by inviting you to request two books that we feature each month. And right now we're recommending Alistair's book about marriage called Lasting Love. Every year there are millions of couples who pledge their lives to each other with wedding vows.

But what exactly does that commitment mean? In this book, Lasting Love, Alistair explores the sacred vows of marriage and outlines exactly what couples are signing up for when they say I do. Request the book Lasting Love when you become one of our Truth Partners or when you give a one-time donation. You can do either of those things at truthforlife.org slash donate.

I'm Bob Lapine. We all know what getting older does to our appearance, but what kind of traits will last into old age? And how do we discern if those characteristics in someone else are genuine? Tomorrow Alistair concludes his advice on what to look for in a husband or a wife. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 19:03:30 / 2023-04-08 19:11:40 / 8

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