Today, we’re going to learn and understand the Biblical perspective on courtship. Let me start with the three myths of courtship. But first let me define “courtship”.
Although there are a lot of terms we use today such as:
- dating (getting to know/friendship)
- going out… or out going?
- “harana” or serenade(uso pa ba ang harana)
- wooing or showing the best foot forward)
- texting and social media.
But all of these are just decorations and garnishes. They are surface-deep only. We prefer a term that encompasses the depth of this expression. That word is Courtship. And Courtship has a deeper meaning – it is pursuing a relationship with the view towards marriage. That’s courtship!
Courtship is certainly not for those who are too young as it requires a certain level of maturity.
What I mean is, if you are a still a student, learning the basics, you do not work at finding a mate. No! Rather these are the things that you must learn first and foremost.
If you are a young professional, single and independent, these are definitely one of the things you need to learn.
If you are currently married, there are things that you still need to learn. If you are already a parent, these are the things that you need to learn as well in order to teach your children.
Three Myths of Courtship
Myth #1: U-complete me. It’s not true! Even if you find yourself thinking and meaning these:
“He’s tall dark and handsome…so cute, I like his dimple!…
He/she stole my heart…. If only I can have him/her…
He will complete my life.
This is simply a myth. Absolutely no one can complete you. There are nine billion people in the world today, and not a single one of them will be able to complete you. If you think that someone can and will complete you, that is a mistake. You are setting yourself up for disappointment. When you get married eventually, you will realize that that person is incapable of completing you.
Myth #2: The Mr. & Ms. Right.
You maybe dreaming and looking for the perfect man/woman. One who is physically flawless, good mannered and with no vices. So, it is as if you are looking for perfection in the flesh.
The truth is, no matter how good-looking or impeccably-mannered somebody is projected to be, he or she is not perfect.
Look at the mirror. The person you on the mirror is not perfect. I certainly am not perfect. And my wife can attest to that. Even though I’m a pastor I am not perfect! I have my own selfishness in life.
If you are looking for Mr. Perfect sorry, you will not find him. This explains why you keep on shifting from one relationship to another. It may also be the reason why you end up in broken ones. And this dialogue is so devastatingly familiar to you,
“Let’s break up.
I don’t think this relationship is going to work.”
There is no Mr. Right…there is no Ms. Right! They do not exist.
Myth #3: The answer to all my problems.
“If only she could be my girl….
If I could marry her, this woman will be the answer to all my problems…. I will be the happiest person in the world.”
It is so common to think along those lines. But it is a lie! There is a big difference between “reality” and “fairy tale” romance. In reality, when you get married, there will always be challenges in the marriage. You may even find out that he/she might be the central problem that magnifies all your other problems in life…or in some cases, perhaps that extra bit of aggravation to some of your other issues.
Let’s be honest about this. Left to ourselves, all of us are bound to fail especially in our relationships. I have been married for 33 years now, and experience has taught me that believe failures and incidents of misunderstanding are inevitable. And for my wife Maris and I, I have turned up as the guilty party for the most part.
If you are merely looking for someone who can make you laugh…or someone who can give you chocolates and flowers, it’s not courtship.
Courtship is a serious thing.
So, if you are not serious, do not engage into courtship.
We must learn and understand the Biblical principles of courtship.
Jacob took advantage of his brother Esau on two occasions:
1) He took his birth right from his brother when Esau was overcome by his physical hunger and Jacob at the time was cooking a red stew that seemed irresistible at any cost. It was in this cunning and crafty way that Jacob enticed his brother to sell his birth right.
2) When it was time for Isaac to bless his firstborn son, Jacob deceived his father by pretending to be Esau. His father longed for his favorite food, and with the connivance of his mother, he deceived his father and got the blessing from his him instead. Consequently, Esau was furious and plotted to kill Jacob. As a result, Jacob had to flee from home. Their mother Rebekah said, “I could not lose both of you,” and so she sent him to her brother, his uncle Laban in Paddan Aram (Haran).
These were incidents of deception, but still God was in control. Circumstances enables things to happen for Jacob and Rachel to cross paths. God paved the the way for Jacob to be the one to receive Isaac’s blessing, to flee to a distant land undetected, and to finally meet the love of his life, Rachel. How Jacob met Rachel is our case in point today.
Principles for Biblical Courtship
I. TAKE HEED OF GODLY ADVICE, v.1.
Read v.1. For Jacob, godly advise came from his father. Isaac was telling his son,
“Listen now, my son…I going to bless you but I command you not to marry a Canaanite woman.”
In other words, Isaac was telling his son, “Listen to my advice.”
Have you seen or noticed a person who is in love? Have you been in love? The emotion is both sweet and powerful, it is so nice to be in love. Two things are observed when a person is in love:
1) He’s out of his mind…out of self (parang lumulutang, wala sa sarili, laging naka ngisi…Laging maganda ang tingin sa mundo. Laging happy). It is because it’s all about the initial surge of emotions.
Being in in love is an issue of the heart this is why you need people around you who can give you godly advice (Parents, Pastors, Confidante).
Jer. 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
We need to guard our hearts because our emotions can be deceiving. When overcome by our emotions, we tend to go astray. We are likely to do crazy things because we are fueled and empowered by our emotions.
There has to be someone who will neutralize this irrational behavior. Somebody has to strike a balance. And just who’s is going to make that balance? – the mature people you can trust – Our parents, godly people who can see objectively.
Do you have these kind of people around you? They will not make the decision for you but they can influence you to make the right decision. Because when you are in love, you are not objective. In the end you make the final decision. Do you have the kind of people around you who care enough to tell you when you most need to hear that,
“He’s not right for you…
He’s not godly enough.
He’s not fit for you.
You deserve a better man.”
It is imperative to have people around to tell you the truth.
Jacob listened to his father. To all the single and unattached currently, involve your parents. Ask them for their views, solicit their opinions,
“Mom, Dad what do you think?”
Talk to them. Ask your parents, what can you say? What is commonly happening now is you conceal the actual status of your relationships. If you were in your parents’ shoes, how would you feel?
And for those of us who are parents, please do not nag. Do talk with your son/daughter. Keep your communication lines open and accessible especially to them.
Although the world and society says that we should be the ones making decisions and choices for ourselves. There is so much clamor to exercise our freedoms and individuality. Fashionable as it may seem, this is not what the Bible teaches.
We are to seek our parents’ godly counsel. This may sound and look outdated and old-fashioned, but it’s Biblical! It is God’s way!
I remember wanting to have a daughter girl years back, but God did not grant my desire. Now, I know the reason somehow. I might be unable to graciously handle the issue of my ” daughter being courted”. Now that my sons are now aged 31 and 19 this year, I can only imagine the scenario in retrospect. If they were ladies instead, I would have had a very big problem on my hands. If that would have been the case, I will brush off their suitors by telling them,
“As an ordained minister, I possess two licenses: one to solemnize marriage and another for funeral rites. “
Listen to your parents…godly people. Get some feedback.
If you do plan to court someone, here are some guidelines:
1) Make it clear that you are courting her. Don’t just give flowers, chocolates and other gifts. When she asks you, what is this for? And you answer, “Nothing, I just want to give it to you.” Make it clear. Be a man enough to make your intentions known!
2) Approach the parents and let them know your good intention. Have the courtesy to address her parents to tell them,
” I just want you to know that I want to marry your daughter.”
3) For the ladies or women. If you are serious with the man, Let him visit you at home. Why? Because if his intentions are pure, and is really serious, he’ll find a way to visit and know your parents.
If you have been inviting him to visit you at home and he comes us with all sorts of excuses and alibis not to do so, then this tells you that he is not serious enough for a commitment.
NEVER COMPROMISE YOUR BELIEF, vv.1b-2.
In Genesis 28, vv.1b-2.
“Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram,[a]to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.
Do not compromise your faith. Do not go to court someone with a different faith. Court or marry someone of the same faith only.
2 Cor. 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”
Only a Christian , one who is a disciple of Christ can give agape love – divine love.
Now you may argue and say,
“Pastor I can change him. He’s going to church with me”
We have to remember that the “joining behavior for show” is natural and expected during the courtship stage. At this point, I expect you to interject and say,
” But Pastor, he’s joining our e-group, he joined EGR, he was even baptized. He’s raising his hands when singing. He’s saying, “Praise the Lord”.
You need some time to observe. What is most important to you? It must be your faith in God. Your relationship with Him must be first more than anything else. Don’t compromise your faith. Do not forget everything you have been taught about this. Even though you may cite that,
” Because I have waited too long and here comes a cute guy…
“Pastor this is my last chance. God will work naman in his life.”
Don’t rush. Give it time. Reflect and pray. Find someone who is not just a Christian but a Christian who loves and lives for the Lord. Don’t worry! God will always work with you. He is not a kill joy to choose someone you don’t like. He may use physical or spiritual attraction to draw you to the person.
There are many who challenged God in this area. They all failed.
“Dapat mas mahal nya si Lord kaysa sa yo. Pag mahal ka niya kaysa kay Lord magbabago yan pagdating ng araw…”
Set your non-negotiable conditions now.
1) He must have a “living” relationship with the Lord.
2) He must “love” the Lord above all else.
3) He must live a godly life. Don’t compromise your faith…
Don’t compromise your values. These are the things that are important to you. Is it serving God…don’t compromise. When your married his true color will come out. He will not go with you in serving God. Why? Because courtship is over. This will be the start of trouble in your relationship. What are your non-negotiables? (3C’s) Cute, car, cash…Set your non-negotiables…In this relationship it will remain pure. We are not going to sleep together until we are married. Non-negotiable!
Q. Do you have non-negotiables? None. That is why you are in a mess now. You need to have non-negotiables.
III. WALK IN OBEDIENCE, vv. 3-5.
Genesis 28: vv.3-5
3 May God Almighty[b] bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
When Isaac spoke to Jacob, he obeyed. He took his father’s advice. He did not answer, “I have my own life. I’ll decide for my own” but he followed. Some of you may be walking for a long time now, strictly following God (parang nakakapagod na), don’t give up. Just continue to walk. God honors obedience. It’s been too long…it’s okay…obey! It’s tiring…obey! Why obey? Because you’d rather wait than wail! You’d rather wait than marry the wrong person. (Dahil pagpinakasalan mo na yan ano mangyayari? Broken marriage, annulment, heartaches etc). When things get rough and tough work things out because there will be challenges in relationship. That should be your agreement (non-negotiable).
Q. Are you walking in obedience?
The problem comes when you go ahead of God. You teach God what to do. No! Abide in God instead!
Q. Do you live to please God? Remember, this is how we should live as Christians.
1 Thes. 4:3-5, “…avoid sexual immorality, control your body not in passionate lust…live a holy life…”
Avoid occasions to sin. If you are single and liberal with sexual relations ( sleeping around/ one night stand)…that’s fornication. It’s a sin! When you are married and you sleep with someone else other than your spouse, that’s adultery. The Bible tells us to avoid these things. When you see it coming RUN! Run away, not run to attack! Lust takes (advantage)…love waits (because you love and respect the person)!
IV. What now?
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Ps. 27:14 (NKJV)
WAIT…To wait on the Lord in not passive. It is active!
The Bible had so much to say about waiting on God. Recite Ps. 27:14, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait I say, on the Lord!” Ps. 25:3 (AMP), “Indeed, none of those who expectantly wait for You will ever be put to shame.” God must always be center of all our relationships. Humbly ask the Lord to guide you each step of the way. And it is worth waiting on the Lord. Those who put their confidence in turning to the Lord will have their prayers answered and their needs met. Don’t Rush! (Take it slow…) It takes great patience while waiting on God. Courtship takes time! The first step in courtship is walk slowly…be patient…(asking the Lord for guidance…)
ACT in obedience.
First and foremost God delights in obedience. He takes delight in the obedience of His people (1 Sam. 15:22, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice…”). Your worship to the Lord is nothing apart from obedience. Your singing and raising of hands…your service and sacrifices is nothing…Our obedience brings praise, glory and honor to God. We make a name for God (not for ourselves) through careful obedience to His word. Our obedience must be rooted for the pleasure of God not our own (“…you are not your own…you were bought at a price…” 1 Cor 6:19-20).
And obedience is good news…because everything God commands us is for our good. And so what God is really delighting in our obedience is our lasting joy and all the benefits of it. It is good news because our obedience is a demonstration of our faith in Him. And He loves to see our faith. By acting in obedience we show God our full dependence and reliance on Him that He knows what is best for us. We must rely on God/Biblical principles (not worldly principles) to bring the blessings of God to both the courtship and the marriage relationship. God promises to bless those who faithfully obey Him.
Q. How is your obedience to God? Is it partial (kasi it is limited to certain commands only, you only obey the things you want to obey?…is it conditional kasi it always has a condition…or complete obedience…whatever it takes, whatever the consequences because you make the Lord first and center in your life).
INVOLVE your parents.
I strongly believe that God uses godly parents to guide children to His perfect will for their lives. Most parents guide their children through their school years. They guide them regarding their friends and their career choices. But when it comes to the most important decision of all (after salvation…choice of a mate), parents are often silent or stay out of it.
Many say that parental involvement is too old-fashioned. It may be? But it is Biblical! (Listen! Parents) Parents should have an active involvement in the life (including love life) of their children. (Now listen! Children) Children are told throughout Scripture to be subject to their parents (recite Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother…” Eph. 6:1, “children obey your parents in the Lord.” Col.3:20, “Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases God.”). The Bible teaches over and over again that children are under the authority of the parents. This changes only when a child leaves his mother and father to move out and get married.
Q. Would you agree that parents have more wisdom and experience than their children? Would you agree that parents can often see things that children may not see? Would you agree that children should not consider marrying someone without their parents’ blessing? Then parents involve yourselves in the lives of your children. Children…Listen to your parents…involve them in your life. Your parents’ wisdom and blessing are important! Involve your parents…
This thing comes as you constantly remain and immerse yourself in the Word of God. God’s Word assures us. It gives us confident hope and trust in Him. The Word of God is absolutely sufficient to equip a Christian for every challenge. True believers stay with the Word of God regardless of the opinions of others or the secular world. His timing is perfect. His ways are right. God is completely reliable! He is trustworthy. We can trust Him! Amen.
Q. Do you really trust God?
Prov. 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Trust in the Lord with “all” your heart – not a part, not halfway, but all. Lean not on your own understanding – don’t try to figure things out on your own. Refrain from dictating to God when or how something should happen. God is God; we are not. In all your ways – that means “all” – in everything acknowledge Him. Make His name known. Put Him first. Make Him the boss. And He will make your paths straight – it doesn’t say God will answer the way you want it, but He will direct you, lead you in the right path.
Q. How do you know if you are trusting God in this area?
Real trust means:
– No timetable – No hurry. You don’t give God a deadline. It’s up to God.
– No fixes – all things are subject to change. It’s up to God.
– No worry – it’s up to God. You put everything in the hands of God. You leave the answer to God.
Believing that God is trustworthy is believing that God will never act in any other way than that will ultimately bring good. He is God; He is faithful; and He is good. And no lack of trust in Him will ever change the character of God. He will never disappoint you, never fail you, and who is always, 100% faithful.
In courtship or in any stage of love relationship, it is important that we STAY with the counsel of SCRIPTURE. Failure to abide by the WORD in these things will cause us to eventually reap serious consequences of SUFFERING, SORROW and SIN. God must be the CENTER of all our relationships. Without God you put your relationship at high risk. We can only find true satisfaction and fulfillment in JESUS who is our true superhero! I’d like to end with this quote:
Jesus alone can complete us, He alone is the Mr. Right/Ms. Right and He alone is the answer to all our problems.
This message based on Genesis 28:1-5, was prepared and delivered by its Senior Pastor Rev. Gernan Villegas at Emmanuel Church Ministries International in Makati last Sunday February 4, 2017. It is first in a February 2017 series entitled, “Be My Valentine”. This was slightly edited for publication purposes.