Loving Relationships vs Stuff/Success
God’s Word calls us to seek His Kingdom and Righteousness first (Matthew 6:33) and to focus on that which is eternal rather than temporal (2 Corinthians 4:18). These commands prompt us to explore what The Holy Spirit means in His Word when He speaks of eternal or Kingdom things to ensure that we understand where we are to invest our lives.
After a thorough search I could find only three things that exist on this temporal earth that are Kingdom in nature. They are: 1) God’s Holy Spirit; 2) God’s Word and; 3) the souls of human beings. Everything else is temporary and will pass away. Only these three will remain and they all exist for relationship.
My question to you: “What are you doing with His Word, His Spirit, and the lives of those around you? Are you investing in what will last or in that which will someday perish?”
God’s Word shows a very clear contrast between His design and desire for loving relationships and the world’s attraction to stuff and self at the expense of true relationships. The two words in Scripture that best describe love are “hesed” in Hebrew (Old Testament) and “agape” in Greek (New Testament).
Both words describe God’s unconditional, sacrificial, unfailing, selfless (US2 – His Love is always exponentially toward US!) lovingkindness. All other expressions of love find their source in His love (1 Jn 4:19). We call lots of things love that aren’t!
On the other hand, “porneia” is the Greek word from which we derive “pornography” and stands for any and all sexual immorality. It goes even further in Scriptural context and includes a sexually immoral mindset evident in sexual sin.
There are many fleshly lusts and
desires that destroy hearts, minds, and relationships—jealousy, envy, anger,
pride to name just a few. See the list in Galatians 5:16-19. They all play a role and many are encompassed
, which is the enemy’s greatest ammunition in this battle. For this reason I’m focusing on porneia with
the understanding that allother vices and “lusts of the flesh” must be
accounted for in our lives and, along with porneia, must be overcome by Christ
and in His Word and Spirit as we choose to nurture relationships and build His
Keep all of this in mind as you compare and contrast God’s covenant order in relationships and sexuality as shown in Scripture with the way of the world and evident in our human nature apart from Christ. The Scriptures below show the standard that God has established for human relationships and sexuality in His Kingdom as well as the perversion of the enemy that prevails in our human nature apart from Christ. We have a choice to make, personally and relationally, when it comes to whether we will follow the loving disciplines of His Word and Spirit or the lustful desires of our flesh.
Following is a straightforward Bible study contrasting God’s Word and Kingdom with this world and our flesh regarding relationships, sexuality and community…
Kingdom Currency – Loving Relationships
Christ as Lord – Hesed/Agape
- Fruits of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23
- Personally – Proverbs 31:10-31; I Corinthians 13:4-8a
- In Home – Ephesians 5:21-33
- In Church – Book of I John
- In Community – Matthew 22:37-39; 5:43-44
- Parable of Sower – Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 (emphasis v. 23)
World’s Currency – Stuff/Success
Satan (“Self”) as lord – Lust and selfish desire
- Lusts of the flesh – Galatians 5:16-21
- Parable of Sower – Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 (emphasis vv. 19-22)
- Selfishness, flesh and world – Romans 1:18-31; Galatians 6:7-8a
Kingdom Currency – Christ as Lord – Agape
- Marriage as One Woman, One Man – Genesis 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6
- Our bodies as part of Body of Christ, Temple of Holy Spirit – I Corinthians 5:13; 6:19
- Sexual Purity and Blessing – I Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3
World’s Currency – Satan (“Self”) as lord – Porneia
- Depravity of man (all sexual sin) – Romans 1 (emphasis v. 24-27)
- Lusts of the flesh – Galatians 5:16-19
- Lust, Sin, Death – James 1:15
“Flee sexual immorality (‘porneia’). Every sin a man does is outside the body; but the sexually impure sins against his own body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18 (Parentheses mine and added)
Hesed/Agape and Porneia/Lust cannot willingly exist together in your heart. One or the other will win out. Which are you choosing?
Understand that there is a difference between a stronghold and a struggle. A stronghold is something that you have given into. It is set up in your heart and mind, controlling or dictating your thoughts and actions. You have either willingly or subconsciously done so and now live by its hold on you regardless of what you say. You may say you desire God’s love in your life but continually choose the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17) over and over again. This is a stronghold, and porneia is perhaps the strongest.
You can never win and hesed/agape cannot reign in your life if you continue to willingly give in to porneia or any stronghold. You must recognize it, quit deceiving yourself, and surrender it to The Holy Spirit to conquer it by changing your motives, thoughts, decisions, and actions. Otherwise it will cripple and destroy your life and every relationship.
A struggle is something you battle against because you are aware of it and do not desire to have it in your life. For this reason, you may struggle with porneia or any of the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, or pride of life, but you fight against it. Know that as a Christ follower you already have the victory! Even though you may struggle, you will overcome if you continue to walk in faith—believe in God’s overcoming Truth and act accordingly, even when you struggle.
To be continued…
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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What drives your daily decision making…the truths of Christ’s Word and Kingdom? Or your day-to-day needs and desires? Seeking His Kingdom and righteousness first places our priority on Him and His Kingdom.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – 1) In your daily quiet time (and throughout your day) ask The Lord to reveal to you where your priorities lie based on what you focus on and how you make decisions. 2) As He reveals these areas, write them down and ask Him for the strength and wisdom to place His Kingdom and Truth first in these issues and relationships, in every part of your life.