LOVING INTELLIGENTLY

Courtship is the time to love intelligently; marriage is the time to love blindly.

I consider this the most important advice I can give any dating couple. There is a reason why you are not married yet. It is so that you can know each other and discover whether or not you are cut out for a life-long partnership. So, what does loving intelligently entail?

From the very beginning…

Loving intelligently starts with choosing intelligently. Don’t just love with your emotions. Let your spirit lead, followed by your brain and then your emotions can follow. Let your criteria for choosing match up with the requirements of the job. Don’t pick a guy just because he has six packs. What do muscles have to do with being a good husband? Don’t let your major criteria for choosing a wife be how she looks. Do you want to build a home or a modelling agency?

Forgiveness with sense

It was Pst. Nike Adeyemi who said that love is best spelled as forgiveness. I couldn’t agree more. Forgiveness with sense in no way implies that some things are unforgivable. Not at all. A Christian always forgives. However, in a dating relationship, I believe that there is a certain kind of wisdom that should guide your actions and decision, post-forgiveness. If your spouse cheats on you, you can’t just pack your bags and end your marriage. It becomes a prayer point. But if it happens in a dating relationship, it requires an action point. Some ladies will stay in a dating relationship with a guy who beats them, and somehow assume that he will change in marriage. News flash: He will most likely become worse. Marriage doesn’t change people; it only amplifies who they really are. So, by all means, forgive, but be sure you take wise corresponding action when necessary.

One hundred percent commitment, one hundred percent sincerity

By loving intelligently, I do not mean that you should have one leg in and one leg out, waiting for the next big mistake so that you can withdraw your commitment. Not at all. I’m one of those old school folks who strongly believes that Christians should go into relationships with marriage in mind. So if you’re in a relationship, give it all your commitment. If you’re looking for a reason to break up, you definitely will find one. You only need to look into the mirror and realize that no one is perfect. And because relationships comprise of imperfect people, they aren’t perfect as well. So, if you’re dating a Christian, give it your best shot.
However, you must also be very sincere with yourself and the other person. Until you’re married, you’re not yet married. You still have a choice. Objectively look at the state of things with your beloved. ‘If this person never changes, can I do forever with him or her?’ Love with your eyes wide open. Ask the tough questions.
 

Structure activities

Loving intelligently also implies that you structure your dates to meet up with the goal of courtship. Except your goal is to have a baby out of wedlock, I see no reason why your dates should be spent touching each other and making out. You will have more than enough time for that in marriage. Get your priorities right, not just on paper but in action. You don’t need to tell anyone what your priorities are when you spend 95 percent of your date looking into each other’s eyes and five percent praying while looking into each other’s eyes. Do trainings together. Have topics of discussion planned out before your date begins. Pray together. Go to church together. Romantic gestures have their place, but don’t make them the focus of your dating relationship.  

Take correction

Most couples fight about the same issues all their lives. Loving intelligently requires that you learn to take correction. You already know by now the things you do or say that get on your partner’s nerves. Learn to grow in the areas that you need to grow.
 

Know whether to say goodbye

Sometimes, the smartest thing you can do is to walk out of that relationship. Recognize if and when that time comes. It just may be time to say goodbye if you notice any of the following: Crisis of faith, Physical abuse, Unfaithfulness, Incompatibility, Bad character traits, and lack of direction. Learn more about these in my post, ”Break up blues“.

Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you think in the comments section. This article is culled from a Courtship devotional, which is one of the three books I’m launching very soon. Holler at me in the comments section and I’d let you know when the book is available for pre-order.


How to Choose the Wrong Spouse

I don’t always show it, but I get a little worried when I counsel some young people about their relationships. Sometimes I just feel like asking them the hubby’s famous words: ‘Why are you so bent on ruining your life?’ That’s why I’ve written this article. I’m hoping that you’d see more clearly what a bad relationship looks like and run in the opposite direction:

 

 

The meeting:

Dear Christian, let’s say you meet someone at a night club. Of course, my question to you would be: ‘What are you doing there in the first place?’ But this is not about you. It is about that girl you met dancing the night away at the club who you now somehow expect to be a homemaker who dresses decently and has the capacity to be faithful to you go life. #wehdonesir. Dear sister, when you found him, he was surrounded by other girls and a lot of booze. But somehow, you believe you’re the aphrodisiac that would make him forget all that. #Wehdonema. He was married or in a serious relationship when you guys started on the side. Eventually, he got tired of her and chose you. You think he will not get tired of you and choose another person? Think again!
Don’t get me wrong, in very rare cases, people meet people under the weirdest of circumstances, the person changes and they have a happy home. But because Daniel survived the lion’s den doesn’t mean everyone else will. So be wise. Also, even though the place you meet someone isn’t a guarantee for a good relationship, it sure is a good start.

The wrong criteria

It doesn’t make sense to be looking to employ a teacher and yet put out the criteria for a plumber. That’s what a lot of people do in relationships. You want a woman who will submit to you, love you, be a help meet and a good mother to your children, yet that’s not what attracts you about a woman. There’s nothing about the shape of someone’s lips or the size of her hips that tells you that she’d be a good wife. Remember that you’re trying to build a family, not a make up studio.
What about you dear sister? How can the sound of a man’s voice or his height tell you that he’ll be faithful to you for the rest of your lives and that he will give his all for the sake of family.
Of course, you should marry someone you’re physically attracted to (I know I did). But if you really want to marry the wrong person, put the superficial ahead of depth.

The MOP

When I was in secondary school, the slang MOP was used to refer the liason between someone who liked someone and the one who was liked. MOP is coined from Messenger of Peace, always wondered why it wasn’t called ‘Messenger of Love.’ But that’s another gist for another day. Alongside the fact that I went to an all girls boarding school which had MOPs because of some untoward relationships that thrive in such environments.
Anyways, back to the point. The person who introduces you to your future spouse also has a role to play. When someone who is unserious with his or her life offers to match -make you with someone, you better look again.
You know the saying: ‘Show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are.’ Well if you can’t date that person, why would you date their close friend?

The questions asked

One sure way to get stuck with the wrong person is to ask The wrong questions. How can you try to figure out their account  balance  when you don’t know the day they got born again. You know her dress size, but you don’t know what service group she belongs to at church. You want to know whether or not their family is influential before finding out whether or not such a person is God-fearing.

Ignore the obvious

Someone is not God fearing, you know it, but because you met such a person in church, you ignore the obvious. He has an anger problem, you know it. She is materialistic, you know it. But when you consider how far you’ve gone, you just ignore the obvious. After all, since everyone already knows you’re dating, why not just make a shipwreck of your life by marrying someone who obviously won’t be a good spouse.

Ignore all good advice

People who are close to someone advised you not to marry him, but you still want to go ahead. The reasonable people you look up to don’t think she will be a good wife, but what do they know? It’s a different thing of they are biased against her because of something silly like her tribe,but if they have good reason, then don’t listen since you’re so bent on marrying the wrong person.

Not in the faith

Dear Christian, No. The answer is no. If you like ask if one million times at one million relationship meetings. You can’t marry someone who is not in the faith. The purpose of your life is Christ and if the person closest to you doesn’t get that, how can you fulfil purpose?  This isn’t about how much he or she loves you at how well behaved such a person is. You’re not of the same kind. Full stop.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to share with your friends. Also, please share your thoughts in the comments section!

How to choose a life partner

Before You Marry…

Don’t marry him if…

Don’t marry her if…


Making Friendships Work

I want to believe that friendship is one of the beautiful numerous gifts that our heavenly father has bestowed upon us and if properly groomed and nurtured, it can last forever!
However a good friend or friendship doesn’t just suddenly jump at you!, It takes a conscious effort and commitment on your part to make it work. After you must have identified your true friends with time and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope that you can learn a thing or two from the simple tips below…God bless you as you read.

 

 

Simple tips for a lasting, Fruitful Friendship

• Communication

Make sure you are always in touch with your friends from time to time, follow up with them, don’t wait till when you have something to say, you can call or message them just to check on them. Try making this a conscious effort.

 

• Know their folks

Get to know their family and let them know you too! You can also check on their parents and siblings once in a while. Be careful not to misuse this (as it is not absolutely necessary, but allowed as the friendship gets deeper). It is just a show of commitment and intentionality on your own part. Send them messages occasionally and give them a call.

 

• Edify one another

In your spiritual growth process, make sure you carry your friends along with you! Make sure you are also building your friends up as you build yourself up. Share scriptures, materials, videos that would help build them, attend events that would improve your spiritual life and also all other aspects of life together (Now that is the right form of turn up!)

• As much as you can, be there for them!

 

Your friends should be able to depend on you to be there for them in tough times. This requires a lot of commitment, but with the right friend, it’s more than worth it.

• Be a Giver:

 

This does not necessarily mean material things, who am I kidding, it does! But you must also give your time, knowledge, expertise and advice.

• Pray together:

 

The other day I was praying with a friend and while rounding up, the Holy spirit said to me ‘if you have a friend that you gist long hours over the phone with, and you have never prayed together with that friend for even up to 15 or 30 minutes; then your friendship is not that deep’… even in the middle of your little chats and fun, make time out for praying together! During your personal prayer time, remember to keep your friends  in prayers.

• Interest

 

Be interested in what matters to them: this is just as simple as it sounds! Show support to your friends even in the littlest ways. This really counts! Be their greatest cheerleader and best critique: Celebrate your friends at every chance you get and remember to always speak the truth in love Eph4:15. Encourage them and give them comfort where necessary (Remember you cannot take the place of the Holy Spirit). Celebrate every milestone with them and be genuinely happy for them.

• Be Accountable

Share your goals with them, as well as your fears: the essence of this is to have them pray along with you and also to have them as your accountability partners, so they can help you when you are lagging behind or lackadaisical about your goals.

• Make time for Hangouts

 

This is very important! It helps create beautiful memories and also helps with bonding in friendship. As friends, you should always make time out for one another just to enjoy each other’s company and have fun, go swimming, see a movie, visit the spa, go to orphanages, go on vacation…There’s just so much you can do!

• Handling Disagreements

Resolve issues with wisdom and maturity and be quick to move on!: Just like every other relationship, it is only normal for you to at some point or the other have disagreements, however your approach to handling such disagreement is what matters the most, be quick to forgive, slow to speak (ask the holy spirit for wisdom when you don’t know what to say). Don’t be the one to go back and forth on an issue, learn from it and move on really fast! Don’t let it affect your friendship.

• Know when to say goodbye

Having said all these, it is also very important to note that some friendships actually do expire, some friendships are only for a season and when we see signs of such friendships, we should not hesitate to let go. Also, note that it is not everyone who is acting all friendly to you that is actually your friend. This is why you should always ask the Holy Spirit for the ability to discern.

 


Love versus ‘God said’

I remember watching a Mount Zion film a few years back. The main character, a Christian sister, had a dream where she was to choose between two suitors. One was ‘supposedly’ handsome and the other wasn’t. I used the term ‘supposedly’ with a mischievous smile on my face, but I will not say more than that because I have a lot of respect for Mount Zion movies (Zips mouth shut). Anyway, instead of choosing the man God asked her to choose-the one with the man tribal marks-she chose the other guy, the supposedly handsome one. She woke up from the dream and years later, it came to pass. It was a decision she regretted.

I decided to write this piece because every time I speak to people, it almost always comes up. Do I choose or does God choose for me? I know of people who kept insisting that someone was their God-ordained spouse until the person got married and had children. I know people that have let go of good, God-fearing people that they actually liked because they felt it wasn’t ‘God’s will,’ and people who passed up so many good relationship opportunities because they did not see a vision from above. I’ve met people who stayed in abusive relationships that were almost destroying their lives, because they believed that God told them that person was their spouse. So what really is the deal? Let’s find out together:

The first place we must look into is the word of God. After all, marriage was His idea in the first place. We see three major instances where it appeared like God chose people’s spouses for them. Notice I use the word ‘appeared.’ One was in the case of Adam and Eve, the other was in the case of Isaac and Rebecca and the third was the prophet Hosea.

I will start with Adam, the first man. After God had brought all the animals to Adam to see what he would call them, no help meet was found for Adam, so God made woman. Of course she was like Adam, but God didn’t tell him: This is your better half, I made her just for you. It was Adam himself that called her his wife. He was the one who said: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2). Even though she was the only woman in the whole world, God let Adam choose. Besides, don’t forget that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman in the world. It was God’s plan to bring forth the world, through their reproduction. You, on the other hand, must be like the 200 billionth person in the world.

Secondly, we see the case of Isaac and Rebecca in Genesis Chapter 24. Let me just state here that a popular person recently argued that Rebecca got married at three years old. It can’t be. No three year old can fetch water from the well for many men and camels, then lead them home and relay to her family all that she was told. Anyway, back to the point, Abraham already set in motion a plan for his son to marry within God’s will: from the tribe of Israel, which was God’s instruction to Israel at that time. Notice Abraham’s servant had been sent to pick a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives. If you were in his shoes, what qualities would you look out for? Someone who is caring, humble and hard-working would clearly top the list. This particular scenario is one that combines desire with the supernatural. He knew the qualities he desired for his master’s son; he prayed to meet a woman with such qualities. God gave the servant direction; there is no gain saying that. Rebecca herself also had a choice to make. She was asked and decided to go with the servant and marry Isaac.

We also see in Hosea Chapter 1, the story of Prophet Hosea, a demonstrative prophet whom God told to marry Gomer a prostitute to portray to the Israelites that even though they had prostituted themselves with other gods, he still loved them.

What we don’t see as a norm throughout the bible is God telling people who to marry. Jacob fell in love like any regular guy. The bible doesn’t deem it fit to tell us how Abraham and Sarah met, or Lappidoth and Deborah, or Acquilla and Priscilla, or Peter and his wife(Notice that the first pope had a mother-in-law which implies that he had a wife, Luke 4: 38-41). We don’t know the background story of Joseph and Mary, there was no dramatic revelation with Boaz and Ruth.

Of course God has standards: he told the daughters of Zelophedad in Genesis 27, to choose whoever seemed right to them as long as the husbands were part of the household of Israel. That was the same instruction Abraham tried to follow in choosing a wife for his son. The Epistles, which form the basis of our doctrine as Christians tell us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers(2 Cor 6:14). We know what the fruit of the spirit are and we understand God’s plan for marriage. Equipped with this knowledge, we are to choose within the confines of God’s will. Paul himself supports this in 1 Cor 9: 5 when he says: “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?”

Proverbs 18: 22 says that Whosoever finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord. The Hebrew word for favour here is ‘Rawtson’ which can also be translated to mean approval. It is safe to say that it is your responsibility to find, then God approves or disapproves of your choice, just like any other choice you make as a christians. Sometimes, it is possible that from your point of view, someone seems perfect for you, but you just have a nudge in your spirit not to go ahead. I am not talking about the spirit of fear here please.

At this point, I would also like to address the idea of pastors telling people who to marry. We see no example of such in the bible. However, I must say this: if you attend a good church where your man of God is not the type that witch-hunts people, you should not totally disregard him if he doesn’t approve of someone you like with good reason. But ‘good reason’ is important here. He should be able to tell you why. And it must make objective sense to you.

The point of the last nearly 1,000 words is this, God will not choose for you, but with you. You know God’s standard, you know your personal preferences, you find someone you like, who also likes you and is compatible with you and then you make a choice. You both may get very strong convictions about the fact that God’s hand is involved, or you may not. But when it all comes down to it, the supernatural nature of your meeting is not as important as the commitment of both parties to making to work.

Haven’t you seen couples who had dreams, visions and revelations that they were meant to be together, but still did not work out? So let me say this again: the supernatural nature of your meeting is not as important as the commitment of both parties to making to work.

There is no marriage in heaven. It is an earthly decision, although one that could have eternal implications.

Romantic Love is a choice. You have the right to choose, and the other person has the right to choose you as well. What if you believe it is God’s will and he or she does not. What if such a person loves someone else. Don’t go around harassing someone who does not like you, insisting that it’s God’s will for you two to be together. Even with someone who love, marriage is a tough job, how much more when the reverse is the case?

So what do you do? Make your choice within the context of God’s word. Let your desires be in line with his, and you’d make the right decision. You may get supernatural convictions, you may not, but when it all comes down to it, if you want the relationship to work, you both must be willing to make it work.


MARKS OF A GOOD CHURCH

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”

(Heb 10:25).

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that attending a local assembly is an action expected of us by God, and an instruction given to us by the Apostles. Today, we want to talk about how you should choose a local church.

Don’t just assume anyone close to your house should be alright. When you want to choose what hospital or school to attend, you don’t just pick the one closest to you. Although you’re more likely to choose one that friends or family members attend, that is not your major motivation.

If you care about the standard of education and health care you and your family are subject to, how about the standard of spiritual health and education? That said, today, we will discuss one thing that you must look out for before deciding what church to attend; it is the understanding of the gospel portrayed there.

This is both fundamental and crucial. Your understanding of the gospel is the centre-piece of your Christian Faith. Jesus died for our sins. Those who believe in Him have eternal life, not by any qualification of theirs but by faith. To be indifferent about it is to betray the history of the Church and to despise the labours of our heroes of faith many of whom gave their lives for the gospel.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Don’t give this up for anything in the world!

DO THIS: Before choosing a local assembly, investigate its understanding of the gospel.


MISTAKES WITH THE POPULAR INTERPRETATIONS OF MATTHEW 6:33

First, all that I have to say can be summarized with the quote: “To seek The Kingdom first BECAUSE you want all other things to be added, is to seek other things first”. If you think about this deeply enough, you’d get the point immediately. The Kingdom is not first if it is a means to an end is it?

For the sake of clarification however, I have decided to go into deeper details.

Again the text says:

Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The following are observations I have made, highlighting two common mistakes with the popular interpretation of this text;

1. QUOTE IT RIGHT: One of two Christians today will quote Matt 6:33 as saying: “…and all other things shall be added…”. By other things they mean Cars, houses and all. The text however says: “…all these things…”, referring to things previously mentioned in context, namely, food and clothes (See verse 25). This clearly wasn’t a teaching on jaw dropping prosperity but on contentment. Paul taught same: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” 1 Timothy 6:8. Food and raiment are specific in both texts. Does this mean that God doesn’t meet other needs? No it doesn’t. But using a text that teaches basic contentment to fuel the desire luxurious material things is but a huge contradiction.

2. READ IN CONTEXT; I doubt that many have paid as much thought to the previous verses as they have to verse 33. Verse 33 is simply taken out of context. I doubt that anyone will read the previous verses objectively and still end up with their current interpretation of verse 33. Let’s go through a few

a) Life is more than meat and raiment; Mat 6:25 “…Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Let that sink. Brothers and sisters, life is more than food and clothes! Every child of God ought to know and believe this. “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesses” Luke 12:15. Now ask yourself. Does your desire for all other things to be added align with this? Any interpretation of verse 33 that does not take this into cognizance falls flat.

For a lot of people, they are so desirous of a better life that they are willing to do anything to get it…including seeking God ‘first’. Material blessings becomes their motivation for showing up at Church, giving, soul winning and all, instead of the love of God and of the saints.

Verse 25 gives us the proper lens with which verse 33 should be understood

b) Worry doesn’t help any way; If you listen to a few people who are eager to have God ‘change their story’, you agree that their display of faith is but anxiety and competition masked with religion.

An example is a lady who was so angry with God for failing her. She asked me to ask God what she did wrong. She sobbed as she spoke to me. Why would she apply for two jobs and not get any? God had failed her. When I probed further, I discovered to my shock that she was still running her National Youth Service Corpse (NYSC) program. She was barely half way through. Whereas she was shouting like someone who had been job hunting for a decade. She simply needed to calm down!

What many people call a step of faith is simply worry. Worry doesn’t help any way. Mat 6:27 “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”. Anxiety won’t increase your chances at a better tomorrow.

Don’t use Matt 6:33 as a back up for your anxiety.

c) Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

There is an inordinate desire for things and it should be foreign to the believer. “Such things do Gentiles seek”. They should be the ones marked by certain types of desires. They don’t have God to rely on. They must chart their own course, hence the anxiety. But the believer knows that His Heavenly Father already knows he has needs of those things. Live your life trusting Him.

Matthew 6:33 is about trust and contentment. The reason I do not need to be preoccupied with the things I don’t have is because my father meets my needs. I therefore seek first the Kingdom, not to have my needs met, but KNOWING that my needs are met.

Seek God first for God’s sake, not for things sake