As the phrase "falling in love" connotes, people have taken it for what it sounds on face value than an expressive phrase it actually is. Love cannot be a feeling but a choice. It is a conscious decision that one takes at a particular point. This book, therefore, seeks to demystify how love is not a feeling but a decision.
Yes! True love does exist. For one to experience it, it is important to understand its essence and how it unfolds. God's philosophy of love provides a basis from which to understand and experience the beauty of love. That love which regards not of its own but of the other. Love is a peculiar partnership, which neither anticipates nor forces a contribution of the other partner. Engaging in a love relationship however, can set you on a path that determines whether you will experience heaven or hell on earth. Choosing right is therefore vital.
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Loving God's Way
Discovering and Embracing Your Bone
By Klaas H Baloyi
Partridge AfricaCopyright © 2016 Klaas H Baloyi
All rights reserved.
The relational nature of God
As images of God, human beings have been designed to operate in relationships. God's plan is for us to first relate with Him, and then with the rest of His creation. He created us to be like Him so that we can relate with Him prior to anything else. People work and function better through relations with each other. It is through this relationship with one another that a true meaning of our existence emerges. We have been created to live and grow in families that make up communities, societies and nations.
This relational nature of humanity starts from that point when God connects a young man and a woman in a process to construct a lifetime relationship from which communities and societies will emerge. Our ancestor, Adam started it all at that point when he exclaimed "This one is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh! She will be called 'woman', because she was taken from 'man'" (Genesis 2:23). We all have inherited this relational nature from God Himself. Yahweh, in His powerful and unfathomable nature, when He created us, did that in a relational mode. If you read Genesis 1:26, you will realise that God was addressing a meeting of some sort.
26 Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us". They will reign over the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.
Genesis 1: 26 (NLT).
The immediate and obvious discovery coming out of the above verse is that God is talking to some person or persons, which is probably known to you and me as the first person of the Godhead talking to the other two. The above illustration does not at all seek to show that God is divided into many parts nor that there are three separate gods. No! God is one. He is Mighty, Gracious, Loving and Merciful. Genesis 1: 26 above, merely demonstrates one of the divine truths about who God is and how He operates.
We see in the scripture above the first demonstration of a total operation of the Holy Trinity. We see God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit communing as they plan to create the most special and mysterious being, you. The words "Let us", clearly depict a conversation between persons, which reveals a discussion between three persons of the Godhead as indicated.
One of the deep revelations that I find in the scripture above is that, our God is the God who is relational. Powerful and mighty as He is, God believes in relationships, which is what I believe is one of the reasons He decided to arrange Himself in a Triune order. It is also for this reason amongst others that God created marriage, which He started through Adam in the Garden of Eden. By creating marriage, God was transferring His relational nature in man. It is for this reason that we work and operate in and through relationships. No one can fully function or reach his or her full potential as a loner. When we read the bible from Genesis to Revelations, we find that God, in one way or the other, reveals Himself in a relational manner.
First, God related to Adam by communing with him. When God gave Adam a command not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, it was an indication that there has been a direct communication between man and his Creator. That in itself depicts the relationship that existed between God and man since creation. God related with Adam as his Creator and was able to communicate with him anytime and anyhow He desired.
Even after Adam's fall, God continued to relate with him. The fact that God came looking for Adam after he hid himself upon realising his nakedness, was affirmation that even the fall could not nullify God's relation with man, which He further guaranteed by promising man's redemption, Genesis 3: 15. When God said the offspring of the woman shall crush the devil's head, He was actually decreeing the coming of Christ who was to crush satan's head on the cross. The decree eventually manifested when Christ the Redeemer came down to earth to save the world, John 3:16.
By sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you and me on the cross, God was restoring the relationship between Himself and mankind. Subsequently, we then related back to Him by offering Him our very lives and allowing Him to be King and Master over us, totally controlling the way we lead our lives. As He loved us first, we also love Him, demonstrated in the manner in which we love our fellows.
19 We love because he first loved us, 1 John 4:19 (NIV).
The above highlight of being loved by God and us loving others through which we demonstrate our love for God, is not really the focus of this book, but a simple demonstration of how God has created us to operate in a relational manner. The focus throughout this book will be on love relationships geared towards marriage that displays the God of love and order.CHAPTER 2
Engaging in love
7 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
Songs of Solomon 2: 7 (KJV).
It is critical, fellows, that I begin this episode by asking a question; what does the phrase 'falling in love' mean? I'm not an English first language speaker, but I believe the phrase more connotes an expression of the extent to which one gets attracted to someone than a true meaning of what engaging in a love relationship entails. If one listens to love songs many of us love, the emphasis is more on attraction, feelings and intimacy than anything else.
Most of the time, the extent to which one loves someone is more connoted by the nature and magnitude of the feelings one has towards the one allegedly being loved. Allow me therefore fellows, to use the phrase, "engaging in love" instead of 'falling in love' as commonly used, and this is a phrase I will be using throughout. A thinking behind this will become clearer as you read through.
In the above scripture, King Solomon warns against awakening love before it so desires. This does attest therefore that there is indeed a right time to engage in a love relationship. If there is a right time for love, then love must be something that is entered into with a clear conscience. What King Solomon is basically asserting in his songs (2:7) is that, do not open the gates of love prematurely. In essence, love should be engaged in at the right time as purposed by God.
The fact that King Solomon advises us not to awaken love prematurely is itself an indication that engaging in love cannot be a sudden thing as many have been taught and socialised into believing, but a decision and a choice that must be made at the right time. It's probable as you're reading through, that you begin to ask; "but when is the right time?" Well, that is the very reason why you have your hands and eyes on this very book at this particular moment.
I pray that the Holy Ghost opens your heart to the revelations contained in this book not only for your benefit as a single person seeking marriage someday, but as a means to develop and empower you spiritually in the area of relationships and marriage. Even if you are married, the truths and revelations contained in this book can still help you revitalise your love and comprehend some of the things you may have not really understood before as far as love is concerned, despite your experience in relationships and marriage.
In the episodes to follow, we will try to unpack God's philosophy of love, including how to make a distinction between being in love and just driven by emotions, as well as the true meaning of waiting upon the Lord. God's philosophy of love is basically a description of love as defined in the scriptures. Many people get misled into wrong relationships thinking they're in love. This Book therefore is further intended at assisting by explaining measures through which we can know whether we are in love or just in emotional excitement.
In most of the courtships where one party ends up getting hurt, the likelihood is that either of the parties would have only gone as far as the attraction phase or may have never been really looking for something serious. The above indicated phase will be expanded more later in the book where I will try to highlight what I term phases of the Eros love.
I'm conscious, fellows, that what I'm about to reveal on what love really is and is not, may shock and amaze a lot of you who have been socialised and schooled into believing that love has much to do with feelings than anything else. Let me start my analysis on the phrase "falling in love" as commonly used. Many of us use this phrase loosely as we understand it in terms of what it expresses on face value, i.e. to fall – in – love. What the latter phrase signifies if one looks at it superficially, is that one trips into love.
It is on the basis of the aforesaid that believing love as blind, moves from the premise that falling in love is not a decision, but a 'blink of an eye' occurrence. The argument in terms of the above is that, just as one cannot decide to fall but stumbles before falling, so loving someone cannot be a decision. Unfortunately this is one of the fallacies that society has instilled in us, which has laid precarious foundations for so many relationships and marriages.
We will now in the next discussion look at how various churches, although connected by one important element of our spirituality, Faith, do not really provide a homogeneous or uniform way from courting to marriage, which unfortunately does not help the situation.CHAPTER 3
Varying church dogmas
As indicated in the beginning of this book, dating continues to be a central point of debate in the church today. Many people, especially youth, have gone astray in their quest for what has always been termed a "lifetime partner". Some identify their aspired partners as "Mr or Mrs Right". Others have even coined terms like "heavenly dating". You enquire from one church to the next, still there's no consensus in terms of what exactly is the right way to courtship and marriage.
The following are glimpses of what one gathers out there from various Christians, particularly young people.
* One argument goes, "in my church, when I have seen my wife in a vision, I must inform my pastor for him/her to deliver the words of love on my behalf";
* Another exclaims, "No ways! How do you get married to someone you have not interacted with? When you have problems in your marriage, how are you going to sit down and talk to her, if you never proposed her from the first place";
* The other goes "I do not believe that it's necessary for me as a child of God to want to know my partner. Since my God is faithful, He will never give me a partner who's not my match";
* "You see, the problem with us Christians is that, we don't enquire of the Lord for Him to guide us in our quest to choose partners. We first identify someone and then want to bully God into accepting and blessing what we have already chosen for ourselves", so goes another;
* "Of course courtship is allowed in my church, but there are boundaries. For example, we cannot go to the movies being just the two of us, or maybe visit each other at our homes whilst no other person is home". Whenever we are together, there must be a third person with us";
* The other would say, "Yes we are allowed to date, but when the sun goes down, we must be apart by then";
* "Yes, in our church we do date, but no kissing and fondling".
These are amongst others, arguments and contentions by many young Christians out there, owing to the varying doctrines that our various churches hold today.
One Sunday afternoon some few years ago, I attended a youth colloquium in one church in my area. Young people were invited to discuss and share their understanding of what dating within the Christian context is. The colloquium was structured such that men of God from several denominations were invited to sit on the panel, with a purpose for them to receive and respond to various questions from young people.
Although the allocated time was very minimal, at least the deliberations went on far enough that it should have assisted all the youth in attendance to have a grasp of what Christian dating is or is not, and for the panelists to have given the youth a Godly way of journeying towards marriage. Perhaps, the poor planning of the seminar is to blame as it seemed to have failed to achieve what it was organised for and thanks to various doctrines brought into that room on the day, which instead seemed to have left most young people more confused than before.
However, since this book is about discovering and embracing your bone or suitable partner, it is imperative that we briefly look at what engaging in love in its essence really means, since that is where it all begins. Unfortunately, people of God around the world have been schooled into believing that love is a sudden feeling that engulfs you without having given a deep thought of what you are engaging yourself into. This is what brought the coining of contentions like "just as one does not decide to fall but stumbles and fall, so is love, hence the phrase "falling in love".
The argument in terms of the aforesaid is that, just as the latter phrase stipulates, a lover becomes suddenly engulfed by affection for the loved one". It does not see love as a deliberate step that one takes but believes it to be a sudden occurrence. Clearly, the above argument basis more on feelings than anything else. Most of us have been taught that love emanates from the heart. I do not honestly believe so. Love stems not from the heart but the will.
Love cannot be something that suddenly overcomes you without you having given serious scrutiny to what you are committing yourself to. It is a process that develops steadily and goes on to take root in the heart. In essence, love cements itself in the heart but does not originate there. It is a conscious decision that one takes based on a variety of factors. I believe love does not necessarily stem from the heart, but gradually builds up from the will and then permanently takes refuge in the heart. The latter analysis confirms therefore that love is not instant but develops.
Since this book is about love relationship between a man and a woman ultimately planning to get married, the focus will be on the Eros type of love. I personally believe that this category of love also emanates from God. My emphasis and deliberation will therefore be on love as defined in the bible. God's philosophy of love is discussed in the next chapter and provides a basis upon which the discussion throughout this entire book will be based.CHAPTER 4
God's philosophy of love
Before going into details of how can we discover and embrace our lifetime partners, let us first explore this important component of our lives, love in the broadest sense. Understanding true love derives from comprehending God's philosophy of love. I draw my definition of love from the source of love, God Himself. God has given us a divine understanding of what love really is, 1 John 4:16b. The bible defines love as being patient, kind, not self-seeking, trusting, always hoping, always persevering and never failing (a few selection), 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.
What I deem most significant from the above is the latter part of the definition, which tells us that love never fails. If God is love, and His love endures forever (Psalm 107: 1), then it should be practically impossible for love to cease at some point. This love, which God demonstrated to us by offering us His only begotten Son to die on our behalf, is the very same attitude of love God also intended us to display. Not only in the manner in which we treat our fellow brothers and sisters in our day to day lives, but in our relationships and marriages as well. According to the bible, we are God's friends and Jesus died for us because we are His friends. By dying for His friends, Jesus was therefore demonstrating much greater love, which cannot be compared.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you,
John 15:13-15 (NIV).
Lovers must above all else be friends, which is the basis on which successful relationships are build. Friendship is a lifelong process, which is never determined by circumstances, but dictates to circumstances. Fellows, friendship never derives from a one day interaction, wherein two people who just met, suddenly out of immediate excitement of having crossed each's other paths, declare themselves friends for life. It is a process that builds up from a continuous interaction where the earned loyalty, faithfulness and trust of the one party steadily entrenches itself, triggering same from the other.
Excerpted from Loving God's Way by Klaas H Baloyi. Copyright © 2016 Klaas H Baloyi. Excerpted by permission of Partridge Africa.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 The relational nature of God, 1,
Chapter 2 Engaging in love, 5,
Chapter 3 Varying church dogmas, 8,
Chapter 4 God's philosophy of love, 12,
Chapter 5 How do I know I'm in love?, 23,
Chapter 6 Phases of the Eros love, 34,
Chapter 7 Waiting upon the Lord, 55,
Chapter 8 How to find a lifetime partner?, 69,
Chapter 9 Take Time to know her?, 82,
Chapter 10 Love does not love prematurely, 87,
Chapter 11 Love, a peculiar partnership, 95,
Chapter 12 Journeying towards marriage, 106,