Ephesians 4:23 tells us to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. We are to continually read, study, and ingest the Word of God so that our minds remain sharp with wisdom and revelation. If our minds are not renewed with the knowledge of God’s Word, they might revert back to what they’re used to, which is those old habit patterns that cause us to self-sabotage. I was reminded of this when I had a discussion the other day with a close friend. She told me how much being celibate and trusting God has caused her to grow spiritually in the last year. Prior to her commitment of abstinence, she dated a man for three years. At a point where she thought he would propose, he expressed to her that he just wasn’t ready for marriage. She was courageous and took a stand for herself then, but old feelings are creeping back in.
Relationships require glue, and hope is most definitely part of the bond. You meet someone that seems to fit, and you begin to emotionally invest by hoping for the best. You hope that the person’s level of commitment will at least meet yours, and that you both will want similar things out of life. You hope that the person will grow to love you as much as you love them. And because we hope, we sometimes ignore the handwriting on the wall. There are signs along the way that signal things might not be heading in the direction you assumed, but you continue to hope. Sometimes, the plain and simple truth is that you’ve invested your emotions in the wrong person. Your hope is deferred, and this can be a difficult thing to accept.
Proverbs 13:12(NLT) tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” Over a year ago, when it became resoundingly clear that this man was seriously not ready for a marriage commitment, my friend realized that she owed it to herself to let go of what wasn’t working. Understandably, she agonized over the decision, and it hurt, but she was resolved that she was making the right choice. In her heart, she knew her stand on God’s Word was compromised by continuing to stay in the relationship. She felt so great about her commitment to put God first, but a recent phone call has brought back all those old feelings. She said, “I talked to him today, and I realized that I’m still in love with him. He has this hold on me that just doesn’t seem to go away!”
Ephesians 6:10-12 The Message(MSG) reminds us, “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” We forget that the enemy studies our weaknesses and attacks us when we’re most vulnerable. We also forget that he’s after our destinies, and he’s trying to swindle us out of them by dangling the low hanging fruit of second best.
My friend had the benefit of having her ex tell her the truth. Some men never do. They continue to string women along with the hope of marriage, when they have no intention of ever fulfilling it. God wants us strong, and many of us struggle to be emotionally strong in our relationships with men, because we want their love and commitment so desperately. The spiritual lesson that no Christian woman should ever overlook is that our commitment to God through the Lord Jesus Christ must always and forever be first. We must never allow our obedience to God to take a backseat to pleasing anyone, including the significant person in our lives. Trouble in relationships will be on repeat until we learn this lesson, because our faith in God must be proven to pass the test.
1 Peter 1:6-7 The Message (MSG) tells us, “6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” When triggered, old feelings are known to creep back in, but we must be strong in the Lord and close the door to them. Be confident that when you choose to honor God and overcome the temptation to acquiesce to something that isn’t God’s best, it may seem that your hope is deferred for a little while, but it isn’t in vain. God’s love restores whatever appears to be lost to us. If our faith is firmly in Him, He will cause our dreams to come true. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
“Old Feelings Creeping Back in”, written for findchristianman.wordpress.com. Copyright©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!