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Perfectly Pure Powerful

Relationships

by

Earl & Diane Rodd








This booklet examines Biblical principles to apply to relationships between unmarried brothers and sisters in Christ. We have attempted to step away from lists of culturally based rules and search for Biblical wisdom. These relationships can be a source of temptation, strife, and sin, or they can be a source of vital Christian fellowship leading each one to sharpen one another in the Lord while acting as part of a unified Body of Christ.







Perfectly Pure Powerful

Relationships




Families Honoring Christ

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd
6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720

Phone: (330) 305-9318

Written October, 1995

1st published edition - November 1995

2nd edition - December 1997

3rd edition - October 2000

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal sharing
but not for sale or other commercial purposes.



FHC is an Ohio based ministry providing information, encouragement
and fellowship to Christian families, natural and spiritual.




Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.



Additional copies of this booklet may be ordered from FHC by writing to the above address. The price is on the back cover of this booklet. Please add $1.50 for shipping regardless of the number of copies. A full listing of other books and booklets on related topics is also available from FHC at the above address.

Perfectly Pure Powerful

Relationships

II Peter 1:2
2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
3. seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Relationships between unmarried people of the opposite sex can be a source of unnecessary temptation if the written Word of God is ignored, rejected or misunderstood. We only hurt ourselves and others when we pursue or allow activities, conversations, thoughts or ideas that are not profitable, and we may even encourage others to disobey the written Word of God.

Relationships between males and females who are not married are not evil or forbidden in the Bible. However, the God-given attraction to the opposite sex has been twisted by original sin. If single people ignore the state of fallen man when relating to members of the opposite sex, they have already placed one foot into the enemy's spider web.

When Paul said, "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman" (1Cor 7 :1), he succinctly clarifies the boundaries, the limits and the restrictions that the Word of God places on a specific kind of human relationship. The issue is and always will be one of self-control and obedience. Those who wish to ignore the simple instruction may do so at their own peril. The Word of God is forever settled in heaven (Psa 119 :89). The enemy will continually test the Word of God to see if he can make it fail; to see if he can get human beings to disobey it.

II Samual 22:31
31. "As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Psalms 12:6
6. The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

God's Word, like His love, will never fail; it will always be proved true.

I Peter 1:24
24. For, "All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off,
25. But the word of the Lord abides forever. "And this is the word which was preached to you.

So why do unmarried Christians continually ignore Paul's simple bit of wisdom concerning touching members of the opposite sex?

UNBELIEF

The most obvious answer is unbelief . All human disobedience to God's Word, whether married or single, has its roots in unbelief. When the written Word of God is clear on a matter and a person disobeys the revealed truth, the root of the problem is not disobedience. The disobedience is a visible symptom of the root problem. Hebrews makes it very clear. When we today do not believe what God says to us and are not able to enter God's rest, we are like the Israelites who died in the wilderness five thousands years ago.

Hebrews 3:19
19. And {so} we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:2
2. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
3. For we who have believed enter that rest , just as He has said, "As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

TRUST

Unbelief is based on a wrong view of God. When a person disobeys God's written word, he does so because he does not believe or trust that God really loves him and has provided His best for him. Whether male or female, single or married, human beings have a propensity to believe lies that the enemy whispers to us about God. However, the following scripture reveals God's heart.

Deuteronomy 5:29
29. 'Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

God's basic goal for all of humanity is a place of blessing and rest; purity and peace. Unbelief keeps a person from entering into God's perfect will. Only the foolish will continue to despise or reject the path of wisdom that God reveals to His children. The fear of the Lord , the humble acknowledgement that His ways are perfect , is the first step that leads to wisdom, peace, and joy.

Proverbs 1:7
7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

When a person thinks the written Word of God can be ignored, rejected or disobeyed, he sets himself up as higher than God. His thoughts will eventually give way to obvious disobedient behavior, and the temptation for those watching this process is to deal with the symptoms of the disobedience rather than to expose the root cause. Pride and unbelief in the mind and heart always precede the observable action of disobedience. It is the true fear of the Lord which enables a person, male or female, to turn away from pride and unbelief, humbly embrace the Word of God concerning male-female relationships, and turn away from the evil that seeks to ensnare and destroy.

James 1:21
21. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and {all} that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Proverbs 3:7
7. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 16:17
17. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.
18. Pride {goes} before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 9:10
10. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

LOVE OF THE WORLD

The Apostle John pinpoints the root of most human problems, whether single or married. The negative root problem that chokes the love of the Father and a true fear of the Lord is a love of the world.

I John 2:15
15. Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17. And the world is passing away, and {also} its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

When the love of the Father is not firmly operating within the motives of a person, the love of the world is a powerful force that will continually put temptations and snares in that person's life. According to John the person will be bombarded by three different kinds of temptations.

  1. The lust of the flesh.
  2. The lust of the eyes.
  3. The boastful pride of life.
All human temptation will fit into one of these three categories. These three categories can have numerous sub groups, and that is where many are missing the mark of God's high calling. Most discussions concerning single Christian people functioning in the world or within the church deal with the issues of youth groups, singles groups, group activities, movies, music, dating, courtship and betrothal. These are all peripheral areas of deep concern that are symptoms of our culture and society. The real root problem is: the pride of life.

Jesus clearly explains this root problem in the parable of the seed and the sower. The love of the world and preoccupation with its concern chokes spiritual maturity.

Mark 4:18
18. "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Luke 8:14
14. "And the {seed} which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of {this} life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

THE HUMAN WILL

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was off limits to the first man and woman. Human beings were not originally designed by our Creator to know both good and evil. They were not God even though He made them "in Our image." God, who is omniscient, knows good and evil, but He never chooses to do evil. Apparently human beings could not know about evil without choosing to do it. Whenever the choice to do evil is made, it becomes part of our nature. Death, destruction, and ruin are the consequences of choosing evil.

SATAN'S WILL

God's enemy wanted to be God, and he wanted creatures like himself. The Bible is not emphatically clear how satan first chose evil. However, once he made that choice, he has never been able to choose good again. He is not God and never can be. Thus satan always chooses evil and will do so until God's timing for his ultimate destruction.

SATAN'S DECEPTION

Satan tempted and deceived the first woman by convincing her she could handle the knowledge of good and evil. He twisted God's word so that she was convinced she could know evil and good and be like God. Did she think she could be like God and be able to handle the knowledge of evil and still choose good? Was that what she wanted to be like? In her deception and disobedience she was very wrong, but so was satan. He did not get his desire! He did not get creatures like himself who could only choose evil. Since that historical event human beings have been caught in between the knowledge of good and evil, and the whole Biblical revelation affirms this reality. Sometimes human beings can choose good, and sometimes they choose evil. Satan, being a created being, never was and never can be equal with God. He has chosen the path of eternal defeat and destruction. However, the human will is now part of the battle between God and satan, and to discuss human relationships without acknowledging the power of the human will is irresponsible, fruitless and confusing.

CONFUSION

When a person chooses evil rather than good, pride is always the root. The social problems Christians continually battle center around the relativity of evil . Some believe the opposite sex should never be alone (dating) because it is a temptation to commit evil; others say a couple alone is good because they can get to know each other. Some believe that "knowledge" is best handled when the marriage comes first. Some Christians believe group activity is a snare because "bad company corrupts good morals" (ICor 15 :33). Others say group activity is good because single young people need to learn about the opposite sex, and there is safety in numbers. Some believe that kind of learning should come with marriage and not before. Some say the Bible reflects the Eastern culture of it's day, and thus it is not relevant to the modern Western culture. Others says the Bible transcends every culture and if obeyed, will establish a Biblical culture.

Anyone who has been part of these kinds of discussions will agree readily that human beings have differing opinions concerning what is good behavior and what is evil. The varying opinions concerning the truth concerning the Word of God causes much confusion. Mixed messages cause unnecessary strife, pain and heartache because the pride of man refuses to Biblically examine his own thoughts, ideas, and behavior. Pride keeps one from daily denying himself and taking up his cross and following Jesus (Luke 9 :23). A person's cross is the logical consequence of obeying Jesus. It is where flesh dies, and God's Word is believed and obeyed.

CLARITY

The Apostle Paul makes the choice very clear.

Galatians 6:14
14. But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus warns us about a life lived according to the dictates of the world rather than trusting in the written Word of God.

Luke 21:33
33. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
34. " Be on guard , that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life , and that day come on you suddenly like a trap;
35. for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
36. "But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Human beings do not have to wait until the end of time to encounter a day of evil. An evil day is whenever satan steps into a life and tempts a person to choose against God and His Word and commit evil. Jesus faced every evil day of temptation with the written Word of God because He knew the Father was good and believed God's Word was more powerful than any temptation.

Hebrews 4:11
11. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest , lest anyone fall through {following} the same example of disobedience.
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart .
13. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession .
15. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin.

The gospels record over thirty times when Jesus responded with, "It is written...." We would do well if we would do the same.

CAIN

Man's ability to choose good or evil has not changed since the fall. The Lord told Cain to master sin.

Genesis 4:6
6. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7. "If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it ."

Cain refused to deny himself; he indulged angry thoughts and eventually killed his brother, Abel.

ENOCH

Enoch enjoyed 300 years of unbroken fellowship with God! What excellent choices he must have made! Immature people do not like to think of the contrast between Cain and Enoch because it clearly shows that before Christ shed His blood, God expected human beings to choose good not evil. The record of Enoch's life tells us that man's will was not totally depraved. The writer of Hebrews verifies that Enoch's faith and obedience was acceptable to God before Jesus died on the cross.

Hebrews 11:5
5. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God .

The Old Testament and the New Testament reveal the same God. Our Heavenly Father has not changed. Jesus told Philip, "He who has seen Me, has seen the Father;" (John 14 :9). God wants human beings to enjoy fellowship with Him because He is perfectly good and holy.

Matthew 19:17
17. And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is {only} One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."

NOAH

In the midst of a world where the evil choices of people were increasing at an alarming rate, God found another man, Noah, who also chose good.

Genesis 6:5
5. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
7. And the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
8. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord .

When the universal cataclysmic flood destroyed and buried all that represented evil choices, God repopulated the whole earth through one man and his three sons. If Enoch and Noah could make right choices before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then human beings today can also make right choices. We on this side of the cross are without excuse.

THE ADVERSARY, THE DEVIL
THE ONE WHO SEEKS TO DEVOUR

JESUS, the Son of God and the Son of Man, has defeated the power of sin and the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14
14. Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15. and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Romans 8:2
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The stronghold of satan's lies and deceptions has totally been destroyed, but people still choose to sin. Why is this lie still being perpetrated upon mankind? The answer is very clear: satan is still given permission to test the Word of God. He is still allowed to see if he can break any of God's Word.

II Samual 22:31
31. "As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Even though Jesus mastered satan in the wilderness, throughout his ministry and on the cross, satan is still seeking "someone to devour."

I Peter 5:8
8. Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9. But resist him, firm in {your} faith , knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Jesus' victory, proven and sealed by the resurrection, only makes man's rebellion in thought or deed more evident.

Matthew 5:21
21. "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'
22. "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty {enough to go} into the fiery hell.

Matthew 5:27
27. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
28. but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart .

James 1:12
12. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which {the Lord} has promised to those who love Him.
13. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust .
15. Then when lust has conceived , it gives birth to sin ; and when sin is accomplished , it brings forth death .
16. Do not be deceived , my beloved brethren.

When we choose to indulge our flesh, our eyes, our lusts, our thoughts then we choose evil. We love ourselves or the world more than we love God.

LOVE OF THE FATHER

Relationships between men and women must center on God's will rather than on the dictates of the human will. As long as the human will is given permission to ignore, reject, or misinterpret God's will concerning this matter, confusion will reign. When submission to God's will is motivated by a love of the Father, there are less "problems." When the love of the Father enables and empowers a person to joyously embrace God's will concerning male-female relationships, "the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life" fall at the feet of one who humbly says, "Be it done to me according to Your Word" (Luke 1 :38).

Paul's instructions in chapter seven of 1Corinthians to the married, widowed, and single are to the humble. His instructions are to those whose love of the Father has conquered the love of self, and thus their present state of life, single or marrried, is not a problem or a snare to them. They have entered into a place of rest and contentment like a weaned child.

Psalms 131:1
1. (A Song of Ascents, of David.) O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.
2. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child {rests} against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.
3. O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever.

The commands of Paul are not burdensome or heavy because the yoke of Christ is easy and light.

Matthew 11:28
28. " Come to Me , all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest .
29. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me , for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.
30. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

Singleness is to be a place of freedom to love, please, and serve Christ only. Those who can joyously embrace Paul's teaching have truly died to self and have humbly entrusted their future into God's hands. These enjoy conversations, behavior, and thoughts that originate from pure motives. Nothing of the world or the flesh taints any of their relationships with other humans beings, male or female. This is the will of God: single people who are so filled with the Holy Spirit and the glory of God that they transcend all temptation to think, talk, or behave inappropriately with any other human being. It's a high calling, but we believe it is achievable and most profitable.

I Corinthians 7:32
32. But I want you to be free from concern . One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord , how he may please the Lord ;

I Corinthians 7:35
35. And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and {to secure} undistracted devotion to the Lord.

JOSEPH

A single man is to be free from concern. To be free from concern (world, flesh, lust), he needs to be concerned only with one thing - pleasing the Lord. His relationship with Christ is paramount to all other relationships. Paul seems to imply that when a single man's relationship with Christ is operating correctly, he doesn't need to concentrate on other relationships. Paul doesn't say to avoid other human relationships. He just teaches that the relationship with Christ is the safeguard. It is the fear of the Lord and the love of the Father that is foremost in the single man's thoughts, words, and behavior. The love of the Father is the motivation by which all other relationships must be judged. Those which detract from one's devotion to Christ and the Father may have to be forsaken, but that is not God's perfect will. Like Joseph, a young man may have to flee all temptation because he doesn't wish to sin against God and choose evil (Gen 39 :9).

Genesis 39:7
7. And it came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me."
8. But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me {here,} my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.
9. "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God? "
10. And it came about as she spoke to Joseph day after day, that he did not listen to her to lie beside her, {or} be with her.

DAVID

King David is the contrast. David did not choose the fear of the Lord when his eyes focused on Bathsheba. He chose evil rather than good.

II Samual 11:1
1. Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out {to battle,} that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2. Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance .
3. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
4. And David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness , she returned to her house.

Like Cain before him, David maintained the wrong thoughts in his heart, acted upon them, and eventually committed murder to cover his sin. He choose evil and had to suffer the consequences knowing that the murder of Uriah and the death of his innocent new born son had become part of his consciousness. David, however, is very unlike Cain. David understood repentance and the power and cleansing of God's grace and forgiveness before Jesus died on the cross. Even though sin had marred David's testimony, he did not wallow in depression or defeat and allow the sin to continue to dominate his life. He was able to make a "good choice" in the midst of the mess he had caused. He repented, received forgiveness, and enjoyed loving restored fellowship with God.

Psalms 51:6
6. Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being , And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
7. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice.
9. Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit .
13. {Then} I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee.
14. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; {Then} my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.
15. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
16. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit ; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

Those of us on this side of the cross have no excuse to allow sin to keep us from experiencing the Father's love and fellowship. It is the love of the Father that must be cultivated in the heart to allow good to triumph over every evil thought and every evil deed.

Romans 12:21
21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

A SINGLE MAN

A young man will humbly serve the Lord tenderly guarding his relationship with Christ until the Lord brings his helpmate to him. Evil thoughts and temptations can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus and replaced by good thoughts. If a young man's motives spring from his love for the Father and the Father's love for him, a young man's thoughts will continue to get purer and purer until satan flees!

Psalms 119:9
9. How can a young man keep his way pure ? By keeping {it} according to Thy word .
10. With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments.
11. Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.

James 4:7
7. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

RUTH

A single girl's relationship with Jesus is the only way she can continually choose good in her relationships with other human beings. She is to be holy in body (thoughts, words and deeds) and in spirit (will and motives). It will be the love that she has toward her Heavenly Father that will cause her to please Him in every respect concerning her facial expressions, words, tones of voice, her actions and her modes of dress. He alone knows her thought life, and she will allow her Heavenly Father to show her the way of escape from every snare and temptation that the enemy may forge in her mind to weaken her resolve. Like Ruth she will set her thoughts and behavior to a life of exemplary service and humility and trust the Lord to provide her human protector in His time.

Ruth 2:11
11. And Boaz answered and said to her, " All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me , and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.
12. " May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge ."

Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law concerning her behavior towards Boaz, and she did not use her body to tempt Boaz into a sexual relationship. The situation described in the book of Ruth looks very "suggestive" and fraught with sexual temptations, and yet the outcome shows that both Ruth and Boaz operated with pure motives and possessed a true love of the Lord that kept them both obedient to His standard of holiness.

Ruth 3:6
6. So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her.
7. When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down.
8. And it happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet.
9. And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative."
10. Then he said, "May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men , whether poor or rich.
11. "And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence .
12. "And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
13. "Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning."

Most would surmise that whether single or married, the scene just described, if allowed in our culture, might not have such pure results. The pride of our modern Western culture has allowed the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes to be selfishly indulged. However, a young girl today can choose to have a relationship with her Heavenly Father as precious as Ruth's and as trusting as that of Mary, the human mother of Jesus.

MARY

Luke 1:37
37. "For nothing will be impossible with God."
38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

What seems impossible for human beings to accept or believe is God's perfect will is made possible and pure with the power of the Holy Spirit.




A GODLY FATHER AND HIS DAUGHTER

I Corinthians 7:36
36. But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin {daughter,} if she should be of full age, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.
37. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will , and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin {daughter,} he will do well.
38. So then both he who gives his own virgin {daughter} in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

A young girl who has a godly father will have to love and trust her father's decisions concerning her life on earth. Many single women today do not experience this blessing of protection because the Western culture considers the father's God-given authority over a daughter to be male domination. A young girl who has learned to submit to her loving Heavenly Father has less difficulty submitting to her earthly father's decisions concerning her life. When a daughter submits to her earthly father with freedom and joy, her deep abiding relationship with her Heavenly Father is revealed to those who are around her, and the kingdom of God is released into her circumstances.

God's perfect will for a father is to clearly point those within his home to our loving Heavenly Father by word, deed and example (1Timothy 3 :2-7). A man who has been blessed by God with a daughter is also given the responsibility and authority by God to determine his daughter's life: single or married. It will be his responsibility before God to determine the perfect will of God concerning his daughter, and he must be confident before the Lord that he is not twisting the scripture found in 1Corinthians 7 to indulge his own selfish fears or motives. Where there is strife, discord or a spirit of heaviness, the Lord's will is not paramount and is not being correctly discerned.

James 3:13
13. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
14. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and {so} lie against the truth.
15. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic .
16. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
17. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
18. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

A father must be very sure that he is not oppressively forcing his own will upon his daughter in any way concerning singleness or marriage. The scriptures make the Lord's will concerning oppression very clear.

Proverbs 28:16
16. A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, {But} he who hates unjust gain will prolong {his} days.

A daughter under this kind of demonic oppression must trust the Lord to expose the lies of the enemy in His time and continue to seek the unity, harmony, and freedom that the written Word of God promises to families. A single girl who has a father who is being deceived in this area of his responsibility and authority will have to be very patient and trusting concerning God's perfect will for her. She will need great faith working through love so that the Lord, not her, can release her father from a spirit of error. Perfect love casts out all fear (1John 4 :18) and love never fails (ICorinthians 13 :8).

Isaiah 54:14
14. "In righteousness you will be established; You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; And from terror, for it will not come near you.
15. "If anyone fiercely assails {you} it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you.

Psalms 72:4
4. May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy, And crush the oppressor.

One of the signs that God's will has been discerned correctly is the unity, peace, and love that will follow a decision to marry or not marry. Both father and daughter must learn and remember that the Holy Spirit has been given to guide us into all truth and true freedom.

Romans 14:17
17. for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13
13. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

II Corinthians 3:17
17. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, {there} is liberty.

Galatians 5:1
1. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

NO EARTHLY FATHER

A single girl who does not have a godly father to direct her decisions will experience a different kind of oppression unless she relies totally upon the Word of God. Because she "feels" alone, the enemy may deceive her into thinking she can make all her own decisions and do whatever she desires. The Word of God says just the opposite. She will have to fight thoughts of "abandonment" and insecurity with the truth of the written Word of God.

Psalms 27:9
9. Do not hide Thy face from me, Do not turn Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10. For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up.
11. Teach me Thy way, O Lord , And lead me in a level path, Because of my foes.

The single girl who doesn't have the counsel of a godly earthly father will have to depend solely upon the Lord to be her LOVING CARING FATHER in every decision she has to make concerning her life. If she believes the truth of God's written Word and can make this commitment before the Lord, He promises to direct her paths.

Proverbs 3:5
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart , And do not lean on your own understanding.
6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
7. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8. It will be healing to your body, And refreshment to your bones.

The Lord's perfect will is the only way to have true unity and peace in relationships. It takes great faith working through deep love (Galatians 5 :13) for all involved to hear God, trust Him and obey Him with expectant joy. Clear, consistent communication is vital to keep the enemy's deceptive tactics exposed, resisted, and nullified. Because God ordained marriage from the beginning, God's adversary relentlessly tries to destroy God's perfect design for marriage and singleness anyway he can. Jesus used a trick question of the pharisees to perfectly explain both states of life to his disciples.

JESUS

Matthew 19:3
3. And {some} Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful {for a man} to divorce his wife for any cause at all?"
4. And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created {them} from the beginning made them male and female,
5. and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'?
6. "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
7. They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send {her} away?"
8. He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
9. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
10. The disciples *said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry."
11. But He said to them, "Not all men {can} accept this statement, but {only} those to whom it has been given.
12. "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are {also} eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept {this,} let him accept {it."}

The enemy enjoys getting the wrong people to marry each other with strife, tension and divorce as his goal. He also loves to keep the wrong people single and alone with the constant temptation of loneliness, misery and depression as a continual battle. Jesus makes human sexuality very clear and very simple.

  1. There are only two sexes: male and female.
  2. God's perfect will never included homosexuality or lesbianism.
  3. God's perfect will is marriage or singleness.
  4. Both states, married or single, are God's perfect will.
  5. God's perfect will is not the same for every person.
  6. God's perfect will must be discerned and embraced by each individual.
  7. Singleness may have been established in the womb.
  8. Singleness may have been imposed by human intervention.
  9. Singleness may have been established by the individual person.
  10. Singleness is not a license to perverted sexual behavior.
  11. Jesus expected his disciples to understand the human condition of married or single and relate correctly with both choices within God's perfect will.
Whether male or female, father or daughter, mother or son, Mary's attitude must become the attitude of those who wish to have powerful and pure relationships.

Luke 1:38
38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Men may see themselves as David rather than as a Joseph or a Boaz. Women may see themselves as Bathsheba rather than as a Ruth or a Mary. However, the godly standards and examples have been recorded and preserved for us to emulate.

I Corinthians 10:11
11. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
13. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also , that you may be able to endure it.
14. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
15. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.

LOVE OF THE WORLD

It remains within a person's will to choose to love God, fear Him only and to walk humbly with Him in holy obedience, or to walk on the path of sin and destruction that millions of others are choosing.

James 4:4
4. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Our modern society needs to see single Christians whose friendship with God establishes relationships with others that are totally pure and uninhibited by the dictates of selfish, fleshly indulgence. The person whose love of the Father is secure will exemplify patience, peace, freedom, and rest concerning relationships with all other human beings, male or female. There will be a confident, secure trust in God's love to provide the perfect and best in His time. May this weapon of pure light and holiness pierce the darkness of our ungodly culture.

PREOCCUPATION WITH THE FUTURE

If a person is single, all ideas or thoughts concerning the sexual expression of love, thoughts of marriage, desires for children, etc. must be resisted. They are all part of an unknown future. To try to figure it all out before the Lord's time, to meditate upon it or to discuss it inappropriately is to step into the pit of presumption and pride. The Lord's will and His timing must be accepted and embraced.

James 4:13
13. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
14. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are {just} a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
15. Instead, {you ought} to say, "If the Lord wills , we shall live and also do this or that."
16. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

The future belongs solely to God; the present rests in human hands. To ignore the present by speculating into the future is of the evil one. He is a master at distorting man's view of God. If he can get single people to mistrust God or doubt His ability to provide the right mate and tempt them into relationships and behaviors that are filled with snares, traps and pits, then he has gotten a child of God to forsake his first love.

Hebrews 11:6
6. And without faith it is impossible to please {Him}, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and {that} He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

THE KINDNESS OF GOD

It is the choice of the human will to have faith in God's goodness concerning every aspect of life, single or married. It is the choice of the human will to choose the fear of the Lord and to turn away from evil. It is the choice of the human will to love the Father more than to love one's self. It is the choice of the human will to embrace the will of God with joy even if it means death to preemptive, ungodly worldly emotions and behaviors. It is the choice of the human will to enforce the victory of Christ over unseen powers and choose the glories and worship of Christ over the paltry imitations of false gods.

It is the kindness of God that the human will must taste.

Psalms 34:8
8. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him !
9. O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him, there is no want .
10. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
11. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12. Who is the man who desires life, And loves {length of} days that he may see good?
13. Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.
14. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it.

I Peter 2:1
1. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2. like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word , that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
3. if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord .
4. And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,
5. you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood , to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

The goodness of God must flow over the human will in such a way that any thought contrary to God's perfect and acceptable will is always seen with satan's evil plan behind it. If we only deal with symptoms, the human will is not touched, and we fall short of God's glory time and time again.

It's not a matter of forgiveness. The blood of Christ is powerful enough to forgive any and all human sin that has been confessed and forsaken. The issue is:

  1. power over the temptation.
  2. finding the way of escape out of the temptation.
  3. deliverance from the schemes and plans of the evil one.
  4. overcoming evil with good.
The root issue is this: will we allow the testimony of Christ's resurrection power to have full expression in human relationships? Whether evil tempts in thought, word, or deed, the only safeguard is cultivating a love of the Father that allows evil to be denied wherever it tries to ensnare.

WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

Matthew 15:3
3. And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition ?

Mark 7:9
9. He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Matthew 15:6
6. ... 'And {thus} you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

In Japan, people bow before each other to express honor and respect. Some Eastern and Latin nations have the custom of kissing one another on the cheek to express affection which many Westerners find extremely uncomfortable. In England, America, Australia and Canada people just shake hands. We Christians in the west may need to examine our comfort level when tradition causes us to disobey the written word of God.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

Both Paul and Peter give another command concerning how believers, married or single, are to express their love for one another.

Romans 16:16
16. Greet one another with a holy kiss . All the churches of Christ greet you.

I Corinthians 16:20
20. All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss .

II Corinthians 13:12
12. Greet one another with a holy kiss .

I Peter 5:14
14. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

Because Western nations do not have the custom of kissing on the cheek within their culture, Christians in the West may be suffering unnecessary temptation and guilt because this Biblical expression of love is being ignored, rejected, and disobeyed.

ONE EXTREME OR THE OTHER

Within the church some people stand awkwardly cold and rigid unable to express the love of God for their fellow believers which God has placed within them. Others initiate the "holy hug" which often may not be so holy. To see a man hugging someone else's wife, or to see a single man and a single woman hugging each other to express genuine Christian love is not the Christian witness that the Holy Spirit and the written Word of God sanctions. It seems that human beings prefer to supplant God's perfect social customs with their own extreme traditions.

NARROW BUT BALANCED

Both Peter and Paul exhort Christians to express their genuine love, honor and respect for each other in a holy manner that is free from sexual lust and yet is self-controlled. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that can be expressed in a tangible, physical way within all the human relationships that exist within the church. Even though Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, the written word of God commands Christ's followers to express genuine Christian love and affection with a pure kiss when the person is first seen.

REPENTANCE AND REFRESHING

Even though "it is not good for a man to touch a woman," the Bible commands that we humans be willing to walk humbly with our God, to live a life of holiness so that we can innocently and purely express our love and greetings to one another "with a holy kiss." Whether it is family members when they first see each other in the morning or whether it is within the gatherings of the church of the Living God, a holy kiss needs to be shared. We Christians need to repent of our traditions which have ignored, rejected and replaced the simplicity of a holy kiss of love and honor with our own human traditions and customs that invalidate the Word of God. We admit that obeying the written word of God may pose problems in large meetings! Perhaps man's agenda would never override God's will in any gatherings, large or small, if time were given for the "holy kiss of love."

While the spirit of the world tries to obliterate the godly differences between males and females, redefine the Biblical constraints of marriage, and destroy the scriptural concept of family, we pray that believers in Christ will be able to rise above the evil of the world and be a true light to those who are stumbling in the darkness. May singles and marrieds be set free from guilt and bondage and be free "to greet one another" with a holy "kiss of love." May the true denial of self be expressed in genuine Christian love as we lay down our lives to obey the written word of God. Perhaps obedience in this one area may lead to overcoming the strife that seems to accompany so many relationships within the family and within the church.

Luke 9:23
23. And He was saying to {them} all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24. "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

WHAT ELSE ARE WE TO DO?

Jesus obeyed the Father in the use of His hands as well as with His words in teaching and preaching the goodnews. The gospels record numerous places where Jesus placed his hands on males and females, married and single, young and old, to bring the blessing of His Heavenly Father from Heaven down to earth. Luke describes the use of Jesus' hands this way.

Acts 10:38
38. "{You know of} Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and {how} He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.

At the end of the gospel of Mark Jesus gives an interesting description of believers. Those who follow Him would use their mouths and use their hands as He did.

Mark 16:15
15. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
16. "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
17. "And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;
18. they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly {poison,} it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

HUMAN HANDS
SHARING GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT OF LOVE AND POWER

The book of Acts records at least eight passages using the specific word "hands" to explain how people were healed or filled with the Holy Spirit. When the early church obeyed this command, the power of God that was transferred through human hands was markedly evident to those who were still outside the church.

Acts 8:18
18. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands , he offered them money,
19. saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
20. But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
21. "You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

The book of Hebrews records that the "laying on of hands" was an elementary doctrine with which the early church was familiar.

Hebrews 6:1
1. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2. of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands , and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

It was assumed that the most immature Christian understood the use of touching another person with holy hands for the purpose of blessing and healing. Jesus and the apostles had set the example that all disciples were expected to obey and follow. Believers were expected to share the goodnews of the gospel and the blessings of heaven as the Holy Spirit desired by words and by touch with all those within their own sphere and responsibility. However, Paul reminds us that touching another person with our hands is not to be entered into lightly without the specific leading of the Holy Spirit.

I Timothy 5:22
22. Do not lay hands upon anyone {too} hastily and thus share {responsibility for} the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin .

Timothy not only experienced the hands of the apostle Paul being laid on him in prophetic power, but he also squelched "the gift of God." Through the example of Timothy we learn that a human being has the responsibility to give the power and love of God full release and expression. The fear of man will quench the Holy Spirit within us, and it is within our domain to resist the spirit of fear whenever it tries to keep us from obeying the Holy Spirit and the written word of God.

II Timothy 1:6
6. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Most Christians today are more willing to talk and counsel for hours rather than to look to Heaven, pray and touch the person with holy hands to bring the Father's will from heaven down to earth. We seem to prefer other forms of touching each other which brings the spirit of the world and its temptations upon a person rather than the power and purity of the Holy Spirit.

May the words of Jesus be fulfilled as we repent of our ignorance, forsake our human traditions, and seek His face in holy obedience.

John 13:34
34. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

May the Church of the Living God correctly reveal to the world that human beings have been created in the image of God: male and female He created them." May our human relationships continually reflect the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called us to express His love purely to all.

I Thessalonians 5:14
14. And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.
15. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.
16. Rejoice always;
17. pray without ceasing;
18. in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
19. Do not quench the Spirit;
20. do not despise prophetic utterances.
21. But examine everything {carefully}; hold fast to that which is good;
22. abstain from every form of evil.
23. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely ; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
25. Brethren, pray for us.
26. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

It takes love and great faith to believe that a short kiss of greeting and a touch of the hand in prayer can transfer the love, purity and power of the Living God to other human beings. LORD WE BELIEVE! HELP OUR UNBELIEF! (Mark 9 :24). May we all be free to do no more nor no less than God so graciously desires.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd