#RelationshipGoals (Part 1: Before the Person)
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
This is a summary of my thoughts and notes from Mike Todd's Relationship Goals series.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."
This passage is specifically talking about the value of godly friends, but this passage can also be applied to godly relationships. I know many of us have heard the phrase "two minds are better than one" but what does that really mean? In the context of a spiritual journey this verse means that your partner should push you to be better, they should uplift you and challenge you. Two is two times more than one so who you choose to partner is especially important. If you choose to partner with someone who is dragging you backwards and bringing you down, then for you it will be an uphill battle. If you are someone who isn't spiritually minded and you pair with someone else who isn't spiritually minded then you will drag each other down. This also ties into the importance of being equally yoked. You and your partner should be on the same page in terms of what you believe. Your partner should be someone that will check you when you're messing up and catch you when you fall. Someone that you can be accountable to and someone that you can hold accountable. A two-way street. Two are only better than one if the relationship is mutual.
Before God gives you a partner, He gives you several things: a place, provision (needs), a purpose, an identity, and parameters. You can turn to the story of Adam in Genesis 2. In verse 8 the Bible says:
"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed."
This signifies place. After God had formed Adam, He placed him in the garden. He gave him a home. A place where He knew Adam would grow and thrive.
Next, before God gives you a partner, He will give you provision. He will make sure that your needs are met. Genesis 2:9 says:
"And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food."
This signifies provision. God made sure that Adam was fed. And not just with one tree, but lots and lots of trees with different types of food. Before God gives you a partner He wants to make sure you are being fed spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And not only does He want you fed, but He gives you different avenues from which you can get your nourishment from. For instance, spiritually, God gives us His word to devour. It is supposed to be our main source of nourishment, but God has also given us a church family with godly people that can also pour into our and give us a much needed spiritual boost. God wants to make sure that you're financially ready to be in a relationship; He wants to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready to be in a relationship. He doesn't want you to get into a relationship because you believe that someone else can provide for your needs. He wants you to know that you will be just fine, inside a relationship and outside a relationship. He doesn't want you to depend on anyone else but Him to take care of you.
Next, God will give you a purpose. He will give you a job to do, something to do to keep you preoccupied. In Genesis 2:15 it says:
"Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it."
God gave Adam a job in the garden where He had placed him. This job was extremely important as Adam was the only human living in the garden at the time. He must have been busy because not only was he in charge of taking care of the plants he also had to take care of the animals. He wasn't just sitting around waiting for a woman to come into his life and give him something to do. Adam was taking care of business! You can't expect to enter a relationship without a purpose, without a goal in life. That relationship is doomed to fail from the start. Not only do you have to have ambitions and a purpose for your life, but you have to have a meaningful relationship, an endgame. You shouldn't get into a relationship just 'cause. Your relationship should be outside of your purpose and it should help you with your purpose, not take away from it.
The fourth thing that God gives you before He gives you a partner is an identity. In Genesis 1:26-27 the Bible says:
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them".
This verse shows that Adam had an identity as a creation of God, as someone who was likened unto God, someone that shared similarities and characteristics of God. God wanted Adam to know that he had value separate from his purpose. He was made in the image of the Almighty God, the Creator. There was no way that Adam could have questioned his value or his identity when he spent a significant amount of time with his Creator and saw how much they were alike. He knew where he came from and that knowledge gave him peace. If you don't have a clear identity, then how do you expect to be separate from your partner? If you don't know who you are, you will just take on whatever characteristics and traits that your partner has. You will have no foundation on which to construct your personality and what makes you unique.
The last thing that God will give you before He gives you a partner are parameters. He will give you boundaries, not to trap you, but to keep you safe. Genesis 2:16-17 says:
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Some people may look at that and think that God was being unfair, that he was keeping the best for Himself, but in actuality, God was protecting Adam from the consequences that came with eating that fruit. God gives us boundaries and parameters to enhance our lives and to make them better, safer. He isn't trying to keep us from having fun, quite the contrary. He wants us to have safe fun. Before you enter a relationship you need to have boundaries and standards. "If you don't have standards before you get into a relationship, the relationship will create the standards that you live by" (Mike Todd). In the Bible, God has given man many standards that we should live by, and these standards carry over into every single part of our lives and they help us to live a better quality of life. For instance, the concept of not having sex before marriage isn't there to limit you, but to free you. God made us in such a way that when we come together sexually we create spiritual, physical, and emotional bonds with that person. Those bonds are lifelong. He knew that if we created those bonds with someone that wasn't our spouse that it would create problems. You can ask anyone that has had sex before marriage and they'll probably tell you that they wish they had waited because of the long-term effects, especially for the people that aren't married to those people now.
Happy Sabbath and thank you guys for taking the time to read my thoughts on the Relationship Goals series. I hope you enjoyed it and found a blessing from it! I will be sharing my thoughts and notes on the other parts of the series, so stay tuned! #relationshipgoals #sermonseries #devotional #relationships #miketodd