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Message

Love Wins - Part 4, Love Defines the Relationship
Miles McPherson - March 13, 2016

Message Recap

In the current series, we are learning about love:

  1. Love is the heart of God.
  2. To love God is to imitate the heart of God.
  3. To love others is to encourage them to imitate the heart of God.

We all have a natural desire to have romantic relationships, but not all ways of pursuing relationships are how God intended. So how do we express God’s heart of love toward somebody with whom we want to be intimate? Our culture tells us to love in a certain way, but it often contradicts the Bible. We hear a lot about safe sex, but think about all the ways that sex outside of godly marriage can hurt you: disease, unwanted pregnancy, broken heart, destroyed relationship, abortion, and the list goes on.

Before you are preoccupied with pursuing a husband, be preoccupied with your relationship with God and His will for you.

Today’s Scripture passage is from the book of Ruth. In Ruth’s time, the poor could go to the field and glean anything that fell on the ground. This was her plight as a poor widow. She was living with her mother-in-law and gleaning in the fields to provide food for them to eat. Then she met Boaz, a wealthy relative who would become her new husband and together they would create the ancestral line of King David.

1. Virtuous women have their priorities in order. Ruth 2:1-7

Before you are preoccupied with pursuing a husband, be preoccupied with your relationship with God and His will for you. You will attract what you are, not what you want. If you are a woman about God’s business, you will attract men who are about God’s business.

What goals occupy your mind and heart? If it’s getting a man, you are going to act and speak according to that rather than to please God. We all have desires, but God wants us to focus on Him and be about His business. Don’t go out pursuing a mate; rather, let God bring your mate to you.

2. Godly men place a woman’s needs before their own wants. Ruth 2:8-10

She will respect you if you respect her! Boaz asked about Ruth. He was looking out for her and taking care of things for her before they even met.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Ruth 2:8-10

A man is supposed to be the head of the household, but this doesn’t mean he is the authoritative ruler or dictator, but the example of servanthood. The only way to make a godly marriage work is to serve one another. If it’s all about you, you’re not going to make it. A godly man is determined to serve his mate, look out for her needs, and love her as his own body.

If you are single, never date a person until you do a background check - you can find a wealth of information on the Internet alone! Ask about his/her parents and childhood, ask him/her to pray for you right then and there. Can this potential mate help you be the person God wants you to be?

3. Virtuous women do not take shortcuts. Ruth 3:4-5

Naomi instructed Ruth about how to respond to the relationship that Boaz began. Because he was a relative, marrying Ruth was the proper way to redeem the land that was lost upon the death of her husband.

Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.” And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.” So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
 Ruth 3:2-4

If you are a woman, would other people describe you as virtuous? Is your church image the same as your private life image? How do people see you on social media? You have to make a decision about the type of woman you want to be consistently in every area of your life.

Finding the right godly mate takes patience for God’s timing. It can’t be a shortcut!

4. Godly men consistently exercise self-control. Ruth 3:8-14

You may have to wait a long time for the right partner, but it is worth waiting for! It’s a lot easier to say “no” to someone before a relationship begins than to say “get out” in the end after damage has been done and complicated consequences have ensued.

Self-control is worthwhile. Ruth and Boaz demonstrated this, as she lay down at his feet and pursued a respectable, proper courtship.

So how far is too far? Whatever causes us to lust is “too far,” because Scripture tells us not to lust in our hearts (Matthew 5:27-30). Lust is a desire to please self at the expense of someone else because lust wants to get. But in contrast, love wants to give and to bless another person. If we have a burning desire, let it be a desire to express the heart of God to someone, not to simply take whatever the body is craving.

How do I know if my actions are loving or lusting? One test is that lustful actions can bring about consequences that bring death - death to health, reputation, or relationship.

5. Godly men, in the end, handle their business. Ruth 3:18

Boys do what they want to do. Men do what they must do! Be a man, not a boy.

Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” Ruth 3:18

Naomi was certain that Boaz would handle his business like a man, and he did. Men do things the right way. Boaz gave Ruth grain and instructed others not to gossip, so that her integrity would be protected and other people would not get the wrong idea about why she was at the threshing floor.

We all have sexual desires and relationship passions. Some people express these through fornication, immorality, pornography, secret or other secret sins in our hearts, yet God knows them all. His desire is that we would all make a commitment to have pure hearts, to have nothing hidden from Him.

In the end, it is much better to find a mate by God sending the person He wants for you, rather than someone whom you’ve attracted in your own way. While you wait for His timing, your task is to prepare yourself to be in a good and godly relationship. Pastor Miles challenged all of us to be pure and pursue principals in our relationships that honor God.

Relationship Resources

Love Wins

This 7-part series examines what love is and how we can learn to express God’s love through our relationships. In Part 4, Pastor Miles looks at the story of Ruth and what it looks like to be a virtuous woman and godly man in romantic relationships.

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