Daily Devotional for Sunday March 16, 2003

A Warning to Those Who are Not Married!

(Matthew 22:29, 2 Corinthians 3:15, Genesis 2:24)

A warning to those who are not married!!!! My heart has been breaking this morning. Out of my brokenness, I write these words this morning, praying as I write, that they may find their way into the hearts and lives of those out there who are not married, that they will read these words, and live by them. I may ramble a bit today, and may get off on a few tangents, but I am so consumed with concern, especially for our young adults. Let me say this to start. Relationships between a man and woman are NOT a game! It is a serious, life-changing business. I get flooded with emails every time I mention about young adults waiting until after high school to date. They pour in from young men and women, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old who tell me that I don't know what I am talking about. They are "in love." These young adults are playing a game that they have NO BUSINESS playing, a game that could very easily change their very life before they have even had a chance to start living it!!!

Getting involved in a relationship unlocks our emotions. It sets off things inside of us that have incredible power over us to the extent that we don't act or think rationally. We become consumed. Mature, experienced people in their 20's, 30's, 40' and 50's often destroy their very lives by letting these emotions rule them. What chance then, does an inexperienced teen have? None! The results of these teen romances range from hurt feelings, all the way to death, and everything in between.

I get emails daily from young adults who have diseases that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, have had children that obviously dramatically altered their lives, as well as those who made the unfortunate choice to have an abortion and are now dealing with the consequences of that choice. I get emails daily from young men and women who have broken up and are contemplating suicide, can't eat or sleep, or simply have no desire to do anything. The fact is, God gave you freewill to make choices. Let me simply tell you, to choose to enter into a serious boyfriend/girlfriend relationship before you are out of high school is a BAD CHOICE and can dramatically change your life forever. ***By the way, there is nothing magic about being out of High School. It is simply one major "life hurdle" out of the way that is part of the foundation of your life. Relationships tend to dominate your life and take away from other important areas. There is PLENTY of time after High School to start dating.

Even though this is not even a debatable issue, because it is such a problem let me quickly address it. There is absolutely NO situation when sex outside of marriage is acceptable to God. NONE. ZERO. There is a Biblical word, fornication. It literally means any sex outside of marriage. Any boyfriend or girlfriend that is willing to have sex before marriage is most likely NOT the person that God has chosen for your life. It is simply not acceptable. And don't play games in this area. I get emails all the time asking how far can you go? Jesus said if you lust in your heart you have already committed adultery. If you have to ask how far you can go, you are already too far. Once you allow lust into your heart, God says you have already sinned. Let that be your standard to judge by, since it is impossible to engage in ANY act that wasn't already birthed in your heart. The physical act is simply the manifestation of the sin that you already committed in your heart.

Having said that, let me talk to you about the two most important elements of a relationship should you be thinking of marriage. The first is God's warning found in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to NOT BE UNEQUALLY YOKED. I have done entire Devotionals on this issue. It is a warning from God to protect you. Choosing to ignore this warning is no different than deciding to run a stop sign. You are asking for serious problems. I cannot even begin to tell you how many emails I get daily from men and women who have ignored this warning and are now dealing with the consequences. Consequences by the way that have literally changed their lives.

The second is the foundation on which you build your relationship. If you do not have a spiritual foundation to your relationship, how can you expect your marriage to survive the storms that come in every relationship? It is exactly like the story Jesus told at the end of Matthew chapter 7. The marriage built on a spiritual foundation is like the house built on a rock. The marriage built on any other foundation is like the house built on the sand. My friend, again let me reiterate. God gave everyone freewill to make choices. You can do what you want with your life. My only purpose today is to help you make wise, informed choices about things that will affect the outcome of your life.

I love you and care about you so much. I can't even begin to tell you how my heart is broken today, reading email after email of how people's lives have been decimated by broken marriages. Marriage is NOT just a legal date! The fact is, so much of the heartache, pain, and tragedy many have lived through could have been avoided if they had simply listened to God. When you are having relationships without even understanding what is going on in the world, when you are engaging in sex outside of marriage, when you get married to someone who is not even a believer, when the foundation of your marriage is built on looks, sex, money, or anything other than the Lord....you are simply NEVER going to know the peace, joy, and abundance that this life can offer.

Is it than a guarantee that if you wait until after high school to start dating, find a spouse who is saved and living for the Lord, build a spiritual foundation together, that your marriage will not end in divorce? No! Sin can creep into people's lives and satan loves nothing more than to destroy a marriage. But I can promise you that the odds of you making it are 1,000 times better.

I deeply apologize for the unusual harsh tone of today's Devotional. But anyone reading these words that is not married, no matter how old you are, doesn't need these issues sugar coated. Your life is at stake. I guarantee you many of the people who email me daily would tell you if they could, to not jump in so quick, listen to God. Not listening can ruin your life. I know the high price of rebellion in this area. I left my mother's house mid-way through college, moved in with my girlfriend, and justified it all by saying, "well, we are going to get married". We did after 9 months, and 2 years later we were divorced! These types of mistakes follow you the rest of your life.

The other problem is, so many of God's children end up battling with the domestic issues, they are of little service to the Lord. Never forget, that is our purpose in this life, to serve and glorify Him with our lives. The enemy gets us so distracted handling the consequences of our rebellion, that we have little time or energy left to serve Him. Please read, and re-read these words today. Commit them to your heart. I realize how strong emotions can be, and how they can cloud your judgment. That is why the more focused you are on what God's plan is, the less chance you will have of compromising and getting into trouble. The bottom line to these words today is this. Do it your way, and it will never work out, and you will never totally know the peace, joy and abundance that this life can offer. Do it God's way, and it works. Life is NOT something to dread, but something to embrace and enjoy. The choice is yours. I will be praying as you make the choice God is asking you to make for your life.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller