Last week I was in Spain where we had a fantastic gathering of pastors and leaders for our RIM connection. God showed up in a BIG way and we were all very blessed. There were 30 adults and some additional family. It was an intimate, life-filled time with one another and with a very tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. I have now started here in Angola, Africa in training some wonderful hungry men and women in Hearing God’s Voice. Did a radio program yesterday, morning services, and started our training on Hearing God. It is going to be a full and fruitful week.
Last week I began to address the value of relationship in a culture of honor. Covenant relationships are not about getting; they are about giving life to another because you value who another is. Each of us are a one and only and when we understand the value of each one we give our lives to one for the sake of something greater in this world.
Relationships are not about our needs being met, they are about finding God-ordained, God-purposed, and God-fulfilling lives of destiny that bear the fruit of relationship in the generations beyond our lives. Even in marriage, the relationship of marriage is not merely about finding love that fulfills my needs, whether those needs be legitimate or perceived to be legitimate in their nature. Relationships bear the fruit of life beyond the life of that relationship.
God loves all people. He even loves us when we become confused in our thinking. God loves us, but He hates our deceptions. It is unrighteousness and wickedness that surpasses the truth with its lie. This is not people, but the traps that cause people to be bound to a life.
Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
God does not hate homosexuality because of homosexuality. He hates homosexuality in the same way He hates fornication. He doesn’t hate homosexuals or fornicators. He hates the thing that destroys true covenant relationship that bear the fruit of relationship into the generations beyond their lives. In the same way, God hates someone going from church, to church, to church, to church to satisfy their personal needs. In the same way, He hates someone going from marriage, to marriage, to marriage, to marriage to meet their own needs. In the same way, He hates taking human beings and transforming them into a picture, looking at the picture and taking, taking, taking, taking. Embracing pornography is embracing a belief that destroys the value of relationship. It transforms what should be found in a covenant of relationship into something that meets the selfish needs of personal flesh. It sets a foundation in the hearts and minds of people that true relationship is meant to satisfy the needs of our flesh, our soul, or even the needs of our own spirit. The motive and agenda in such things is one of personal gratification. It is a distain and a destructive force to covenant relationships. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we enter into relationships for wrong reasons and then God brings a revelation and turns it into right reasons. In reality we probably all enter into relationships for wrong reasons and in the midst of the journey God gives a revelation of what the relationship really is. It usually comes after we have hurt one another for a while. When it becomes impossible God says, “Good, I am glad it is impossible. It is about time you realize how valuable relationship really is.”
You were not born to receive the blessing of love that comes from another. You were not born to simply be satisfied by some form of love that touches your emotions or meets some physical need. You were born to give your life to someone else and for someone else. Just like when you have a revelation of who God is and you worship Him, He wants you to have a revelation of what life is and then He wants you to give your life to one. When you give your life to one you begin to understand that the value of life is one and only. This is called marriage and in marriage the foundation for a family is established. The fruit of that family will understand the value of ‘one’ divinely joined by God in life.
A revelation of relationship and marriage is a perfect example of the value of ‘one’, but it is not limited to marriage. We all come from human cultures that do not have the value of one. People in the world are not bad people; they are confused people. In the cultures of the world we become confused. We lack a revelation of relationship, thinking that relationship is something we get from others. We turn relationship into shopping, like shopping for new clothes. In America we even have the ability to try clothes on before we buy them. This ‘need oriented’ and ‘self-satisfaction’ thinking has even entered into our relationships with people. we try human beings before we buy them. How do we know they will meet our needs unless we try them out first? We enter into relationship where the other is meeting our needs. We do that for a few months or a few years until one day our needs are not being met, so like an old piece of clothing we give it away to some charity organization or we simply donate it to someone on the street. Then we reason, “It is a good thing we didn’t get married.” “It is a good thing we didn’t make covenant because we weren’t really meant for one another.” This is the way of the cultures of the world.
This kind of thinking affects our commitments in and as the church. We try this church out or that church out, saying God told us to go there. After a while we begin to reason that God sent us there, but God didn’t really mean go there. He meant, “go there and get your needs met – try it out. See if it will meet your needs. How do you know if these people are the people who will meet your needs unless you try them out? How do you know this brother or even this pastor is any good unless you try them out?” Then one day, who the pastor is or who some other member of the community is reveals something in you that is a challenge to who you are and now you decide that you are more valuable than that other person is. You decide that he or she is not worthy of your relationship, so you begin to think about going to another family. You stay in the family, but you listen to messages from another family and you compare what you are hearing in that family with this family. When you do this you invite another vision, thus you create di-vision. You are committing adultery. You are thinking about it. You are practicing adultery and your relationship is being buried in the ground of natural understanding.
My wife and I have been married for more than 39 years. We do not have a written law of you shall not commit adultery. No, every year we grow as givers. I am becoming more like her and she is becoming more like me and neither of us are the same as we were when we got married. The children in our family were born knowing the value of relationship. They have watched their parents and not all has been easy, but always the final decision is we give to the other. I remember when my wife and I were first married. We would get into a debate and of course I was right and she was wrong (ha, ha). Sometimes I was right. Sometimes I would walk out the door, because I didn’t want to be angry. I am so glad that God gave me the grace to hear Him. The moment I walked out the door God would say, “I want you to go back and apologize to your wife.” And I would say, “Yes, but I am right.” He would then say, “I don’t care.” I would go back and say, “honey I am sorry. I am sorry I made you feel that way. I am sorry I said that.” Then I would make an attempt to understand why she thought the way she thought. A wise pastor taught me that in a covenant relationship when you turn your back on your partner and you take one step away you are practicing divorce. You are practicing divorce until you get so good at it it’s no longer an act. It has become real in its division and death. You might issue a certificate of divorce, but the divorce happened long before. If you ever find yourself turning your back to a covenant relationship and taking a step away, turn around and take a step to return.
Adultery comes because we think relationships are to meet our needs, but relationship allows each of us to be a blessing to another. When two people have this revelation it is supernatural and it works on good days and bad. It works on days when they feel like it and on days when they don’t. The result will be fruit that values relationship.
Ted J. Hanson