March 15, 2021
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:17 “Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.”
When it comes to relationships, there are vast lands that should be explored and considered. Interestingly, most people seem to just believe they have a handle on it. “I know what I am looking for, where I am going, and the type of person I want by my side; I know what I am doing.” It is comical for any person to believe such faulty reasoning. Perhaps your approach is from a different angle. You’re not entirely sure what you are looking for but you have idea. Not entirely sure who you are and what values you will choose to hold in your life but you are confident you can invite someone in to walk through whatever life presents to you. This is probably a healthier place to be, yet to be too confident is still a likely possibility.
Many of us need to take a step back and ask a few questions.
What type of person should I look for?
1 Peter 2:17 certainly is not directly speaking to dating relationships. However, it gives us a great place to start in what we should look for in the other person as well as ourselves. Peter gives four directives: Respect people, love the church, fear God, and respect the king. I believe that each of these qualities are essential when considering someone for a dating relationship.
“Respect Everyone.” Finding someone who respects others in general is a big deal. Reason being, if they don’t respect other people, they likely are okay with burning bridges (relationships) for some form of personal gain. While they may think they are strong because they can put people in their place, or even not care what they think, this will enter the relationship with them. It may not come out right away, but from time to time you will see the same lack of respect they show other people against you. A lack of respect for people always carries a me-first attitude. That attitude in a relationship will cause heart-ache, deep wounds, and someone who finds ways to get what they want in a relationship. Respecting other people is a sign of valuing other people.
Secondly, Peter says that we are to “love the family of believers” (the church). This is important in a dating relationship because ultimately, you and your significant other should be held accountable to God’s standards. By surrounding yourself with godly people, they will have good influence on your character which will also influence your relationship. You will still get bad advice and people in the family of God are still people, meaning they will make mistakes. But overall, you get to join into a group of people whose goal is to move towards God. If you and your significant other are both moving towards God, this allows for more intimate time together, especially when studying God’s word together.
Third, “Fear God.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 tells us that we should not be unequally yoked. Meaning that we should not enter into a dating relationship or marriage with someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus. There is also an implication in this verse that the other person should be similar in spiritual maturity. This is the most important of Peter’s four directives. Many of us struggle with this as we think we can date who we want and just tell them about Jesus. This is called missionary dating and it barely if ever works. The reality is when we pursue someone who isn’t walking with the Lord we are far more likely to be influenced by them then we are to influence them. If someone is not a believer, they do have different values than you and will be walking through life with a different lens. To subject yourself to them, be influenced by that lens will lead you away from God, not towards Him. God needs to be the number one priority, not our dating relationship.
Finally, “respect the king.” This is one that we definitely need to be aware of in our walk with the Lord. It has little to do with our dating relationship but it has much to do with how well we love others and trust God. Daniel 2:21 reminds us that regardless of who is president, even if it was not the person I voted for, God is in control. Trust God that He knows what He is doing and that though whoever is president may or may not make great decisions, God will find a way to accomplish His plan. Man has no ability to thwart the plans of God. We also should be careful to consider how we speak about and think about, any of our leaders. We can certainly struggle with their procedure and plans but we are not called to belittle. We are not called to speak harshly of them. We are not called to discredit them. We are called to love them as Jesus does. To respect the authority that God has given them. I think this is one that we should consider every election year.
Take time to pray through each of these four directives that Peter gives us. Ask God to show you if you are not respectful of anyone. Ask Him to show you who, if you don’t already know. Ask God how you can better love the family of believers. Ask Him if you fear Him in an appropriate sense and what does it mean to fear God. Ask Him to help you always have respect for whoever is president. That you wouldn’t be willing to discredit, shame, or belittle any of our leaders. But rather that you would be willing to pray for them, respect them, and even honor them in how you speak.
It would also be wise to consider these things in prayer on the behalf of your significant other or someone you are interested in pursuing. Ask God if they walk with these directives and if they are someone you should be pursuing. If you are already in a relationship, pray that God would help them to also grow in these areas.