Topical Christians7:30 AM
It’s popular among conservative Christian young ladies to hash out every single courtship conundrum at thirteen, flip out over crushes at fourteen, and discuss everything else ten times over at fifteen and beyond. I am purposefully silent on that issue because every other girls’ ministry, heroine and stay-at-home daughter has addressed it in one form or another. Unless I wanted to write something that would double you over with laughter, I have chosen to stay away from the whole issue.
But there’s another reason why I don’t.
Confession: I have a problem with guarding my heart.
So I’ve probably had a crush on every single eligible young man with whom I’ve come into contact (ranging from five seconds to five weeks to five months and depending on the young man, the energy of my mind at present, and how much I feel like being pathetic). Yes, I’ve had those talks with my mama when I’ve used up every single tissue in sight. Yes, I’ve skipped meals and lost sleep and stood quietly ten feet away from my love, heart banging in my chest, lips starting to form the first syllable of that infamously romantic phrase: I love you.
I’m a girl. I deal with it.
And besides all that, my romantic past has very little to do with the point of this post. I am getting there. Take a seat and hang on for the ride.
When caught in such a terrible sin as feeling my hormones start to pick up speed, I usually grab hold of any how-to courtship book and article out there. I study the finer arts of guarding my heart. I write twenty-two page lists of what I’m looking for in a man. I follow every conservative guideline to the letter. And I constantly pray, “God! Get me out of this! (And maybe let me marry Him?—I mean, Thy will be done.) Amen.”
My problem, as I perceive it, is most certainly of romantic leanings.
My problem, as God perceives it, is more certainly of spiritual leanings.
Trials and life’s problems (like sixteen-year-old crushes, sad to admit) drive us to finding a solution. So we pull out our five-pound topical reference books and exhaust the issue. But I have found that the solution does not so much involve setting up boundaries and praying specific prayers and meditating on certain verses pertaining to that particular issue.
The solution comes when I hang up my problem in God’s hands, rest, and focus on Him. It all comes back to our relationship with Christ Jesus. Obsession about cute guys whose spiritual muscles are sending my stomach for a roller coaster ride—that’s a focus issue. That’s a spiritual issue. That’s an am I going to look to Jesus as the fulfillment of my innermost needs? issue.
What we may need to read is fewer courtship manuals and more practical books like J. I. Packer’s Knowing God or Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. And I have a feeling that for other topical questions, the answer is broader and deeper and always applicable: go back to Christ Jesus. Look to Him alone. Develop a relationship with Him.
When we’re gazing into the eyes of our Savior, fleshly desires leading to sin disappear. When we’re studying His Word, when we’re praying, when we’re continually standing in the presence of Almighty God—that’s when the answers come.
They’re more simple than we think: Christ Jesus alone.