Oh, how I love your law! All day long I meditate on it. Your words are sweeter in my mouth than honey! (Psalm 119:97, 103)
The genuineness of a man’s belief in and commitment to God is not always easy to discern. He may read the Bible and pray every day and have many verses memorized, yet be unchanged by it and not really know God in a personal way. There are a few things, however, that are pretty good indicators of how serious a claim God has on a man’s heart.
Read Psalm 119:10-16, 47-48.
Pay careful attention to how your boyfriend talks about and responds to the Bible. If he frequently complains about things he doesn’t like in it or picks apart the way it is written (e.g., the apostle Paul’s long run-on sentences) instead of looking for its meaning and how it should apply to him, there could be a serious problem in his relationship with the Lord.
· Does he really seem to love God’s word?
How do you know?
· Does he go to scripture for guidance and instruction?
· What has he criticized recently in the Bible?
· What has he shared with you recently that he has learned from the Bible or that he has applied to some situation in his life?
In other places, Jesus instructed his followers about the proper ways to treat everyone in general and to treat their enemies, but here he was giving specific instructions about how believers should behave toward other believers.
The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to be loners in our faith. We are to be a community of people who encourage each other, learn from one another, and work together to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. If your boyfriend is reluctant to attend church, then he is likely giving only verbal assent to Christianity without any real heart commitment. If he doesn’t want to attend church now, he will have even less desire after you are married and may even resent your attendance without him.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable
to the LORD than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3)
As children mature, they become gradually more independent. Obedience becomes less of an issue as parents release control of them in adulthood. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:2-3, however, of the fifth one of the Ten Commandments which God gave to the Israelites. These commandments were issued to adults, not children.
If a man has abusive parents, he will need to learn how to set boundaries with them to prevent further abuse and he may need some help to work through forgiveness issues. But as a general principle, adult children are to interact with their parents with respect and caring.
The Bible uses the word “honor” to convey this. Parents are not perfect people, and some have made some fairly serious mistakes in raising their children, yet they have also made many sacrifices and given much of their time and resources to parenting. Even if there are many issues on which a man disagrees with his parents, he is still obligated by the word of God to treat his parents with honor (or “respect”)—not necessarily agreement, but honor, nonetheless.
· Proverbs 15:5 ______________________________
An adult child is not expected to toe the line on everything his parents tell him to do or not to do. As long as he lives under their roof, he should abide by their rules and requests unless they are in disagreement with the word of God. But as he leaves his teens, he gradually becomes more independent in his decision-making and responsible for his own choices. A “prudent” man, however, will recognize that the experience and wisdom his parents have gained over the years is still worthy of consideration. Sometimes they have learned things from their own mistakes that can help their children to avoid making those same mistakes.
· Proverbs 15:20 ______________________________
· Proverbs 20:20 ______________________________
It is possible to have sharp disagreements with parents yet refrain from cursing them. Cursing is an extreme expression of anger which the Bible does not permit.
· Proverbs 28:24 _______________________________
To say that is it all right to take things that belong to one’s parents without their permission is to assume ownership which is not rightfully yours. Most parents are very generous and willing to share their belongings and their money, but to take without asking is stealing, whether they are your parents or not.
· 1 Timothy 5:4, 8 ______________________________
Helping to provide for family members who have severe material or physical needs may not be an issue for you at this point in your lives. But it could become a reality in your future. Talk over this possibility with your boyfriend.
Before you marry a man, be sure you are discuss the issues of how you treat parents. His family becomes yours and your family becomes his when you marry. Relationships with parents will play a big role in your future—especially after you have children.