Continued from last week

Most think that “love” is an emotion that takes over a person. This is one reason why the counterfeit feels and looks so much like true love. This kind of “love” never lasts, because it is built on an improper foundation! This is not to say that an emotionally mature person suppresses emotions, but rather that he properly exercises them. As with anything of value, emotional maturity takes time and effort to acquire.

Let’s look realistically at what happens with such emotional “love.” Too often, it begins with a high that dominates and controls a person. Remember, however real they seem, these feelings will not last! If couples base their marriage on these emotions, the relationship will quickly crack under stress.

Many never come to recognize that marriage is much more mental than emotional. As one well-known author has stated, people too often “think” with their hormones and sex organs instead of sound logic! Marriage (and dating) is a mental decision, something that should be objectively thought through over a period of time. But there is also a spiritual dimension to those who seek God’s guidance in finding a suitable lifelong mate.

The real proof of emotional maturity is not whether one “falls in love” (becomes infatuated). The true test of maturity is how you handle situations, circumstances and relationships—what you choose to do about them!

Falling in Love?

Most are familiar with the many clichés surrounding the idea of “falling in love.” Endless songs carry lyrics such as “just can’t help falling in love” or “I get a feeling I just can’t control…falling in love with you, baby.” Many movies depict couples falling in love at first sight, and novels and magazines are filled with this scenario. Even our everyday conversations often include such terms!

This is seen everywhere, and everyone, to a certain degree, accepts it as natural. But the truth is that one cannot “fall” into love! Real love is not something that happens by chance. It develops over time, based on the all-important foundation that the Creator has given us.

People do not fall in love, but rather they fall in lust!

Falling in Lust!

Remember that human nature is naturally hostile toward God (recall Romans 8:7). This is because the arch-broadcaster is filled with vanity, jealousy, lust, envy and greed, and he instills these feelings within each human being. His way can be defined simply as the “get” way of life, and lust is a foundational building block of this way. Lust has purely selfish motives, and is concerned only with fulfilling its own desires and wants.

The advice offered by social programs, such as Planned Parenthood, which places little emphasis on abstinence or self-control, but rather only on being careful when one is sexually active, only serves to fuel this selfish desire. Teens wondering when to have sex have already been told by society (probably many times) to “always do what’s good for you—do what will help you enjoy your life—and fulfill your plans for the future.” This translates into “Think only about yourself.”

Here is what Christ inspired John to write: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16). John divides all that is in the world into the following three categories: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life! Pause and think for a moment. The three phrases in this passage, describing the world at large, sum up how so many people typically date, court and, consequently, get married!

One of the most powerful forces behind dating today is little more than the basic sex drive. While God did instill the sexual desire in human beings for a pure and holy purpose, the world, held captive by Satan’s influence, has turned this into lust. Sizing people up for sex has now become a common practice. For decades, “girl watching” and “boy watching” have been national pastimes. Millions routinely lust after men and women to whom they are not married.

Today, God’s most basic commands are routinely broken. Notice: “You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28).