Love and the “Piece of Paper”

“But when the Bible speaks of love, it measures it primarily not by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give of yourself to someone. How much are you willing to lose for the sake of this person? How much of your freedom are you willing to forsake? How much of your precious time, emotion, and resources are you willing to invest in this person? And for that, the marriage vow is not just helpful but it is even a test. In so many cases, when one person says to another, ‘I love you, but let’s not ruin it by getting married,’ that person really means, ‘I don’t love you enough to close off all my options. I don’t love you enough to give myself to you that throughly.’ To say, ‘I don’t need a piece of paper to love you’ is basically to say, ‘My love for you has not reached the marriage level.’ ”

–¬†Timothy Keller,¬†The Meaning of Marriage, p.78

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A Servant of Love, Not Slave of Lust

“Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of God and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.143

Love Like Christ Loved the Church

“A Christian man should seek to win the respect of the woman he is dating. His outlook is shaped by a husband’s duty to love his wife: ‘Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). This does not require a man to fall in love on the first date. But if he is to love a woman, it is to be the kind of self-sacrificing love shown to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus ‘gave himself up’ for his bride, the church, dying on the cross for our sins. Likewise, the Christian man is to put the spiritual and emotional well-being of a woman he is dating ahead of his own needs and desires. Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.71-72

A Suitable Helper, Not a Goddess

“Sin is the rejection of God’s authority. Sin is based on a denial of God’s goodness and truth. Sin involves idolatry. In this case, Adam gave Eve the place in his life reserved for God alone. He made her the ultimate object of his worship; now that Adam had turned from God, she would have to be the source for blessing in his life. Eve was not designed to do this. She was made to be a suitable helper for him, not a goddess.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.39

Helper is a Position of Dignity

“To call a woman a helper is not to emphasize her weakness but her strength, not to label her as superfluous but as essential to Adam’s condition and to God’s purpose in the world. Helper is a position of dignity given to the woman by God himself.

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.26-27

2008 Reading

Here are a list of books that I am currently reading or plan on reading by the end of the year 2008. Several of these books I’ve already started reading and am slowly reading through each. After each title I’ll give a brief blurb why I am reading it, how much I’ve read so far, etc. (Click on the image of the book for more details about it.)

I’ve been reading through this with a group of men from my church, but the group hasn’t met for a while. So far we’ve gotten through the fifth chapter. It was partly because of the fifth chapter on reading the Bible and Christian literature that I was compelled to write this post. I’m not a huge fan of his writing style, but there are many truths that have provoked me and I pray that God may use this to grow me into a more godly man.

The Atonement is a book that I decided to read for a few reasons. I have resolved to read at least one book on the cross per year and this is that book. I need to meditate frequently on what God has done for me in Christ, so that I don’t wallow in condemnation of my sin, let my feelings inform me, or slip into legalism and self-atonement. I don’t ever want to forget that Christ died for my sins. I don’t ever want to lose sight of Calvary. I picked up this book while eagerly anticipating Shai Linne’s sophomore album with the same title. I wanted to prepare myself to hear the precious truths of what Christ has done on my behalf that I could not achieve. I just read chapter two on “Sacrifice” this afternoon and it was gold.

I’ve been reading through this book with my care group. So far we have read through seven chapters. Recently was I really encouraged and challenged by my friend, Michele, who was significantly impacted by the message of this book. She realized that she was “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) and therefore she ought to glorify God in her body.

I borrowed this book from a friend a long time ago, but I didn’t begin reading it until recently. I figured since I’m 24 now it might be a good idea to start thinking about marriage. Hopefully this book will somewhat prepare me to love one woman as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

Another dating, relationship-type book. I’m reading this not only in preparation for marriage/courtship, but also to learn to apply the roles of biblical masculinity and understand biblical femininity. C.J. Mahaney endorsed this book at last year’s New Attitude. I’ve read the first two chapters and it’s quite different from what I expected it to be. The author not only uses scripture, but many times draws truths from other secular resources.

I plan on reading this in the summer. My pastor and several friends highly recommended reading this book. I’ve been wanting to read a puritan book for a while because I’ve never read through a whole one yet.

I plan on reading classic with another group of men. (Hopefully, this won’t fall off like the other group.) I’ve read through about half this book, but never finished it. (I’ve written a post on it before.) I think this book will be more profitable when I read and discuss it through with other men who are older and wiser than me.