Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pursuing Nothing Less Than Excellence

This is more of an encouragement to the young ladies out there, but I think it applies to both guys and girls... just in different ways. I was asked to write up a little something for a camp of young ladies... just so you know that this isn't what I spend all day doing. :)

Women are often pictured as caring and loving. This is a great thing to be pictured as... but it carries a down-side with it too. If love is not mixed with discernment, it can lead to emotional attachment and heart-break. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen in many cases. Both the young man and the young woman are responsible for their roles in this... if either one were doing what He wanted them to do, it most likely would not lead to such heart-break. Take a look at Philippians 1:9-11.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Several things pop out to me instantly. Love isn't something that needs to be hidden in order to remain pure physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. God wants love to grow, but it must be the proper kind of love. How do we know if it's the proper kind of love? It is when love is growing in knowledge and discernment. When love is within the boundaries of knowledge and discernment (a God-given discernment), the natural result is that we approve the things that are excellent. I have seen on the university campuses many times where a young man will play with a young lady's emotions. He gives her compliments and frankly... most young ladies like compliments and attention. The thing that is missing is a God-centered focus and discernment. These young ladies are approving of things that are not excellent. Paul goes on to say that approving the things that are excellent is for the purpose of remaining sincere and blameless until He comes again. Paul also points out that a person must have been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes only through Jesus Christ, and it is for His glory. It is not a matter of trying harder. It is a matter of depending on Him for discernment, and living a life full of the fruit of His righteousness so that we only approve of the things that are excellent. When that young man gives you the words you want to hear... depend on Him... use the discernment that He has given... ask yourself if God would say that this is excellent. I am not talking about all compliments, but rather the ones that cause you to feel more loved and wish for things that you ought not have at this point in life. I see that young ladies often are tempted to think things like.. "oh, he noticed me". I urge you to think about these things with His discernment. Be respectful, but do not settle for less than what God calls excellent.

Side note for guys: Knowing how young ladies have some of these temptations... we have a huge responsibility before God to do what we can to keep them pure physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. However, I would like to add that godly compliments are a way that single people can purely and appropriately encourage each other unto godliness. I highly recommend them - e.g. encouraging each other for specific Christ-like qualities we may be exemplifying. But, as you said, discernment is required that such things do not become distracting.

(p.s. - can we have some photos of kitty, please?)

Daniel Osborne said...

Yes. Compliments can definitely be an encouragement to live God-honoring lives. Actually, I think they are very important. His discernment is sooo important for how to respond in those kind of circumstances. :) I have avoided pictures on my blog thus far... but I will try to post some links to pictures soon.

Kyleian said...

Thank you very very very much for that post, Daniel, it was very encouraging.
Not only as a practical way to be guarding our hearts, but also just to see guys that care about us ladies and are true gentlemen when chivalry has all but dropped off of the face of the earth.
Also just remembering that discernment is not only going for what is excellent, but that which reflects Christ in our lives.

So thank you so much for this post.

Stephanie said...

Most definitely, amen! Thanks for posting.