|Almost everyone knows what a soul mate is - a perfect companion whom you have a deep affinity with, usually a romantic partner or spouse, who complements your own existence and makes you feel whole or fulfilled in life. However, the popular notion of soulmates is defined by notions of love that are overly skewed toward romantic, fairytale ideals.|
It sounds like I'm being critical. I am, but why would I say that when I know soulmates exist? I know this because God pre-destines our lives and characteristics and plans our destinies (Psalm 139:16). He makes all of us and is certainly capable of making a spouse who complements us and fulfills our lives - our soulmate.
I've heard many stories of married couples who professed to having that soulmate notion fulfilled. I've even heard stories that show God's Hand in bringing two people together through inexplicable alignment of circumstances, such as one couple who stayed at a hotel before they met. They kept running into each other in the elevator many times. They didn't work together or stay at the hotel regularly, so they thought it was odd they kept bumping into each other and decided to date. I've seen God work the world in similar ways in my own life. Obviously, He predestines certain people to be together and can work the world and people in extraordinary ways to bring them together.
God knows what we want and need and He can provide it without our even asking, like I believe He did for Adam when He made Eve to be a companion and wife for him in Genesis 2:22. God's love for Adam is even encoded in those verse numbers. It is the first occurrence of the number triplicate 222 in the Bible, which means True Love or Full Love, since any number in triplicate means a complete amplification, and the number two means love (see The Meaning of Numbers)
. This exact alignment in numbering and their meaning shows how Scripture is God-breathed in fine detail to show its authenticity.
However, God's unconditional love isn't the whole picture. He doesn't destine everyone to be married, but even if it is part of His plan, we can mess it up and end up dating and marrying the wrong people if we're focused on the wrong things. It can seriously hurt and scar us, our children, and loved ones when the wrong choices end up in dysfunctional, broken marriages and relationships. Even choices that only take moments to complete, can make us deal with the consequences for the rest of our lives, since getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant leads to a lifetime commitment to the child.
God did not make us to be mere animals that live by instinct to breed. He made us to be much more - to conform to His image - apart and higher than the animals (Genesis 1:27), yet we see people devoting much more time and attention than they should to getting a mate, even temporary ones. Don't live by the flesh such as that, but live by the Spirit and more Godly ways so you are transformed more and more into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18).
God wishes to provide our needs and wants, but He doesn't always simply give them to us, like with Adam and Eve. Much of the time our righteousness and sins affect what we get (1 Peter 3:7; Isaiah 1:15-17), so we should seek God and righteousness first - "Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness" and all things for your life will be provided (Matthew 6:33), and "Trust in the Lord and do good... cultivate faithfulness [to Him]. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it" (Psalm 37:3-5).
So instead of blindly going after every other person who appears interesting, seek God's guidance on matters of the heart as with everything else (Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18), live righteously, trust Him to care for you and your interests. God goes before His chosen and prepares the way for them (Genesis 24:7; Exodus 23:20-23,32:34; Deuteronomy 1:30-33,31:8; Judges 4:14; 1 Chronicles 14:15; Isaiah 45:2,52:12), so the signs will be there or be shown if you seek God's help and advice.
The other erroneous notion about soulmates is that we can truly love more than one person with that soulmate-fulfilled notion of love. How many people have been widowed and then found new love that renewed their lives in a similar way as their original spouse? I've heard many stories of love being renewed after a loved-one was lost, so our worldly fulfillment in a soulmate can be completed by more than one person.
Something that romantics often gush is that they will love the same person forever with no one else in their hearts or that a love life with one person will extend into eternity. However, Jesus talked about marriage and the afterlife when people asked Him about a woman who married seven brothers, one after the other when she was widowed. They wondered whose wife she'd be in the next life.
Jesus told them they erred in their thinking, because in the next life we are resurrected into new bodies and will live life more like the angels who do not marry (Matthew 22:24-32; Mark 12:19-27; Luke 20:28-38). The people were thinking with worldly values and notions. They didn't understand how the next life would be very different from the present one.
Reality often is not how we imagine things to be, but still the notion of real soulmates is true, only that it isn't as idealized as popular culture paints it. God can destine us to be with one person or more than one person that fulfills our desire for a perfect mate. However, God didn't mean everyone to be married either.
The fairytale ideal of a soulmate comes from the teaching of a world that over romanticizes love and life. Our natural tendencies to want love and family make us very easily embrace those romantic ideas, but our hearts are easily deceived by things that make us feel good or spark our interest.
An example of this over-romanticizing is shown in songs like "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by The Script. God actually gave guidance related to this song that says it is foolish to put all your focus and energy on romance or finding a stranger who struck your interest, like the man in the song. He waits on a street corner day and night, hoping the girl he likes comes back to where he saw her. He talks about it making no sense, but what else can he do?
Well, a lot of people don't realize God makes true destiny and the destiny we make for ourselves is not always the same thing. How are you supposed to know if that attractive person you saw somewhere is meant to be with you? Why should you devote so much effort into someone you don't know is God's plan for you?
Instead, "flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, charity, and peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). That verse is another instance of the two-triplicate and adds another two to it. True or Full Love in a Godly life isn't about chasing after physical attractions, but living righteous, selfless, and peaceful lives with our brothers and sisters in Christ, which extends to being with romantic partners who are also Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14).
We can't live life by our hearts alone. They can be easily fooled and led astray. God doesn't want us to run about blindly, following our instincts. He wants us to be loyal to Him and pursue righteousness with the right partners, so we need God's wisdom and guidance in our lives to help us avoid the bad consequences of following more worldly ideals. They make us chase after the wrong things and set our eyes on paths that are fruitless at best, and at worst, will harm us and our loved ones in the long run, possibly for the rest of our lives.
But what if you've already made mistakes in choosing the wrong person or things? The good thing is God will work all things, even bad things, for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)
. God may change your life and who you are with to do this, but it doesn't mean you have to divorce if you didn't marry a believer (1 Corinthians 7:10-11; see Sex and Marriage - The Plain Truth for details)
. God will care for you, your children, and family even if you are in a bad marriage or relationship. We need to keep faith in Him and seek His guidance, which brings us to what loving God includes, since Romans 8:28 notes it is for "those who love Him" that He works all things for their good.
There is more about what God means by Love - His Love for us and our love for Him. The church popularizes God's love for us with New Testament quotes, like, "God is Love" (1 John 4:8) or "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" (John 3:16).
Our lives with Christ often begin in those statements of God's love for us. That realization of His love opens up a new world of wonder and joy. What greater love for us could there be than for God to come as a man in the flesh, so He could die in our place and take away the eternal penalty for all we've done wrong?
Jesus came to reconcile all of mankind to Himself as God, and the church rightly joys in that. Our being made new and all our sins - past, present, and future - being, quote, "forgotten" by God is something to celebrate, but sometimes in our exuberance over new lives with Christ, we forget the whole of God's character and how His Kingdom works. We cannot remain spiritual infants but continue to mature into people who understand God and His ways more completely.
Too often does the church focus on the love and joy of God's promises and forgets to see how those promises work and that there are still serious consequences to sin in this life, even though we are saved for the next. We can also forget that God does get angry and that He acts as Judge for everyone. Not even the angels are exempt from being punished for sin (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
God repays everyone for all they do (Romans 2:6; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25; Jeremiah 32:19; Numbers 14:18; Nahum 1:3; Hebrews 12:4-11), and in fact believers are given worse penalties when we sin because we should know better (Hebrews 10:26-31; James 3:1; Luke 12:48). That is the greater condemnation or stricter judgment the apostle James talks about in the New Testament (James 3:1).
Serious consequences or curses for sin are not to be overlooked when we talk about God and His Kingdom, but the overly romantic views and teaching of the popular church often have people misled about God's love. I've heard people say that it doesn't make sense we could be cursed when we are saved with God and blessed in Him, and sometimes people don't think that a God who loves us could bring disasters, curses, or that He could get so angry that He would bring us calamities and misery. I've even heard some Christians say they don't believe in hell.
However, those kinds of viewpoints show how errant and skewed teaching has blinded people with Love. We must remember God is also Judge and punishes everyone for their sins. We have to see that curses are simply judgment or the penalty for our sins, so it is certainly possible that God's Chosen and Blessed People can be cursed. This has happened throughout both the history of the Jews and Christians.
So remember, God brings both the good and the bad (1 Samuel 2: 6-7; Isaiah 45:7; Lamentations 3:38; Ecclesiastes 7:14; Job 12:23; Jeremiah 31:28; 2 Chronicles 25:8), so we need to recognize why God does that or allows bad things to happen to us, so we can understand why and correct ourselves if need be. To better see how God's Kingdom works, we need to understand how the cause and effect of breaking God's laws and covenants bring us curses. Breaking God's laws and commands is what sin is, after all. It isn't breaking man's laws or whatever man thinks are God's laws, so without His definition we would not know what sin is (1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20,4:15,7:7).
Sometimes, though, we don't know what we do wrong, but that doesn't mean God overlooks our sin. God has the Jews atone for sins they do not know they commit in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 5:14-19), and likewise, our Grace in Christ covers sin that we don't know we do, but we have to remember that Grace in Christ atones for our sins eternally, for the next life. It doesn't negate the penalties of sin in this life.
That makes it very important for us to know what sin really is and keep from doing it. This means we must also teach properly about God's laws and covenants and understand how they work. Without that knowledge, we blindly go about life breaking God's laws, and worse, neglect to teach our children and families how to avoid sin so that curses do not fall on us.
Knowing God's laws and covenants also means knowing how to get the blessings of His promises by walking in the terms for their fulfillment, because that's how God's conditional covenants work - He gives conditions or terms for the promise(s) of the covenant to be fulfilled. If we fulfill the conditions, then we get the promises. But if we don't know how God's promises are fulfilled, then how are we to be blessed with those promises?
This is why becoming a good teacher in Christ is so important. Teaching in error by misconstruing the truth, like overemphasizing love, or by omitting the full truth, like ignoring how law and covenant work, brings death, because very important aspects about God and His Kingdom are overlooked. How can we as a People of God honor Him if we don't truly know how to "seek His Kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33)?
The world's fairytale notions of love aren't how real life works or how God's Kingdom works. The world and church often idealize love and make it a cure all for everything. However, that idealized love simply cannot conquer everything or heal all things. We'll see why soon.
There is no shortage of passion for God in the church, but like faith without action is dead (James 2:17,20,26), passion without wisdom can also be fruitless. God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). He meant the knowledge of how His Kingdom, laws, and covenants work, and what sin really is. Without that knowledge, His people will continue to suffer from sin they don't even know they do.
You can start to see why the world's romantic notion of love and God's Love doesn't line up with reality. When God said He would "remember our sins no more" under the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:7-12,10:16-17), He meant our sins would be forgotten in the next life. He didn't mean the consequences of sin in this life would be taken away.
So when we strive to live righteous lives with Christ, we need to balance passion with what God says is True, Full Love for Him. The apostle John states it clearly, "In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands" (1 John 5:3). Jesus even said the same thing in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commands," and He notes obeying Him again in John 14:21-24. In John 15:14 He says, "You are My friends if you do what I command you." Therefore, it is faithful obedience to God's commands that is considered love for Him.
Why is that so important? It brings Life instead of death when we know how to obey God, keep from sin, and get the blessings of walking in His commands. The parable of Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49) is about this. Jesus asks, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" and notes how someone who hears Him and acts on it is like a man who built a house on a strong, deep foundation that cannot be destroyed by disaster, but the house of the person who hears and does not heed will not survive. This notes how acting righteously brings blessings of protection and not acting righteously (sin can also be inaction: 2 Chronicles 19:10; Ezekiel 3:18-21, 33:6,8-9; Proverbs 24:11-12; Deuteronomy 22:1-4) will leave us and what we have unprotected.
God even coded the importance of obeying God with the very first use of the word "love" in the Bible in Genesis 22:2. There's that triplicate again, 2-2-2. That verse is where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, which he did try to do obediently and with faith, knowing God could resurrect Isaac (Hebrews 11:19). God is showing in this 222 encoding what True Love or Full Love for God includes - to obey His commands. God didn't really want Isaac killed, but was testing Abraham's faith and fear of Him. Abraham was found righteous in trying to follow through with God's command. God stopped Abraham before he could sacrifice Isaac and said, "Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12).
That response tells us what a good and healthy way of looking at God is - to fear Him, so that we obey His commands and keep from sin - because God will judge everyone's sin. This isn't groveling fear in the face of malevolence, but a reverence of God and respect that He is Judge and will bring judgment.
A healthy fear for God is good because it is for the greater good that He doesn't want us to sin. It harms more than just ourselves. He wants us to think seriously about what we do and keep from sinning, since judgment can harm our families and friends. God said He punishes our children and descendants for what we do wrong through generational curses (Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9; Jeremiah 2:9,32:18,36:31).
It may not make sense to us that God would punish children for their parents' sin, but it shows how serious He is about sin and how much He wants us to consider things when we're tempted to do wrong. We can bring the consequences of our sin on our loved ones and descendants. If you don't think that is true, then look at how many children suffer and die prematurely from cancer and other bad curses.
Do you think the children did anything to deserve those horrible things? These curses aren't simply accidents like much of the world thinks. "Like a fluttering sparrow or darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest" (Proverbs 26:2). There's always a reason for curses. Much of the time they come from sin, but there can be other reasons, such as to learn perseverance, go through testing, and share in the sufferings of Christ and the saints (Romans 5:3,8:17; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 2 Corinthians 1:3-10,4:8-18,6:4-10; Philippians 3:8-11; Colossians 1:24).
The sins of leaders can affect their nations and organizations as well. Our nations are being judged today, such as through the 9-11 and other disasters related to America's sins (see 9/11 Prophecy)
. I've heard Christians say they don't believe God brought the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other bad events around the world, but God brings judgment on nations and peoples because of sin.
God used King Jeroboam to burden the people further because it was judgment for King Solomon's sins (1 Kings 12:15,11:9-13)
. And the nation of Israel suffered because King David lost faith in God to protect them and ordered a census of the fighting men (1 Chronicles 21:1-30)
. John Dau told of his nation's story of going into exile and running from terrorists in his book, God Grew Tired Of Us
. He didn't understand why God let bad things happen, but I saw God gave him a dream in the book to give some wisdom - that he and the church do not understand spiritual things correctly. See "John Dau's Dream"
for more about that.
To make things better for the greater good, we must look to our own behavior first and judge ourselves. Learn the truth about God's laws and covenants as they are now under Christ and understand what God really wants. Then correct ourselves so we can avoid hurting others through our sin and live as a fully blessed People of God. Understanding what True or Full Love means to God and separating that from the world's ideas of love is an important step in getting there.
The two greatest commandments (Matthew :36-40; Mark 12:28-31) are fulfilled by obeying God and avoiding sin, because to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind includes obeying His commands as we have seen, and to love you neighbor as yourself includes keeping from sin so our positions as parents and leaders do not hurt our children and others.
Make love for God and others your motivation to obey the Lord and keep from sin. But use wisdom as well and test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21), because there is much false teaching in the church and world. There are even imposters of the Lord, His Spirit, saints, and angels who are giving false guidance to Christian servants. They take advantage of our good intentions, faith, and trust in God and overemphasize obedience and fear to make us do their wishes and spread lies and bad teaching.
Remember we do not receive a spirit of slavery that leads to fear from the Lord (Romans 8:15). We are not slaves to law under the New Covenant, but are friends and coheirs with the Lord (John 15:15; Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 3:7). Imposters will make us fear disobeying or sinning so much that we worry about doing the wrong things all the time or even worry about committing false sin. I've seen spiritual imposters make servants of the Lord obey false guidance because they are too afraid of judgment.
Yes, we are supposed to live by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), and that includes following live guidance and not just Scripture, because God does not want us to blindly follow instincts. But the enemy and spiritual warfare make it difficult to follow live guidance. We should not follow spiritual guidance blindly. False guidance is pervasive in the church and can be very harmful. Following it can also give the enemy hooks into you, so we need to examine and test everything very closely, and then obey if it is truly God.
The first two of the Ten Commandments are about idolatry - we cannot have any other god than the Lord - so if we listen to, accept, and obey false guidance from imposters we are accepting them as God or His servants, which is idolatry, so examine things closely with approved Scripture to keep from following and promoting imposters, lies, and demons.
I talk about what good Bibles are in Choosing a Bible. Imposters, false guidance, and spiritual warfare are deeper subjects I won't discuss here, though. It can be very hard to identify what is truly from God since signs, miracles, and spiritual gifts can be faked (2 Thessalonians 2:9), so remember the first 222 triplicate I brought up about God's love for Adam. It was unconditional love. Continue to trust in God to help you through all matters, no matter how difficult. He didn't intend everything to be easy or straightforward. Spiritual warfare can make things very tough, so keep faith. Sometimes that's all we need in a situation.