Stand On It | Devotion #6: Seven and One Half
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor
On January 1, 1997, I asked Laura Dubey to be my girlfriend. I was a 17-year-old junior in high school. She was a 14-year-old freshman. On June 4, 2004, we married. If you are quick with your math, you added it up to a seven and one half year dating relationship. You may first say that is cute that I married my high school sweetheart. You may view that as something special. I will also say those things, but as a fifteen plus year vet in youth ministry, and a guy who regularly says that a long-term specific dating relationship in high school is stupid, this serves as a problem.
As a Youth Pastor for that many years, I have found disaster in long-term dating. Whether Christian or non-Christian, it usually (almost always) brings a sinful carnage of hurt and scars. Every year I would take a month and teach on student dating. I would teach what the Bible says and does not say (1 Thessalonians chapter 4, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and Ephesians 5:3 are a good place to start). The questions then would always be asked, well what did you do?
Do you have a story that you would not recommend for others? Is there a story where you watched God bless and bring you through, but that you hope and pray those that you love do not follow? If so, how do we deal with this? First, I think it is okay to share our weakness. I do not have to pretend I am perfect. I do not have to pretend that I always did things God’s way. Too many times the Church looks like a place where we cannot show any weakness. I am thankful that God, even through things that are dangerous, protects and guides. I do believe the Word (Romans 8:28) that God uses all things together for good to those who love the Lord.
As I give people my story, I always point them to the Word. In Titus 2:11-12 we read, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
My hope is that my story will point others to renounce ungodliness and not celebrate it. My hope is that my story points people to live a life of self-control, not recklessness. I pray that my story points people to the amazing God so that we may live a life that He has for us.
I believe I can use my story to point people to Jesus. But I also believe if they do not find the truth in His Word and how He tells us to live, they will not find Jesus.
I have heard people say I would not change my story one bit. I would agree with that, but I would also say, “It is my story, not yours. Live your life to follow Jesus.”