My brother and I have unusual conversations. Some guys call their brother up and discuss how the Steelers are doing. We get on the phone and discuss how much effort Adam put into naming the animals God created.
Jimmy’s point was that in order to name them properly, Adam had to spend time with them and get to know their habits and behaviors. He developed a relationship with the world around him.
This wasn’t Adam’s first step, though. First he came to know God as they spent time together. As he grew to know his Creator he grew to know and understand the world.
Once Adam had these things down, God brought him a mate, a partner. Partner in crime, but that’s another story …
Eve entered Adam’s life once he knew God and understood the world. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone discuss this, but it’s a good idea to look at our own relationships this way. Too often I have seen kids go through high school deeply involved in church and highly aware of “no sex ’til marriage,” who are married the Saturday after the service when the church recognizes all the high school graduates for the past year and by Labor Day their first baby is on the way.
I’m not saying to throw out the “no sex til marriage” part. One thing I’ve found in life is that sex is intimate and should be saved for that most intimate of relationships. It’s much better that way. What I am saying, though, is that we don’t hear a lot of other advice going along with this. We need to follow the blueprint we were given in the Bible when we see how God moved Adam from bachelorhood to marriage.
First, Adam grew in his knowledge of God and had his life centered on the great I AM. Then he learned about the world he lived in. Only after that did Adam “marry.” That is when Eve came along.
In short, we need to tell the kids, “Slow your roll, Tito.” Life is messy. Relationships make it messier. Having the right relationships in place, though, help you get through the tough times. Those relationships need to be Christ and your friends. Real friends, the ones you share your deep secrets with, the ones who will love you anyway, just like Jesus does. God created us for love and fellowship. We’re not here just to find a mate, have kids and work. When our lives lack friends, things fall apart.
Meet Exhibit A. Me. I’ve had one friend that’s stuck with me through way too much since about seventh grade. We’ll call him Steve. Why isn’t important, but we’ll call him that. I’m pretty certain there were times he saw clean through the masks I wore, but that didn’t stop me from trying to hide my problems about drinking and relationships with women. For years. I wasn’t open or honest with him, with God or myself. I wrecked two marriages that way, almost certainly caused my kids to have some issues and hurt a lot of people along the way, not least Steve or myself. Yet he stuck in there. Thank God.
I’m in marriage number three. I have friends. I tell them a lot. I think I shocked Steve recently when I dropped the mask and dumped a lot of honesty in his lap. I had to. I couldn’t live some other way any longer. Trying to live a lie kills relationships. Intimacy, I was recently told, can be looked at as, “In to me, see.” If you don’t let people in, there is no intimacy. You need to practice intimacy with God and your friends before you try to live the rest of your life in the most intimate of relationships.
Maybe I need to remind you here, though probably not, that intimacy isn’t about sex, it’s about being open and honest with God and the people you care most about. When you get married, you add that other element, sex, to the equation. What you’ll find is you have a much better marriage and a more fulfilling spiritual, physical and emotional relationship than you might have imagined.
Now that I’ve written this, I wonder what my brother and I will talk about next time we speak. What do you think?