A Relationship Revolution..

Alright, so for about the last couple of months, I have been going through the book of Proverbs and learning all about wisdom and knowledge and humility. Not only that, but some friends of mine have also been meeting once a week in our co-ed small group to talk about our relationships with God, our friends and family, and significant others. This past weekend was definitely the best discussion we’ve had thus far, though. And we got deep. We talked about different seasons that we go through in life, which included seasons of singleness, finding our mates, healthy dating, and sex. And best believe I took an abundance of notes…

The first thing we discussed was being single and how to maximize our singleness for God. I know some of my friends that have honestly never been single a day in their lives. They have always looked to finding who they are, their identity in the other guys or girls that they were dating at the time, and I never wanted to be that way. Being single is not a bad thing! In fact, there is a lot of good that comes from being single and what you do during that time is critical in preparing yourself for your future spouse. We have to take advantage of every opportunity to maximize our singleness for God by diving into His Word and fully living out our faith for Him. To allow God to be more than enough in our lives, because if we never find joy in Him first, then we’re never going to find joy in someone else either. We might find happiness for awhile, but that’s always temporary. Make the choice to accept your circumstances; don’t settle for less than God’s best for you, because He knows exactly what you want, and what you need.

Once we have lived out our singleness and feel like we’re ready for something more, then we need to start thinking about the qualities we would love in a future spouse, spiritually more than anything. Yes physical attraction is key, but don’t be so focused on the physical to the point of being shallow or having too high of expectations. And you have to know the difference between expectations and standards. One is your opinion and the other is non-negotiable. This is one of the biggest things that hit me from that night: DO NOT pursue a relationship until you are in a season of marriage! Dating is not in the Bible. And I really wish I would have learned that earlier in life.

Also, you need to have spiritual compatibility. Are y’all lifting each other up and speaking life into each other, being encouraging and not tearing down? I’ve heard someone say that if you are not bringing out the best in each other and if you don’t enhance each other’s ministries then something is wrong. If you’re not growing closer to Jesus together, then one of you is pulling the other away from Him. The purpose that God has given you in life also needs to be compatible. Are y’all going in the same direction? For me, my future spouse needs to be just as passionate for missions as I am. And seek guidance from your family and friends as well. They love you and know you the best, besides God, and if they do not love the person your dating then there’s a reason for that.

God will put someone if your life that will love and commit to you so much that it will paint a picture of what Jesus did for you. ~Garrett Matsuyama

Ready for some tips for healthy dating?! Good. Here it is: boundaries. Both of you NEED to set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship, and don’t compromise on them. Once you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure and you’re one step closer to having that relationship go too far, too fast. Define the relationship as what it is. Don’t allow any ambiguity to arise because that just leads to miscommunication and someone is going to get hurt because they either got their hopes up for something more, or they start to overthink things and doubt themselves. Think about this: every person you date and do not marry is someone else’s spouse. Mind=blown. That hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard that because it’s so true.. More healthy dating tips-move slow (no such thing as being too patient, God loves patience); set the boundaries and don’t compromise (especially physical boundaries); always have open communication and be transparent about everything (just a good rule of thumb); keep your friends through the whole process (seek their advice); and most importantly, always obey God (it’s better to be obedient to Him and hurt someone with the truth than to not obey Him and comfort someone with a lie).

Sex. Not a bad thing. God created sex for a reason. He created it for a special time, too… to uniquely unite people in the bond of marriage. That is His seal of approval in Holy matrimony. We also have to understand, though, that if we do get caught up in sexual sin before marriage it does have consequences. It will never satisfy you, maybe temporarily, but never spiritually; it always brings negative results because it is a sin; there’s the possibility of getting an STD or getting pregnant if you’re not careful and protecting yourself. And if you think you’re mature enough to do it, then be mature enough to accept those consequences when they do arise. Take responsibility for your actions. It took me a long time to figure out that it’s not how far you can go in your faith before something is considered a sin, it’s how far are you willing to go to please God. So, have some integrity and self-control and stand strong for your purity!

I’m not going to lie, I cannot even begin to count the many times I’ve been caught up in sexual sin. But I’ve learned so much in that time period. We have to FLEE to be FREE from it! It is never, never too late to run from that situation, do whatever it takes. We have to be disciplined in our minds and our bodies. And more than anything, once we have messed up, we have to repent. Pray about it, stop condemning yourself because “there is no more condemnation in Christ”, and let it go. Jesus didn’t die for perfect people, He died for you. It’s never too late to turn back to Him.

I can’t take the credit for all of this though… I have an amazing group of friends who contributed to this, especially our leaders John and Katelyn. I look up to them so much because just seeing them live out their relationships with God and knowing all they’ve been through has encouraged me more than anything. I love you guys and so appreciative of your influence in my life.

Let’s start a relationship revolution!! 🙂

To My Future Spouse: Hide Your Love Away..

Hey you! 🙂 I know it’s been awhile since I’ve wrote and I apologize for that.. just been a crazy few weeks, but they’ve been extremely good..

I have been doing a lot of reading and studying here lately about several things: wisdom, knowledge, and really becoming the man of God that He’s called me to be. He has been teaching me so much over the last few months about Him and myself and I’m beginning to realize what I have to do, and with the help and support of my friends, I will accomplish the goals I have set for myself.

These goals, though, are not just for me.. they’re for you, too. I already mentioned my purity covenant earlier this year, and I figured if I was going to pursue that kind of commitment, I might as well go all out in it and make a kissing covenant as well. I made those commitments because lust has been my biggest problem in my walk of faith, and I’ve known for awhile that I cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and over again thinking I could continue taking God’s grace for granted.

In learning about the wisdom that God has for me, I came to realize through talking with the guys in my small group that drastic measures needed to be taken. Which is when I had to stop talking to my ex-girlfriend about 2 weeks ago. I had to completely cut her out of my life because it got to the point where all it did was hurt me emotionally, which I hated, because she was my best friend for 3 years.

I have also learned that with wisdom comes transparency, and this is also going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do because I have never told anyone this besides my accountability partners… but, this is something that you need to know about me if we are to ever have a future together. I’m not a virgin anymore. And the shame and heartache that comes with knowing that I didn’t save that part of my heart for you kills me inside. I know there is absolutely nothing I can say or do to make this any easier on you. All I can do is ask for your forgiveness..

Please, please don’t do what I did. I know I made a mistake and I believe I’ve paid for it immensely, but please if it’s not too late, hide your love away and wait for me. One of my all-time favorite Scriptures is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but I never paid attention to verse 11 until lately:

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

I’m beginning to put childish ways behind in becoming the man of God He’s called me to be. I know I don’t know your name yet, I don’t know who you are, or where you’re at, or what you look like.. but I love you, dearly. And I pray for you all the time. Don’t give up on me just yet.

Love always,
Kota
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the video that I posted below! It’s pretty legit.
Hide Your Love Away!

365 Days of Singleness..

Exactly one year ago today on March 10th, 2013 my life changed forever… You see up until that point in time, I really felt like I was ready for marriage and I had every intention of asking the girl I was dating to marry me on Christmas Eve. I had the ring picked out, she was my best friend, and we were in love with each other. I truly believe that. She knew about all my mistakes, my faults and failures, and even about my problem with pornography. What she didn’t know, however, is that I had started looking at it again 6 months before that day. She finally found out about it, I lied about it, and that was it. She was gone. And I hit the lowest point in my life.

Since then, God has lead me through countless trials and tribulations, highs and lows, and has presented numerous opportunities for me to use this not as a story of pity, but as another chapter in my never-ending testimony. And this chapter, although I didn’t know it at the time, has been one of the biggest blessings to me. Please don’t get me wrong: I loved that girl more than anything and she was the best friend I’ve ever had. I’ve told her things that I haven’t told anyone else, and we went through a lot together. But what I didn’t understand at the time is that God was going to use the ending of that relationship to bring Him all the glory when we weren’t bringing Him glory in it.

I have been single for a year now, and in all this time, I believe that God is bringing me into a relationship with Him that I have never before known. Every aspect of my life is falling into place at just the right time and it’s amazing to see how He is using my friends to encourage me and bring me hope. And it’s amazing to see the different things He is teaching me about the man of God He wants me to be and different aspects of who He is as God and His sovereignty.

A few months ago, I made a couple of covenants with Him about purity and kissing, and I believe that He’s called me to be single for another 5 months, and then who knows. All I know right now is that He used the one situation that absolutely destroyed 2 hearts and lives to bring Him all the honor and praise in His perfect timing. And I really cannot wait to see what God shows me next and to learn from my mistakes more than I already have been. He is such an amazing God, and I trust Him completely with my life.

He’s tearing down the walls that I’ve built up over the past few years, and He’s giving me the promise of Jericho. And with help, I’m reaching out to take it. I wonder what’s going to happen when I reach it…

Idolizing Marriage..

Anyone and everyone that has ever known me, knows how much I love the idea of love. And not just that, but the biblical definition and description of the kind of love between two Godly people running after the heart of God more than each other. The kind of love that God has for His Church. The kind of love that is unconditional, that doesn’t know boundaries or borders or time. A kind of love that forgives and gives grace whenever possible; a kind of love that looks past what has been or what is right now or what will be in the future. A kind of love that is slow to anger, that is always patient, no matter the situation or circumstance. The kind of love that doesn’t give up when life gets hard, and one that has never and will never fail. That’s the idea of love I have always imagined and one that I have silently searched for my whole life.

And for the past 4 years, I knew that I was ready for that kind of love. I knew for a fact that I was ready to be the head of a household. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that my heart was ready to support my spouse and to start a family. And I’ve been so close to having that in my life. On two separate occasions I have either been engaged or on the verge of becoming engaged because I knew I was ready. God, on the other hand, knew that I wasn’t. Which is why I’m still single today. Because His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I may not understand why some things happen the way they do, but He doesn’t ask me to understand them either.

You see, God has recently made me come to the realization that I have made the idea of marriage and my search for it an idol in my life. I have been idolizing marriage for years now. I had placed more emphasis on the relationship I had at the time than on my relationship with Him. I had been searching for a lifetime kind of love that I could call my own and that God would approve of instead of actively seeking the very face of Love in Jesus. I have realized now that my own selfish ambition for a God-ordained love ultimately has become an idol in my life, which has come between God and I… I have blinded myself from seeing what He has planned for me.

I believe He’s leading me into a new level of maturity in Him with pursuing the peace that comes with patiently waiting on His perfect timing. This is Valentine’s Day, or what some have come to know it as Single’s Awareness Day. And with this new level of spiritual maturity, I believe that God is leading me to dedicate this area of my life back to Him and to just let go.. With that being said, I feel like I’m supposed to stay single for at least the next 6 months until I know that my heart is ready for something more. And even then, I shall allow Him to lead me to what He knows is best for me.

God is always sovereign. My life, and every aspect of it, is in His hands.

The Pursuit of Patience

Lately, I have been going through some things in my life that I believed I was ready to go through. Apparently God knew something that I didn’t know.. go figure. And lately, He has been teaching me something new about Him and the patience He has for His children. I started to re-read the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, but this time I couldn’t get past the first 3 words.

“Love is patient.” Love is patient. God is love and love is patient, so God is patient. I know, I know.. nothing revolutionary, right? Wrong. This is what He’s revealed to me: we’re an impatient people living in an impatient time. We want what we want, when we want it, which is usually right now. But He wants us to just be still and know that He is who He says He is. He is God! He is the epitome of patience. In 1 Timothy 1:16, Paul talks about how he was the worst of sinners and was shown mercy through Christ so that He might display His unlimited patience to everyone who might believe in Him and receive eternal life. He has unlimited patience, and yet some of us have no patience whatsoever.

I want to become more like Jesus everyday. And if He has unlimited patience, then I have a long ways to go. If we truly believe that God is sovereign and everything happens according to His perfect plan and in His perfect timing, then why, why are we so impatient when it doesn’t happen when we think it should? We’re not waiting on Him, God is waiting on us. God is waiting for us to patiently love His children back to His kingdom, so what are we waiting for?

One of the best things about His patience though is that it isn’t bound by time. He has waited for years for one of His children to come back to Him, so what makes you think He doesn’t have time for you? God’s patience doesn’t know limits, it doesn’t know boundaries or borders. And he extends it to everyone at any point in time. He is abounding in love, and slow to anger.. Why can’t we?

God, my prayer would be that you would teach me and show me how to be patient, to patiently love as You have patiently loved the church. Teach me how to slow down and just love people.

I want to relentlessly and passionately pursue the peace that comes with patiently waiting on God’s perfect timing…

To My Future Spouse: Kissing Covenant

Hey there! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written you, got a little busy with school starting back and clinicals starting up again.. but I thought I would let you know of the covenant I made between me and God. You see, about 3 weeks ago, I spoke a message to my students about the life agreement God made to us.. about restoring His children back to a right relationship through the blood of His Son Jesus. I love that.

God’s relentless redemption. His relentless pursuit of seeking after His broken creation.

Since it was the first Sunday of the new year, I wanted us as a youth group to start off on the right foot by honoring God’s covenant with us by taking communion together and committing our mind’s, bodies, and souls back to Him. I even told them a story about a girl I got the opportunity to hang out with the day before. She had an incredible testimony that really encouraged me.

She was thinking about all of the problems she was going through and the situations she was dealing with and she wrote them down on some paper and strapped them to rocks and threw the rocks in the river. She even got convicted about her purity ring and threw that in the river as well. After that, she went and bought her an eternity ring. She knew that God is going to love her eternally more than any guy ever would, and this ring would be a reminder to her everyday.

I began to pray about a lot of things, especially you. And I knew what God was calling me to do. I made 2 covenants on January 5, 2014. One of them is a pledge of purity, to allow God to come in and purify my heart, mind, and body. Not just for me, but for Him, my family, and for you. I have also made a kissing covenant. I know it seems like a big commitment, but if I’m making this pledge of purity, I think I should do things the right way, too.

In my past relationships, I have learned that kissing only leads to other things and leaving you wanting more, and that’s now what I want anymore. I don’t want to put myself in the position that would compromise my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I’ve made a covenant, and I am resolved to keep it. This includes not kissing any other girl until God has revealed to me that she is the one He has planned for me to spend the rest of my life with. And even then, I shall not kiss her on the hand, forehead, or lips until we get married. I want our first kiss to be on our wedding day. I want to be able to forget the way a kiss feels. I want to be able to forget the way that other girls kissed me.

That way, I could never compare you to my past. I would never want to subject you to that kind of scrutiny. Believe me, I know it’s going to be hard for both of us, but I’m hoping and praying that you will respect this decision because it’s only going to bring us closer together as a couple seeking after God’s face. Thank you for understanding.. 🙂

Until next time, love dearly,
-Kota