The Norman Transcript

February 7, 2014

Pursuing relationships this holiday

By Karl Burkhardt
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A quick search on Wikipedia reveals that Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in the high Middles Ages.

By 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their affection for each other by presenting flowers, offering candies and sending greeting cards known as valentines.

This all-too-brief season of romantic expression is upon us. Men and women alike, young and old, will scour retail outlets and the Internet looking for that perfect item to capture their loved-ones’ attention.

Millions of people will go to great lengths to communicate what they feel to the object of their desires, dreams or fantasies. At the core of all of this activity are folks who are going above and beyond the norm to pursue relationships.

For some, the pursuit is more important than the object of their desire. Many occupy their time with costly and extravagant pursuits.

An often misunderstood verse in Jeremiah 29:13 reads, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” And since we as humans tend to focus more on doing than on being, we make seeking a lifetime pursuit.

Read that verse again, and this time see God’s deeper meaning. He says we will seek and find when we seek Him with all our hearts. To enter into an authentic relationship with God, He must be the object of our deepest desire. He must be our heart’s sought-after contentment.

At one point, this question was posed to Jesus: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” — Matthew 22:36-39

Is it enough to simply seek out anyone we feel will love us and meet our needs? If so, then it really doesn’t matter what your demonstration of love is to that individual. It also wouldn’t matter too much who responded to your attempts.

But if we seek after a specific person — pursuing a relationship with a unique entity with a goal of knowing and understanding — our efforts are aimed toward touching the heart of that person with our gesture.

Genuine relationship flows out of an understanding that we ourselves have been loved. Our desire to love is fostered within a heart that knows love. The Bible tells us that we love because He first loved us. And pursuit of relationships work best in God’s economy when we keep our priorities in line with God’s expectations.

Jesus said we are to love God first and love others second. Far too many times we reverse this order, and we end up chasing shadows.

This Valentine’s Day, give your heart to God himself. Make your Father in Heaven the object of your demonstrations of all that you feel inside. He has pursued you. Pursue Him in return.

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