Before proceeding to provide a Biblical answer for the above question, let us first find out from God’s Word the True Nature of MAN.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(NIV) Emphasis Mine
MAN is essentially a tri-partite Being composed of SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY. God created Man’s body from the dust of the ground, imparted His Spirit to Man when He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and this process produced a “living soul”-A Living being with emotions, legitimate desires and passions and more importantly, one having the moral attributes and character of God.
7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV) Emphasis mine.
(KJV uses the words “living soul”.)
BIBLICAL ANATOMY OF MAN
THE SPIRIT OF MAN
The spirit of Man is that part of us which communes with God. It includes our will and our ability to exercise biblical faith.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
When we are united with the Lord (fulfilling His Will and Spiritual Purpose on earth), out spirits are essentially in perfect alignment with Him (and the Holy Spirit) i.e. one with him in spirit.
1 Cor 6:17
17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
In 1Corinthians 14:15, 16 the Apostle Paul says we pray, sing and bless with our spirits- these processes involve our will.
In 2 Corinthians 4:13 below “faith” appears to be a function of the spirit. The word “spirit” (of Man) in this context has a small “s” as opposed to the Spirit of God.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; (KJV)
THE SOUL OF MAN
25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?
The above verse equates weeping with grieving and these appear to be a function of the soul i.e. the seat of the emotions.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Here again, the Words of our Lord before His crucifixion relates a state of sorrow as a function of the soul.
20 When the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
In Deuteronomy 12:10, the words “longeth” and “lust” are attributed to the soul indicating passion, desire or appetite
Take note, however, that the word “soul” is also used to refer to “a life” or “living being” in some verses (Gen 17:14;Exodus 12:15). In other verses of the Bible, there is a suggestion that the soul is able to seek after God (Psalms 42:1; 2). This can be explained by the fact that a spirit that is right (in perfect alignment with God’s Will) directs its soul to do likewise. In the verses below, you will see this relationship...
12 Now King David was told, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God." So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.
13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.
14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might,
15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
In verse 12 above you will notice that David brought the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David. He did this because he was following the Will of God. The end-result of this act of obedience includes David’s rejoicing (verse 12) and dancing (verse 14) and Israel’s shouting (verse 15). In other words, fulfilling God’s Will brings “Joy” to one’s spirit which relates this joy to the soul causing the emotions to be expressed by the body as dancing and shouting. The spirit, soul and body as you can see are therefore inter-related and obedience to God’s Will, Word and Purpose brings about corresponding responses in a person’s soul and body.
Having explained this relationship, it would be much easier now to understand the role of spirit, soul and body in the Biblical understanding of what is commonly understood as “Romance”.
2 Samuel Chapter 13, has an account of this so-called phenomenon of “Falling in Love” and this story helps to illustrate our point that “Romance or falling in Love” is essentially a response of one’s soul (seat of emotions). Let us analyse the story in detail...
1 In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
2 Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
Remember that Amnon was a step-brother of Tamar. Verse one says she was beautiful and Amnon’s attraction to her was essentially a physical attraction to the point of obsession (verse 2). The fact that she was a virgin and the statement that he “could not do anything to her “(verse 2) implies a sexual lust for the woman in Amnon’s heart.
3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man.
4 He asked Amnon, "Why do you, the king's son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won't you tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I'm in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."
Here in verse 4, we have the words “I am in love with Tamar”. From verses one and two we find that it is actually a sexual lust which emanated from the heart of Amnon- an over-powering lust which desires to violate Tamar’s virginity.
5 "Go to bed and pretend to be ill," Jonadab said. "When your father comes to see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.'"
A lustful heart with wrong desires will follow any kind of advice to satisfy this desire.
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, "I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand."
7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: "Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him."
8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it.
9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. "Send everyone out of here," Amnon said. So everyone left him.
Verse 9 clearly brings to light the inner lustful desires of Amnon’s heart when he asked everyone except Tamar to leave.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom.
11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, my sister."
12 "Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing.
13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you."
Verse 11 above clearly illustrates the intent of Amnon’s heart. Amnon was not interested in marriage (see verse 13) but only in the physical satisfaction of his lust after her.
14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and get out!"
After satisfying the lust in his heart, Amnon had only intense hatred for Tamar. The crux of the whole episode lies in verse 15- “He hated her more than he had loved her”. This meant that the “love” that Amnon had for Tamar was in reality “lust” in the legitimate name of love. What we see today in “Hollywood-styled” movies are essentially “whipped-up” lust in the name of love as in the case of Amnon. So, the whole phenomenon of “Falling in love” in the above context is actually a primary response of the soul without any reference to God (a perverted response resulting in lust).
Conversely, let us look at another Bible Story which illustrates what “True love” really means...
1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
Genesis Chapter 24 has Abraham, God’s Man of Faith, in the twilight of his life. He is now commissioning his servant to help find a wife for his son, Isaac. Take note that God’s Name was invoked in the process of finding a son for Isaac (in other words, God is involved in the process of seeking one’s wife). Abraham also knew that it was not God’s Will for Isaac to have a wife from among the idol worshippers (verse 3). Abraham later told his servant that God will send his angel before him (i.e. ahead of him) in this God-directed task....
7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
(KJV) Emphasis Mine
Further proof of God’s involvement is evidenced by the prayer of Abraham’s servant....
12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
In the verses above, the servant asks for a sign from the Lord as to the correct damsel for Isaac’s wife. To cut a long story short, Rebekah was the answer to the servant’s prayer and she agreed to become Isaac’s wife (without having laid eyes on Isaac before). Isaac has also not laid eyes on Rebekah before, proving that this union is above physical attraction alone. This story is a perfect example of a Godly man using God-directed ways to find a godly wife for his son. Now, take a look at the verse below.....
67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
(KJV) Emphasis mine
Notice that Isaac loved Rebekah after she became his wife (after God had brought them together according to His Will). Herein is true romance, love as a result of the fulfilment of God’s Will. So, if we were to go back now to the diagram on spirit, soul and body, we can see clearly that God’s Will directed on the spirit of man (or woman) produces the appropriate emotional responses in the soul (love) and body (physical union). This is the Scriptural pattern and should be followed in the pursuit and selection of our God-given Mate. Even as early as in the Garden of Eden, this pattern was established when God brought Eve to Adam....
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
(KJV) Emphasis mine.
What does all this mean to the Christian today? The Christian seeking a life-mate should “rest” in the Lord so to speak (Matt 11:28). We should take comfort from Scriptural examples that God has a personal concern with regards to the selection of our life partner and THAT HE will help us find HIS Choice for us. Towards this end, we also need to be reminded that those who are filled with the Spirit have an inner beauty which should also be a focus of attraction between spiritual partners (1 Peter 3:3,4). So, on our part we should continually seek the Lord in prayer (and fasting) consecrating our lives to His Will and leave the rest (final choice) to Him. AMen.
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