Happy Chinese New Year! In ancient Israel, celebration of the feasts was usually the time people came together to connect. In this Year of the New Community, the lunar new year is a good time for us to connect. Stay back this morning for an informal “open house”. Meet old friends and new Skyliners, share stories and encourage one another. This is a wonderful opportunity to “belong” even before connect groups start in March.
There is another “connect” at Chinese New Year. It’s courtship. Traditionally, at family reunion dinner, many singles get asked their most dreaded question: “Are you married yet?” In ancient China on the fifteenth day at full moon, there is a tradition for singles to throw the oranges into the sea or river, which supposedly carry off their deepest wishes that someday, just somewhere, their true love will appear!
The Bible does far better than that. It tells us to trust in God, not oranges. “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Although the words “courtship” and “dating” are not found in the Bible, we know God wants us to separate our ways from the world’s views on this matter (2 Peter 2:20). The world just tells us to “date around”, but a believer seeks to discover the character of a person, and to find out if his or her desire is toward Christ-likeness (Philippians 2:5) because the ultimate goal of courting is to find a life partner, and not “fun” or flippant trial runs.
When God gives us someone to date, we are to love the Lord first (Matthew 10:37), and not to make the other person “everything” in our lives. That’s idolatry. We are also not to defile our bodies through premarital sex (1 Corinthians 6:9) as courtship ultimately is leading us towards a godly, life long partnership that God intends to be permanent (Genesis 2:24). But the best connection of all is to be connected intimately to Him above all else!