Build your life relationships God’s way… like an ice cream Sundae! Last night concluded our gender series, a 21-week study on the roles of Christian men and women in today’s society. Our conclusion included a special treat… ice cream for everyone! While the adults were in the business meeting, the teens saw the following illustration played out:
Bowl– the spiritual foundation. It’s sturdy and it’s the basis to everything you do. Don’t let some cool guy or some cute girl come sweep you off your feet! Let the Lord guide your life through His Word and your authorities, and you just worry about being a godly individual! As you seek God first and work on the “inward man” rather than the outward “adorning” (1 Pet. 3:3-4), God says the price on that spirit is MUCH higher than the temporal, lust-based (James 4) person’s spirit. This is the most important part of any relationship–keep God first!
Ice cream– the friendship. The ice cream is the biggest and most substantial part of any sundae. You’ll have a lot of friends on “friendship island” with you, and these are the people you see in the normal course of life. Let the friendship grow and grow and grow and grow!! That’s SO important! You can’t start with feelings and then try to figure out if you even like to hang out with this person! Start with the spiritual and then let God develop a friendship! Once you cross the line past friendship it’s pretty hard to go back to “just being friends.” Be careful and follow God’s directing.
Chocolate syrup and nuts–the intellectual. When God finally leads two lives together (a long way off for most teens), they’ll begin to share details with each other. This is when feelings, thoughts, emotions, dreams, goals, ideals, likes, and dislikes are shared, and this is when a lot of communication skills are learned. Grow and learn the other person, and let God be evident in every step.
Whipped cream–the emotional. Shared dreams and goals creates a deep bond shared between two people, and every person considering a relationship ought to guard their emotions with every wall they can! DON’T start with emotions and feelings… that makes a terrible foundation! Whipped cream is the airy, fluffy, light and whimsical side of life. Reserve that for the one you’ll spend your whole life with, and… please get this… share that with no one else. Too often, people just jump right to the “I love you” stage without even hardly knowing each other! Danger! Red flag! Let God lead in His timing, and make sure that you demonstrate love long before saying those three powerful words: I love you. We asked the teens this, “If you go around saying ‘I love you’ to every little boyfriend or girlfriend you have, what good will those words be when you finally DO find the one you want to marry? What more is there to say, and why would it mean something new to your spouse-to-be?” This is a really fun stage, but it’s not where most of the time in a relationship is spent. Do right.
Cherry–the physical. Finally, what sundae is complete without the cherry on top? (Okay all you cherry haters… back off. This illustration is for the cherry lovers.) Relative to the whole sundae, the cherry is the smallest part! God blesses and allows for a unity in marriage that is meant to (among other things) pictures Christ’s beautiful love and sacrificial giving to the church (Eph. 5). Don’t sacrifice all that for what you selfishly want in a relationship. Do it God way.
Upside-down. The world has this all backwards. (Here’s the fun part of the illustration!) So often, the model is to “try him/her out” to see if there’s “chemistry,” and the cherry is the foundation. What a terrible place to start!! Don’t they know how to make a sundae?! Sparks fly when people touch or get to the physical before any other stage, and too many teens determine who they’ll date based solely on how it made them feel.
Well, physical contact leads to good feelings, they say (whipped cream in hand), and all kinds of emotions and feelings are shared. “I love you” is thrown around like it’s nothing, and a lot of “drama” takes place with the emotional. Whipped cream doesn’t make a good basis to a sundae… believe me!
If people still decide to trudge through the drama and emotions, maybe they get to the intellectual stage (chocolate syrup and nuts) and decide that they’ve got to start getting to know each other. They share thoughts, dreams, goals, and ideals, and learn each other a little bit. All the while, this whole thing is still based on a cherry… not a pretty picture! We’ve got chocolate dripping everywhere and mixing with the whipped cream… not very appetizing.
Still, some think this is “the one,” so they reason, “Oh man! I barely know this person! If I’m going to spend my life with him/her I should probably get to know him/her and actually become friends!” So they start doing things together and learning each other more, trying to build a friendship (add ice cream). At this point, many couples might realize that they have almost nothing in common and don’t even like the same things.
However, others will force their way through the mess, get married, and have a huge mess on their hands (literally!). When life gets so messy and unbearable, and when people realize that they’re based on emotions and are “incompatible” with their spouse, they have no where to turn. A last resort for some is to just put a spiritual bandaid on it (add bowl). “Oh! I know! We’ll turn to God. He’ll get us out of this mess! We’ll get counseling from the Pastor and he’ll save our marriage.”
Running to God shouldn’t be a last resort. If you do things God’s way, the result is beautiful. Don’t follow the world’s model… it’s a mess, believe me! When it was all said and done, each teen had the opportunity to eat a friendship… I mean, an ice cream sundae! Below you’ll see the “prettiest sundae” and the “largest sundae” award winners!