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What's love got to do with it? Ask the wisest man who ever lived.

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Read Song of Songs 2:8-13

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that unto everything there is a season. There is a time for every purpose under heaven.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven, and that even includes surrendering to our romantic nature. Perhaps there is some surrender and some embracing and some exploring and much anticipation.

Most preachers just skip over The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon. It is surely rate PG, but in this case those letters stand for purposefully good.

We are creatures designed to need a mate, and not just for the purpose of mating. Part of our blessings as children of God is to know his goodness in all things.

The scripture is just an excerpt of what is essentially the dialogue of a betrothed couple. The man and the woman, the lover and beloved, the husband and the wife carry on this dialogue as if on a Shakespearean stage.

And some people wonder, “How did this ever get in the Bible?”

The answer is, “the same way the other 65 books were included.”

Somewhere along the way of the canonization process of today’s Bible, men inspired by God realized that our romantic, sensual, sexual nature came from God. Amidst the accounts of God’s glory, his law, his mercy, his grace, his everlasting love, and the story of his people; is a song or a poem that looks back to creation itself and says, “God made all things good.”

This is the way he made us. This is our good nature. We find much joy in a God-designed relationship between a man and a woman.

One of my favorite songs from back in the day is Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen.

The screen door slams
Mary' dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside
Darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith there's
magic in the night…

The song continues with serious and subtly humorous lyrics, but people have been singing these sorts of love songs for century upon century.

They recognize that our romantic nature is good. It is purposefully good.

Hunger tells us when to eat.

Our body grows tired and our eyelids grow heavy when it is time to sleep.

The sun calls us to rise in the morning.

Something inside of us calls us to industry—to be productive with our hands and minds.

We have a spirit within us that compels us to seek God.

But we live in a society that wants us to eat all the time.

We have energy drinks and stimulants to keep us awake when we need the sleep.

We have alarm clocks that wake before the sun rises or in the late afternoon so we can work the night shift.

We have a culture that says why work for it if you can get it for free?

And the world around us says, “Desire me not God.”

And the world around us says as long as you are having sex, don’t worry about love.

Solomon writes about the intrinsic goodness of romance. Tina Turner would ask, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Oh what's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

This is the nature of so many songs that permeate our culture.

Solomon writes of courtship and anticipation, the palpitations of the heart, and young love.

Today we have songs about fast love and broken hearts.

But we need to understand that music carries a message. We get a tune in our heads and we end up singing crazy lyrics throughout the day. We can sing a song a hundred times and not grow tired of it.

Studying text on the other hand requires a very deliberate effort.

Paul challenges us not to conform to the patterns of the world. He couples this with a second part to the challenge. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Most of the time we think of studying God’s word; which is essential to this renewal.

We think of our prayer time in which we just let God do all of the talking.

But we must not forget that the words we sing throughout the day may become even more deeply engrained in our being.

If we are singing What’s Love Got to Do With It because it has a catchy rhythmic appeal, then that’s what is sown into our thoughts.

Elsewhere, after counsel about not being anxious, Paul tells us to think on good things. We are to purposefully think on good things.

God made us good. We are his handiwork. We are his masterpiece.

Sin has turned the world upside down, but God’s design for us was never flawed.

We are made to seek God and his righteousness and live his way.

We have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind that can hold every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus.

We can think on good things.

We breathe the air and our body responds with life.

We eat good things and we have energy to live and learn and love.

We were made good on purpose. God made us good. When he considered his entire creation, he called it very good.

Now sin keeps us from realizing how good we are made to be, but we belong to sin no more.

Sometimes Christians dwell too much on sin and how it has darkened this world. Surely it has. The god of this age has truly blinded the minds of unbelievers.

But we are the believers and we are not blind.

We are free to live purposefully good lives. We are free from sin and may live the way God designed us to live.

That includes praising God and that includes indulging our romantic nature.

Maybe kids get so messed up these days because we leave this part out of their instruction. Schools can teach sex education and most do in one form or another.

Hormones rage among young people and many find themselves in the middle of parenthood before they are graduated from school and have established a household.

But do we teach courtship and romance and anticipation as godly ways?

This book is not in the Bible by accident. Gutenberg didn’t say, “Hey, you guys paid for six more pages than you gave me. I have something I can stick in between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah.”

God didn’t make a mistake when he made men to desire women and women to desire men.

He didn’t accidently give us this component of romantic passion because he was watching the World Cup as he formed us out of the dirt.

We were made purposefully good, and that includes our passionate nature and desire for a lifelong partner.

These partnerships—marriages—don’t work out very well if the rest of our lives are not lived purposefully good.

The divorce rate in this century is incredible and it is worse than the statistics say because so many just shack up instead of getting married, so those splits don’t show up in the divorce rate.

While God is not even mentioned in this Song of Solomon; this is a romance between two God fearing people.

It is full of metaphor and figurative language. It is poetry. It is song.

And it speaks to the purposefully good nature of God-given romance.

Longing for one another.

Anticipation.

Courtship.

The heart’s desire.

Today’s youth too often consummate the marriage without the joy of the courtship, but God has a way for two to become one that is good.

If you are young and think you are in love, don’t rush the courtship.

If you are a parent, don’t skip this book in the Bible. It is part of bringing up your children in the way they should go. It will prompt some questions that should be answered first in the home.

Most of the time when we discuss love in the context of faith, we center on the Agápe sort of love. This is the spiritual or unconditional love that we learn from Christ himself.

There is, of course, the brotherly love-- Philia and the parental type love that we might call Storge.

Usually in the context of our growth in faith, we gloss over the passionate and sensual form of love called Éros in the Greek.

But God included that sort of love in our being and he did it on purpose. It is purposefully good and we as God’s people should desire to enjoy it in the way God intended.

Amen.

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