The ART of AttractionJanuary 31, 2007
Boy meets girl. Girl responds to boy. Today on the broadcast, Tommy Nelson, senior pastor of Denton Bible Church, talks to singles about the art of attraction.
Boy meets girl. Girl responds to boy. Today on the broadcast, Tommy Nelson, senior pastor of Denton Bible Church, talks to singles about the art of attraction.
The ART of Attraction
Bob: Have you ever thought about God as the author of romance? Here is Pastor Tommy Nelson.
Tommy: Do you think that God has given us this feeling as perceivable of romance, this passion as perceivable as sex, and this institution as diabolical and as painful as marriage can be and has told us absolutely nothing? Do you just get married, and God just kind of tosses it to you like a grenade and says, "Well, fiddle around with it. You'll figure out how to work it."
Do you think if this, indeed, like Peter said, that God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness and the true knowledge of Him who called us, does He tell us anything? Yes, He does. As a matter of fact, he gives us an entire book in the Wisdom Books, and it's called the Song of Solomon. It has the distinction of being the only book that is edited and that is censored by the Christian church.
Most of you don't read it, you don't understand it, much less would you ever hear it preached on.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 31st. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Stick around, we're going to hear the Song of Solomon preached on today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. As I think about you and Barbara having written a book, "Rekindling the Romance," talking at marriage conferences for 30-plus years, talking about the subject of romance here on FamilyLife Today, are you not romanced out yet?
Dennis: Are you kidding? This is great stuff and, I mean, you men listen up.
Bob: You should see the twinkle in your host's eye, ladies and gentlemen.
Dennis: You men need to listen up. You're going to get the straight scoop today. In fact, over the next – well, how many days, Bob?
Bob: We're going to go into the middle of next week hearing messages from the Song of Solomon.
Dennis: I thought, with the twinkle in your eye, you were going to say we were going to go to the end of April.
Bob: Maybe to the end of the millennium.
Dennis: Well, it's kind of fun, because I heard this series a number of years ago. It was a series taught by a pastor in Denton, Texas – Tommy Nelson. And it's a series on the Song of Solomon, a verse-by-verse, exegetical approach to teaching the book of Song of Solomon to laymen. And you talk about a growing Bible study, Tommy started teaching this stuff, and the Bible study grew – well, let me just get this right here from his book – it grew from approximately 1,500 to 3,000 attending the Bible study.
Now, do you think that perhaps is a felt need, Bob? I think maybe it is. Tommy Nelson and his wife, Theresa, live in Denton, Texas, along with their two sons, Benjamin and John Clark. Tommy has been a pastor there at Denton Bible Church since 1977. He attended Dallas Seminary back in the late '70s, early '80s, and he has been an effective speaker for Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and our listeners are about to find out he is a very effective communicator on a very hot topic.
Bob: When you first hear this series, Tommy had presented the material at his church, and what we're going to hear is actually this material presented primarily to a group of singles, and Tommy was talking with them about what God has to say in Song of Solomon about the interrelationship between men and women – the emotional and physical dynamics of that relationship.
Dennis: Yeah, and what he's going to focus on today is the subject of attraction.
Bob: Let's listen together – here is Pastor Tommy Nelson from Song of Solomon.
Tommy: (From audiotape.) At North Texas State, we have a number of international students, and they marvel at the barbaric practice in America of marrying somebody that you like. In their country, you trust your parent – they say, "Why do you get married when you don't know anything about it? Why do you choose your mate? Why not trust your parents that have been around a couple of times and know that beauty is deceitful and charm is in vain? Why not trust them?"
In their culture, you get married based upon character and virtue, and it grows into romance. We get married on this thing called "romance," and it devolves to where you can't stand to see them.
Now, you might think their stuff is barbaric, but they have better luck and a better track record than we do, because we're not sure what attraction really is.
In verse 2, let's look at what attracts this woman to this man and vice-versa. "May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth" – I love that. I've had my wife memorize that in six versions, all right? The couple in verse 2, 3, and 4 is married, and they are looking back on what attracted her to him.
She says, in verse 3, "Your oils have a pleasing fragrance." Now, in those days, men, you didn't take that many baths, and so men would cover themselves with perfume. When a woman says that your perfume has a pleasing fragrance, she's saying, "You're a nice-looking man." Nothing wrong with a nice-looking guy, but if you look in verse 3b, this is the thing that took precedence over his looks – "Your name is like purified oil."
A man's name is a man's character, it's his virtue, it's his integrity. Ladies, the word "character" comes from the word "charaso [sp]." It's a metal tool to etch something. Character means that it's something in your life that will not fade away. She says "may he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth," "You're a handsome man," but what is better, what is purified oil is your name. That means his character, his love, his holiness, his honesty, his morality, his temperance, his flexibility, his ability to be a good listener, that this is the kind of guy you want your son to be just like; this is the kind of guy that you want your daughter to bring home; that he's full of holiness.
Ladies, that means that you can marry a guy that is 6'2" with long wavy blond hair that's got perfect blue eyes and a great body, makes $100,000 a month and drives a Porsche; however, if that guy will not listen to you, is sharp as a pouty baby, when he doesn't get his way will stomp out, will fight you, cannot compliment you, cannot open his heart to love you, you have not just grabbed yourself a little bit of hell when you marry him. You be off of him like a dirty shirt, because I will assure you, after you are married, you will make love to basically the memory of the soul of your mate, because you make love with the lights out and sin always looks ugly in the dark. You marry you a man of virtue. "Your name is purified oil."
Being single is tough; been there myself. I remember being lonely, but I'll tell you what – a marriage to a bad person does not assuage the loneliness of being single. What's worse than being single and wanting to be married and not but having hope and trust and faith is to be lonely in a marriage and have no hope because you married a person basically on the accoutrements and not on their character.
And, ladies, when you get married – fellas, too – that guy is going to put a ring on your finger, and the rest of your emotional peace for the rest of your life is that you are counting that you are wise enough to choose a man with a charaso, with an etching on his soul that will never pass away, because what you're doing when you get married is you're putting a .357 to your temple, and you're putting his finger on that trigger, and that fellow can do to you what no demon in hell can do, but you're saying he won't do it because his name is purified oil.
Now, that's how you choose a mate. You keep looking here. When you choose the right guy, she says at the end of verse 3, "the maidens love you." Meaning all women would love to have you, and I got you; that it's logical to marry a man of great character and listen, girls, if that guy you're dating is pressing you morally, it's because he does not fear the standard of God. If he will not obey God when he is dating you as a single, what makes you think that he will be married and face the confrontation of God to love you like Christ loves the church? If he will not obey God as a single, he will break your heart as a man who is married. His single obedience is a harbinger of what's to come.
"The maidens love you" – she says I am so proud to have you. In verse 4, "Draw me after you and let us run together," meaning that it's a privilege to marry you. "For be, the king has brought me into his chambers," meaning that it is a delight to marry you, and at the end of verse 4, "the daughters of Jerusalem speak up" – a plural pronoun. That is probably Solomon's harems. No need to try to emulate this, fellers, all right, but he has a harem, okay?
And they say "we will rejoice in you and be glad. We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you." In other words, it is logical; secondly, it is a privilege, it is a delight, and it is right, it is righteous. How many of you have ever been to a wedding, and you were thinking to yourself, "Oh, boy, this is going to last about 45 minutes." You kept the receipt on your wedding gift, do you remember? Because you knew that all you had was two combustible people that were going to just go off on each other – just this passion, and it wasn't going to last, it wasn't right – "rightly do they love you."
And if you look at the girl, verse 5 – now, have I beat this horse sufficiently? Do we need to let the guys up just a little bit? "Oh," the guys are saying, "Oh, God help me." Verse 5, let's lean on the women just a little bit. She says in verse 5, "I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar," which was a Bedouin tribe that had black wool, and like the curtains of Solomon, which were purple. The woman speaks of herself as lovely, but she mentions that she has a particular physical drawback.
In verse 6, the most precious thing to an Oriental woman was her skin. That's why they covered it. And she says, "I am black but lovely, and then she mentions what she means by black. "Don't stare at me," verse 6, "because I am swarthy." Her skin was sunburned, and it tells you why, fellas, in verse 6 – "My mother's sons," meaning her brothers, "were angry at me. They made me caretaker of the vineyard, but I haven't taken care of my own vineyard." Ladies, what does that mean – "my own vineyard." It's speaking of her body. She had not taken care of herself because she had to go out and work in the vineyard.
In other words, this girl is – what are the qualities, fellas? She obeyed the authority over her. If you're dating a girl that cannot submit to her father and be respectful to her mother; who can't get along with her roommates – always run a check on a girl's roommates. What makes you think she will treat you as the church does Christ as a Christian husband? She is obedient, she is hardworking, and, as a matter of fact, her physical appearance is downplayed like the man's physical appearance is downplayed. She has great character.
When is a girl or a guy ready to marry? Three things – and I have 50-year-old people that are grandparents in my church that are not ready to date, I kid you not. You're ready to date and marry whenever you have a silhouette in your mind of the kind of guy or the kind of girl you will not settle less for.
Secondly, and we'll see it in verse 7 – watch this – "Tell me, you who my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock?" Because Solomon is a shepherd king who cares for sheep. "Where do you make it lie down at noon, for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?" That's what the whores did. They would wear a veil, and they would follow after the flocks, and they would give themselves to the shepherds. That's where our term "hooker" comes from.
In the Civil War, the prostitutes that followed the Northern Army of General Hooker were called "hookers," and it's always been a custom of prostitutes to follow men and to give themselves. The prostitutes veiled their face around the men. And she said, "Why should I be like one that does that?" What this means, ladies, is "There are certain things," the girl says, "That I will not do to get this man. He is a good man, a wonderful man, I love this man, but I will not have him if it means that I have to give up my relationship with God. I will stay single before I'll do it."
When are you ready to date and to marry? When you know the kind of person you will wait for. When you know the things that you will not do, and you are willing to be single.
My wife went through the sorority scene out at East Texas State as a Christian woman, and – not that that's always bad for her, she felt that it was, and she left, and she came to the place that she felt she could consecrate herself to God, and it was as far from guys as you could come to, and it was. She came to Texas Women's University, and it wasn't coed, and that was as far from guys, and she said, "God, I'll wait on you to bring me the right guy."
Fact is, God brought us together. She said, "I'll wait on you." Watch this – Fellows, pick a girl like this girl. Get a girl that is – has got that kind of commitment to work, she's a hard worker, she's obedient to authority, she is a servant. Fellows, do you know what made me fall in love with my wife? When I was at Campus Crusade for Christ, in 1972, we would have Campus Crusade meetings, and I would notice my wife, Theresa Newman – I married a girl with the same initials as me to save on bath towels and luggage – this girl would pull up in her 1970-whatever Torino, and there was – just all this gaggle of girls would pile out because she would haul them around.
And our Campus Crusade director, when he needed anything done, he would go to my wife to do it, because she would do it. She was faithful. She's a pretty girl, but I didn't notice here right at first, but I kept watching her, and I kept watching her, and I said, "Man, there's a character to her." And I would want a daughter to be just like that girl. I liked her. She was my friend. I admired her. If I had a son, I would want him to bring home a woman just like my wife. That's attraction.
One of the great words I ever heard on marriage – whenever you pick a mate, here is the way you do it – you run as fast as you can for Jesus Christ. Commit your life to Him, love Him, sell out to Him, devoted to Him, and you run as fast as you can, and you look on your right and left and see who is running the same speed, and you just wave at them.
And if they stay up with you, after a while you say, "Come on over," and you run together. And what I wanted to do was win people to Christ; what my wife wanted to do was win people to Christ. She wanted to spend her life in the sharing of the Gospel, I wanted to do it in sharing of the Gospel, she wanted to bring kids to the Lord, I wanted to have children that loved the Lord, she wanted a Christian home, I wanted that, and we just said, "Heck, let's do it together," and we did it together. That's the way you get married.
Bob: Well, we've been listening together today to Pastor Tommy Nelson teaching from the Song of Solomon, and, Dennis, I think he's put his finger on something that all of us need to remember. We need to be thinking less about how attractive is the other person and more about am I the kind of person, first of all, who pleases God, and then, secondly, am I the kind of person who someone else might look at and think, "That person is attractive." Not so much because of what's on the outside but because of what's on the inside.
Dennis: You know, Bob, what he's talking about here is so essential to having a good relationship in marriage, and that is becoming a person of character, and that demands that we be rightly connected with God. What I'm talking about there is being a person of spiritual depth; of being purposeful about your spiritual growth.
There was once a man who asked his wife, "What would attract you, as my wife, to me, as your husband," sexually speaking, of course, and she said, "Well, if you were a man of God and read your Bible every day." And that man looked at her and said, "Have you seen my Bible recently? Where is it?" And the bottom line for that man was he needed to be a person that was worthy of respect.
And a lot of guys today, I think, miss how much a woman needs a man to be worthy of respect; to be a man who is a man of character; a man who is pursuing Christ. Well, how do you do that? Well, first of all, I'd say do what's right. Regardless of what you feel like, make the right choice, whether it's on your business expense account, your income tax, getting up on Sunday morning and going to church – you do what's right as a man, and you lead your family spiritually.
Secondly, I think you pray with your wife. I think one of the great ways that men can lead their families spiritually is to begin the process of first praying with their wives.
And then, thirdly, I think a husband ought to lead his wife in going to church, practicing the spiritual discipline of meeting together with other believers in a church that exalts the Scripture, exalts Christ, and that helps you, as a family, grow. In fact, if I was in a church where I wasn't growing, and it was because that church didn't draw me to God, didn't teach the Word, didn't focus on Christ, then at that point I think you need to find another church. Don't stay in something that's going to pollute your family or cause your spiritual growth to atrophy.
Bob: The message we heard from Tommy today, he was talking to a group of singles, but you're saying that the principles that apply here to singles also apply to us as married couples, right?
Dennis: They do. In fact, a wife can listen to what Tommy's talking about as well. She, too, needs to be a woman of character, and I think that begins for a woman in her responsiveness to her husband; how she responds to him physically, relationally, and making that home a haven, a safe place, a place where he can find safety and response and warmth in the midst of a culture that's cruel and can really challenge men from time to time.
I think a second thing a woman needs to do, and I would encourage you wives – do not underestimate the power of your tongue. You can encourage your husband by finding what he does right and exalting it in front of the kids, in front of friends. Brag on him just to himself. Just say, "You know, it makes me proud of you when you open the Bible at the dinner table," "when you pray with me," "when you make those right choices, and I'm just proud of you as my husband."
I think one of man's greatest needs is to be respected and, verbally, a woman has within her power the ability to either build her husband up or to tear him down, and by practicing words of respect that encourage her husband, she can point her husband back to Christ and hopefully see him even grow at a faster rate.
Bob: Anytime we have featured these messages from Tommy on FamilyLife Today, our listeners have contacted us to get copies of these CDs, and they are available in our FamilyLife Resource Center. Eleven 25-minute messages on six CDs along with a companion workbook – a lot of churches are using this as curriculum for small groups or in couples classes. It's great for a husband and wife to go through together.
Again, there is more information about this on our website at FamilyLife.com. Just go there and click the red button that's in the middle of the home page, and that will take you right to the part of the site where you can get more information about this series from Tommy Nelson; how you can get the CDs sent to you along with the workbook. There are also other resources available from us here at FamilyLife that have to do with romance and passion for married couples. Whether you're just starting out or whether you've been married for years.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com. Click the red button. I think they got it made into a heart that's in the middle of the home page. That will take you right to the area of the site where you can order these resources, or you can call us, if you'd prefer, at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. That's the easy way to remember it – 1-800-FLTODAY. Someone on our team can let you know how you can get the entire Song of Solomon audio series sent out to you.
Let me add a special thank you to those of you who this month have contacted us to make a donation to the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate your financial support. We're listener-supported, and so those donations are really crucial for our ongoing ministry, for us to be on this station and on other stations all across the country.
This month we have been offering to send a thank you gift to those of you who would like to receive – a workbook called "Getting Away to Get It Together." A getaway guide for couples so that you can not only have a romantic weekend away together but take part of that time to talk about your family, your marriage, your relationship, where you're headed, what your goals are. Do a little – well, we've referred to it as strategic planning for your marriage.
This getaway guide is very helpful as a resource for couples who want to be intentional about where your family is headed and, again, we've been sending it out this month to those of you who are able to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount. So if you get in touch with us today to make a donation, and you'd like to receive a copy of the workbook, "Getting Away to Get it Together," you can request a copy when you make a donation over the phone at 1-800-FLTODAY. Just ask for the getaway guide.
Or if you're donating online at FamilyLife.com, just type the word "away" in the keycode box and then we will know to send this workbook out to you. It's our way of saying thanks for your support of this ministry. We appreciate your financial partnership with us.
Tomorrow Tommy Nelson is going to be back. We're going to continue to hear messages from his teaching through the Song of Solomon. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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