Capture the Flag
In my youth group, we like to play a game called “Capture the Flag.” The object of the game is for a team to make its way to the opposing team’s territory, capture a flag that has been hidden, and return it to the safe zone without being tagged. The players are safe within their own territory, but once they cross into the opposing team’s territory, they become vulnerable.
Capturing a flag in a relationship is not as fun as playing the game. When you are in a relationship with someone and notice a red flag—a warning sign—capture it. Red flags are often hidden, so you may not notice them right away. It can be easy to ignore a warning sign such as dishonesty, lust, or unfaithfulness, but the longer you pretend like there isn’t a serious issue, the more vulnerable you become. In a relationship, you do not want to be on different teams playing against each other; you want to be on the same team working together.
Have a good sense of what God wants to do in your life before you enter into a relationship. Seek the face of God and ask what He has ordained for you to accomplish with His help. Are you called to pastor a church? Do you feel to go to secular college to pursue a medical degree? Has God called you to be a missionary? Seek direction from God to discover what makes you you. The person with whom you are in a relationship may be witty, nice, good-looking, and may even have a great calling on their life. But if God says, “No, she isn’t the one for you because you both are on different paths,” will you listen to the voice of God and capture the flag, or will you ignore Him? Entrusting your future in God’s hands is not always easy, especially when you have dreamt of a future contrary to God’s plan. Think of the longevity of the call of God on your life. If you are married to someone who does not share your passion, it will be detrimental to your ministry—you cannot be unequally yoked.
God is searching for a pure generation. He longs for hearts to be pure, ministries to be pure, and marriages to be pure. If you are an individual who has made a commitment to remain pure until marriage, but your boyfriend is pressuring you into having sex, that is a red flag. Young men, it does not matter how beautiful a girl is or what her physique looks like, if she does not love God and has a heart to stay pure, you need to release yourself from that relationship. You have a ministry to protect. Young ladies, accept a higher calling and the anointing of God. He desires to use you to turn this world upside down. God is calling those who have separated themselves.
Who you are before marriage is pretty indicative of who you will be after marriage. If you are flirtatious before marriage, it is safe to say you will be a flirt after marriage. Look for red flags, be aware of what her statuses say on Facebook, his tweets on Twitter. What does he write in his text messages? Does he respect your boundaries or does he push them? What does she send you as a Snapchat photo? A gorgeous white dress is not going to cure sin in a person’s heart, and saying a wedding vow is not going to give a person enough strength to overcome temptation when it arises. Being married to someone does not alleviate sexual temptation; this is your time as a single individual to gain the strength and integrity you need to sustain a strong marriage.
If you wonder if the relationship you are in is pleasing to God, remember true love will express itself by being submissive to the Word of God. I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) states, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Maybe you have to capture a few red flags in your own life before you enter into a lasting relationship. Ask God to reveal heart issues within you so you can ultimately get closer to Him. The more red flags we have in our life, the more vulnerable we become to the enemy, but each flag we capture helps us become stronger Christians. Praying “Not my will, but Yours be done” brings us to the most important flag we can have in our life: the white flag, the flag of surrender.
Angela Harwood serves as the youth pastor in Paw Paw, Michigan. She is a licensed minister with the UPCI and is actively involved in youth, music, and ladies ministry. She is an avid outdoors-woman, traveller, Bible study teacher, and Mediterranean food-lover.