As God establishes his covenant friendship with his elect in Christ, he draws them closer to him in a spiritual bond of love. His love attracts and compels them to union with him. He teaches them in his ways so that they know how to obey and love him rightly. His Word instructs while his Spirit guides them along life’s journey. Covenant friendship with God is thus a perpetual process of uniting one’s heart, soul and mind to God until it reaches eternal perfection in glory.
Covenant courtship presents a time of growing in godliness. As two are better than one, so a good covenant partner spurs the other on to closeness with God. When God brings two believers together, they may be at different levels of spiritual maturity and thinking. God in his wisdom does this to the end that they may grow spiritually together. As a covenant couple become united in their affections for each other, they must provoke each other’s affections for God. This provocation must be active in covenant courtship if it is to be God-centered. Christ must be displayed in their own words and actions so that the other is edified and motivated in his love for God.
All too often young people are concerned only about having fun and excitement in their courtship. Their dates are nothing more than frivolous activities and worldly amusement. Their conversations revolve around the affairs of this world more than spiritual matters. They prefer the movies, sports and all kinds of worldly entertainment to studying the Word and having discussions of spiritual worth together. Little time or effort is given to delight in the things of God, his Word, their spiritual health and the affairs of the church. The couple set their affections on things on this earth rather than those of heaven.
Covenant courtship ought not to be so.
In a covenant relationship a couple’s true happiness lies in their similar delight in the things of God. They are excited to understand each other’s unique spiritual struggles and are deeply concerned about each other’s spiritual welfare. Together they combat the lusts of the eyes and the lusts of the flesh, battling against the pride of life by humbling themselves before God. Together they fight the good fight of faith, being convicted that they are in this world but not of it.
They are a help-meet to develop each other’s spiritual character, so that the one spurs the other to grow in the fruits of the Spirit. It is an amazing truth that godly relationships are a process in which we grow in a deeper knowledge of our sinfulness and of our need for Christ. Such conviction causes a covenant couple to desire godliness in their relationship. In all of their conversation, conduct and activities they strive to please him who calls them into an intimate covenant friendship. As they mature as believers in Christ, so will their relationship be an increasingly powerful testimony of God’s love for them.
Godliness in courtship enables a couple to overcome all the troubles and differences that hinder their unity. This is because godliness implies love for God and the will to do all that he pleases. This is a love that understands that God has given us everything good, so we are provoked to give him our very best. Sometimes the differences between a couple can be very significant and complicated. This is especially true because both individuals have been raised differently in their unique families. Although a couple, they still retain their individual mind and will. Sometimes differences of a spiritual nature arise and cause more complicated problems in the relationship. But when a couple’s relationship is controlled by such a love for God, they will be able to love each other sacrificially and resolve their differences. They will, as Charles Spurgeon wrote, be able to “yield in all things; but be firm where truth and holiness are concerned”.
Attaining growth in godliness requires diligent effort in covenant courtship. It requires a habitual study of the Word and prayer together as a couple. As a couple grow in their knowledge of God’s truth they will be able to experience the immense joy of oneness in Christ. As God fellowships with a covenant couple they realize that the chief purpose of their relationship is to glorify and to enjoy him. Such is the blessedness of a godly courtship.