All right, friends in the room. Welcome back to night two of The Porch. It feels so good to be back with you all and to be up here and just talking together. If we haven't met, my name is JD. I'm the creative director here at The Porch. I get to hang out with you guys every Tuesday night. As always, welcome to our friends tuning in online and all over different places across the country.
If you're streaming in Dallas, we just want to say, "Welcome, and we're so glad that you are here." But I am on a time frame, so let's get right to it. Everyone knows that last week we started a new series called Matchmaker where we're talking about all things singleness…dating, marriage, engagement, love life. Everyone wants to know about, "How do you have a successful love life?"
We're hoping that this series that we're playing on will help, which is the idea of a dating app, since those are really popular right now. We're going, "Hey, what would your Maker have to say about your future match and how you should pursue them and love them and take care of yourself before you even go searching for a match? What would your Maker have of you?" So that's what we're exploring.
Last week, we talked about how you have to build the right profile. You have to build your right life now as a single individual. Don't try to drag somebody into all of your mess. Focus your time now to become God's man, God's woman, and build the right profile. Tonight, I get to talk to you guys about your search history. Because who doesn't love to talk about their past relationships?
All right, yeah! Some of you are like, "Oh God, trust me. You don't want to go there, buddy." I do. I really do. I want all the tea. So tonight, we're going to talk about how we have to address our history if we're going to have a flourishing future in dating. Because a lot of us, statistics would say most people in this room, are going to end up married one day before the age of 50. I think it's like 90 percent, David said last week, which is crazy.
If you want a future success in dating, in marriage, in your love life, in all of those things, you have to address your past. It just has to happen. You have to go, "Hey, what things from my past and my history… If I looked at my search history, what's influencing my future and my present reality?"
As I'm just thinking about this, a lot of people aren't just searching. We're on the hunt. We are chomping at the bit to find our match. As I was thinking about hunting, I actually grew up in deep East Texas, near Longview, Texas, and… Yep, 903, baby! In East Texas, it's just kind of a thing that you grow up and you go hunting a lot. It's just like you always go hunting.
There were very few times when there was something on the dinner table that we did not hunt ourselves. Talk about Whole Foods. It was through growing up hunting that I learned that before you even go to the deer stand, before you even go out to hunt, there are some things that you just have to do. One of those things is target practice.
Before you even target practice, you have to do something called sighting your gun. People from Dallas, Miami, whatever, California, you have to sight your gun. Which basically just means you have to get the scope. So picture a rifle. There's a scope on it that you look through. There are these crosshairs, and you have to line them up with your target, and then bam! You shoot.
Before you do that, you're never going to hit your target if your sighting is off. So there are some things. You have to turn these knobs. It's all about elevation and windage and all these phrases that I won't flex with you right now. You do all this to make sure that when I put these crosshairs on the bullseye, it's going to hit it every time, because that's the job of the gun.
So one time when I was like 13, my dad took me out. We had this pond. You shot across the pond to the targets. I was a pretty good shot, not going to lie. I pull up the gun, and I line up the crosshairs right on the bullseye. I start shooting, and it's just missing it. I mean, it's not even hitting the target.
My dad is like, "Son, what are you doing?" Like, come on, pull it together. I'm like, "Dad, I don't miss. Something is wrong with the gun. I don't miss." He was like, "Well, you're missing. I had already sighted the gun. I already did everything right. You're just missing the target." So I just kept going, kept going. He was like, "Give me a try."
He was convinced that I might miss, but dads never miss. So he pulls out the gun and goes to shoot, and he doesn't even hit the target. Now suddenly, he is like, "Okay, okay. Something must be wrong with the gun." He takes a look, and he says, "Oh, I sighted the wrong gun. I haven't sighted this yet." So he does the things necessary. What do you know? I line it up, put it on the bullseye, and I hit it.
I start there because I think a lot of us have done everything right. We might even have the right idea of what the target is for a future happy dating life or a marriage. We might go, "Hey, I know that I'm supposed to date someone godly who goes to church. I know the target, and I know how to operate the gun, but my sights are all off. They're all out of whack."
Some of you are like, "Man, I just don't get it! I feel like I'm lining up the crosshairs and I'm putting it on the bullseye, but why do I keep missing? Why do I keep ending up with the jerks? Why do I keep ending up with another crazy girl? Huh, what could it be?" You keep missing the target, even though you feel like you're doing every right.
It's like you haven't put in the work in your searching to put your sights on the right thing. You're actually missing the target because you don't even know what the target is. So tonight, I want to make sure that you and I are on the same page of what would God say through his Word is the target for a successful dating relationship.
What would he say is the target for a future spouse, the person you're looking for? How do you hit the bullseye? I want to show you how you can take shots about the right person and you won't keep missing the target. That's what I want to do tonight. I'm going to do that by asking a few questions.
Before you even go to search for a person, you have to ask… What have you been searching for? Then…Why have you been searching for it? Lastly, I want to talk about what you're actually searching for. So really quickly, one more time. What have you been searching for? Why have you been searching for it? And…What are you actually searching for?
So in order to hit the target, I don't want to assume. I did say I had some assumptions in there. Like, we all know the idea of God's design for marriage, so we get the target, but we keep missing. I don't want to assume that everyone actually knows what God wants for love, what God wants for you when you fall in love, the person who you're looking to love you, the person who you're looking to love, or how to even operate in this thing that we call love.
So I'm going to take us to a passage of Scripture that you probably all have heard if you've attended a wedding. It's 1 Corinthians 13. Because it's famous for a reason. It's just clearly painting in God's Word what love looks like. It sets up the perfect target for you and me to make sure we don't miss when searching for it. So if you would, 1 Corinthians 13, starting in verse 4. It says,
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
So if you're missing the target, even though you can read that and be like, "Okay, I see all the things, so why do I keep missing it?" before we talk about why you keep searching and hitting the wrong thing, ending up with a jerk, ending up with a crazy person, let's talk about…what? Let's address the past. Let's talk about it.
1 . What have you been searching for? I bet right now if I could go to each of you and go to your dating profile and your past dating relationships… If I could look at the search history that is your love life and could click on every single one of you, I would see some interesting people. I bet all of you would be like, "Yeah, there was this one girl in eighth grade. You don't want to get in contact with her."
Or some of you would be like, "Yeah, this guy. I mean, he was trouble. I don't know what I was thinking. How was I thinking? Why did I think that? Why did I let myself get there?" You would wonder. Yeah, it's not pretty. I bet for a lot of you, I would find out that, for ladies, maybe you've looked for the businessman, the college athlete, the jock. You've looked for the successful guy.
You've looked for the most outgoing guy at the party, at the bar. Also, you don't just find those things in a guy. You also end up with the guy who is a major narcissist. He is controlling. He is passive. He is just a straight-up jerk. You never kind of knew where he stood with you. You're like, "Are we in this? He has never really defined. We never really DTR'd (defined the relationship). Like, where is this heading?"
He was never clear with you. There was never clarity. You would not hear… He would ghost you for four days, and then randomly be like, "You up?" It's like that kind of guy. Okay? What you have to ask yourself is, "What was I searching for in him? What did I see? Was I that thirsty?" Some of you are like, "Yeah, guilty. I was." But you have to know that it didn't bring you love. It only brought you hurt.
For guys, maybe for you, it's like you're searching for the girl who was a cheerleader in college, maybe she is a professional dancer now. You're searching for the wildest sorority girl. That's what her reputation was. The girl who is kind of known as, "She'll post bikini pictures all over her Instagram and be way too revealing, like a Kardashian, but she loves God, too."
You are looking for these women. You're like, "Yeah bro, did you see her Instagram bio? She clearly reads Scripture. It says Philippians 4:13." You convince yourself, "Hey, I found my woman. This woman of God, this WOG, some would say." Then with that, because that's what you're searching for, you're going to find what you're searching for.
She is crazy. She is emotionally codependent. She is hitting you up 24/7, like stage-five clinger. If you try to leave, she is like, "You're never leaving. I'll find you." That's the kind of girl she is. She is the kind of girl who introduces you to Mom and Dad way too fast and is like, "Hi, meet my future husband!" She is that girl.
You're like, "Oh my gosh, I am feeling like she is way too obsessed with me. I have to get out." Then she is the kind of girl who once you're like, "Hey, I'm ending things," she's like, "Well fine, leave! You're a jerk anyway! I don't need a man!" Then you move on and you actually find another person, and she is in that person's DMs. She is like, "He is a jerk. Don't go for him. Trust me, girl. I've been there, done that." That is what is so common. We are searching for all the wrong things.
Some of you are like, "Hey, hey, hey, easy. I'm that person. I'm the person in the relationship that you're describing. Some of those things kind of hit a nerve." That's what I want to talk about tonight. I think a lot of times the things that we're searching for say a lot about us. We make it about them. They're crazy. They're the issue. They drink too much. He is really abusive verbally, maybe for some of you physically. "She is like so obsessed with me. It's too much. I have to get out of here, bro."
I think a lot of times, what you and me search for has nothing to do with the person we ended up with. It actually has everything to do with us. Why are we searching for it? Because something we say a lot around here is the common denominator of all these individuals who you can put names to, it's not them.
Sure, they all have their issues, but let's not forget the common denominator is you. You're the person in every one of those relationships that has gone from the next to the next to the next to the next. What does it have to say? What does your search history have to say about you and the things that you're searching for in your own condition and heart?
It's like this. One time in college, I discovered Google predict, Google autofill. If you haven't done this, it's super fun. You type in half a sentence and then you see… Google pulls the algorithm where all the history has searched for. Like, "These are commonly searched things, so let me predict what I think you're going to search for based off of everyone typing these things."
So one time I typed, "Why do I…" There's, "Why do I sweat so much? Why do I feel dizzy? Why do I have diarrhea? Why do I have a headache? Why do I bruise so easily?" I bet that's a girl because girls bruise all the time. They're like a banana. "Why do I feel so tired? Why do I feel nauseous? Why do I sleep so much? Why do I pee so much? Why do I feel like throwing up?"
I'm sitting there, and I'm like, "Hmm. I don't personally relate to any of these things, but I am kind of curious what Google would have to say." I'm not going to tell you which one I clicked on, but I did click on one of them because I'm a guy and I'm in college and I'm just wondering. Asking for a friend for the future. Is Tums actually a good remedy or is it just a quick band-aid?
I do this search. Later that day, this guy I really looked up was like, "Hey bro, can I borrow your computer?" And I'm like, "Yeah, totally." I give him my computer, and he goes… It's like slow motion. He goes to click on the Google search engine. I'm like, "Oh my gosh! I engaged with the algorithm. I clicked on it; therefore, it's now a member of my search history."
Meaning that when he clicks the search, it's going to pop up in purple letters that I searched that thing. So I'm like, "No!" I'm running to him, and then he clicks the thing with the cursor. It pops down, and sure enough right at the top of the list, my most recent search is, "Why do I have diarrhea?" He was like, "Uh, you good? Are you alright? You okay? Because this…"
I'm like, "No, I was just…" He was like, "Uh-huh." I was like, "I promise!" He was like, "Uh-huh." I was like, "Ah, okay, whatever." For the rest of my college career, every time I saw that guy, he was like, "Bro, you need some Pepto? I got you." I'm like, "Ugh!" I would've given anything to have been able to delete my search history because it impacted that present relationship.
What actually happened was he was no longer concerned about what I was searching. He was concerned about why I was searching for it. He was like, "Are you sick? Do you need help? Why didn't you just tell me?" Which is such a logical next question, which leads to my second question.
2 . Why are you searching for it? Why are you searching for love in all of these places that are never going to satisfy? Why, when I look at your search history, do I see you going back to another jerk? Here's the thing, girls. You convince yourself as a coping mechanism. You're like, "Well, the jerk is kind of like the bad guy. It's kind of a thrill." That's what you tell yourself.
You're like, "I want kind of the bad guy. He can't be too good. He can't be too nice. He has to perfectly balance the line between, 'Hey, do you know if I want you? I'm mysterious, yet I'm also about you.'" You have to toe this line, and it makes it really difficult for us guys trying to do it right, by the way.
Anyway, you are sitting there, and you're like, "I keep returning back to people who only hurt me." The Bible would say, "Like a dog that returns to his vomit…" You're just going back and going back. For guys, why are you pursuing women who are riddled with insecurities and self-image issues and distracting them and convincing them that you're the solution to their problem?
But the reality is, you know good and well that a lot of times the reason why you actually go after those women is not to be some source of comfort, not to be a place for them to run to. Maybe sure, that's in there, but also, these women are really easy for you to abuse and to use for your own selfish gain. So why are you searching for it?
You can't just make the problem all about your search history and those people and it was their issue. "It was their issue. It was their issue. It was their self-esteem issues. It was his passive father. Blah, blah, blah." You have to at some point go, "But what's wrong with me for thinking that that is what I needed?"
I just want to talk about a couple of these really quick. Because listen, if you want any chance of actually finding this version of Mr. Right or Mrs. Right, then you have to spend time asking yourself, "Why do I keep going back to Mr. Wrong and Mrs. Wrong?" So although painful, let's just talk about it. I just want to use a couple of examples.
I know that every single person here right now has your own individual story that impacts your view of love and it impacts your worldview of what you think love is. A lot of you come in here with different parents who have demonstrated love maybe in a great way. Other people that you meet? Their parents did not show them love in a good way. They were not committed to each other. There was divorce. There were so many different things.
A lot of you maybe come in here saying, "Hey, I have been abused or I have been cheated on. I have been hurt. I have been heartbroken. He said he wouldn't leave, and then he cheats on me. I have thought about that. I have let that impact every relationship ever since." All these things are influencing all these different stories that make up your search history.
I just want to say, "I get it." I have my own things that I searched for in my life that I thought would bring me satisfaction and bring me true love. I'm still waking up to the reality that love is not in those things, but I had to address it. So for anyone, first ask yourself, "Are my past experiences influencing my search?"
Have you messed up so badly that you've convinced yourself, or have you done something so bad that you convince yourself…? This is self-torture or self-deprecation. You've just told yourself, "I don't deserve actual happiness. I don't deserve actual love. I know you're telling me what the target is. That love is patient, love is kind, love is never ending, love is all these amazing things, but I have not done amazing things. I've done really messed up things. Therefore, I get what I deserve. I had it coming to me."
Therefore, you keep running to something. You keep running to a version of a man or a woman that is only hurting you. You're digging yourself deeper and deeper and deeper. I'm telling you that that doesn't have to be your story. It doesn't have to be your narrative. There is more out there for you, but you're never going to find it in a person.
What past experiences have influenced you? Maybe you've only seen bad. I want to say if that's true, I'm sorry. But I'm here to tell you tonight and remind you tonight, maybe inform you for the first time tonight, that God's Word says that love is possible in him and through him. We'll get to that in a second.
Maybe some of you have problems with pornography. I know we talk about this a lot here for men, and I know that even the rate is growing more and more for women, which just breaks my heart. It influences our search. I want to talk about another hunting story, weirdly enough. I loved hunting in high school. We would go. We would sit around a fire. We had these hunting dogs.
What you do is if you're hunting for a pig, like hogs, coyotes, whatever it is, you go and you get something that has the scent of the thing that you want them to track down. You're like, "Yep, we've seen The Fox and the Hound or something." So you go and you get it. You bring the dogs over. They sniff it. They sniff it. This part is really important. You can't mess this up. You can't mess it up. What they sniff, they will go find. They're going to go find it.
Whatever it is, they will not stop until you tell them to. They will search all night until they find what they sniffed. It triggers something in their mind that tells them, "Hey, I am tracking this thing down, and I will not stop until it's mine." I think a lot of times, our past experiences, pornography, culture, society are the things that you are putting against your nose, against your life, and you are sniffing. You are telling your brain and your heart, "Go find it."
Guys? Girls? If you are addicted to pornography, if pornography has influenced and triggered your brain and your heart to go, "This is passion. This is love. Someone to meet all these fantasies," it is going to influence your search and what you're looking after. No longer are you looking for a woman who clothes herself in the Lord or a guy who is God's man.
You are running after someone who thinks they have to sexualize themselves and make themselves some sexual being to entertain you and to actually receive affection from you. That isn't love. You're not only hurting yourself; you're hurting them. It's like this one time I was talking to David, and just getting dating advice. I was practically a hotline caller.
I'm like, "Bro, there is this girl. I'm really confused. Because she is all about God. She has this podcast. She does these amazing things for God, but she also posts these images that just distract me. Like, yeah, God has given her an amazing body, and she has worked hard for that body, but she is posting these pictures in swimsuits and workout gear, and she is walking around in public. It's causing me to take my eyes off of God and put them on her. I don't want to do that. But she loves God. What is that? What do I do with that?"
David, in his wisdom, was like, "Hey, first off, you have to address in your heart what is triggering you to see her as anything other than God's daughter. What in you is immediately objectifying her and allowing you to see her in that light? Because that's not God's best for you or for her." But I want to take a second to get off of men's backs and talk to you ladies as someone who is looking and trying hard to pursue the Lord and to find a woman doing the same.
It gets really confusing when she says she is about God but she seems more (I want to say this nicely) interested in me checking out her chest than her heart. It gets really confusing. Because I'm not blaming you. I'm taking ownership of saying I have given in to culture. I've given into society. I've let society, in its plaguing sense, convince me of all these messed-up fantasies; therefore, I can't help myself.
I am trying to devote myself to the Lord and keep my eyes on him, but I hope that you would do the same. I think that if you would do the same, you would know about yourself. Hey, modesty… This is a beautiful way I heard this put one time. Modesty is not hiding your body behind clothing. Modesty is not about hiding your body. It's about revealing your dignity.
It's about revealing that you know your worth. You know your value. You know that you are God's daughter and that you have a Father who loves you. Therefore, you don't have anything to prove with your body. You don't have anything to prove with flaunting yourself and showing yourself off to some guy to get his attention, because he is only going to use you. I want to tell you. If a guy is searching after that kind of girl, why is he finding you? If he is finding you, that's an issue. So don't give into him.
Guys, if you're searching for that kind of girl… If pornography and culture have been the thing that you have sniffed and gone after to track after and find that kind of girl, you need to check your heart. You need to rearrange some things. You do not need to bring a woman into your mess. You need to get it right in your singleness.
So many hearts have been broken because men and women are objectifying one another and not treating each other like the image-bearer of God that they are. The Bible says in Genesis that you are created in the image of God. Therefore, treat yourself as such. It also says in the Corinthians that "…your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…"
If you have a relationship with God, the Holy Spirit lives in you. Therefore, glorify God with your body. When you flaunt it and put it out there for the world to see, and men, when you chase after that, you're both communicating, "I'm more invested in using you than loving you." That's not God's best.
Ladies, why do you keep going back to the jerk or the guy who objectifies you, uses you? Think for a second with me. I am here saying and confessing on behalf of men all over our world, I am sorry if you believe that your only worth is what you can give a man or what he says about you and your body, but if you are going after whoever will give you attention because of your low self-esteem issues…
Maybe they were caused by past abuse which, again, I'm sorry for. Maybe they're caused by you've never seen a good example in your parent's marriage, through divorce or different things. Maybe your parents didn't give you the affection that you needed, the encouragement you needed, so maybe you just have really low self-esteem issues.
So you're like, "Hey, I'll take what I can get. Anyone who will fill this void." You have to address that. You have to turn to God's Word and say, "No, no, no, no, no. God says that he has chosen me, that he has adopted me. God has given me the target for what love really is. That love is patient and kind. It's not jealous. It's not rude. It doesn't demand its own way." You deserve love.
Men, you deserve a woman who sees herself through the love of her Father. There are so many more examples, like I said, that I could pull from and go, "Man, why are you searching for him? Why are you searching for her? Why are you searching for that?" We could sit down. If I could, I would sit down with every single one of you and just back and back and back and search and search and search and replay all the things in your life that have influenced your search.
I wish I could go to every single one of your search histories and look at the ways it's affecting your present reality and your future search of your person, but I just can't. So I'm asking you, I'm begging you, to take time. Sit down with the Lord and go, "Why?" Either, "Why am I the end result of that toxic person's search? Or why am I searching for someone toxic and for someone who is only going to hurt me and not love me?"
So I'll get off my soapbox there. By now, you might be wondering, "Okay, so then I have addressed it. Now what?" I just want to close and finish the night with my last point, which is…
3 . What, then, are you actually searching for? Because I think if you knew the way that God designed you and what he created you to search for, it would really help you out because you would realize that the search could be over.
The first thing is that you are searching for someone to actually love you. You're tired of the jerks. You're fed up with the heartbreak. You're tired of the girl who is just like, "Man, what is going on here?" You want and crave actual love. First John 4:8 says, "But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." Read that. "…anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
So how can we expect someone to properly love us if they're not walking with God? Think about that. If the Bible is true, and when it says that, "God is love," why are we searching for anyone who doesn't have an abiding relationship with God? You have to ask yourself, "Does my search indicate something about me? Does my search say anything about my knowing of God's love?" Because if I understood and knew God's love, would it allow me to be able to see someone who actually knows God?
Let me put it a little more clearly. If you don't know God's love, you will never be able to spot someone who knows God. If you aren't able to search for someone who knows God, then you will never experience love, because God is love. I hope you're seeing that connection. I hope you see how it's so important in your single years, guys. Don't wait to bring it into a relationship. Don't wait to bring it into another person. The time is now.
Before you go on your search, you have to search yourself and go, "Where do I not fully know God? Where do I not fully understand his plan for me and his desires for me and where he says true love is found?" Because when you search, you're going to see that, "Oh, actual love is not found in a person or a match or in my idea of marriage or in porn or in hookups or dating apps or whatever it is.
Love is not actually in those things. Love is not something in the future. Love is actually a reality that I can experience right now. It's all in the hands of my Maker. It's all in the inventor of love himself: God." So you get to take time now to build that relationship and go, "I'm going to search and search and search."
Because if you become more confident in God's design for love and his love for you, I promise you if you put in that work now, it will impact your love life. It'll impact the way that you love and pursue and cherish a person one day. But for some of you, the most loving thing that you can do tonight is ask yourself, and maybe look at the person if you're in a dating relationship or whatever it might be, look at them and go, "Hey I actually think that I haven't been loving you. I think I've been using you to only love myself more."
The healthiest thing that you might need to do is break up tonight, and go experience love and search for love in the right place. When you know the Author of love, when you know God himself, when you know him more, then you go see what he has for you with another person who is doing the same.
The second thing that we all actually are searching for is a love that will last. That's why we say the wedding vows that we do. "For better or for worse. Till death do us part." We are looking for something that will last. Maybe right now, you need to address, do I truly believe that something can last?
Is there something in my history that is influencing my reality that I'm going, "Hey, I am actually fine with noncommittal. I'm fine with just the highs on the weekends and just hooking up with someone. Not really having to DTR and define this thing. I'm fine with this. I don't need something to last. Trust me, I'm doing just okay. My family is great. I'm getting successful things in work. It's all great. I'm fine."
I'm telling you, I know, and you know, that there has to be more. You know, deep down, that you were designed and you want someone to look at you and say, "For better or worse, till death do us part." But the reality is that you don't have to wait for the altar and a wedding one day. You can come to the altar now, and you can come to the Father now.
He is going to look at you. He is going to say, "Hey, for better or for worse. No matter what you've done. No matter what you do. I don't care if your parents broke their vows one day and weren't committed to each other and divorced. I don't care if someone broke their commitment to you one day and cheated on you and did something outlandish. I care that you know that I am not those people. I am here to stay."
You want a commitment? You can have it now. Just like love is in the hands of the Father, the Creator of love, so is a love that lasts. Because God does not break his vows. If you need to come here and hear anything tonight, it's to simply remind yourself that God keeps his promise. God is committed to me, and it is not contingent on my commitment to him.
My past, the things I've searched for, the ways that I haven't loved him well, the ways that I haven't pursued him well don't determine how much he is committed to me and loves me. No, he just simply wants you to come and acknowledge that he is not leaving. The Bible says that God… Many times it says, "…he will never leave you nor forsake you."
So as I wrap up, some of you might be thinking, "Hey, dude, I like what you're saying. It feels good and it gives me some hope. If you actually saw my search history, the things I looked up, the people who I've dated and the things that we've done, and the way that I have actually been committed to God, you would laugh in my face."
I want to teach you just really quickly about a word. I talk about my dad a lot up here. He made a huge impact on my life. One of my favorite things he did is he taught me about this word tetelestai. Tetelestai was actually the last word that Jesus said on the cross. Right before he died, he is sitting there hanging, and he said tetelestai, which means, "It is finished. Paid in full."
If you know about the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sin, we know that what Jesus was communicating was, "Every sin of man: past, present, and future, right now is paid in full." Tetelestai. So what my dad would do is he… This is all messed up now, but when he died a few years ago, my mom gave this to me.
My dad would carry this around in his wallet. I remember sometimes… It just says tetelestai, paid in full. He wrote at the top, charges. Here's why he did that. In these times when Jesus was alive, people who had messed up really badly would go to jail or prison. Once they got out, they would stand before a judge and he would say, "Here are all the things you did wrong that put you in jail." They would stamp it, "Tetelestai. You now can go be free."
The people would walk around their town, and people would be like, "Hey, I remember you! Didn't you steal from that market? Didn't we catch you in adultery? You should be in prison!" He would pull it out and he would say, "No." As soon as they saw that stamp, they would be like, "Okay, paid in full, tetelestai. You've done your time. Welcome. Walk freely."
I love this. My dad would just remind himself. He has written on here drunkenness, murder, adultery, brawling. My dad didn't know Jesus until he was 33. He cheated on my mom so many times. He got a girl pregnant in high school. He never had a dad who demonstrated love for him and left him when he was 10 years old.
He has drugs, slander, unforgiveness, fighting, theft, wrong TV shows, wrong music, dipping, smoking, all of it. He wrote it on here. When the Devil and when people would be like, "Wait, what? You're a pastor now?" Or, "Wait, you got back with your wife and your kids and you're just a blessed family now and you're doing the church thing? What? You used to get high with me. You used to get drunk with me. We used to get in fist fights. You knocked up a girl in high school. You're not worthy of those things."
He would say, "Yes, yes, I am." If they reminded him of something that he hadn't written down, he would be like, "Thank you." And he would write it down. He would say, "Another thing that is paid in full." What I want you to see in this story is that you and I, if we were to put our search history on this list…
Some of you tonight actually might need to take a page from your journal and just write out maybe names, abusers, the things, the alcohol, the drugs, the porn. Write the most messed up things that you think, "Oh my gosh, if anyone knew, they would say, 'Hey, you deserve to be back in your hole, in your darkness. Why do you think you deserve to search for worthiness and love and affection from a Christian person? You know who you are. This isn't for you. Blessings aren't for you. A life like this isn't for you. You're just going to have to settle."
You need to write it out. Like my dad, you need to say, "Hey, tetelestai. Paid in full." Because a lot of you, I think you have cleared your search history. What I mean by that is you have hit clear and it's out of sight, out of mind, but it keeps coming back, and you haven't fully believed that it has been deleted, that those things don't define you.
Therefore, they define your future relationships and define the future you. But I'm telling you that when Jesus Christ stepped down from heaven, he didn't come down so that you could live some partial life. He didn't come down so you could accept some half-version of love. No, he came down declaring, "Tetelestai. It is finished."
Every single person here tonight has an opportunity to accept that forgiveness, accept that grace, accept that love, and write it on your letter. Write your history on your letter, and say, "I will no longer let my history impact my future. Because when Jesus died, so did my past. When God looks at me, he doesn't see my history. He sees a son right now. The righteousness of his Son, the blood of his Son is what he sees."
He says, "I want to use him, his future, his love life, his friends, his impact, and his job. I want to change the future of the world through him." But you just have to see it. Because if you don't believe you're worthy of your history to be deleted, done, paid in full, you are going to continue to hurt and hurt others in your search and your future. God is saying, "You don't have to search. Love is available now. Commitment, a love that lasts, is available now."
It may not be in a match. Guys, I don't know. I don't know what your dating life is going to look like. God hasn't promised that he'll put us with someone or we'll find the one, but what he does promise is that our Maker is fully capable of fulfilling every deepest longing in our hearts. That is available for you tonight. So stop searching in all the wrong places, and start searching his Word and him and all the things that he has to say about you as a son or his daughter who he loves and will never leave. Believe that tonight. Let's pray.
Father, thank you. Thank you that through the work of your Son he went through such an intense and magnified punishment for every single person's past, present, and future. Thank you that when we are reminded of our history, when we are reminded of the things that we used to search for to find satisfaction, that we don't have to sit in guilt and shame, but that we can go, "Hey, Jesus paid for that."
Now the things that used to embarrass us and shame us now remind us of nothing other than the goodness of God through the life of his Son and his death on the cross. May that reality that a God loves us, sees us as worthy, and cherishes us impact the love and the relationships that we seek from people.
From this day forward, I pray in Jesus' name that divorce rates would drop because of what takes place tonight. I pray that, in Jesus' name, heartbreak would begin to diminish because of Jesus' work tonight. I pray that tonight, in Jesus' name and through the work on the cross thousands of years ago, someone would say, "Hey, my story was filled with hurt. It was full of heartbreak, but now I am going to begin searching in the fullness and the healing that the work of the cross provides." May that be so of every person in this room. In your name that I pray, amen.