“If you stay, I don’t need heaven”
~Bella Swan, to Edward Cullen
It’s no secret that the Twilight Saga can be addictive. Almost anyone who’s read it can attest to the desire to keep reading until the book is finished, and then pop in the movie, or move on to the next book.
But I think this particular brand of fandom has less to do with an obsession with character and plot, and more to do with an addiction to love. Not just any love, either. Bella and Edward’s love is much more exciting than the kind that is signified with movie dates and holding hands during lunch. What they have is dark and dangerous, fantastic and forbidden.
But what about the temptation to love someone the way Bella loves Edward? Even if you find someone who seems to only want what’s best for you, who wants you to spend time with family and friends, and who makes you feel like the best version of yourself, you can still love him to the point that he becomes more important to you than God.
And that is when your love becomes even more dangerous than Bella’s love for Edward. No, blood-sucking immortals won’t track you down, nor will your boyfriend have to control his ability to crush you every time you kiss. If a Christian girl’s love for a guy becomes as consuming as Bella’s is for Edward, our God will get seriously jealous. He doesn’t take too kindly to daughters who place some dude above Him. In fact, that’s called idolatry: when you desire something–whether it’s material or sensual–more than God, and that’s a sin that earns you a one-way ticket to the eternal lake of fire (Ephesians 5:5).
- Fears of him leaving: “Compared to the fear that he didn’t want me, this hurdle—my soul—seemed almost insignificant.” If fears that your boyfriend might leave you are frequent and crippling, you could be slipping into the sin of idolatry. A good relationship should make you feel secure in his care and hopeful for your future, not fearful of what may happen next.
- Choosing him over God: “I don’t care! You can have my soul. I don’t want it without you—it’s yours already!” Love often entails sacrifice, and saying you would die for someone is admirable. But saying you would give up your soul for another person is idolatrous. As I mentioned in my breakdown of Bella’s good and bad traits, a Christian’s soul is already committed. Your soul needs an ongoing connection to God through worship, Bible study and prayer. If you give up these things to be with your boyfriend, you might be trading on your soul, even if you don’t say so as dramatically as Bella.
- Making him, not heaven, your ultimate goal:“If you stay, I don’t need heaven.”Feeling as though being with him is all you will ever need is a normal falling-in-love sensation, but if you don’t aspire to anything better once you’re with him; if you become content with how you are, that’s dangerous. He should make you want to be a better person, not make you feel as though you’ve already achieved your life’s goal.
Bella gave in to these desires, and got caught in the middle of a series of supernatural battles. When we as Christian young women experience these desires, we might feel as though our bodies and minds are at war: we know what we should do, what God wants us to do; but our bodies are screaming the exact opposite. Don’t worry; even the strongest of Christians experience this conflict! The apostle Paul talks about his in Romans 7:15-25. He said he didn’t understand why he did what he did, and he felt wretched for it. But instead of focusing on his failures, or giving in to the sin, he sought God’s Word, and kept fighting the fight against his flesh.
Loving God first, above all things or people, is sometimes a struggle. You could feel as though God is nowhere near you, and a guy who makes you feel as euphoric as Edward did Bella is right in front of you.
But we can see and hear God. This earth declares His glory (Psalm 19:1), and His Word and servants speak His will. When you feel weak to the desires of the flesh, fight the allure of idolatry by seeking God in His creation, and through prayer and His Word.
Edward isn’t perfect, and neither is any guy you’ll find on this earth. But God is, and He wants all of you, not what’s left over after you’ve spent as much time as you can being with, thinking about, and talking to your guy. Don’t put him on a pedestal higher than God: he’s a creation of God. Praise God for the blessing of your new relationship, and this man you’re falling in love with, but don’t make him into your god. That’s what Bella did, and her story ended with her becoming a goddess. You won’t get the same reward if you commit romantic idolatry.