Should I date? Who should I date? Why won’t anyone go out with me? How far is too far? What is “appropriate” touching? What does the Bible say about purity? Dating? Love?
Books have been written, libraries have been written, on the subject of relationships. There are a thousand and one questions, a million and one answers, and sorting through all of it will definitely give you a headache. Heartache? Heart burn? Maybe all of the above. This week at Common Ground we started a short series with the purpose of sifting through the dross and finding a few golden nuggets of truth to hold onto… and offer a few pieces of advice.
First up: Purity. It matters. God says so. It is literally all over the Bible. From examples like Joseph fleeing Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39) to Solomon’s advice throughout Proverbs, to Paul advising everyone to “flee sexual immorality” in 1 Corinthians 6:18. Of course that’s easier said than done, but that’s where the advice comes in.
Our first piece of advice, consider yourself first. That doesn’t mean be selfish and do what you want, it means have the maturity to be a little introspective. Most people are so busy trying to date that they never really stop to consider whether or not they should date. Do you have the emotional and maturity to handle a relationship? To not get lost in the other person? The spiritual maturity to stay committed to Jesus first in spite of the inevitable infatuation that comes with romance? Do you have the social skills required to balance other friendships and family while you’re dating? What about financial ability? The answers to these questions and others like them will help you answer the ultimate question of whether you should be dating at all. Honestly, a lot of people need to stop trying to find the right person and focus on being the right person.
Second, the Purity Principle. As author Randy Alcorn puts it in his book The Purity Principle, “Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.” Look, pop culture doesn’t agree. Your body may scream otherwise. Satan will tell you otherwise. However, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), the flesh is weak (Mathew 26:41) and we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3), so you might want to pay attention. [It should be noted here that ‘purity’ in the Biblical sense is a much broader term than simple abstinence, it is the complete absence of all sexual activity. Take that as far as you’re comfortable, then add another mile or so and you probably get the idea.]
Finally, take precautions. Purity doesn’t happen by accident. Here’s a list of some of the things you can do to help yourself:
- Have a strategy. (Ephesians 5:15)
- Avoid temptation. (Proverbs 4:14-15)
- Run. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
- Cultivate your relationship with God. (Colossians 3:2)
- Memorize scripture. (Psalm 119:11)
- Pray. (Philippians 4:6)
- Get radical. (Matthew 5:30)
- BE ACCOUNTABLE (Proverbs 27:17)
NOTE: Purity is like integrity–it is a gift you give yourself that only you can take away. That’s a critical point to remember for the millions of men and women who have been victimized by sexual violence. Your body may suffer at the hands of a predator, but they can never touch your spirit and that is the ultimate source of purity.
NOTE 2: The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sin. ALL. Say it with me, “Jesus’ blood covers all of my sin.” Some of you need to hear that. No, it isn’t an excuse to go out and sin more, but it is a blessed truth that no matter what you may have done in the past, in Christ your sins are forgiven. Past sins. Present sins. Future sins. Stop beating yourself up, feeling sorry, neglected, rejected and alone. Go pray, realize that God still loves you deeply and desperately. Then get some accountability to make the changes you need to be the person you want to be in Christ Jesus.