Holiness in Dating (Part 2)
Preface: I wish to make it very clear that I am not perfect in any matter that we are going over (nor have I ever been perfect), and this is why I give thanks to Jesus who, through his death and resurrection, purchased my salvation. It is not through my good deeds~ filthy rags they are~ that I earn good standing with God, but rather through the righteousness of Jesus and repentance and faith in him that his righteousness becomes my own. THEREFORE, everything that I write, I intend to write with humility, knowing that I (like everyone) am a sinner, albeit one saved by grace.
I know that what I'm writing and the stances I'm taking are not particularly popular, but I stand by them nonetheless, believing them to line up with Holy Scripture. I pray you will read the following with charity.
The first biblical principle when it comes to dating was shared in a previous entry and it is this: "Christians should only date other Christians." Because I sense this issue is so prevalent in church circles, I decided to devote a post all to itself. This post below contain additional principles for dating that I think are pertinent today, even among Christians:
2. Intimacy is reserved only for marriage.
Let me clarify that statement: certain levels of intimacy are reserved only for marriage. After all, dating itself already requires some measure of exposure and intimacy with another person that you don't share with other people. If you've been a Christian or in church long enough, chances are you've been taught that, biblically speaking, sex is permissible only within the parameters and context of marriage. And you know what~ I agree with that. No if's, and's, or but's. Genesis 2:24 and Hebrews 13:4 hold not only marriage in high honor but also~ at the VERY least~ implies that sexual intimacy is only for marriage. "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." (Hebrews 13:4)
3. Love the Lord more than your boyfriend or girlfriend. "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37)
Regardless if you two continue dating or not, regardless if the relationship goes the distance (you get married), you will still remain as brother and sister in Christ. If you both are in Christ, there is a bond that will remain as a result of your shared faith in the Savior. Therefore, because your ultimate allegiance and affection is for Jesus, make sure you treat others as brothers or sisters in Christ BEFORE you see them as potential dating partners. Related to this is the last principle:
4. Be clear about your intentions. Because the other person is a brother or sister in Christ and a co-partaker in Christ's eternal reign in glory along with you, this should affect the way you ask the person out for the first time. This should also affect the way you make known your intentions after the first date. I cannot stress this enough: BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR INTENTIONS. Often a lack of clarity on matters is a huge source of frustration, if not heartache, when it comes to dating. People are left wondering: "Is this even a date that we're going on?" "Does he/she still want to go out again or is this done?"
Christian, because you see the other person the way God demands you see them, be kind to his/her heart throughout. Make it clear you're asking the person on a date. Set an actual date and time for that date~ none of this "I'll give you a call some time/I'll text you" nonsense. After the first date, if you’re interested in pursuing the relationship further, be clear. Also be clear if you're not interested. This is related to the previous point, when it comes to how we ought to treat our fellow brother or sister in Christ. Regardless if the relationship continues or not, you ought to do the other person the courtesy of telling them, "Hey, I'd like for us to continue going out if you'd like to as well," or "You're a great guy/gal, but I don't see this going further".
Is it potentially awkward to put yourself out like that? Absolutely. But if it's so awkward that you can't treat a potential dating partner like someone other than an opponent at chess~ always trying to outmaneuver the other person and think two steps ahead of them~ perhaps you shouldn't be trying to date that person... or be trying to date at all.
As mentioned earlier, I don't write this from the perspective of someone that has done this perfectly, nor do I purport to be some sort of "dating expert." All I know is that the Bible is not silent on dating and it is my aim to help give some level of scriptural insight on the matter. I hope these were of some help.