Hey, what’s up, hello. This is one of my favorite topics on dating: keeping your walk solid while dating. I want to commend you for reading this article. Whether you are single or in a relationship, reading this means that you are already pursuing what is right in a Christian relationship.
But first, a little bit about me:
- I’m going on 4 years of marriage with my best friend and we have the cutest kid your eyes will ever see. No, I’m not an ancient oracle on the subject of dating, but I haven’t been married so long that I’ve forgotten what it was like to be single and/or dating.
- I’ve had skin in the dating game since before the time I was allowed to date (sorry mom and dad).
- I’ve been through enough heartbreak and broken promises to understand that the dating struggle is real. But I have grown to see that God used all of that to work together for good in my life, just like He promised He would.
So you want to be holy, but bae just looks real good. While dating, I often found myself asking, how far is too far? The answer? My question was too far. That mindset already assumes bae has replaced Jesus as the primary pursuit. And now? Jesus is just a sidepiece. Let’s recalibrate, shall we?
The World has been a broken and sinful place since Adam and Eve. As Christians, we are called to be set apart from the World and live like Jesus. I cannot overemphasize the importance of pursuing holiness as an individual.
We often complicate what it means to pursue holiness. We think it’s a religious formula and it’s unattainable. Christians, this might sound crazy, but dust off your Bible and read these scriptures on holiness.
Exodus 20:1-21, Leviticus 11:44,45, John 17:17, 1 Peter 1:14-16, Hebrews 10:14
I use the Life Application Study Bible and the commentary on each chapter is blowing my mind, y’all. Read these scriptures. Meditate on them. Write down what God shows you about pursuing holiness in your life.
- In Exodus 20, God tells the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai. These were the guidelines given to the Israelites to lead lives of practical holiness and not live in bondage as former slaves.
- Leviticus 11 is another reminder for God’s people to be holy and set apart from their neighboring pagan nations.
- John 17 talks about being sanctified, or separate, purified, and made holy. Applying God’s Word to our daily lives has a way of convicting us of our sin, leading us toward confession and keeping our relationship with Jesus consistent.
- The God we love and serve is holy and and in 1 Peter we learn that because He is holy, He expects us to pursue holiness.
- Becoming holy does not mean attaining perfection. Not one of us is perfect. Because of our sinful nature, we will always have room to grow because God is not finished with us (Hebrews 10).
Pursuing holiness may not be easy, but is not complicated. The answers are in the Bible on our bookshelves. We complicate things by our lack of effort to learn God’s Word and actually apply it to every area of our lives.
Commit to Boundaries
I hate that this works because who likes rules?
“I’m an adult!” “I do what I want!”
Totally. Glad you are of legal age (which also means you can vote, so do that).
We have the illusion that freedom is doing anything we want. God says that freedom comes from obedience and knowing what not to do. By pursuing what we want, we ironically become slaves to another god… ourselves.
You know yourself best and know what areas you need boundaries to counter temptation. My list may not be your list, but consider it a place to start. Here are a few practical examples.
- When parking your car in the driveway or parking space… Get (clap) out (clap) of (clap) the (clap) car (clap).
- Don’t be at home alone. It only leads to shenanigans.
- If you go somewhere overnight, go in a group.
Don’t leave this stuff up to chance. Or do [leave it up to chance] and let me know how that works for you and your therapist*.
[*Disclaimer: Therapy is awesome. I’m not bashing, I’m just trying to add less to your therapist’s list of topics with you.]
Tell on Yourself
Pick a friend you respect who will hear you out and will keep you accountable. I wrote about friends like that here. After you explain “what had happened was,” your friend should point you back in the direction of pursuing a life like Jesus. You should be able to trust their feedback. A good friend will gently remind you of your pursuit of holiness and you should listen to them.
Share the boundaries you’ve set for yourself and be proactive about how well or poorly you’re doing. Have them call or text you at times when you may find it hard to leave when you should to avoid temptation. Inviting that all-seeing eye will add an extra layer of support.
What If I Messed Up?
So you went too far. In the words of the late great poet and philosopher Aaliyah (may she rest in peace), “Dust yourself off and try again.” Humanity equals failure and we don’t always get it right. In a line of sinners, call me the line-leader. The beauty of pursuing holiness is that it is a lifetime pursuit.
Know that God loves you and forgives you. Nothing you do will ever make him love you less. Don’t let yourself be burdened by your mistakes.
You are not ruined.
You are forgiven.
You are loved.
We cannot know the Lord’s forgiveness without knowing his wrath against sin. He hates sin. Like hates–hates. So for those of you who keep actin’ a fool but turn around and say “I’m covered by the grace of God” shame on you. Have you forgotten the image of God’s only son dying on the cross as a payment for your sin? Jesus did not pay the ultimate penalty for our sin so that we could blatantly keep slippin’ up in our dating lives and just shrug our shoulders. God’s attitude towards sin should scare you. The Bible says to FLEE from sin. He hates what sin does to His children. It destroys our lives.
Understanding God’s anger towards sin helps us realize the infinite amount of His forgiveness and grace. It is overwhelming and He gives it freely. So receive it, get up again, and pursue holiness.
Friends, God has called us to a life separate from the World. He will work through us and in spite of us. Let’s live our lives, including our dating lives, as a reflection of Jesus.