Part 1 on Biblical Dating
With Spring just around the corner I thought it would be a great time to give you aspiring lovers out there some tips on dating. Now I know what you are thinking isn’t this guy a pastor? Who wants to get dating advice from a pastor? But my hope in this is only to help you, after all God created relationships, and so you would be a fool to not at least consider his a perspective on dating that is grounded in scripture. And beyond Biblical perspective, this advice also comes from experience, if I have to be honest when I was single and dating I broke every one of these rules in one way or another and it always cost me. So if you are “single and looking” I hope this list will help you avoid some of the major pitfalls so many people find themselves in, and I hope it will help you to glorify God in your relationships.
Rule number One: Don’t Follow Your Heart – If you watch any TV show aimed at an audience of 12-25 year olds you will hear at some point on any given episode the phrase: “follow your heart,” or “I just had to follow my heart.” This idea of “living in the now” and “following your heart” pervades our culture and can be very dangerous. Now, don’t get me wrong, emotion and compatibility are important in relationships but they are not the most important things. Often times the phrase “follow your heart” really only means “follow your youthful lusts.” The Bible actually gives us some great insight into the heart, as we read in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Better advice when dating someone would be, “listen to the counsel of others,” or “seek to be wise in your relationships.” These phrases aren’t as cool or as much fun as “follow your heart” but in the end they will lead you to much more joy and fulfillment.
Rule number Two: You can’t go halfway in dating – From the beginning of time men and women have tried to enter into some sort of dating relationship “casually.” Where the relationship “wasn’t so defined” or where “they were just going to take it day by day.” In the end, 100% of the time, these “casual dating configurations” leave somebody hurt, because one person is more committed to the relationship than the other. Dating doesn’t exist to have someone that you can hang out with or “make out” with on the side, dating is designed for the pursuit of marriage. Dating is a serious game and one that you should enter into with prayer and with humility. Any time someone else’s heart is in your hands that is a huge responsibility and you should never seek to use another person in order to fulfill your own desires.
Rule number Three: Always return your date home “more holy” than she was when you picked her up. This rule really applies more to men than it does to women, and it is something that my college buddies and I used to tell each other whenever we took a girl out. Ultimately people date in order to pursue marriage (see rule #2) so then our dating should be a reflection of marriage. The call of men in scripture (Ephesians 5) is to wash our women with God’s Word so that she might be holy and without blemish. Is that your goal when you take a girl out? To help sanctify her? That is what God desires of you every time you go out with a girl (men) and women that is what you should desire when a guy takes you out.
This list is to be continued so be sure to come back next week for more tips on Christ honoring dating…
Dr. Jason Dees is the Senior Pastor of Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and guest instructor at the Kanakuk Institute.