The Dos and Donts Of Dating God's Way
by Annagail Lynes
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You have been through the selection process. Now you have found someone you are interested in dating. What is acceptable behavior on a date? What will please God? And what won't?
Paul instructs us in Romans 12:2 (MSG), "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
God doesn't want us to act like the world acts on dates. We are His children, and we represent Him, even when we are on a date.
Although your date should be a Born-again Christian already, people will be watching you while you are out together. From the staff at the restaurant to the movie theater attendents, you will be on display. You may be the only glimpse of God they ever see. What do you want that glimpse to look like?
Do you think pawing at each other would be good for your witness? Do you think smoking, drinking and cursing would help it? Or do you think that treating your date with respect would enhance your witness? What about praying before you eat? Not seeing a 'R'-rated movie?
Whether you know it or not, you are being watched at all times. When you go to the store, at school, at your friends. And when people discover you are a Christian, they will judge your behavior against your belief and decide whether they want to know the Jesus you serve.
So what type of things shouldn't you do on a date?
You shouldn't dress inappropriately. No cut-offs. No short skirts and dresses. Nothing that shows off too must of your skin. If you want to attract a whoremonger, by all means, dress like a prostitute. If, however, you want to attract someone godly, you have to dress godly. I am not talking about wearing long skirts and long hair tied up in a bun. But there is a middle ground between these two extremes. If you have any doubt on how to dress, dress as if you were attending a job interview.
Sex shouldn't be an option.
In I Thessalonians 4:3b, the Bible instructs "You should avoid sexual immorality." Sexual immortality is Biblically defined as having sex outside marriage and extra-marital affairs.
God commands us to be pure, to wait until we are married to have sex. Galatians 5:19 says "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immortality, impurity, and debauchery." His reasons are not to preventing you from having fun but to protect you from being hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sex is to be set aside for marriage because it requires a total emotional commitment from both the husband and the wife. Waiting until you are married, rewards you with true fulfillment, dignity, maturity, and above all, God's blessing.
You also shouldn't put yourself in a situation that will lead to sex. Tell your date upfront that you will not being having sex. If your date ditches you because of it, you are better off. Any kissing should be kept to a minimal.
Always carry enough money for a cab ride home and a phone call with you.
What should you do? Before going on a date, pray. You should make praying a part of your preparation, just like combing your hair. Make your standards clear to your date from the beginning. If you get into a situation that you aren't sure about, pray, ask yourself what Jesus would do, and listen to your inner voice.
Be selective in the books and magazines you read, the television shows and movies you watch, the music you listen to. If you feed your mind with material that exploits sex, you will struggle to stay pure. Until you trust your date, go out in groups.
As corny as it might seem, invite the person you are interested in to church services and youth group activities. Attend school functions, such as dances and sports events. Public places surrounded by lots of people limit your chances of getting into an uncomfortable or ungodly situation.
Let him meet your family. Invite him to dinner and to watch a movie with the family. After talking with him, your parents might foresee problems that you don't see. Also invite him to hang out with you and your friends. Your friends and family can pick up on ascepts of his personality that you might not. It never hurts to have a second, third, even a fifth opinion of a person before getting serious.
Dating as a committed Christian is a lot of work, but knowing that you are pleasing God is worth it all.
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I enjoyed your article, however I felt it was directed more at teen girls than at teen boys. I have heard it said repeatedly that the girl sets the standard for the date, that may be true, but that is why so many girls will keep secret that they have been sexually abused, because it is implied that they were the ones meant to be in control. That is also why so often if the girl gets pregant, the blame is laid at her door, because again the implication is that she should have held the reins a little tighter. I would like to see some guidelines set up for the teen boys in this one too; what they wear, how they behave is just as important.