2015-03-20 - Love
The Love Series, Part 2 - Dating
Tonight s message will continue with the Love series that we started last week, as we discuss Love and Dating. To thoroughly cover the topic, I would like to begin by listing every verse that directly deals with dating, so here goes.
Did you get them all? Of course you did, because there are none. Dating is a fairly modern invention. But the Bible does give us some principles that we can apply to dating, and tonight we will look at some of those principles, as we look at what I call 3-D Dating. Before we begin, I'd like you to answer two questions for yourself.
In general, why do people date?
There are many good reasons to date. But as my first point, I want to share a way of thinking about this subject – a way of thinking that was shared by another youth pastor that I know.
Dating is divorce practice. Dating may be less about finding someone you love, and more about getting used to breakups. On all but the very last one, dating, and the breakups that follow, are more or less practice at making love be about your feelings rather than our commitment. Dating is divorce practice
The practice of dating did not exist until very recent times. Families often arranged marriages, or a person decided they were going to marry someone, and arranged for it to happen themselves, or got permission to court the person.
These days, the average dating relationship lasts 3-5 months, according to a handful of websites I looked at. For simplicity of math, we will say that is four months, on average. So now let s suppose you start dating right after you can drive, and actually go out somewhere at the age of 16, and then get married shortly after college graduation, at the age of 22. That s about twenty-eight times that you gave your heart away, and then took it back or had it hurt and given back. Twenty-eight times, you were told that love is a feeling that fades away and can be withdrawn. Twenty-eight times, you were told that you were told that dropping a commitment because of feelings was okay. Twenty-eight times – and that is far less than average, if the truth is told.
You see, on average, people now begin dating just before their thirteenth birthday, and some as early as age 10. I'm not sure what a 10-year old does on dates – hey can your parents drop you at McDonald's™, so we can play in the ball pit together Now that's true romance right there! So dating earlier means more breakups. But we also date longer, with the average age of marriage being 27 for women and 29 for men, according to Huffington Post website. Dating longer means more breakups. Going from 13 to 27 would mean not twenty-eight – but sixty – sixty small divorces, sixty separations, and sixty failed relationships that were walked away from. With all this divorce practice, it s no wonder that divorce rates are somewhere around 40%, based on whose statistics your use, with some still in the 50% range
So if you decide to date, all of the details – including whom you date and where you go – should be deliberate. Dating should be a deliberate decision. It should be a very deliberate decision. You should be very meticulous in whom you choose to date. You can absolutely hang out with friends of the opposite sex, and you should. After all, that will help you figure out what traits you like in people, especially in people of the opposite sex. Let's look at a few points on making our dating decisions be deliberate.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
So here we see principle one in our deliberate decision making process. Don t date non-believers. Now this kind of implies some stuff. First inference is that you have to get to know people before you date them not get to know them by dating them. It is especially important to determine their spiritual state.
Second, it's okay to hang out with non-believers and believers in fact you should hang out with both but you should never enter an intimate relationship with them whether it is closest friend or a boy/girl friend. As Paul had previously told the same church, "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33) In the book containing many short wise sayings we are told, "Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet." (Proverbs 19:2) This just further drives home the point know what you re getting into and don t rush into anything. A few chapters back in Proverbs 16:3 it states, "Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established." It's the same kind of idea.
The gospel of Matthew records a verse that speaks of our second principle in deliberate decision making. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus declares, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Principle two is that you should put God first, and never compromise that relationship for another one. That must be done deliberately and willfully, too. The opposite is true as well; do not ask the other person to put you before God in their lives.
Proverbs 4:23 advises us to "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." (HCSB) Principle three is to guard your heart. But your heart is not just emotions; that s our modern thinking, but it's not old-school Bible thinking. Emotions were in the stomach – you were moved deep in your bowels, you get butterflies in your stomach. The stomach represented the emotional center. The mind was the center of reason and logic. The heart was the middle-man, the decision maker, between the two. In other words, this verse is saying, "Guard the you that you are." Be deliberate, to not allow others to change that. But ultimately, when you truly find the one you will marry, you must be willing to at that time risk it all. The two become one – body and heart – so if that other heart is corrupt, it will corrupt yours. Notice the whole unequally-yoked idea again, though.
As we move from the second D of dating, into the third, I would like us to consider the narrative found in Proverbs 7.
There are so many things wrong with this girl, but if the guy had been deliberately decisive, he would ve never been there. But once he was there, he was tempted – and without decisiveness, he yielded to temptation. And that temptation can be damaging, which is my final point.
Dating can be damaging temptation. Long before a first date, you need to decide the appropriate boundaries. You need to recognize those boundaries, and spell them out clearly and appropriately, to anyone interested in dating you. In fact, the Bible says you should flee from temptation.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20The goal in dating if you decide it is right for you is to find a mate for life not to mate for one night. Keep the physical aspects of the relationship in check by employing as many strategies as possible. Here s three simple ones:
Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." We will cover this more next week, as we look at Love and Purity
All scripture references from NKJV (New King James Version) unless otherwise noted