February 18, 2011
Gen 2:24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

In the Garden of Eden, God created the first family as well as the institution of marriage. Since then, mankind has used a variety of means to put two young people together in marriage. Dating is often used as one of those methods. When we consider the totality of dating, or courting, or whatever you want to call it, we must look at each of the individual aspects of dating.

The first aspect of a proper relationship that we need to consider is the relationship with God. God’s thoughts are of us.

Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

This passage shows us that God’s thoughts are continually upon us, that God’s thoughts of us are more numerous than the sand. When the dating or courting relationship takes ones focus off of God, it is improper. God clearly has instructed us that He is to always be at the forefront of our lives. Anything that takes away from God’s preeminence in our lives is simply a sin. In Deuteronomy 4:24 we are warned that God is jealous of anyone or anything that takes away from His Glory. The next two passages to consider tell us that we should be wholly consumed with the service of God. Nothing should stand in the way of this service.

Mark 12:29-30 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The two passages above are in sharp contrast to all-consuming types of relationships we see today. In modern dating, the focus is on self. Even though it may appear that the partner is in upon a pedestal, this is only as a tool to gain one’s own self-satisfaction. Even in the rare case where one truly has the good of the partner at heart, that partner may still be elevated above God. Anytime anything is elevated above God, it becomes a god itself and it is wrong. Even before one should consider dating, he must make absolutely sure that he is completely willing to be a sacrifice for God. It is only when one reaches this level of service to God that he should consider dating.

Next, one must consider his relationship with his parents. In an improper dating relationship, the partner will take precedence over the parents. Often one will convince the other to do things that his or her parents would not approve. In many cases, parents may not even approve of the partner or the relationship. In these cases, the parents must always have the final word. In a proper dating relationship, the parents have full knowledge of everything that goes on, and they will approve of it. This does not mean that one who has ungodly parents who approve of an immoral activity has freedom to participate in the immoral activity. In fact, parents who are out of the will of God may take little or no role in the courting relationship. However, the approval one’s Godly parents is one key ingredient in the mix that makes a proper courtship.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Quite simply, parents may elect not to choose your friends, but they have the authority of God to exercise veto power over any potential friend. On a more practical point, parents know and understand a teen’s feelings. Believe it or not, parents were once also teens. Not only do they know what a teen is thinking and feeling, but parents can see things about the potential date that you may not see. Parents also understand your date’s feelings and desires. Parents may recognize danger signs that you do not see, and it is the parents’ responsibility to protect you from these dangers. Young ladies should rely on their dads and young men should rely on their mothers. In both cases, the parents have an insight into how your date thinks. They can see and understand things to which the teen may be blinded.

Of course, anyone looking at a potential spouse should also look to the pastor and his wife for advice. The pastor will have insight into things about the potential spouse that no one else can see. There may be situations which are not public, situations only the pastor knows, which may disqualify the potential mate. The pastor and his wife should also be able to provide good counsel for the young person who does not have Godly parents in the home.

One also needs to be aware of how he can defraud his parents or his date’s parents. This is truer with the ladies than the men, but it does apply to both. As we progress through this study, we will bring out several aspects of the wedding ceremony also. In this case, there is a point in the ceremony where the preacher asks something like, “Who gives this bride?” Why does the preacher ask this question? The answer is simple. Children are a gift from God, but not so much a gift as a loan. Children are given to parents to instruct and train in the things of God. Parents are responsible to bring their children to the point where they are ready to form their own home and have their own children. At the point of marriage, the man becomes the head of a new home, answering to the Lord. Ladies, in God’s order, become the queen of the home. They are in a place of honor but the husband is the head of the home. At this point in the wedding, the father will literally give his daughter to her future husband. If, up to this point, the girl has given her affection or loyalty to anyone other than her parents and the Lord, she has defrauded them. She has literally stolen those affections from her father and given them to another. Likewise, she has stolen purity from her husband.

Next, one must to consider his relationship to his future spouse. There are many aspects of this relationship to consider, but let’s focus on two: the physical and the emotional.

In any relationship, there is an emotional bond that is constructed. If the relationship is not the one God has intended, that emotional bond will be broken and emotional scarring will take place. Every time an emotional bond is created and broken, the emotional scarring weakens the strength of the next bond. Not only is each subsequent emotional bond weakened, but also relationships become easier to end. The first breakup is gut-wrenching. The second breakup is not as bad and the trend continues until breakups become easy. Some Christians, including myself, relate contemporary dating as practice for divorce. Contemporary dating simply makes the process of ending a relationship too easy. Finally, when you find the right person, any little dispute will seem to be large enough to end the relationship. My belief is that the advent of contemporary dating combined with the explosion of sexual immorality are two of the major causes of the dramatic increase in the rate of divorces in the United States.

Improper dating also creates a physical desire. A desire to express affection physically is natural, and is a gift from God. But, the expression of this gift is restricted to the bounds of marriage. Outside of marriage, the romantic expression of affection physically is illegitimate. Any physical contact between a two people who are romantically involved causes feelings of desire that cannot be legitimately fulfilled outside of marriage. Because a desire that cannot be legitimately fulfilled outside of marriage is created, that contact is a sin. This is not to say that any contact between a man and a woman is illegitimate. The contact itself it not wrong. However, within the context of a dating couple, physical contact creates a strong temptation to sin if not the sin itself. Remember: the desire to have something you cannot have is lust.
1Corinthians 7:1-2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (2) Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Paul is quite clear: except for his wife, a man should not touch a woman because it creates an atmosphere for fornication. With regard to a dating couple, they already desire physical contact. If you add some contact, the sexual process is started. If physical affection is shared, and it is not in the proper context of marriage, then the true spouse is defrauded. Affection that was intended for him or her is taken away.

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

1 Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

Illegitimate contact during a dating relationship can also spoil the physical relationship that will ultimately take place in marriage. There are a couple of possible reasons for this: The first is that there will always be a desire for bigger and better physical relations. As two people become more familiar and more comfortable with each other they will expand all aspects of their relationship. If either person is “practiced” in the physical aspects, he or she will have something to compare to in the marriage, and the marriage may never seem adequate. I am also convinced that God will deprive a couple of some degree of physical pleasure if they come to their marriage impure. Whichever of these theories is true, neither will take place if you approach the marriage with a pure heart and body.


Anonymous said...

Yet again you have decided to focus on the purity of women instead of putting the focus on both men and women. Why not have a line in there talking about how when a man gives their affections and loyalty to anyone other than their parents and the Lord they are defrauding them, stealing affection from their mother and stealing the purity from their wife? Why write that line just for women since it is equally true for both men and women? Throwing in one line about how both men and women can defraud others isn't enough when you then go on and devote an entire paragraph to teaching women and not doing the same to men.

Randy Ross said...

Hello Anynymous. I did not mention that a woman who looks at a man and lusts after him in her heart is an adulterer, either. It is a different standard for each one. Or, at least for people who have not succumbed to the gender confusions which are popular today. Yes, it is just as possible for a young man to defraud his wife’s affections in his heart as it is for a woman to defraud her husband through adulterous thoughts in her heart. However, in the normal man and woman, this is not likely. It is more likely that the wife will defraud on an emotional level and it is more likely that the husband will defraud on a carnal level.

Moreover, it is necessary that the young man honor the wishes of the girl’s father. Ultimately, it is the girl’s father who will be giving the bride away. In many cases, it would be easy for a young man to turn the girl’s heart from her father to him. In fact, this happens all too often and usually results in the girl’s husband being defrauded both emotionally and physically. Anytime the young man does something that turns the girl’s heart from her father, he is defrauding her. It is the father who should be lovingly investigating the young man to ensure he is what he should be. Then, at the proper time, he can give the pure bride to the groom at the wedding alter to stand before the preacher with a pure body and a pure heart.

One other thing for all the scoffers to remember: the Bible is not a scholarly book requiring vocabulary and worldly education to understand. The Word of God is spiritually discerned. Many obtain graduate degrees but do not have wisdom.
Ps 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Pr 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pr 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Wisdom comes about from a healthy respect of God. Real knowledge also comes from the Lord.
Knowledge of the Word of God comes from the Holy Spirit of God. If the Holy Spirit does not indwell you, you cannot understand the Word of God.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Hanna said...

Thank you for this. Is this going to be a series? I hope so. I wanted to read your book on purity and dating but my mother wouldn’t let me. Is it right for sixteen year olds like me to date and go off alone in to a movie or dinner date?

Randy Ross said...

Yes, Hanna, it will be a series. It actually is based on our book, Perfectly Pure.