Question: Christian dating, courting, and struggles with lust
Answer: If you’ve watched any T.V. or movies from Hollywood recently you will see that the usual is for a couple to date several times and then jump into bed together. No wonder young people are confused if this is what they are seeing in their music and movie idols. So often also parents have not always been a godly example or influence in the lives of their children. Where are we to find good examples then of how it is suppose to be for dating and courting? The only real answers to these questions are found in God’s book the Bible.
First off the goal in dating or courting should be to find the life long mate that God wants for us. This is one of the most important decisions a person will make in their entire life outside of receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. You might ask, is there any Scripture on these subjects, and thankfully there are. It would be strange if the best answer book in the world did not have an answer on the second most important subject in the world.
To me the best example of a godly young person in the Old Testament that avoided lust and later married for love was Joseph. The Bible says that we are all subject to the same temptations. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful , who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) In fact, Christ was even tempted as we are, except that He never sinned. (Hebrews 4:15) Let’s get back to Joseph; he was a handsome young man or teenager still when his boss’ wife tried to tempt him to get into bed with her.
We find the true story in Genesis: “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said.you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
First, Joseph tried to reason with her by explaining that he would be sinning against God.
This is the attitude we should have when we are dating, and that is that God is watching us all the time and wants us to live a holy life. This is not because He doesn’t want us to have sex, because He is the One who invented it. He doesn’t want us to committee adultery, which would be having intercourse with a married person. Nor does He want us having sex before marriage (called fornication in the Bible), because He knows it will cause diseases and or cause us to fall short of His perfect will for our lives. The girl could get pregnant and be tempted to have an abortion which would also be sin. So God has good reasons for asking us to wait until marriage to have intercourse.
Look what else happened to Joseph, his boss’ wife would not give up even when he tried to tell her that he would be sinning against God. “So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.” (He tried not even to be around her seeing she was trying to tempt him, but she didn’t give up.) But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.” (Genesis 39:7-13)
The best thing we can do when there are those temptations confronting us, whether the person is in our presence or it is magazines, movies, or whatever temptation we have, is to run! “Flee (run from) also youthful lusts.(2 Timothy 2:22) Never put yourself in a place where you know that there will be temptations, but if you find yourself being tempted, get out of there! If there are pictures on television or videos that come up that are not pleasing to God stop watching them.
Several times when I was in college the professor saw fit to show “R” rated movies, which I don’t watch so I just closed my eyes. We had to be in the class so I couldn’t leave. God is watching our actions all the time and He wants us to live holy lives. Another good thing to do as a young person is to read the Proverbs through each month. There is a chapter a day you can read and you will find lots of good instruction against lust like this and other verses: “The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.” (Proverbs 11:6)
You need to realize that many girls these days are tricked by date rapes. There are boys that will pretend to love you but will take advantage of you when you are alone. They may even pretend to be Christians. Make sure you do not go anywhere alone with a person of the opposite sex until you are married. You can go out with other Christians; it might be to church functions or other wholesome places but go together where there are other people.
Some suggestions for dates that I found in a magazine are: Make homemade ice cream, Go on a double date with your parents or another Christian couple, Go roller-skating or ice-skating, Volunteer at a homeless shelter together, Cook dinner for your friends, Pick five of your favorite games and have a tournament with your friends, Take cookies to a nursing home, Go for a long walk where there are other people, say in a park, Order food from a fancy restaurant and take it on a picnic where other people are in a park, Go to a good restaurant and have dinner, then go to a good wholesome movie together. There are many great things to do and God will give you good ideas if you ask Him. Pray and read your Bibles together, and certainly go to church and youth groups together. Stay away form the crowd that would lead you wrong.
Make sure that you always obey your parents wishes, God gave you them for a reason. They may not even be saved, but they will have a certain amount of wisdom, hopefully. There are those parents that see nothing wrong with premarital sex; of course you know they are wrong in this view. The Bible speaks a lot about this subject, and there is another question I have answered on this subject called: “What does the Bible say about love among youngsters which is spreading like a plague?”
Mainly you need to know that God loves you more than you could ever imagine, and that He created your body and your life. He wants you to have an abundant life, this means far beyond what the world or the devil has to offer. The Christian that allows God to control their life and plans will never be disappointed. Pray for the right person to come along, that you are supposed to marry. First this person has to be a Christian if you are a Christian, because the Bible says we are not supposed to be unequally yoked (tied together) to the unsaved. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:140
So many Christians have been tricked by someone who claimed to be a Christian and then they turned out not to be truly saved after the marriage. You will only know if they are truly saved by their life and attitude toward Christian things over a period of time. Therefore you cannot meet someone today and get married tomorrow and think that everything will turn out alright. Fifty percent of even Christian marriages are breaking up today, so we have to pray not only for a Christian mate, but for the Christian that God has designed for us. If you want to serve the Lord with your life, which we should all want to do, and the person you are dating is not interested then there is a red flag. Pray for God’s perfect choice for you, and don’t look at the outward appearance as the world does. Ask God to look at their heart for you, and tell you if they are one for you. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
So often the world today looks at people as objects or things, for example women are thought of as beautiful if they have big busts or pretty faces. These measurements are how the world looks at people, but God says: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) Look for a good personality in a born again Christian girl or guy who wants to serve the Lord, and you cannot go wrong. “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” (Proverbs 31 10-11) You will praise God forever if you wait for the right one for you! “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 28: 14) “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
You know, of course, not to be drinking and using drugs, these things will cause you to ruin your life faster than anything. I have written several articles on what the Bible has to say concerning alcohol, but the Bible has a lot to say about drugs as well. “And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries (Greek: “pharmakeia” sorcery, accompanied by drugs, incantations, charms, and magic) or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:21) So many young people are destroying their lives today by drinking and using drugs. When a person is “high” they lose all sense of morality.
There will be those that Satan will send your way to tempt you with these things, but remember God’s Word which says: “Blessed is the man (woman) who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his (her) delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he (she) meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2) We have a daily Bible Reading/Mediation Chart that you could use to read God’s Word everyday. I know this is what has helped me through the years, and I know it will help you. There is so much more we could say on this subject, but the Bible has all the answers to our questions keep reading, studying, and putting it into practice and you can’t go wrong. Someone has said: The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”
God bless you and thanks for your question,
Gary T. Panell
Thank you for everything that you have said !! This really did answer my prayers ! Endless love for these words of encouragement
Gary Panell says
Thank you for your kinds comments, Imaunga, and God bless you. Brother, Gary
Shara P. says
Thank you so much for this! Thank you for responding to your call by God. In a difficult time like this, I’ve sought wisdom, and God gave it to me through you sir, all glory and praise to God! God bless you 🙂
Gary Panell says
Dear Shara, Thank you, it makes it worth while when we know God is using His Word to change lives. God bless you! Gary and Marlene Panell
Thank you for this article, it got my mind out of a bad place and helped me even as a minister to move forward and not reject the beauty of a godly relationship. You said you had a bible reading matrix or plan that helped you through the years at the end of your article, where can I find that?
Gary Panell says
Hi Cameron, Go to Bible-Christian.org then go to Bible Study, then miscellaneous, two year Bible reading (Bible Meditation Chart. It use to be two years, but the information is in one year now. I need to change the title, so you may find it under One year in the search engine. I hope this helps. Thanks for your nice comments. Brother Gary