The number 1 question many people ask about dating is,
“How far is too far?”
They are, of course, talking about how far they can go physically without it being sin. Many people have scratched their heads over this one, trying to find a good answer to help make a dam between people and sin.
So, let’s say you love God. You want your relationship to be blessed by God. You want to be a godly example to others.
You want to do the right thing (this is all good by the way), so you’re setting boundaries. Where to start?
The problem is that you can’t get the right answer if you’re asking the wrong question. The question, “how far is too far,” is asking “what can I get away with and still be a card-carrying-Christian?”
But the Real Christian Life isn’t about living as close to the edge of morality as possible. Think about it. REALLY think about it. How much of your construct of dating (or even your Christian life in general) is based on what you can get away with? How much do you ponder what is possible to do and still be a Christian? We’ve all negotiated with the imaginary man in our heads on why whatever we are trying to do isn’t SO bad, right?
A true believer who is intent on living purely won’t ask “How far is too far,” but rather, “How pure can I be?” “How close to Christ can I get?” “How can I honor Christ in this relationship?” “How can I experience what God had in mind, in His design for dating?”
People are usually wanting a black and white list when it comes to “the line.” It’s human nature. The Pharisees were the same way in their, “can I get away with divorce,” style of questioning. And somewhere inside of us in a Pharisee who wants to put Jesus against a wall so we can really do what we want to do. My hand is up with the rest of humanity…guilty.
So I’m not going to say where that line is, or whether or not kissing is right or wrong. I will say that I didn’t have the guts to “not kiss until marriage.”
In fact when I was in high school, the big craze was the book, “I kissed dating goodbye.” I never read the book, but I saw another book, “I gave dating a chance” by Jeramy Clark, and it was a really good read.
No I didn’t have the guts to “not kiss until marriage,” but my best man, Dillon Hill and his wife, Emily waited till the altar of their wedding to give that very special kiss to each other, and in essence, guard the purity of their relationship for the design God had for it through their dating relationship.
Since then, I’ve challenged many to do this same thing in straight up rebellion to this hyper-sexualized culture that we live in. BUT MIKEY, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MOUTH THEN??!!! I don’t know…talk to each other? I’ve officiated many weddings since then of honorable men and women who waited to kiss till their wedding day. WOW! If someone would have challenged me to do that in high school, I would have punched them in the face! Ok, I wouldn’t punch them in the face, but I would have tuned them out for sure.
So is it wrong to kiss? No! But I don’t think that’s the point. The essential point is choosing whether you are making decisions for purity or for pleasure. As the Ancient Greek aphorism says, “know thyself.” And that means, don’t lie to yourself.
1 Peter 1:16 (NIV) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Wait WHAT?!!! Isn’t it impossible to be holy? I know a slew of college kids who would say it is impossible! But why would God ask us to be holy if He didn’t want us to commit to such a thing? God refers to us as His “holy people,” and says not to have, “even a hint of sexual immorality” in our lives. BUT IS THAT POSSIBLE!!!???
Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Now keep an open mind. I know people are ONLY “open minded” when they want you to be open-minded toward sin, but I’m challenging you to be open-minded toward Christ and what He can do in you. After all, “with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26
I think we’d all agree that the Bible is clear that Christians shouldn’t have sex before marriage, but I don’t know if everyone understands that what God means by sex is much more than “going all the way.” Many people are trying to just “not go all the way” and think they have preserved their purity.
Some consider oral sex not “going all the way,” or rubbing up against each other not “going all the way.” Some would say that God doesn’t really talk about this. And many people, though they feel shame and conviction when they “get physical” or “get heated” somehow minimize it by saying “well, at least we didn’t ‘go all the way.’” But, I know many virgins who are more impure than a prostitute!
I find it interesting that the Greek word for sexual impurity is: “porneia.” sounds a lot like porn? hmmm. Well, it’s used 55 times in the New Testament to describe prostitution, sexual intercourse between people not married to each other, and acts of lust. It is an umbrella term that covers all kinds of sexuality outside of marriage.
Porneia is any “sexual act” that pollutes your purity, which can include: oral sex, all the way to intercourse, but also includes talking about and dwelling on sex or sexual fantasies. When it comes to PURITY, God is interested in the big picture. He wants us to avoid all forms of porneia.
Some people think that if they just “don’t kiss,” it will solve their lust problem, and their purity will stay in tact. But most of the men I’ve talked to who waited till marriage to kiss, said that this did not cure their “lust problem.” Sin will try to wiggle through another chink in your armor. It is like the roots in my back yard that grew through my sewer pipe! Those roots were persistent and found a weakness and grew into that four-inch-pipe and shut it down! Boundaries done in the right spirit is the armor that you wear. It protects your relationship. It protects that person you love so much. And it protects you.
So no black and white answer will work. I will say that if you soak yourself in gasoline and hold a match…THAT IS NOT WISE. But where is the line? The question is better framed as, “where is your mind right now?” whether you’re holding hands, or kissing, or alone in a car. If your mind takes you to porneia-ville, consider if it’s worth the haze between you and Jesus. That doesn’t instantly mean “BREAK UP!” But it may mean, “hey I’m going to call it a night,” or “let’s call up ‘the squad’ and all hang out together.”
Purity is about your whole lifestyle. Does what you watch on Netflix encourage purity? Do you and your friends talk about sex in ways that make you long for something you can’t have? Do you read “50 shades of Grey” and wonder why you wrestle with lust? Does the music you listen to make your mind go in that direction? Shoot, does something as seemingly innocent as watching “Friends” make you “go there” mentally? For one person it may not be a big deal, but for another, it could be.
Porneia is all of those things and more. It is the I.V. of slow-drip poison in your veins, making you weak, unable to see clearly, easily irritable, and even depressed. And the worst part is it quenches the Spirit of God in your life.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Do not quench the Spirit.”
Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Do you ever wonder why you can’t feel God like you used to? Take an honest look at your purity meter and see if there may be some things sneaking through your armor and choking the presence of God out in your life.
Give yourself permission to be honest with yourself without being afraid of what you’ll have to “give up.” There just may be something far better than you’ve dreamed of on the other side of that slow-drip poison if you’re open-minded enough to embrace it.
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.