Dating is probably one of the most critical phases of a Christian because the actions you take while dating can affect and influence your life positively or negatively and cause you to increase or decline in your walk with God. There are numerous perilous aspects that many Christians overlook or ignore as a result of societal arguments, ignorance or a blind view of the truth. Before a Christian dates anyone, s/he must consider any and everything that surrounds their decision to date others.
As a Christian, when you date, you are not to date like the world does, but you are to date in line with the scriptures. Principally, you must be convinced that you are ready to get married and every opportunity for “trial and error” should be avoided. For example, some people would want to give any one of the opposite sex a shot to see what happens, but taking that route may cause you problems that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Before you begin a dating relationship, you should clearly spell out your beliefs—rooted in the commands of God. If the other person does not agree with your beliefs, you should make a decision to cut your ties with that person because we are to cut off anything that will cause us to stumble, in other words, anything that will cause us to sin (Matthew 18:8; Matthew 5:29; Matthew 5:30; Mark 9:43). When applied in this case, it is evident that a person can drag us into an unpleasant situation or influence us to commit the sin of fornication, hence if a person or thing causes you to deviate from God, cut it off! This may sound a bit harsh but in critical situations such as dating or relationships, it is best to stick with God’s plan for us.
Likewise, we are commanded not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Therefore, we should not date or get involved in relationships with unbelievers thinking we can change them or make them believers.
Next, communicate your boundaries during the course of your relationship and be disciplined enough to make sure you both stick to them. The bible says we are to abstain from unlawful sexual activities. As Song of Solomon repeatedly says, do not do or commit to anything until it is time to do so, that time in this case is the covenant of marriage. Until then, we are warned to avoid “porneia”, a term for all kinds of sexual sin.
Paul, the apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, further warns us: “flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:17-19).
We must avoid any sexual contact until marriage for our body is where the Spirit of God resides (both in the Spirit and in our vessel, as in the body). Some people may think, “Well it’s my body so I can do whatever I want”…well, not exactly true. Although we still have our “free will” granted by God, as true Christians we have been bought with a price (remember the sacrifice of the Christ), therefore we are to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Corinthians 6:8).
To remain in check, you should date openly, not in secret, and get your family involved. Remember, we are still flesh and blood and we all face temptations to do the wrong thing, so when you date someone you are attracted to, avoid being alone together. If you have to be together, you should be in a public place—for the devil roams about looking for whom to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10:10). Therefore, “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This means at any given opportunity, the enemy will strike.
If you struggle with sleepovers, such going beyond the scriptural bounds described in Song of Solomon 8 verse 4 as stated earlier, you will need to address the issue. Go on your knees and ask the Lord to help you because it is by his grace that we are able to accomplish anything good, without which, we are helpless. The grace of God is like grease or oil that removes any rustiness. That same grace is what we need to be strong enough to say no even when our flesh kicks in. Reflect on these words: “It is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9). Clearly, Paul knew that we are all human (just like him) and recommends that we get married rather than stay in that state of “burning passion” that may lead us to commit sin.
We have the responsibility of ensuring we do the right thing by obeying God’s instructions so that we may live and prospers in our undertakings (Deuteronomy 5:33). Hence, to be sure of where you stand, your connection with each other should be beyond the physical. There should be a deeper understanding between the two of you and the foundation of your relationship should be rooted in Christ and the commands of God.
Paul exhorts us to bear out our sexual desires through a loving, sacrificial relationship with our spouse (1 Corinthians 7). That is, we must keep God at the center of our relationship and let our intimacy with him bear up our spiritual intimacy with each other, which will, in turn support all other intimacy, such as mental, emotional, physical, and sexual, without infamy and without sin. In all, always remember that as a true Christian, to prosper in your relationships and all that we put our mind to, we must obey God’s commands and instructions.