Christian Singles

How to Date With Holiness, Honor, and Humility

couple holding hands

I was flabbergasted and a little shook up. About four years ago, as I progressed through the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was flabbergasted that couples existed who waited to kiss until their wedding day and shook up because, if God commanded this, then I had already blown my chance over a high school romance.

Even still, something was not sitting right with me about this premise. So I went to my pastor.

We sat in his office and talked for a solid hour about the purpose of this book and the thoughts it advocated on dating. I still have the email he wrote to me, finishing up our conversation. He said:

“I also think we need to be wise about our dating approach. To go out to dinner and a movie with a “date” is one thing. To go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods is putting oneself in a situation where one is more removed from helpful boundaries…”

Helpful boundaries. Let’s talk about them. Quite frankly, the Bible does not give us a clear-cut, set-apart chapter called “God’s Way to Date.” In the Old Testament, we see Isaac pursuing Rebekah as a response to a specific prayer—and later, we see Ruth laying herself at the feet of Boaz’s bed! Not exactly clear-cut.

So how do we handle boundaries in dating? First, I think we should diagnose a problem that tends to run rampant with the mention of “boundaries”:

THE PROBLEM: When we do not connect helpful boundaries to the truth of the gospel, they manifest themselves as legalistic rules…and rules are bound to be broken because we are sinners.

In other words, there must be a deeper motivation than simply to be “moral people” during dating. Without this motivation, a foundation that all our actions rest upon, our moral efforts will be aimless and easily compromised. For example, it is motivating to run a race when you know there is a finish line and why you are running in the first place; it is not motivating to run forever to no end, without any clue as to the purpose behind your running.

But, see, there is a point to boundaries. There is a motivation.

The point is the glory of God!

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:16-18).”

God knows what is best for us. He knows what will transform us into his image. He purposes to sanctify us to look like Christ. And when we look like Jesus, God gets the glory.

THE SOLUTION: The gospel of Christ means that even dating can be a response to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Since the Christian’s identity is in Christ, we are freed from slavery to selfish ambition in dating to pursue boundaries that have God’s glory as their motivator.

So what does gospel-responsive dating look like? After experiencing a couple of unhelpful relationships, I finally met my husband, and the following gospel-motivated boundaries were helpful for us.

Holiness

“I do not belong to myself, for God bought me with a high price (1 Corinthians 6:19).”

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you. God gave you this gift of holiness through the costly shed blood of his Son. Realizing that we are now eternally promised to the Lord gives us a different perspective on how we treat our bodies while on earth.

Helpful boundaries, then, are those that encourage the holiness of each person, protecting the body as the blood-bought temple of the Holy Spirit. There should never be pressure to cross boundaries, nor should the question ever be, “How far is too far?” That question illustrates that gospel-motivation has already been abandoned in favor of selfish ambition.

What is considered most helpful for each person might vary, as some have a weaker conscience than others, but overall, bringing glory to God through our physical bodies should be our underlying motivation and purpose. Christ died so that we would be made holy.

Honor

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other (Romans 12:10).

So what happens if two people differ in what they believe is most helpful and pure? This could be regarding physical boundaries, theological beliefs, or other life issues. I think a great question to ask ourselves is, “How would I want to be treated?” The love of Christ compels us to no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died for us. How we honor the people around us, especially in dating, will reveal if we are responding to Jesus’ love as demonstrated through the gospel of grace.

How can we best honor the person we are dating? Honor their time, their commitments, their talents, their opinions, their comfort levels, their other relationships, and their walk with God. Honoring a person involves seeking out what speaks love to them, what builds them up in the Lord, or perhaps discovering ways to serve them. It also means being honest with them by speaking the truth in love, especially regarding physical and emotional boundaries.

Really, we should be honoring every person, not just the person we are dating. Anyone, single or dating, can start practicing genuine affection and familial love right now.

Humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (Philippians 2:3-4).

Responding to Christ’s love means that we lay down our own agenda and desires for his call upon our lives. As Jesus took the form of a servant in humility, so we are called to live humbly as his people and to think of others before we serve ourselves.

Humility can be demonstrated in dating in many ways, but two major examples are self-control and delayed gratification. When we set aside our immediate wants to glorify God and honor the other person, we are humbling ourselves and exercising faith. When we use self-control with words, thoughts, or actions, the humility of Christ is transforming us.

When the point is to glorify God with our dating relationships, helpful boundaries become much more freeing. Our dating can now be a response to our identity as God’s people, rather than a constant battle to get what we want as individuals.

Let’s finish with this truth from Paul:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

 

48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. Jeanette V Ceja

    June 2, 2017 at 6:04 am

    Jesus Ramirez this is so true. Love you

  2. Tony Barba

    May 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Is that a fact?

  3. Maureen Gower

    May 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    True that Amen

  4. Zandra White

    May 31, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Amen, That one accord makes life a whole lot better

  5. Genevieve Brown

    May 31, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Amen Amen

  6. Emily Burroughs

    May 31, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Billy Calloway

  7. Emilie Clarito

    May 31, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Yes so true Amen

  8. Romina Bianca Tagle

    May 31, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Paolo Chu

  9. Gaudiosa Grafilo

    May 31, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Jeremie Harris <3

  10. Maria De Beer

    May 31, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I can vote for this. Saw it in my own marriage.

  11. Bella M. Smith

    May 31, 2017 at 3:16 am

    ♡ AMEN

  12. Terry Daley

    May 30, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Amen

  13. Iugnab Miguel PV

    May 30, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Amen…
    This page really inspires me day by day…

  14. Inreal Life

    May 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Amen.

  15. Joyce Ann Falcon

    May 30, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Michael Mike

  16. Gennifer McGraw Bayless

    May 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Genson Abigail Bayless
    Halle Donelle Bayless
    Rena Bayless
    Read this. Very very good. Apply it.

  17. Υβέτ Ασεβέδο

    May 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    AMEN!!! We each need God more than we need each other and He will help us be everything we need to one another. Thank you, Jesus!

  18. Rebecca Burgess

    May 30, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Blaise Babinski!

  19. TracyLee Carignan

    May 30, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Nakiah Butler

  20. Joy Sarte

    May 30, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Jojo Herrera

  21. Erica Elkins

    May 30, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Amen

  22. Gloria Morrow

    May 30, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Yes, Amen Thank you ABBA GOD IN CHRIST JESUS

  23. Otsanya Onmonya Comfort

    May 30, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    O yes

  24. Vicky Michael

    May 30, 2017 at 7:58 pm

  25. Cathy Ume

    May 30, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Amen. Amen.

  26. Jennifer Kelley Becker

    May 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Aaron Becker. Jenna Becker. This is good

  27. Moasen T Oungh

    May 30, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Reminds me of us Aloto Chishi❤

  28. Garmei Kennedy

    May 30, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    So true

  29. Michelle Heunes

    May 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Just amazing how these were and are my principles, others don’t seem to grasp it but this is once again concession.
    Thank you God.

  30. Ilena Jacqueline Kantor-Gibson

    May 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Brett Gibson

  31. Chibueze Eziokwubundu

    May 30, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    True!!!

  32. Monago Lexie Onyeka

    May 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Chukwuemeka Ugwu

  33. Love Elizabeth

    May 30, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    nICE

  34. Donna Jean

    May 30, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Yess!!

  35. Lex Nicole

    May 30, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Paisley De Legion

  36. Lwando Kalimina

    May 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    True

  37. Jojo Herrera

    May 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Joy Sarte

  38. Shauna Siscoe Dupree

    May 30, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Katlyn Guth

    • Katlyn Guth

      May 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      So true!!! Needed this so so so much today… thank you

  39. Pauline Parchment

    May 30, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Teach me

  40. Beato Shii

    May 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    SOO True

  41. Josephine Cloud-Turner

    May 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Amen!

  42. Kabelo Highlyfavored Mashapa

    May 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Amen…

    • Marty Strydom

      May 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I don’t like strangers under my roof,especially when they are not Godly and have attitude,I am still reading this scene,the posts on FB don’t seem to come from the same person,please forgive me,I don’t want to judge,just concerned…

  43. Emily Misamore

    May 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Keaton Rider

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