Hard Lines & Guidelines

It’s Overflow Monday – a chance to give life to some of the content that I couldn’t squeeze into Sunday’s message.

On Sunday, I taught Part 4 of our relationships series, It’s Complicated, where we are finding clarity in the complexity of relationships. This week we covered the topic of dating in a message called “Ready To Mingle.” You can watch or listen to the message on the Awaken teaching archive.

You can also read the previous overflow blogs (spiritual relationships, friendship, and singleness) here. I hope they are helpful.

Make sure to swing by awaken.church/itscomplicated for social media art and to submit questions for Thursday’s Facebook LIVE Q&A, where I’ll answer your questions on dating!

And don’t miss out on our selfie challenge this week. Details on the It’s Complicated page.


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On Sunday we learned some hard lessons about dating from a guy who did it all wrong, Samson. He crossed lines, broke rules, and lived for pleasure…then suffered major consequences. God chose Samson to be the warrior who defeated the Philistines, but he slept with them and ended up imprisoned by them.

Samson was the epitome of “eligible bachelor,” and lived his life as a single, ready to mingle. The Bible records 3 romantic relationships in his life: his fiancee, a prostitute, and a live-in girlfriend. Some hard lines and some guidelines would have done Samson a lot of good.

Let’s talk about how those will benefit you as well…

HARD LINES

Everyone in a romantic relationship needs to draw some “hard lines” – lines in the sand that you will never cross, despite the cost.

Sinful Indulgence

Anything that crosses a line of sin will come back to bite you, I promise. I speak from experience on this one. Sin is pleasurable, but its pleasure is quickly passing (Hebrews 11:25). We wouldn’t want sin if it wasn’t fun, but just because it’s fun doesn’t mean you want it.

Whether it’s sexual sin, abuse, deceit, or any other type of sinful indulgence, it’s not worth the momentary pleasure and long-lasting consequences.

Spiritual Inequality

You’re asking for trouble when you become romantically involved with someone who doesn’t believe the same as you. The Bible calls this being “unequally yoked.” Christians should learn to approach any romantic relationship with this in mind: who you’re with on earth should be someone you’ll be with in heaven. (tweet this) Approaching dating with an eternal perspective will be a game-changer and a life-saver.

GUIDELINES

In addition to “hard lines” you should never cross, every relationship will also benefit from guidelines. These are self-made boundaries you choose not cross in order to keep you and the relationship healthy and moving forward.

Let’s (not) get physical, physical…

For years, I asked the question, “How close can I get to the line without crossing it?” That questions got me in trouble. The better question is, “How far away from the line can I stay?”

Any guidelines you can establish that prevent unnecessary temptation is healthy. It may not be a command in Scripture, but if it helps keep your conscience clean and relationship pure, it’s worth living by. For Jenn and I, we established a “no kissing” rule early on. I knew personally that if I began kissing her, it could quickly lead elsewhere, and I didn’t want to go down that road.

No kissing, no being alone at home together, no sexual conversations… Be honest about yourself and your weaknesses, then establish your guidelines and stick to them.

You’ll never understand marriage until you’re married.

Many people use cohabitation (living together before marriage) as a way to give marriage a “trial run,” but it doesn’t work that way. Living together before marriage invites temptation, can ruin your witness, and can separate you from God if it leads to unrepentant sin. It’s just not worth it.

Although I can’t turn you to a verse in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not live together before you are married,” it’s a wise guideline to live by.

– – –

I grew up near the base of the Rocky Mountains, and I was an avid snowboarder for years. The more confident I got on my board, the further I pushed the boundaries. The areas marked “no access” looked like the most fun. Thankfully I never pushed the boundaries too far that I regretted the consequences, but I wouldn’t have been the first snowboarder to do so.

Boundaries exist for our safety. God established rules and guidelines to live by to make our lives better, not worse. Trust Him. He has your best in mind.

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