Spiritual and Biblical Principles to Romantic Relationships
“Am I going to be single forever? I desperately need to find ‘THE ONE.’”
Don’t worry, singles! Remember, Moses started out as a basket case!
We live in a time where there are “50 Shades” of dating! Sadly, without a biblical foundation, you will never find “THE ONE.”
In fact, the easiest way to find the “THE ONE” is to turn to Mark 1:14! Jesus is “THE ONE.” Once you find the true “ONE,” you’ll spend your time “BEING THE ONE” instead of looking for “THE ONE.”
Let us smash the idol of “Oneness.” There is no such thing biblically as the “ONE.” If this were true, then imagine if there was a cosmic chaotic mismatching of marriages? Our patriarchal lineage would be destroyed with “one” mistaken marriage. (We do not believe in Calvinism or predestination!).
Bottom line, don’t look for the one (unless it’s Jesus).
Be the one.
Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
There are 2 ways to conduct a dating relationship, in either a worldly way or a Godly way!
What are the characteristics of worldly relationship?
1. Selfishness. Focusing on what you can get out of the relationship, not God or others.
2. Lack of control. Giving into emotions, desires and passions. Trying to make a dating relationship a marriage is a recipe for bitterness. Some have fallen away for mistakenly investing more emotionally in their dating relationship than their prayer life.
3. Lack of purity. No boundaries physically, emotionally or spiritually. Sisters struggle with emotional intimacy (long talks, long walks, frequent contact, etc.) Brothers struggle with physical lust. Excessively tight clothing, short clothing, etc. Song of Solomon 2:7 says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”
4. Lack of fruitfulness. No “Glow,” sisters wrinkled with ungodliness, stained with sadness, and blemished with bitterness before marriage. Bad “example brothers,” led by lust, laziness, and a lack of Godly leadership. As you know a tree by its fruit, you know a dating relationship by its fruit (Mathew 7:20).
5. The type of conflict you’re having. No conflict at all is total idolatry. Lots of conflict is idolatry. Moderate healthy Godly conflict is the standard.
6. Independence. An unwillingness to be corrected on disputable matters.
7. Secrets. Being to afraid to expose your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s sin.
8. Excessive criticality. Criticality leads to contempt. The acid we used in Chemistry class burned everything it touched. It ate a hole in a block of wood, etched deep scars in a metal basin and permanently marred a plastic table top. We put on goggles and gloves and used special beakers designed to hold the caustic liquid, but we were still hesitant and afraid. Criticality eats holes in our heart, mind, soul, and steals the joy from the relationship. Jesus only meets the impossible standard of perfection, so let us be careful about being critical of the rest of us sinful human beings.
9. Leadership. Sisters: If a brother challenges your faith, hope, love, evangelism, Bible knowledge, sacrifice, etc., this is awesome. If you challenge his faith, hope, love, etc., definitely do not enter into a dating relationship. Brothers: If you are not in a position to lead a sister (spiritually, financially, biblically), you are not ready to date, regardless of age.
MODERN DATING VS BIBLICAL DATING
Modern dating philosophy assumes that there will be several intimate romantic relationships in a person’s life before marriage. In fact, it advocates, “playing the field” in order to determine “what one wants” in a mate. Biblical dating has as its goal to be emotionally and physically intimate with only one member of the opposite sex … your spouse.
Modern dating tends to be egalitarian (no differences between men and women in spiritual or emotional “wiring” or God-given roles). Biblical dating tends to be complementarian (God has created men and women differently and has ordained each of these spiritual equals to play different and valuable roles in the church and in the family).
Modern dating tends to assume that you will spend a great deal of time together (most of it alone). Biblical dating tends to encourage time spent in-group activities or with other people the couple knows well.
Modern dating tends to assume that you need to get to know a person more deeply than anyone else in the world to figure out whether you should be with him or her. The biblical approach suggests that real commitment to the other person should precede such a high level of intimacy. Shall I go on?
Most of us have been trained by the world when it comes to dating, and we have been influenced heavily by TV, friends, magazines and false churches or teachings. Google the term “Dating” and you’ll get 790,000,000 hits. While “dating” is a modern concept, the standard of relationships in the Bible were “arranged” marriages. There are biblical principles that we can look at.
Point 1. Selflessness & Spirituality.
It is easy for a person to forget that in your dating relationship you are to seek the kingdom and his righteousness first. Somehow people think that it is “their” relationship, but we are called to be God’s ambassadors in all areas of our life, including our dating relationship. After all, you are dating his son or his daughter and all fathers look out for their children’s dating relationships.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We are called to be ambassadors for God.
The pattern you set in your dating relationship is the foundation of your future relationship which may include the rest of your life together, so be very careful how you build.
1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Your example must be excellent in:
A. Speech: it is not your role to disciple your girlfriend, you are only to lift them up. Sister, you are not to disciple your boyfriend, you are to be their biggest fan. Only say things that build each other up.
B. Life: Go on 4 dates per month and make them all special! All other times should be focused on spirituality, evangelism, studying with people. Be the best Christian you can be. A sister is looking for some who will lead them to heaven and the brother for someone who can help them get there.
C. Love. You are to focus on making them feel loved not them making you feel loved
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Focus on being the best boyfriend or girlfriend you can be, not the other way around.
D. Faith. Does your dating relationship inspire others to want to date inside the kingdom? Are you fruitful because your dating? Does your boyfriend inspire you with his Bible knowledge? Will your relationship build others’ faith or make them disillusioned by the way you act:
Point 2. Self-Control
Self-control by definition means you are responsible for controlling yourself.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self- control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
A sign of unspirituality is lack of self-control; we do not want to be like this or associate with people like this. This is how religious non-Christians live; we did not become Christians to go back to being like the world.
What are the areas we need to be self-controlled in.
A. Emotions. Keep to set times, finish dates on time, if upset do not keep taking, get discipled. 1 talk time a week. Demonstrate self-control.
B. Time. Go through schedule in dating, weekly as well as monthly – one date per 4 weeks on own, one with couple you really want to imitate, two to encourage others.
If you want extra time, do it by being spiritual: evangelism, Bible studies.
C. Finances. As a rule, never spend more on a date than you do on your weekly contribution (There are some special exceptions, obviously).
Point 3. Absolute purity.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
Absolute means free from imperfection, complete or perfect.
What then would complete purity or perfect purity mean?
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. Against such things there is no law.”
Talk through “no touching” clause, no heads on laps, etc. Never be in room alone ever. No sensual commentary. Watching movies together in a dark theater isn’t always the most spiritually edifying.
Ephesians 5:3-7 “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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
If your partner goes over these boundaries, split up. The issue is that if they cannot be self-controlled with you, they will not be with others.
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
Follow my example as I follow Christ!