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© Chris Bowditch 2008

Love
A brief snapshot of what the bible says about love:
● John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
● Romans 5:8 – But God proves his love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for
us.
● 1 John 3:16 – We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay
down our lives for one another.
● 1 John 4:8-11 – Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was
revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world that we might live
through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to
be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to
love one another.

Take home points from these verses:


1. God is love
2. Love is not a feeling, but an action, in this case the act of God in sending Jesus to earth to
live and to die for us, so that we could be have a relationship with him.
3. Because God's love is sacrificial, that is He sacrificed his Son for us, we are called to love
others in the same way, putting others first, sacrificing our own desires because we love
others.
4. This sort of love is not confined to our romantic interests but is how we should love
everyone, particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Purity
The bible is full of references that call us to turn away from immorality, especially sexual
immorality, and to focus and rely on God for our strength and fulfilment.

● Matthew 5:28 – But I (Jesus) say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
● Ephesians 5:3-4 – But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be
mentioned among you, as is proper among saints.
● 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain
from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and
honour, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God...For God did not
call us to impurity but in holiness.
● Hebrews 13:4 – Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept
undefiled for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.

1. You're girlfriend isn't your wife, so you shouldn't let yourself think about your possible
future wedding night with her.
2. God cares about marriage, and we ought to avoid things in our dating relationships that
threaten the honour of our marriage beds!

We are also told to treat others with absolute purity such as in 1 Tim 5:2.
© Chris Bowditch 2008
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How do I know if I'm ready to start going out with someone?


1. You need to be satisfied in your relationship with God, and satisfied being single.
Phil 4:6 – Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Phil 4:11-13 – I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have
little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the
secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do
all things through him who strengthens me.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under
heaven”

So don't worry about whether or not you have a date, don't lose sleep over it. Pray about it, ask God
to provide a date, or to stop you wanting one. There is a time for everything!
The secret of not pining endlessly for a girlfriend, is to be content with your current situation by
relying on the God.

2. You are ready to start going out with someone if having a boyfriend or girlfriend is not a
idol
1 Cor 10:14 – Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.
We are to flee from idolatry... But what is idolatry?
Exodus 20:4-5 – You shall not make for yourself an idol...You shall not bow down to them or
worship them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.
Idolatry is valuing anything or anyone more than we value God.

We can easily place getting into a relationship above living to please and worship God.
If you fear nothing more than ending up living alone for the rest of your life, and you are going out
with anyone and everyone to avoid that happening, or you wont break up with someone who is
clearly not good for your relationship with Jesus, chances are you probably need to repent from
worshipping the idol of marriage. And you certainly aren't ready to date yet!

3. You are ready to go out with someone when you are not going to be using your relationship
with your boyfriend or girlfriend as some sort of validation tool for you being a worthwhile
person
Despite my flaws, God sent his son to live and die because he loved me. You are created and loved
by God and you don't need the love of another person to be complete. Once you grasp that, you are
ready to contemplate a dating relationship with another person.

How do I get someone to go out with me?


Pick up lines: e.g...
● I think I crapped my pants. Can I get into yours?
● Is there an airport or is that just my heart taking off?
● I've had quite a bit to drink, and you're beginning to look pretty good!
● Were you in Boy Scouts? Because you sure have tied my heart in a knot!
● If you were a booger, I'd pick you first!

Unlikely any of these will work!

Wait for God to send the right person along and somehow let them magically ask you out. He may
do that, but just as to grow closer to God you need to spend time praying and reading the Bible, I
© Chris Bowditch 2008
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think if you want God to send the right person along you need to be out there meeting people and
getting to know them in an appropriate way.

Guys ought to be the ones who initiate romantic relationships.

Avoid playing games and just be honest about what you think and feel.

What kind of person should I go out with?


We ought to be careful about creating a list that is super specific.
Rather we need to have a list of broad principles. Here are mine:
● A passionate love for God.
● A desire to serve Him above all else... probably shown by them being involved in doing
ministry in their church context
● A desire and shown ability for God's word to rule all of their life
● you don't want to get involved with someone who thinks they know better than
God!
● A healthy respect for their parents (where appropriate)
● Not a flirt – you might want them to flirt a little with you so you know that they are
interested, but if you notice that they flirt with lots of people, you probably don't want to go
there.
● Modesty – not wearing short skirts, revealing tops. If I'm going to marry someone I want to
save those things for my eyes only. And likewise where possible I want to try and only be
turned on by my wife's hotness, not immodest girls!
● IF I WAS A GIRL – I would also look for a man who takes the lead. Who initiates things,
who isn't afraid to step up.

How should we behave if we are in, or are about to be in a going out, boyfriend/girlfriend
relationship?
Physically
● God calls us to a high standard in terms of purity.
● You need good strong safe boundaries.
● You can't set boundaries by yourself.
● You need to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend, and listen to their struggles and work out
what your boundaries will be.

Things to keep in mind when setting boundaries.


Joshua Harris makes an excellent statement in his book Boy Meets Girl
“The longer your 'no big deal' list is before marriage, the shorter your 'very special' list will
be after marriage”
If you've kissed a thousand times before then kissing after marriage is going to be no big deal once
you get married. Likewise if you've done pretty much everything but the physical act of sex, apart
from clearly not fleeing from sexual immorality, there will not be that much special left to do once
you're married.

You need a high view of the sanctity of marriage. You need to believe that sex is best in a marriage
relationship and you should have boundaries that mean you don't compromise your own marriage
bed at all (see Hebrews 13:4)
© Chris Bowditch 2008
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I encourage you all, out of respect for God's holiness and your future marriages to have very very
conservative, clear boundaries.

Social
● You also need to make sure you are getting to know your partner on a social level.
● Spend appropriate amounts of time both one on one and also in group settings, so you can
get to know the person better.
● If they treat you like a piece of dirt in group settings, dump them ASAP!

Spiritual
● Spend time talking about spiritual things. Reading the bible together, talking about your
theology.
● Sort out key theological differences and work out what is negotiable and what is a break up
issue.

Accountability
● To ensure you date in a good and Godly way, you need to be accountable.
● You need to find older people, who you respect, who are committed and faithful Christians.
And you need to ask them to hold you to account.
● Get your parents involved (where appropriate)

Conclusion
Dating is not an ungodly thing to do. But I want to encourage all of us to be mature and sensible
about it. It is not ok to say, “Oh I'm just 15 or 20, I'm allowed to make a few mistakes”.
1 Tim 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and
conduct, in love, in faith in purity.
If you are a sold out follower of Jesus. Then you ought to take seriously how you conduct yourself
in your romantic relationships no matter how old you are.

When all is said and done, dating and getting married are not an end. They are just a
continuation of the journey that all of us who believe and trust in Jesus are on of becoming
more like him. If dating makes you less like Jesus, don't do it. If it helps you and your
partner grow in Godliness, go for it!