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Guidelines for Sexual Purity

By Randy Alcorn I e de eloped the !ollowing material and presented it to many young people and their parents o er many years. "hen my now married daughters were teenagers# I honed it !urther !or sharing and discussion with them and the young men who as$ed to date them. %ntil we had gone o er these principles together &my wi!e and I# our daughter and the 'oy( and made sure there was complete agreement# we didnt allow a dating relationship to 'egin. "e !ound that this was a great help not only to our daughters 'ut also to the young men who wanted to date them. "e made our expectations clear# ga e them speci!ic guidance and principles &not )ust rules(# and told them wed 'e as$ing them i! they were li ing up to these standards. *his deepened our relationship# opened communication and created healthy accounta'ility. *hough there were sometimes ner ous )itters as !amily mem'ers &and especially the young men( anticipated these sessions# in each case the time together was strategic# encouraging and rewarding. +a ing consistently practiced this when they were dating# it was impossi'le !or us and !or our daughters to imagine them dating a young man without !irst openly addressing with him all the principles that !ollow. &,ach time we did this# o! course# it !urther rein!orced these principles !or our daughters and !or us.( -It is .ods will that you should 'e sancti!ied: that you should a oid sexual immorality/ that each o! you should learn to control his own 'ody in a way that is holy and honora'le# not in passionate lust li$e the heathen# who do not $now .od.0 &1 *hessalonians 1:2-3(. Part One: What You Need to Know 1. Sex is good. God created it, God called it good,! and it existed "efore there was any sin in the world. 4ex was not created 'y 4atan# Playboy# +ollywood# +56# roc$ musicians# the Internet# or some per ert lur$ing in the shadows o! a porno shop. 4ex was created 'y the holy .od o! hea en# where purity reigns. .od made sex physically desira'le 'y creating us with sex dri es# without which sex wouldnt exist and neither would people. .ods "ord spea$s openly o! the pleasure o! sex within the marriage relationship &7ro er's 3:18#18/ 4ong o! 4olomon 1:3/ 9:1# :-8(. "e shouldnt 'e ashamed to tal$ a'out what .od wasnt ashamed to create. +owe er# .od re;uires us to address the su')ect in $eeping with his intentions and re;uirements# not the worlds. +e warns us not to tal$ a'out sex in any inappropriate context: 5ut among you there must not 'e e en a hint o! sexual immorality# or o! any $ind o! impurity# or o! greed# 'ecause these are improper !or .ods holy people. <or should there 'e o'scenity# !oolish tal$ or coarse )o$ing# which are out o! place. &,phesians 3:2-1(

.od designed sex !or the sacred union o! marriage# and reser es it !or that union. It is 'oth the means 'y which children are concei ed &something ery close to .ods heart( and a means 'y which marital intimacy is expressed and culti ated. "hen it ta$es place in its proper context# .od is de!initely prosex. #. $i%e all good gifts fro& God, sex can "e &isused and 'er(erted. "ater is a gi!t o! .od# without which we couldnt sur i e. 5ut !loods and tidal wa es are water out of control# and the e!!ects are de astating. =ire is an energy-producing gi!t o! .od that gi es warmth and allows us to coo$. 5ut a !orest !ire or a house 'urning to the ground or a person engul!ed in !lames is !ire out of control-it is horri'le and !rightening. "ater and !ire are good things which# when they occur outside their .od-intended 'oundaries# 'ecome 'ad. >i$ewise# .od designed sex to exist within certain 'oundaries. "hen exercised in line with .ods intended purpose# it is 'eauti!ul and constructi e. "hen out o! control# iolating .ods intended purpose# it 'ecomes ugly and destructi e. 4ex is a good thing which# when it occurs outside its .oddesigned 'oundaries# 'ecomes 'ad. *he pro'lem isnt sex?the pro'lem is us. "ere sinners who can per ert# a'use# and rip away !rom their proper place the good things .od created. *he greater the gi!t !rom .od# the more power it has 'oth !or good and 'ad. Inside marriage# sex has great power !or good. 6utside marriage it has e;ually great power !or 'ad. ). *he "oundaries of sex are the "oundaries of &arriage. 4ex and marriage go together. Sexual union is intended as an expression of a lifelong commitment# a sym'ol o! the spiritual union that exists only within the unconditional commitment o! marriage. @part !rom marriage# the lasting commitment is a'sent and the sex act 'ecomes a !alse expression# a lie. , ery act o! sex outside o! marriage cheapens 'oth sex and marriage. 4ex is a pri ilege insepara'le !rom the responsi'ilities o! the sacred marriage co enant. *o exercise the pri ilege apart !rom the responsi'ility per erts .ods intention !or sex. 4ex is designed to 'e the )oining o! two persons# o! two spirits# not )ust two 'odies. 4ex should 'e gi ing to someone to whom Im 100A committed &as measured 'y the state o! legal marriage(# not ta$ing !rom someone to whom Im uncommitted or partially committed. -5ut we really lo e each other0 has no 'earing on the ethics o! sexual intimacy?sex does not 'ecome permissi'le through su')ecti e !eelings# 'ut through the o')ecti e li!elong commitment o! marriage. +. Your sexual 'urity is essential to your wal% with God. 4exual purity is not an option !or an o'edient Bhristian# its a re;uirement. .ods will is centered on our character and moral purity much more than on our circumstances# such as )o'# housing and schooling. Cou want to $now .ods willD Cou dont ha e to wonder. +ere it is: It is Gods will that you should be sanctified that you should a!oid sexual immorality" &1 *hessalonians 1:2(. *here is no sense see$ing .ods will in other areas when you are choosing to li e in sexual impurity in your mind or 'ody. E"ho may ascend the hill o! the >6FGD "ho may stand in his holy placeD +e who has clean hands and a pure heart.0 &7salm 21:2-1( EI! I had cherished sin in my heart# the >ord would not ha e listened.0 &7salm :::18(

EI! anyone turns a dea! ear to the law# e en his prayers are detesta'le.0 &7ro er's 28:8( E"hen I called# they did not listen/ so when they called# I would not listen# says the >6FG @lmighty.0 &Hechariah 9:12( 4exual purity is insepara'le !rom a committed Bhristian li!e. I! you are not li ing in sexual purity# .od will not hear your other prayers until you o!!er the prayer o! con!ession and repentance and commit yoursel! to a li!e o! holiness &1 John 1:8(. ,. You are (ulnera"le to sexual i&&orality. Gont $id yoursel! that it can ne er happen to you?it can. @nd i! you dont thin$ it can# it almost certainly will. E7ride goes 'e!ore destruction# a haughty spirit 'e!ore a !all.0 &7ro er's 1::18( E4o# i! you thin$ you are standing !irm# 'e care!ul that you dont !allI0 &1 Borinthians 10:12( E5rothers# i! someone is caught in a sin . . . watch yoursel!# or you also may 'e tempted.0 &.alatians ::1( I! you thin$ youll ne er 'e 'urglariJed# youll !ail to ta$e precautions to $eep it !rom happening. I! you thin$ youll ne er !all sexually# youll !ail to ta$e precautions to $eep it !rom happening. -. You are targeted for sexual i&&orality. Cears ago there was scuttle'utt a'out an international -hit list#0 a calculated plan !or paid assassins to murder strategic world leaders. *he ,nemy# 4atan# has maintained a moral -hit list0 throughout the ages. 4ince .ods children are close to .ods heart# Bhristians are at the ery top o! that list. *he more in ol ed you are in ser ing Bhrist# the greater ested interests 4atan has in destroying you and .ods wor$ in and through you. *he e il one wants to ta$e you down and to use your li!e as a 'ad example to other Bhristians# who will imitate your moral compromise. .od re;uires that we 'e holy and pure instruments to 'e used 'y him &2 *imothy 2:20-21(. Kore Bhristians?including Bhristian leaders?'ecome useless and are lost to ser ing Bhrist due to sexual immorality than anything else. &4ee my 'oo$let Sexual Temptation: How Christian Workers can Win the Battle#( +eres the reality?the !orces o! e il ha e ta$en out a contract on you. *heres a price on your head. 4atan has declared war on you: -6ur 'attle is not against !lesh and 'lood# 'ut against principalities and powers o! dar$ness# against spiritual !orces o! e il in the in isi'le realm0 &,phesians ::12(. *hese e il 'eings ha e ested interests in your moral collapse. *hey will do e erything in their power to stri$e out at Bhrist and his church through enticing you into immorality. 4atan is neither omnipresent nor omnipotent?there are only so many demons and none o! them can 'e two places at once. *here!ore# !allen angels attac$ and tempt not indiscriminately 'ut with strategic purpose. 4atan does not ha e to waste his time on those who ha e already made the 'iggest messes o! their li es. Father# he specially targets those whose !all would ha e the greatest negati e e!!ect on the $ingdom o! .od. *hats why .ods "ord warns Bhristians: 05e sel!-controlled and alert. Cour enemy the de il prowls around li$e a roaring lion loo$ing !or someone to de our0 &1 7eter 3:8(. *he de il wants to derail you !rom ser ing .od. +e wants you imprisoned to sin. .od wants you !ree. 6nly 'y exercising sel!-control and 'eing on alert can we expect to resist the enemys plan to lead us into sin. 4atan -scouts us out0 and $nows only too well the chin$s in the armor o! e ery Bhristian. +is

aim is deadly# he excels at tailor-made temptations# and it is at our points o! greatest ulnera'ility that he will attac$. Gont !orget that -the one LBhristM who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world0 &1 John 1:1(. @s power!ul as the e il one is to tempt us# God is infinitely more powerful to deli!er us and has gi en us in Bhrist all the resources we need to li e godly li es: +is di ine power has gi en us e erything we need !or li!e and godliness through our $nowledge o! him who called us 'y his own glory and goodness. *hrough these he has gi en us his ery great and precious promises# so that through them you may participate in the di ine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused 'y e il desires. &2 7eter 1:2-1( .. Your "ody "elongs to God, not you. ECou are not your own/ you were 'ought at a price. *here!ore honor .od with your 'ody0 &I Borinthians ::20(. I! its my house# I ha e the right to do what I want with it. I! its someone elses# I dont. 4ometimes when Im spea$ing I as$ to 'orrow a pencil !rom someone in the audience. *hen I 'rea$ it in hal!# throw it to the !loor and stomp on it. *heres always a wide-eyed silence and expressions o! shoc$ and discom!ort in the audience. I as$ them why theyre 'othered 'y what I e done# why they thin$ I did something wrong. 4omeone always says -'ecause it wasnt your pencil.0 *hen I explain that it really was my pencil# that I ga e it to the person ahead o! time and as$ed her to hand it to me when I called on her. 4uddenly it changes e erything# 'ecause i! it 'elongs to me# then &and only then( do I ha e the right to do with it as I please. I! it 'elongs to someone else# I ha e no such right. "hen you came to Bhrist# when you a!!irmed him as >ord o! your li!e# you surrendered your entire sel!# including your 'ody# to .od. *he title to your li!e was trans!erred !rom you to .od. Bhrist owns you and your 'ody. Cou are 'ought and paid !or. -Cour 'ody0 is really his 'ody. +e paid the ultimate price !or it. "hat priceD *he shed 'lood o! .od @lmightyI "e are his 'oth 'y irtue o! his creation and his redemption. .od has e ery right to tell me what to do with my mind and 'ody. I ha!e no right to do whate!er I want with what belongs to God# /. Sexual 'urity "egins in the &ind, not the "ody. E@s a man thin$s in his heart# so is he0 &7ro er's 22:9(. E=or out o! the heart come e il thoughts# murder# adultery# sexual immorality . . .0 &Katthew 13:1820(. E5ut I tell you that anyone who loo$s at a woman lust!ully has already committed adultery with her in his heart0 &Katthew 3:28(. Cou will ine ita'ly adopt the morality o! the programs# mo ies# 'oo$s# magaJines# music# Internet sites and con ersations you participate in. .I.6?.ar'age in# gar'age out/ .odliness in# godliness out. *he cogniti e is 'asic to the 'eha ioral?you 'ecome what you choose to !eed your mind on. 4ow a thought# reap an action/ 4ow an action# reap a ha'it. 4ow a ha'it# reap a character. 4ow a character# reap a destiny. Cour !uture can 'e accurately predicted 'y what you allow your mind to dwell on. 4in!ul actions dont

come out o! nowhere?they are the cumulati e product o! little moral compromises made o er time# which ultimately culminate in ungodly 'eha ior. *heres nothing new a'out sexual temptation?whats new is how it has in aded our homes. In !irst century Borinth there were prostitutes all o er the streets# 'ut when you entered your home you had a sanctuary !rom the temptation. "e li e in a technological Borinth# where immorality can come into the pri acy o! our home through airwa es &tele ision( and modems &the Internet(. Kost o! us are only a !ew push'uttons away !rom sexual immorality o! the mind. , ery choice we ma$e to iew and contemplate immorality desensitiJes us to its e il. @ctions# ha'its# character and destiny all start with a thought# and thoughts are !ostered 'y what we choose to ta$e into our minds. *here!ore we should ta$e extreme care a'out what we !eed our minds on. 0@'o e all else# guard your heart Lmind# inner 'eingM# !or it is the wellspring o! li!e0 &7ro er's 1:22(. I! someone wants to pollute water# he pollutes it at its source. I! he wants to puri!y water# he puri!ies it at its source. 6ur thoughts are the source o! our li es. @ll our li es !low !rom our mind# and through the choices we ma$e e ery day we program our minds# either !or godliness or ungodliness. E*urn my eyes away !rom worthless things/ preser e my li!e according to your word0 &7salm 118:29( 6ur minds are not a acuum?they will 'e !illed with something. It is necessary to turn our minds !rom the worthless# 'ut its not su!!icient. "e also must !ill our minds with good thoughts that crowd out and com'at the 'ad ones. Its not enough to say -dont thin$ a'out anything 'ad.0 &I! I say# -dont thin$ a'out spiders#0 what do you thin$ a'outD( "e must also choose to thin$ a'out the good. &I! I say -thin$ a'out your !a orite dessert#0 pretty soon you stop thin$ing a'out spiders.( *ime in the "ord# in prayer# and in con ersations with Bhrist-centered !riends rein!orces our commitment to purity. E"hate er is true# whate er is no'le# whate er is right# whate er is pure . . . thin$ a'out such things0 &7hilippians 1:8(. "e cant a oid e ery temptation# 'ut we can a oid many o! them# and we can certainly resist their attempts to ta$e hold o! us. Kartin >uther said# -Cou cant $eep the 'irds !rom !lying o er your head# 'ut you can $eep them !rom ma$ing a nest in your hair.0 5e care!ul what you expose your mind to. I! youre on a diet# dont go to 5as$in N Fo'ins. I! you do# your resistance will 'rea$ down. I! you want to a'stain !rom lust you dont go places and watch mo ies and programs and read things that stimulate lust. Cour 'ody will go where your mind allows it to. "hen it comes to your sexual purity# the ultimate 'attle is in your mind. Gont gi e your mind )un$ !ood. 5e sure youre getting spiritual nutrition. 0. Since God doesn1t want you to ha(e 're&arital sex, neither does he want you to do that which 're'ares your "ody for 're&arital sex. -+ow !ar can I goD0 *his is a common ;uestion# 'ut it isnt the 'est ;uestion 'ecause usually it means -how close can I get to diso'eying .od without actually doing itD0 I! a parent tells his child -Gont step out on the !reeway#0 an o'edient child wont go dangle his leg o er the !reeway# hell stay !ar away !rom it. 5y putting himsel! close to the !reeway# he su')ects himsel! to unnecessary temptation to act on his impulses# diso'ey and put himsel! in gra e danger. .od made the 'ody and mind with sex dri es# and as those dri es are stimulated they mo e toward a

climax?this is a simple !act o! li!e that no one should 'e naO e a'out. Baressing each other in sexually stimulating ways is !oreplay# and !oreplay is designed 'y .od to culminate in sexual intercourse. 4ince intercourse is !or'idden outside marriage# so is !oreplay. 4ince sexual intercourse 'e!ore marriage is wrong# it is also wrong to engage in acti ity that propels mind and 'ody toward sexual intercourse. E=lee the e il desires o! youth# and pursue righteousness# !aith# lo e and peace# along with those who call on the >ord out o! a pure heart.0 &2 *imothy 2:22( *here is a continuum o! physical contact that 'egins with things li$e sitting close and hand-holding on the near side and mo es to sexual intercourse on the !ar side. In 'etween might 'e an arm around the shoulder# a 'rie! hug# a $iss on the chee$# a $iss on the mouth# a longer hug# prolonged $issing# !ondling# etc. 4cripture does not spell out exactly what -intermediate0 'eha ior is permissi'le# 'ut one thing is certain?the line must 'e drawn 'e!ore either o! you 'ecomes sexually stimulated. *his means that !ondling?and anything else that results in a -turn on0?is !or'idden. I! one o! you 'egins to 'e stimulated e en 'y an apparently innocent physical contact# then 'oth o! you should 'ac$ o!! immediately. I! you dont 'ac$ o!!# you are choosing to stay on a canoe headed toward a water!all. *his is not )ust wrong# its stupid. &*hose who allow their minds to dwell on whats immoral and who engage in sexual stimulation together shouldnt 'e surprised when they ha e sexual intercourse. Its simply the natural result o! the choices they e made. If you want a different outcome$ you must ma%e different choices.( .uys are more ;uic$ly and easily stimulated than girls. @ girl o!ten thin$s extended $isses and hugs are !ine# naO e to the !act that the guy is sexually stimulated and is tempted to push !or more. @gain# ma$e sure you draw the line !ar enough 'ac$ that neither o! you crosses it. 12. Once you let your "ody cross the line, it will neither %now nor care a"out your 3hristian con(ictions. 4ome Bhristians pray .od will protect their purity# then will!ully put themsel es into temptation and wonder why .od didnt answer their prayer. *his is li$e putting a 'oo$ at the corner o! a ta'le and praying -.od please dont let this 'oo$ !all#0 when all the while you $eep pushing it !urther and !urther o!! the edge. <o matter how !er ently you pray that the 'oo$ wont !all# it will !all i! you continue to choose to push it. <o matter how !er ently you pray that you will not !all into immorality# you will !all i! you continue to ma$e choices that !eed your temptation toward immorality. Gont allow your choices to undermine and in alidate your prayers. 11. 4f you ha(e sexual inti&acy with so&eone outside &arriage, you are stealing fro& God and the other 'erson. 4ince he or she 'elongs to .od# not you# that means you are 'orrowing this person !or the e ening. 5e care!ul what you do with what doesnt 'elong to you. Coull 'e held accounta'le to his or her 6wner. 1#. God has your "est interests in &ind when he tells you not to ha(e 're&arital sex. "hats right is always smart# and always !or your good. 4ex is not )ust something you do?sex is someone you are. It is lin$ed to the wel!are o! your whole person. +a ing sex outside o! marriage is sel!-destructi e in e ery sense. 4exual purity is always !or the 'est? not only !or .od and others# 'ut !or you. 1). God would not tell you to a"stain fro& i&'urity if it was i&'ossi"le to o"ey hi&.

.od is not cruel. +e doesnt command you to a'stain !rom necessities# such as eating or drin$ing or 'reathing. 4ex is something e eryone can a'stain !rom?it is a strong desire# yes# 'ut ne er an emergency# ne er a necessity. Bhrist has gi en us the resources to resist e ery temptation: E*he grace o! .od teaches us to say P<o to ungodliness and worldly passions# and to li e sel!controlled# upright and godly li es in this present age0 &*itus 2:12(. E+is di ine power has gi en us e erything we need !or li!e and godliness through our $nowledge o! him who called us 'y his own glory and goodness. *hrough these he has gi en us his ery great and precious promises# so that through them you may participate in the di ine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused 'y e il desires0 &2 7eter 1:2-1(. Cou do not ha e to watch that ideo. Cou can turn it o!!# wal$ out# go in the other room. Cou dont ha e to clic$ on that lin$ to an ungodly we'site. Cou dont ha e to !ondle the person youre dating. Cou can and should draw upon your resources in Bhrist# and say -no0 to temptations to sin. 1+. Satan will lie to you a"out sex, "ut 5esus tells you the truth. Jesus said o! 4atan# -+e was a murderer !rom the 'eginning# not holding to the truth# !or there is no truth in him. "hen he lies# he spea$s his nati e language# !or he is a liar and the !ather o! lies0 &John 8:12-11(. 4atan is an expert at telling lies# and he tells them smoothly and con incingly. +e has persuaded many young people -its o$ay to touch her there# its o$ay to let him touch you# its natural# it wont hurt anything.0 4oon theres lust# sin# de astation# disillusionment# loss o! respect# con!lict# insecurity and sometimes unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Kany young people end up angry and 'itter at themsel es and others 'ecause they 'ought the lie# the relationship is ruined and now they are paying the price. 4atan is a liar# 'ut Jesus is the truth and the truth-teller &John 11::(. +e said# -I! you hold to my teaching# you are really my disciples. *hen you will $now the truth and the truth will set you !ree0 &John 8:22(. *hose who 'elie e 4atans lies a'out sex end up in 'ondage. *hose who 'elie e Bhrists truth a'out sex end up !ree. Identi!y and meditate on the truths Bhrist tells you. Identi!y and re)ect the lies 4atan tells you. 1,. You &ust learn to thin% long ter&, not short ter&. .ood or 'ad# you will always reap what you sow?you will always har est the conse;uences o! your choices. QGo not 'e decei ed: .od cannot 'e moc$ed. @ man reaps what he sows. *he one who sows to please his sin!ul nature# !rom that nature will reap destruction/ the one who sows to please the 4pirit# !rom the 4pirit will reap eternal li!e. >et us not 'ecome weary in doing good# !or at the proper time we will reap a har est i! we do not gi e up.0 &.alatians ::9-8( It doesnt matter how smart you thin$ you are. It doesnt matter whether you ha e a 7h.G. in physics# i! you step o!! the tenth story o! a 'uilding# you will !all to your death. .ra ity is law?theres )ust no getting around it. >i$ewise# .od has set up spiritual laws that go ern the uni erse# including laws concerning our sexual 'eha ior. I! we 'rea$ his commandments# ultimately we get 'ro$en. 4cripture teaches two 'asic alternati es in li!e# the way o! .od and the way o! men# the way o! holiness and the way o! sin. 7ro er's spea$s o! the path o! wisdom and the path o! !oolishness# and

calls upon us to ma$e right choices# which are also wise# and a oid wrong choices# which are also !oolish. @!ter laying out the 'lessings o! o'edience and the curses o! diso'edience# .od said# E*his day I call hea en and earth as witnesses against you that I ha e set 'e!ore you li!e and death# 'lessings and curses. <ow choose li!e# so that you and your children may li e0 &Geuteronomy 20:18(. *he li!elong conse;uences o! sexual impurity are worse than we can imagine. *he li!elong rewards o! sexual purity are greater than we can imagine.

Part *wo: What You Need to 6o 7Guidelines for Protecting Purity in 6ating8 1. 9eali:e you don1t ha(e to date. Kuch sexual temptation today is created 'y our social practice o! coupling and isolating young people instead o! doing what the +e'rew culture and many others ha e done?re;uiring that single people spend time together only in a context super ised 'y parents and other adults. *his structure o! direct parental in ol ement and care!ully o erseen courtship has 'een the normal social structure/ it is ours that is a'normal. In our culture# the unprecedented com'ination o! young peoples leisure time# money# transportation and 'eing permitted to 'e alone !or long hours and late at night?and the large gap 'etween the a erage age o! pu'erty and marriage?ha e pro en o erwhelming temptations to many# Bhristians included. &*his is especially true in a culture that distorts teen sex# ma$ing it loo$ romantic and healthy# when in !act it is usually un!ul!illing# o!ten emotionally de astating# and always morally wrong.( Kany people thin$ that to 'e normal you ha e to date. 5ut )ust 'ecause lots o! other people do doesnt mean you ha e to. Its an option# not a need. "ith the upside comes the downside o! de!inite ris$s and temptations. Cou can en)oy !un positi e !riendships with people o! the opposite sex and 'e in ol ed in all sorts o! acti ities without coupling up with one person. I! youre interested in the case !or courtship rather than dating# see the 'est-selling I Kissed Dating Good !e" # $ew #ttitude Toward %omance and %elationships 'y Joshua +arris &Kultnomah# 1889(. I! you do choose to date# the !ollowing guidelines can help you maintain a wal$ with .od and guard your purity. #. 4f you1re a 3hristian, only date 3hristians. Gating is the path to marriage. Cou will not marry e ery person you date. 5ut the person you marry will 'e someone you dated. *here!ore e ery date is a potential mate. *here is no such thing as -)ust dating0?you dont -)ust0 'ungee )ump !rom a helicopter# or -)ust0 !ight on the !ront lines o! a 'attle and you dont -)ust0 date. Its too important to say -)ust.0 *oo much is at sta$e. .od says -Go not 'e yo$ed together with un'elie ers . . . what !ellowship can light ha e with dar$nessD0 &2 Borinthians ::11(. Gont enter into any relationship that could compromise your con ictions. *he closer the relationship the greater the danger. *here are many contexts in which to do e angelism?dating isnt one o! them. .od doesnt call anyone to missionary dating. =ar too much is at ris$. =or the same reason you wouldnt marry a nonchristian# you shouldnt date one. I! you wouldnt eat poison mushrooms# dont put them on your plate. I! that seems an un!air comparison to dating an un'elie er# reread 2 Borinthians ::11.

I! you wouldnt marry a person 'ecause they dont $now Bhrist# thats a good enough reason not to date them. Kore young men and women are derailed !rom their wal$ with Bhrist 'y dating non'elie ers than anything else. *he longer you allow a relationship to go on with a non'elie er# the more cloudy your )udgment will 'ecome and the more li$ely you will commit immorality and turn your 'ac$ on the >ord in other ways. Bon ictions wa er when we place oursel es in the realm o! temptation. *here is only one way to 'e sure you do not marry an un'elie er: ne er date an un'elie er. ). 4f you1re a co&&itted disci'le, only date co&&itted disci'les. &@nd i! youre not a committed disciple# why arent youD( It is necessary to date only Bhristians# 'ut it is not su!!icient. Kany Bhristians lac$ moral !i'er# con ictions# maturity# and discipline. Just 'ecause a person is a Bhristian doesnt ma$e him or her morally sa!e or a worthy partner. >ets !ace it?some Bhristians are still )er$s# and a Bhristian )er$ is still a )er$. Gont expect per!ection in the person you date. 5ut do expect character and godliness. Gont date someone with spiritual pro'lems or character de!iciencies that would cause you not to marry them. *his assumes that you yoursel! are a growing Bhristian# that you are de eloping a strong character and strong con ictions. I! youre not a committed# growing disciple# then a committed# growing disciple shouldnt 'e dating you. Gont only thin$ a'out 'eing out o! .ods will i! you date the wrong person? also thin$ a'out whether someone else would 'e out o! .ods will dating you. *he !irst $ey is 'eing the right person# the second $ey is dating the right person. +. 3hoose dates "y character, not ;ust a''earance. -*he >6FG does not loo$ at the things man loo$s at. Kan loo$s at the outward appearance# 'ut the >6FG loo$s at the heart.0 &1 4amuel 1::9( @ppearances change o er time. Coull !ind that out at your ten year and twenty year class reunionsI 5ut e en in the short-run# a person who loo$s great at !irst glance 'ut who lac$s character and depth ;uic$ly 'ecomes less attracti e. @ person with strong character ;uic$ly 'ecomes more attracti e. "hen we )udge people 'y their appearances# o!ten we turn out to 'e dead wrong?and meanwhile we may ha e made !oolish choices. ,. 9eali:e 3hrist is watching and is with you all e(ening<where(er you go and whate(er you do. +e is watching you 'ecause he is omniscient. +e is with you 'ecause hes omnipresent# 'ut as a 'elie er he is with you in a ery special way?he indwells you# you are his holy temple. Cou are the holy o! holies# the dwelling place o! the @lmighty: -Go you not $now that your 'odies are mem'ers o! Bhrist himsel!D 4hall I then ta$e the mem'ers o! Bhrist and )oin them to a prostitute &or anyone else in an immoral action(D <e erI0 &1 Borinthians ::13(. 4ince the +oly 4pirit o! .od is within us# when we do e il with our 'odies we 'ring .od himsel! to the e il with us. *his should 'e an unthin$a'le 'lasphemy !or any Bhristian. -. 9eali:e where you go and who you go with will influence your sexual desires. Its our nature to 'e in!luenced 'y our surroundings. "hen we put oursel es in a godly atmosphere with godly people# we are in!luenced toward godliness. "hen we put oursel es in an ungodly atmosphere with ungodly people we are in!luenced toward ungodliness. EGo not 'e misled: P5ad company corrupts good character.0 &I Borinthians 13:28(

E+e who wal$s with the wise grows wise# 'ut a companion o! !ools su!!ers harm.0 &7ro er's 12:20( E4tay away !rom the !oolish man# 'ecause you will not !ind $nowledge on his lips.0 &7ro er's 11:9( E. . . rash# conceited# lo ers o! pleasure rather than lo ers o! .od . . . +a e nothing to do with them.0 &2 *imothy 2:1-3( .. 9eali:e your date is your "rother or sister in 3hrist<not your lo(er.! -*reat older women as mothers# and younger women as sisters# with a'solute purity0 &1 *imothy 3:2(. Gont go into dating with the goal o! romance# 'ut the goal o! spending time with your 'rother or sister. "hen you 'egin a relationship# a rule o! thum' is# dont do anything physically you wouldnt do with your 'rother or sister. I! a Bhrist-centered and positi e relationship de elops# then you might mo e to cautious displays o! a!!ection such as hand-holding. 5ut 'e alert to the di!!erence 'etween appropriate a!!ection and intimacy. Cou must stay sa!ely 'ac$ !rom the line where either one is propelled toward sexual intimacy. Its ery hard to mo e 'ac$ once you e crossed a line?so dont cross it in the !irst place. *his person may end up 'eing a li!elong !riend# or married to your 'est !riend. Gont do anything with him or her that would cause you to 'e em'arrassed or sel!-conscious i! you end up 'eing 'est man or maid o! honor at his wedding. /. =ocus on tal%, not touch> con(ersation, not contact. Gating is a time to explore minds and souls# not 'odies. *reat your date as a su')ect to listen to and understand and appreciate# not an o')ect to experiment with# con;uer or satis!y your desires. 0. ?(oid fast &o(ing relationshi's and instant inti&acy. 7ace your relationship. *a$e it step 'y step# dont go into a !ree !all. @ car mo ing too !ast is li$ely to swer e out o! control when it hits a slic$ spot. Reep your !oot near the 'ra$e. Gont let this relationship get out o! control. 12. Plan the entire e(ening in ad(ance, with no "ig ga's. .aps always get !illed# o!ten with temptations to sexual impurity. Rnow what youre doing and either stic$ with the plan or go somewhere sa!e# where youre in the sight o! others &particularly others who respect the need !or purity(. Cou can still ha e a pri ate con ersation e en in a room !ull o! people. 5ut their presence will encourage you to !ocus on the con ersation rather than on temptation to impurity. 11. ?(oid setu's li%e the 'lague. 4etups include such things as 'eing alone on a couch or in a car late at night or in a 'edroom. &4tay out o! each others 'edroomsI( >earn not to trust yoursel! too much. 7sychologist +enry 5randts teenage son as$ed him# -Gad# dont you trust meD0 5randt responded# -@lone# late at night# in a car# with a girlD I dont trust me?why should I trust youD0 Getermine to stay away !rom the setup# rather than putting yoursel! in the setup and ha ing to call on your con ictions when your resistance is at its lowest# and youre most li$ely to gi e in. In the moment o! strength# ma$e decisions that will a oid temptation in the moment o! wea$ness. "hen youre on a diet# dont step !oot in a doughnut shop. In !act# dont e en wal$ down the street the doughnut shops on. 1#. @e accounta"le to so&eone a"out your 'hysical relationshi'.

*his should 'e a committed 'rother or sister in Bhrist# usually the same gender as you. It should 'e someone who ta$es sexual purity seriously# someone with wise ad ice# who will pray !or you and help hold you accounta'le to high standards. 7arents should tal$ openly with their children in ol ed in dating relationships. *hey should go o er these guidelines !or purity and tell their $ids# -5ecause we lo e you and its our )o' to protect you# !rom time to time were going to as$ you how youre doing in maintaining purity in your relationship.0 It is not only a parents right to as$ such a ;uestion# 'ut his responsi'ility. "e all need someone to 'e honest with us. Its a great help )ust to ha e someone as$ you# -+ow did it go last nightD Gid you honor the >ordD Gid you maintain your purityD0 I! you $now someones going to as$# its a great moti ator to choose wisely. 1). Pray together at the "eginning and end of each date. Bommit the e ening or day in ad ance to the >ord. @s$ him to 'e pleased in e erything you do. 7lan to pray at the end o! the date to than$ him !or the e ening. I! you $now this prayer is coming# it will help you to 'e sure to control yoursel! and please .od. 1+. 4&agine your 'arents and church leaders are watching you through the window. "ould that change how you 'eha eD *hen realiJe your li!e is not pri ate# its an open 'oo$ to 'e seen 'y a watching world: E"hat you ha e said in the dar$ will 'e heard in the daylight# and what you ha e whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will 'e proclaimed !rom the roo!s0 &>u$e 12:2(. Keditate on the !act that someone much more holy than your parents and church leaders# and to whom you are e en more accounta'le# is watching you# e en when you tell yoursel! youre alone. .od is omniscient and omnipresent. +e is the @udience o! 6ne: E"here can I go !rom your 4piritD "here can I !lee !rom your presence. I! I go up to the hea ens# you are there/ i! I ma$e my 'ed in the depths# you are there.E &7salm 128:9-10( EBan anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see himD0 declares the >6FG. 0Go not I !ill hea en and earthD0 &Jeremiah 22:22-21(. E*he eyes o! the >ord are e erywhere# $eeping watch on the wic$ed and the good0 &7ro er's 13:2(. EKy eyes are on all their ways/ they are not hidden !rom me# nor is their sin concealed !rom my eyes.0 &Jeremiah 1::19( .od not only sees our actions# he $nows our thoughts: ECou percei e my thoughts !rom a!ar. 5e!ore a word is on my tongue you $now it completely# 6 >ord.0 &7salm 128:2# 1( EL.odM $nows the secrets o! the heart.0 &7salm 11:21( EI the >ord search the heart and examine the mind.0 &Jeremiah 19:10( In temptation our theology 'ecomes ery cloudy. *he truth is# there is no such thing as a pri!ate moment. .od is ne er in the dar$. +e is always watching. "e may !ool oursel es and others# 'ut ne er .od. +e $nows what were thin$ing a'out and what were doing. @nd it is his appraisal o! our li!e that ultimately matters.

1,. When you sense the te&'tation co&ing, "efore things start to get out of control, 9AN. -=lee !rom sexual immorality0 &1 Borinthians ::18(. "hen it comes to sexual temptation# it always pays to 'e a coward. In this 'attle# retreat is always the !irst line o! de!ense. +e who hesitates &and rationaliJes( is lost. Joseph demonstrated this with 7otiphars wi!e: E@nd though she spo$e to Joseph day a!ter day# he re!used to go to 'ed with her or e en 'e with her . . . 4he caught him 'y his cloa$ and said# PBome to 'ed with meI 5ut he le!t his cloa$ in her hand and ran out o! the house.0 &.enesis 28:10# 12( Joseph not only re!used to go to 'ed with her 'ut to -e en 'e with her.0 +e saw the danger signs and a oided her. @nd when she !inally pushed hersel! on him# he did not trust himsel! to stay where he was# 'ut ran out o! the house. Gont stay and try to -resist0 temptation when you ha e the option o! running !rom it. @nd dont choose to 'e near someone when that person is a source o! temptation to you# or you are to her. 1-. Write out your own standards and enforce the& yourself<ne(er de'end on your date. Cou as an indi idual are responsi'le and accounta'le to .od !or what you do &Fomans 11:10-12/ Borinthians 3:10(. 4omeone elses con ictions or lac$ o! con ictions# or sel!-control or lac$ o! sel!control is not the issue. &*hough you should ne er 'e dating someone who lac$s con ictions and sel!control(. Cou are !ully responsi'le !or your 'eha ior. I! you !all into sexual immorality you ha e yoursel! to 'lame. 7ointing the !inger at someone else doesnt cut it. 1.. Ba%e your &oral decisions in ad(ance<not in the ti&e of te&'tation. I! you set your alarm cloc$ at night and tell yoursel! youll decide in the morning whether you need to get up when the alarm goes o!!# you may as well not set it. ,ither you are committed to getting up or youre not. I! its le!t to your !eelings in the moment o! truth# youll ma$e the wrong decision. @gain: in the moment o! strength ma$e choices that will ser e you well in the moment o! wea$ness. 1/. Be&ori:e Scri'ture on sexual 'urity and Cuote it when te&'ted. -I ha e hidden your "ord in my heart that I might not sin against you0 &7salm 118:11(. "hen 4atan tempted him# Jesus ;uoted 4cripture to resist. "hen the attac$s come# and they will# 'e ready to ta$e up the sword o! the 4pirit# which is the "ord o! .od &,phesians ::19(. *here are many 4cripture passages in this handout. Bhoose some# then write each one on a note card and wor$ on memoriJing them. 10. 6on1t do anything with your date you wouldn1t want so&eone else doing with your future &ate. 4omewhere out there is the man or woman youre going to marry. "hat do you want them to 'e doing now with someone elseD *hen li e 'y that standard yoursel!. -Go to others as you would ha e them do to you0 &>u$e ::21(. #2. $oo% out for the &oral wear down! of long dating relationshi's and long engage&ents. Its easy to pea$ out emotionally# to wear down in the 'attle !or sexual purity# to 'egin to rationaliJe that youre really a couple# and a!ter all you e 'een dating !or years and may'e you thin$ youre going to get married anyway# so youre -almost0 or -sort o!0 married# rightD "rong. "hen it comes to the !reedom to ha e sex theres )ust two $inds o! people?the unmarried# who dont ha e that !reedom# and the married# who do.

Gont get engaged until you can put the wedding in sight. "hen youre engaged people 'egin to treat you as no longer single# when in !act you are. Cou can 'e decei ed into slipping into some o! the pri ileges o! marriage 'e!ore marriage# especially sexual intimacy. #1. 4f you1(e (iolated so&e of these guidelines, confess, re'ent and i&'le&ent a 'lan to 're(ent future (iolations. "hen you con!ess and repent o! your sins# .od will cleanse you: E@s !ar as the east is !rom the west# so !ar has he remo ed our transgressions !rom us.0 &7salm 102:12( EI! we con!ess our sins# he is !aith!ul and )ust and will !orgi e us our sins and puri!y us !rom all unrighteousness.0 &1 John 1:8( @ man once con!essed to his priest# -=ather# !orgi e me !or stealing a hal! load o! hay last night . . . no# ma$e it a whole load.0 *he priest said# -"hich was it# a hal! load or a whole loadD0 *he man replied# -Ka$e it a whole load . . . Im going 'ac$ tonight !or the other hal!.0 Bon!ession is not genuine when you are planning to repeat the same sin. *here must 'e true repentance. , en i! you are no longer a irgin you can and should commit yoursel! to secondary irginity?to remain sexually pure !rom this day !orward# preser ing yoursel! only !or your marriage partner# should .od choose to gi e you one. Cou need more than good intentions to maintain your purity?you need a plan. *he plan you !ormulate may incorporate a num'er o! elements we e mentioned# 'ut it should include a oidance and accounta'ility. I! you are committed to a relationship with a growing Bhristian discuss it honestly and !ormulate a plan to pre ent !alling 'ac$ into premarital intimacy. ##. @e radical<do whate(er it ta%es to guard your sexual 'urity. "hen it comes to causes o! sin# dont wait !or them to taper o!! on their own &they ne er will(# ta$e decisi e steps to cut them o!!. Bonsider Bhrists power!ul words in Katthew 3 &repeated in 18:8-8(: ECou ha e heard that it was said# PGo not commit adultery. 5ut I tell you that anyone who loo$s at a woman lust!ully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. I! your right eye causes you to sin# gouge it out and throw it away. It is 'etter !or you to lose one part o! your 'ody than !or your whole 'ody to 'e thrown into hell. @nd i! your right hand causes you to sin# cut it o!! and throw it away. It is 'etter !or you to lose one part o! your 'ody than !or your whole 'ody to go into hell.0 &Katthew 3:29-20( I 'elie e Jesus uses this shoc$ing picture to persuade his listeners to do whate er is necessary to deal with temptation. &*he hand and eye are not the causes o! sin# 'ut the eye is a means o! access !or 'oth godly input and temptation# and the hand an instrument o! action# either sin!ul or righteous. "hat the eye loo$s at and the hand touches is what we must care!ully go ern to guard our purity.( Femo ing a tele ision !rom a home# getting rid o! a computer# or going out o! your way to ne er wal$ 'y a magaJine rac$ may appear drastic measures# 'ut theyre nothing compared to gouging out an eye or cutting o!! a handI Jesus is teaching us that we need to thin$ much more radically and counter? culturally in our e!!orts to 'e sexually pure. Gont 'e casual or gradual# 'e decisi e. I! that means ne er going onto the Internet# ne er going into a ideo store# ne er 'eing with a certain person# ne er listening to certain $inds o! music# then ma$e that resolution# no matter how radical or extreme it seems. &*he 5i'le doesnt tell me I must watch *S or ideos or send email?it does tell me I must guard my mind !rom impurity.( Cou might thin$ -I

should 'e strong enough to resist this temptation#0 'ut i! you arent# ta$e e ery step to a oid it. I! these things seem li$e crutches# !ine?use whate er crutches you need to help you wal$. @ Bhristian 'usinessman who tra els nearly e ery wee$ told me his wal$ with .od had 'een completely eroded 'ecause o! one reason?he stayed in hotels and had a long history o! !ailing to resist the temptation presented 'y the -'lac$ 'ox0 on top o! the *S set# which $ept enticing him to iew pornographic mo ies. @!ter years o! guilt and regret# !ollowed 'y succum'ing again and again to this same temptation# he !inally changed his strategy. 6ne day when he chec$ed into a hotel# he said -7lease ha e the *S remo ed !rom my room.0 "hen the des$ cler$ said# -4ir# i! you dont want to watch *S# )ust dont turn it on#0 he replied# -Im a paying customer# and Id li$e the tele ision remo ed.0 *hey sent in a maintenance man to remo e it and he spent his late e enings reading 4cripture and Bhristian 'oo$s with no temptation toward iewing. In the moment o! strength he made a decision that $ept him !rom temptation in the moment o! wea$ness. +e told me he has done this in e ery hotel he stays at !or the last three years and said# -*his single action has re olutioniJed my Bhristian li!e.0 I! this means ne!er 'eing alone 'ehind closed doors with your date# so 'e it. Go whate er it ta$es. .et creati e# get radical# and do all you can to a oid temptation. #). 3ount the cost of i&'urity. Fehearse in ad ance the de astating conse;uences o! sexual sin and youll 'e less li$ely to commit it. *he conse;uences are serious and many o! them are ongoing?losing your irginity# disappointing your >ord# 'eing a 'ad example to !amily or !riends# ha ing in the !uture to tell someone you lo e/ the strong possi'ility o! unwanted pregnancy and serious sexually transmitted diseases/ the mental images o! your sexual sin that can plague you/ the hindrances to marriage produced 'y premarital sex/ the greater possi'ility o! extramarital sex &adultery( among those who e had premarital sex. Femem'er that i! you do commit the sin o! !ornication# that can ne er 'e neutraliJed 'y the greater sin o! a'ortion. 7remarital sex is a sin/ pregnancy isnt a sin. Gont ma$e a child pay the conse;uences !or your wrong choice. +a e the courage to ma$e the right choice now. Gont tell yoursel! you may as well go ahead and sin since .od will !orgi e you anyway. *his cheapens the grace o! .od. @ny concept o! grace that ma$es sin seem unimportant is not 'i'lical. .od !orgi es when we sincerely repent# 'ut i! we sincerely repent we will show it 'y ta$ing necessary steps to a oid temptation. , en a !orgi en person must deal with many conse;uences to his sin. I! I get drun$# dri e rec$lessly# run o er a six year old girl and $ill her# i! I repent# .od will !orgi e me. 5ut his !orgi eness will not 'ring the girl 'ac$ to li!e# nor will it a'sol e me o! legal and relational conse;uences o! my sin. 4exual sin has lasting conse;uences?dont presume upon .ods !orgi eness to ta$e them all away. +e remo es guilt# 'ut he doesnt always remo e conse;uences. *hats )ust how li!e wor$s. I!e de!eloped the following material and presented it to many young people and their parents o!er many years# I!e honed it further for sharing and discussion with my own daughters and the young men who ha!e as%ed to date them# &ntil we ha!e gone o!er these principles together 'my wife and I$ our daughter and the boy( and ma%e sure there is complete agreement$ we dont allow a dating relationship to begin#

)e ha!e found that this is a great help not only to our daughters but to the young men wanting to date them# )e ma%e our expectations clear$ gi!e them specific guidance and principles 'not *ust rules($ and tell them well be as%ing them if they are li!ing up to these standards# +his deepens our relationship$ opens communication and creates healthy accountability# +hough there are sometimes ner!ous *itters as family members 'and especially the young men( anticipate these sessions$ in each case the time together has been strategic$ encouraging and rewarding# ,a!ing practiced this o!er a period of years$ it is impossible for us and for our daughters to imagine them dating a young man without first openly addressing with him all the principles that follow# 'And each time we do this$ of course$ it further reinforces these principles for our daughters and for us#( -It is .ods will that you should 'e sancti!ied: that you should a oid sexual immorality/ that each o! you should learn to control his own 'ody in a way that is holy and honora'le# not in passionate lust li$e the heathen# who do not $now .od.0 &1 *hessalonians 1:2-3(. =inal *houghts @re you ready to commit or recommit yoursel! to a li!e o! sexual purityD <ow is the time. <othing is more !leeting than the moment o! con iction. Fespond now# or you may ne er respond. Gont deny reality. .od made a uni erse in which righteousness is always rewarded in the long run# and unrighteousness is always punished in the long run. "hats right is always whats smart: "I the -.R/ search the heart and examine the mind$ to reward a man according to his conduct$ according to what his deeds deser!e#" '0eremiah 12 13(# "/oes not he who weighs the heart percei!e it4 /oes not he who guards your life %now it4 )ill he not repay each person according to what he has done4" 'Pro!erbs 56 15( "7or the Son of 8an is going to come in his 7athers glory with his angels$ and then he will reward each person according to what he has done#" '8atthew 19 52( ":)ell done$ my good ser!ant; his master replied# :Because you ha!e been trustworthy in a !ery small matter$ ta%e charge of ten cities#" '-u%e 1< 12( "God will gi!e to each person according to what he has done#" 'Romans 5 9( "Because you %now that the -ord will reward e!eryone for whate!er good he does#" '=phesians 9 >( >i e in such a way as to hear your >ord say to you one day# -"ell done.0 .et on the right side o! the uni erses moral system. +onor .od 'y li ing in sexual purity. I! you do# youll experience his 'lessing and rewards not only today# tomorrow# and ten years !rom now# 'ut throughout eternity. -I made a co enant with my eyes not to loo$ lust!ully at a girl. =or what is mans lot !rom .od a'o e# his heritage !rom the @lmighty on highD Is it not ruin !or the wic$ed# disaster !or those who do wrongD Goes he not see my ways and count my e ery stepD I! I ha e wal$ed in !alsehood or my !oot has hurried a!ter deceit?let .od weigh me in honest scales and he will $now that I am 'lameless?i! my steps ha e turned !rom the path# i! my heart has 'een led 'y my eyes# or i! my hands ha e 'een de!iled# then may others eat what I ha e sown# and may my crops 'e uprooted. I! my heart has 'een enticed 'y a woman# or i! I ha e lur$ed at my neigh'ors door# then may my wi!e grind another mans

grain# and may other men sleep with her. =or that would ha e 'een shame!ul# a sin to 'e )udged. It is a !ire that 'urns to Gestruction/ it would ha e uprooted my har est.0 &Jo' 21:1-12( *he Purity Princi'le includes practical guidelines to protect purity$ for singles$ for married couples$ and for parents who wish to train their children in purity# +hese include controlling the tele!ision and internet$ and offering alternati!es for how to spend our time# It also includes confession$ repentance and de!eloping biblical accountability that doesnt *ust admit sin$ but pre!ents it#