Maintaining Clear Boundaries
by Leah Nichols 7/05/2010 / Dating
You know the story.
Girl meets guy. Guy woos girl....says stuff like, "You're just so beautiful," and "I can't believe how wonderful you are," and "Other guys were fools not to see how much you ____," and so on.
Guy is not exactly the ideal of godliness, and he may even have some habits and behavioral tendencies that would make even the weakest believer cringe, but girl does not care.
She knows in her heart that guy is not really all that bad, and more than that, because she's strong in faith, they will work as a couple with her taking the spiritual lead.
She knows better than to end up in bed with him - that commandment is as clear as day in her mind. There's no way she'd break that rule.
And so the story goes. First she lets him kiss her, then she finds herself making out on the couch, and the next thing she knows, she's dealing with a whole load of shame, if not an unplanned pregnancy.
No, I'm not cynical. Yet I do see an increasing number of women pass through our labor & delivery unit without a wedding band, and many claim to be professing Christians. So how do they end up there, when the Scripture is so explicitly clear on the matter?
Paul gives us a direct admonition regarding the life of faith in I Corinthians 10:12 - "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (NKJV) This Scripture reflects the classic warning in Proverbs: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV).The first reason why a woman, or anyone for that matter, falls into a pattern of sin, has to do with her self-perception. She ignores the warnings about dating someone weak in the faith (or not at all in the faith) and says to herself, I am an exception - I will be able to resist sin.
My sisters, the Bible speaks very clearly to this condition: "Do not be unequally yoked," (II Corinthians 6:14 NKJV) which in plain English means Do Not Be Unequally Yoked!
The moment we think that we can resist sin by our own willpower or holiness, we fall into a trap laid quite ingeniously for us by the enemy. Galatians 6:1 warns, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." (NKJV, emphasis mine) We cannot afford to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3) - such pride stands in the way of God's help. Over and over the Bible states that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34). We cannot afford to think that we will not fall when placed into the same situation - Jesus warns in Matthew 7:1-2 that the very thing we judge in another will be judged in our own life.
A sober, humble view of ourselves is the first way to resist sin in this area. Even if I have guarded my heart for years and refused to date anyone who might drag me down spiritually, if I believe for one second that I can make an exception just once and that I will not fall away, I place myself directly into that trap. Over and over I have seen different friends make that fateful decision despite warnings from all the believers around them, and over and over again they fall - every single time.
God has placed His body around us for our protection and to spur us on in the faith. Allow the believers around you to speak into your life. On our own, we may easily slip up, but with the admonitions of those around us (as long as we actually listen) we may steady our feet on the path of righteousness.
Secondly, we must resist the temptation to believe that the world has anything to offer us that would excel the glory of following Christ. Many women who make the choice to date someone outside the faith mistakenly believe that God is withholding from them - that they are missing something wonderful that their heart longs to experience. Surely God would not withhold a relationship from them, especially if it makes them happy!
James 4:1-10 addresses the issue of following after worldly desires:
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way. You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble." So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. (James 4:1-10 The Message)
When we "flirt with the world" we risk that intimate friendship with God that brings righteousness and life. We have heard that God can satisfy our longings: "For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness" (Psalm 107:9 NKJV). Desiring to seek that satisfaction through the ways of the world only brings hurt and destruction!
Remember Abraham, who waited over 25 years for the fulfillment of the promise - when he tried to make it happen on his own, he created a whole mess that carries on in the Middle East even into the present day. God still fulfilled His promise to Abraham, however, and will fulfill every promise to us today (I Corinthians 1:20). If we hold onto those promises He has made, and resist the passions of the world, we will experience the joy of peaceful obedience to the One who satisfies the soul.
Sisters, I know that many of you long for the love of a man. God knows that deep desire of your heart, and even put that there Himself. He knows the very person that is created to match you perfectly. In His own time, God will bring you together.
God desires that you and I will come to Him and seek Him to fulfill the desires of our hearts! He joyfully longs to bless those who ask Him: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV)
While you wait for His answer, though, you must make boundaries clear in your life. Seek that humility that God draws close to, and throw away every desire for the world. Only then can you make decisions with a pure conscience.
May we all honor God in everything we do!
Leah writes in her spare time....whenever it's available. She and her husband Ryan live in the greater Los Angeles area, where she works as a labor/delivery nurse, writing and playing the violin on the side. She also enjoys cooking, baking, walking, and reading blogs on the internet.