Biblical Dating – An Oxymoron? Part Five

Here is my disclaimer: part five is going to be full of laziness on my part. I am going to recap the other parts of this series a little and then just put some stuff in here from other sources. You have been disclaimed.  First, let’s redefine (quickly) courtship and dating. Courtship is when a man pursues a woman according to Biblical principles and the two will judge each other’s suitability for marriage, always being held accountable. Dating, as it seems today, begins when either the man or the woman initiates a more-than-friends relationship with the other, and then they conduct that relationship outside of any oversight or authority. Dating may or may not have marriage as its goal.

Now, toss out those terms – dating and courtship. Don’t get obsessed with the terms; get obsessed with the meaning behind each, and decide which one is more appropriate. I am of course talking to true Christians, because if you are not a Christian, then you have no worries at all about this subject – your worries should be much bigger.

Moving on, the difference between worldly dating and Biblical dating is in three areas – motive, mindset, and methods – as discussed previously. There are different steps in the modern dating process and in the Biblical process. The steps are in part four if you want to look at them again.

Next, I want to list some stuff from Joshua Harris’ book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” First, he lists seven steps to highly defective dating:

1. Dating leads to intimacy but not necessarily commitment.

2. Dating tends to skip the “friendship” stage of a relationship.

3. Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love.

4. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.

5. Dating, in many cases, distracts young people from their primary responsibility of preparing them for the future.

6. Dating can cause discontentment with God’s gift of singleness.

7. Dating creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person’s character.

Also, Harris lists seven steps to highly effective dating:

1. Embrace the beauty of total intimacy and total commitment in marriage.

2. Choose to build your future marriage on the solid foundation of friendship with your spouse.

3. Choose purity and the clarity that comes in relationship undistracted by premarital physical involvements.

4. Say yes to the joy, wisdom, and Godly perspective that comes from investing in family and other friends.

5. Choose to glorify God and serve your future spouse by using this time in your life to prepare for the future.

6. Embrace the contentment that comes with a heart of gratefulness and an attitude that seeks to make the most of today.

7. Choose to get to know your future spouse in a setting that lets you both see who you really are and what your true character is.

Finally, Harris shows us two criteria by which to evaluate a person (for the purpose of a proper dating relationship) but cautions us to maintain a humble attitude of self-examination:

1. Character which is defined by the choices and decisions that a person has made and makes each day. We can evaluate a person’s character by observing how a person relates to God and whether or not the individual has a dynamic, growing, personal relationship with Him. We can also look at the way he or she treats others, such as authorities, parents, and members of the opposite sex. Finally, we can take note of the way this person disciplines his or her personal life regarding the use of time, money, and care of his or her body.

2. Attitude which is how a person looks at and reacts to life. A Godly attitude is expressed through a willing obedience to God, humility, industriousness, as well as contentment and hopefulness.

Coming up in part six, I will share an article on steps to great dating and we will discuss the topic of marriage a little. (Yikes! I said the “m” word!)

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope {fixed} on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” – 1 John 3:2-3 (NASB)

– Adam Smith

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