The Hidden Cost Of Modern Dating: Part 1
As the young people in my life recently discovered dating, watching them couple off has left my heart burning with one overarching piece of advice. This is not a purity post (although that is an important discussion as well!). No, this is something much more important. This is about a holy God and the heart He has for His people, especially the youth, because I’ve gotten a glimpse of the Lord’s heart for the next generation, and y’all, if we can walk before Him with a pure heart and love Him above all else, what God can do through us and in us is without boundaries!
That’s the heart of it. We belong to a holy God who is possessive of His children for whom He sent His one and only son to die for. One doesn’t ever forget that high of a price paid. As I’ve gotten to know this holy God, I’ve learned He cares deeply for His children, which means He cares about what happens in our lives and how others treat us. And not just us, but each one of us. He cares for me – the number of hairs on my head and every tear I cry. The Bible may not say anything about casual dating, but it does give us an understanding of God’s heart for how we as believers treat each other.
Let’s start with how we actually treat each other (especially when we’re young and single/dating). Between hanging out until 4 am and Snapchatting our most private thoughts and dreams, we see nothing wrong with bearing open our hearts to multiple guys. Sexting, sending nude or semi-nude photos doesn’t seem so bad when our clothes barely cover anything in public anyways. If he’s seen you in a bikini, what’s the harm, right?
Somewhere along the way, we in the church began to see the opposite gender as someone to selfishly fulfill our longings and desires, and for some, a guy to pay for your dinner and drive you places, or a girl to have fun with and mess around.
Technically, he could be your husband maybe someday, so why not give him husband privileges ahead of time? And should he break your heart, why not try again with the next guy who definitely promises you forever and seems so different than the last one. He sings in the worship band and he gave you a promise ring! But most of all, we know we want to get married and we feel like we have to do everything in our control to make it happen ASAP.
So, we date casually. Sure, we may say we intend to marry the person, but how believable does that become after three guys? Five? Ten? Fifty dates? Four years of dating the same person? When the guys change over and over again or the relationship drags on with no official commitment before God?
Gents, that girl you’re sexting with no intention of ever marrying her? Girls, that guy you built a daydream around of happily ever after and share your most intimate thoughts with (as “just a friend”)?
That girl is the apple of her Heavenly Father’s eye.
That guy is the son of Yahweh.
That woman is someone else’s wife in God’s eyes.
That man has been set apart by the Lord for one of your sisters in Christ.
Until God tells both of you otherwise, she is being prepared to become someone else’s helpmate, and he is being groomed to become the provider for another woman.
But most of all, she is His before she is yours. And he is also His, before he is yours. And we do NOT get to touch a holy God’s child or casually flirt with the heart in which the Holy Spirit lives without talking to God about it first. Because “if anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in [Him] – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:6-7). “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
Because the God I’ve been getting to know the last few years? Well, I don’t take Him for the kind of Father who would give me permission to lead one of His sons into temptation with how I dress, a flirty look, or late night heart to hearts under the cover of darkness and behind phone screens. Trust me, I’ve tried it and my Heavenly Father was not pleased with me, and He has had to remind me many times to guard my heart, my mouth and my eyes in order to not take or damage someone else’s God-allotted share.
He is also not a God that - if asked by a guy - would allow one of his sons to break my heart or take my body for his pleasure or in his search for a wife.
Yet, we do all of this so casually IN THE CHURCH, but we do it on our own, not with God’s blessing. True, in a way, God allows it to happen, even if it breaks His heart, because that is what free will is. Just because I can, does not mean I should. Just because I want, doesn’t mean I get to go get it.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. -1 Corinthians 10:23
To the woman who fears the Lord, every man – single or married – is a brother in Christ until one in particular pursues her heart towards marriage WITH God’s blessing, intentionally, transparently and with the accountability of family and the church. And then, only after “I do” before God and the church, does he become hers and she becomes his – body, soul, and mind. We don’t easily give any of that away, because we know it all belongs to God and it is all with Him for safekeeping until the day He decides to bring us to a certain man’s attention.
And the man walking with God will view his sisters in Christ as treasures hidden to discover and get to know only with God’s permission. To him, her beauty comes from Christ within her, not a hot body to admire and take for himself.
As Greg Morse put it, "behold her as God does: as a creature with imperishable beauty (1 Peter 3:4). An untainted, untouchable, unfailing beauty, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. A beauty that is renewed day by day — though the outer frame wastes away. A beauty that survives longer than a century. A beauty that grows more effervescent the closer it gets to bursting through its earthly cocoon. An eternal beauty that her God adorns her with even now. Our Groom sees his church in such beauty. The world’s dead eyes find little beyond a despised and ignored group of unremarkable people — but she is God’s delight. The apple of his eye. She is his “beautiful one.” His lily amongst brambles (Song of Solomon 2:2), his wheat among the tares. She is unique, transcendent, superlative. His love has made her so. She bears the beauty of being his. Forever.”
Y’all, it scares me to think of how lightly and casually we treat the hearts and bodies of the ones God sanctified with the blood of His only son. That we think we can take for ourselves what our eyes lust after and our flesh demands, under the pretense of finding a spouse, yet having no real intention of making good on those promises, especially if a prettier, shinier option should come along. As Spurgeon said, “The accuser of the brethren shall be met with the Advocate of the Saints.”
To be continued…
Check back tomorrow to continue reading what the Bible says about dating!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yelena is the founder and editor in chief of Tirzah. Yelena works as an attorney in tax and in her spare time, she is working on her first book for unmarried twenty-something women in extended waiting seasons and running Tirzah. She has a passion for pointing young women to Christ, and enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with her family.