The Hidden Cost Of Modern Dating: Part 2
We touch our Bibles with the same hands that touch what, in God’s eyes, is someone else’s husband or wife.
We worship God with the same mouth we flatter and flirt with, and sometimes, during prayer as we stand in the presence of the Holy One, the guys think about how good she looks in that skirt and we ladies daydream of what it would be like to be married to him.
We say “I love you,” confusing love with infatuation because that is what it looks like on TV and Instagram, not realizing a love poured into our hearts from above would never string along an innocent heart with no intention of commitment.
They utter speech, and speak insolent things; all the workers of iniquity boast in themselves. They break in pieces Your people, O Lord, and afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless, yet they say, ‘The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob understand.” - Psalm 94:4-6
And all along, we think God doesn’t care. Because the Bible doesn’t explicitly forbid dating. Because we have free will to choose who we marry. Because it isn’t a sin. Because you haven’t seen any particularly bad consequences yet. Because everyone else is doing it and they seem to get to happily ever after. Because the churches have turned a blind eye to it all in hopes of retaining membership and encouraging more marriages. Because parents want to believe the best of their children. Because we want to marry, and doesn’t God also want that for us? Isn’t He letting us choose and figure it out on our own?
“These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself…” says the Lord in Psalm 50:21. The NLT translation says “You thought I didn’t care” and the Christian Standard Translation phrases it as “You thought that I am like you.”
God’s silence does not mean approval. For the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Yet, “whom have you dreaded and feared, so that you lied and failed to remember Me or take this to heart? Have I not held My peace such a long time, and still you do not fear me? (Isaiah 57:11) I have given her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works and I will strike her children dead, and all the churches will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelations 2:21-23) But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. Mark this, then, you who forgot God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver. (Psalm 50:21-22) Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will pay it back into [your] laps. (Isaiah 65:6) Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
“Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel,” says the Lord when the king of Assyria threatened the people of Israel and mocked their trust in God. Assyria thought they were threatening people, but in reality, they were going against the Holy One of Israel, and for that, they were destroyed. “For thus said the Lord of hosts, ‘he who touches you touches the apple of His eye’” (Zechariah 2:8).
Uzzah merely wanted to straighten the ark, but his carelessness towards the holiness of God cost him his life (2 Samuel 6). Similarly, carrying the ark in a cart instead of on the shoulders also seemed like a minor detail, but their actions betrayed a forgetfulness of the majesty and holiness of Jehovah’s presence. And we are the temple of God in whom Christ resides (1 Corinthians 3:16). To touch God’s holy temple without consulting Him about the proper order (1 Chronicles 15:13), could cost you your life.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
The tears she cries after you promised her forever and walked away to marry another, you WILL reap in your own marriage and family someday. “For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and He has not hidden His face from [her], but has heard when [s]he cried to Him” (Psalm 22:24). When David touched another man’s wife, he lost his next son.
The guy’s heart you broke after stringing him along until someone more your type or with a fancier car came around, well, you will have to answer to God Himself for why it took God an extra ten years to heal the guy’s heart while his future wife waited and prayed for God to send her a husband. For the Lord personally “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). And the Bible has nothing positive to say about the women who played with men’s hearts and brought them to ruin, such as Delilah and Jezebel.
Yes, God’s will is sovereign, but our choices have consequences and their ripple effect impacts not only us, but our future spouses and families, and the spouses of all the ex’s we leave behind in our pursuit of happily ever after. God forgives a repentant heart, but the consequences for our actions against God’s child don’t just magically disappear.
Sisters, we have the power to destroy a man’s heart; to scar him for a long time and delay or even take for ourselves another woman’s answered prayer.
Brothers, you have a sacred responsibility to choose wife wisely, fearfully and prayerfully before taking any woman for yourself.
You see, the Bible doesn’t need to write out a list of dating do’s and don’ts - we only need to get to know the character of God and how He views us as His sons and daughters in order to know how to treat each other. When you know who He is and who you are in Him, that changes everything. When you see Jesus in someone, you treat them differently. When you’ve experienced holiness, you live differently.
A 12-week devotional Bible study on God’s love, dating, marriage and singleness. Includes a downloadable PDF study with accompanying live video studies from our spring 2019 small group.
I could go on and on (I’ve written a book about this!), but it’s become a hot topic in the lives of the younger people in my church and the only way I could express my heart is through writing, so here it is.
So, in the words of the Apostle Paul, treat the young men in your church as brothers, with all purity, and for the gents, treat the younger women as sisters, with all purity (1 Timothy 5:1). But most of all, be love. The kind of love that is patient in waiting for God’s timing in her love story and kind even when bitterness sets in at how long it takes. It does not envy someone else’s love story, it does not parade itself to attract romantic attention, it is not proud. It does not dishonor its brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects the hearts of others and her own; always trusts God will provide, always hopes in God alone, and always perseveres. Because love seeks the best for her brothers and sisters, regardless of how she feels about them.
Have you been treating your dating relationships the way God intended?
If you want to delve deeper into studying the Bible on the topic of relationships (singleness, dating or marriage), check out our spring small group!
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.