7 PROVEN GUIDELINES FOR GODLY DATING by MIRACLE NWOKEDI
Intro by Edith Ohaja:
Some Christians feel that children of God should not date at all. But that, as many would agree, is an untenable position. The more prevalent dilemma is that many young believers are caught between pleasing God in their relationships with the opposite sex and going the way of the world. Some sincerely want to do the right thing but don’t know how.
To address this issue, I invited a young Christian woman that I admire, Miracle Nwokedi, to write a guest post on it. Miracle is an author and a graduate of Mass Communication from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. (You can read her bio at the end of the post.)
Miracle has drawn from the Scriptures and her personal experience before she got married in crafting a rich resource for today’s Christian youth on this controversial, yet unavoidable, topic. This post will also come in handy for parents, teachers and guardians as they seek to direct the youths.
I am most grateful to her for sharing with us and I pray that God will use her more and more through writing and speaking that edifies His children. I also pray for abundant blessings in her personal life and on her family in Jesus’ name.
7 PROVEN GUIDELINES FOR GODLY DATING by MIRACLE NWOKEDI
It is illogical to think that young Christians do not aspire to relate closely with the opposite sex and it is unrealistic to tell them not to. I mean, as young Christians meet one another in church units, youth programmes, camps or even in non-Christian gatherings, they begin to share some connection. Just a little connectedness, and the desire for that special somebody who would stay closer, inspire, push and keep them straight starts to burn. At least, that’s the best way we can put it.
Who Should Date?
The idea to date should come from a mature mind ready to grab and grapple with everything that comes with dating. And by mature, I’m not referring to age because the age to begin dating is relative. I am talking about emotional, psychological and spiritual maturity to mention but a few.
While we have established that the age to begin dating is relative, individuals who have not had a full grasp of who they really are, what they want, why they are here (on earth) and where they are going, who most often would be caught somewhere between preteen and early teenage are not encouraged to date. Dating will mostly look appropriate when the individuals involved, though young, are looking seriously to settling down together and in the nearest future.
(Related: Val’s Day Blues)
Most Essential Ground Rule for Godly Dating
For a God-honouring and enriching relationship, there should be strict obedience to God’s word on purity – in thoughts, words and deeds.
Purity in Thoughts
“Guard you heart with all diligence”(Proverbs 4:23 KJV). The mind of every young Christian is a battle field. Ungodly thoughts are almost always something they inadvertently find themselves entertaining. There is a tendency that as young Christians strive to be sexually pure in their bodies, it becomes too much of a hard work putting a tight leash on the warring thoughts.
But thoughts do not come from a vacuum. They usually spark off from the music they listened to, the movie they watched, conversations they had or just something they had read. The eye is the lamp of the body (Luke 11:34). You can make a covenant with your eyes for the Lord (Job 31:1). And think of things that are right, pure, noble, lovely and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Purity in Words
“Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG). Our tongues have been sanctified, consecrated to God. The words that they speak must aim at lifting, building and edification. The purest of words, seasoned and spoken to our partners with grace can heal, inspire and bring hope in despairing times.
Words have incredible power and the survival of a relationship can depend on the words expressed in it. Let every word be tasted as you speak to each other. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth” (Ephesians 4:29). Words have been employed amongst young Christians to emasculate, shame and run down their partners’ self-esteem. That does not measure up to God’s standard of relating with someone. Besides, foul and suggestive words in the name of being trendy have been used by young Christians to speak defilement into the lives of their partners without knowing it.
Purity in Deeds
So often, young Christians in a relationship are pressured to start kindling fires that would burn rather than keep them warm. There are too many emotions coursing through them, trying to find expression in their bodies. But yielding to fleshly lust can never be a natural way to express love.The truth still remains that every action and inaction in dating among Christian youths must be in pursuit of righteousness, clear-conscience and the ultimate good.
During my days in the university, a young sister tried so much to mix the Scriptures with the patterns of the world and head-knowledge. She disputed the need for sexual purity.
“How do we know we are sexually compatible and that we can satisfy each other in marriage if we don’t get to ‘test out’ while we are dating?” she asked.
As logical as that sounds, it reveals a lack of trust in God and self-deception. Self-deception in the sense that one feels that sexual compatibility is the most important basis for marital fulfillment and that disobedience to the clear word of God can lead to marital bliss. For instance, spouses can have great sex and yet lie to and cheat on each other, and this can result from the evil seed sown when sexual boundaries were trespassed through premarital sex.
When I was courting my husband, we agreed on setting boundaries for visitations. He had a covenant to keep. I did too. When our rendezvous was not in a restaurant, my family house and sometimes his sister’s were accessed. There was enough space in both houses to allow us a measure of privacy, yet under some watch. It was just our own method. Find what works well for both of you and apply it.
Sexual purity is a godly virtue. It stems from a renewed mind that is set to please God. It is not the same as abstinence. Sexual purity is much more than that. It is a spiritual exercise. It is honouring God in your body understanding that you have been bought with a price.
(Related: What Are Your Options When Temptations Come?)
A wholesome relationship will not open you up to gratifying the lusts of the flesh because the body is for the Lord, not for gratifying of the flesh (1 Corinthians 6:13).
Sexual immorality is not just a desire to gratify sexual craving. It is perversion. It is Satan’s way of making it seem like you can have it all outside marriage. Don’t buy it! In the words of Pastor Matt Chandler, “Nothing good has ever come from a boy and girl cuddling on the couch, watching a movie from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.” It all starts with physical contact of the intimate kind. Holding hands, a hug or a peck are certainly not the same as deep kissing and other forms of foreplay. And once aroused, you will probably find that surge of erotic desire overwhelming.
Below are 7 Proven Guidelines for Godly Dating.
1. Consult God before dating anyone: It is advisable to get a divine green light before dating anyone or going into a relationship. Before I started taking my husband’s overtures seriously, I consulted the Lord and asked for His will. I prayed and got the spiritual conviction I needed. God who created you knows who will complement you best and help you become what He has planned for you to be.
Thereafter, make God the centre of your relationship. Pray and study the Bible together, if possible. A three-fold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). He will moderate your interactions, pruning the negative and amplifying the positive for the best outcome.
2. Have reasonable expectations: Do not overburden your partner with demands. This is mostly addressed to girls. God is still your Jehovah Jireh. Accept what your partner can afford and look forward to a better tomorrow. Steer clear of the current craze for Assurance started by Nigerian singer, Davido. You can read about it via the Related Post below.
(Related: Aspiration in the Age of Assurance)
3. Desist from every appearance of evil: Avoid spending time in places where other people will think wrongly of you and your partner. You should be extremely careful about visiting each other alone. You have no business locking yourselves up in a closet, much less staying over for the night. Make no room for things (conversations, movies and music) that can stir up and awaken the flesh (Songs 2:7;3:5;8:4).
4. Avoid ungodly companions who will pressure you to go against the will of God: Evil association will always corrupt good manners. It is also in your best interest that your family is aware. That, in itself, provides an eagle-eyed check on your relationship.
5. Employ group dating: This helps friends who profess godliness to keep a close eye on one another, especially when the parties involved are just starting their relationships. Also the security problems of today and the issues of wolves in sheep’s clothing amongst Christians will sometimes require that you do not just hang out with a date all by yourself. Every ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ who comes to church may not be a true disciple of Christ. Many have been destroyed this way. Group dating prevents or, at least, lessens the sexual tension that results when you’re alone with your date and saves you from responding to certain fleshly lust. It also makes your time together more enriching because of the input of the other couples.
(Related: What True Love Looks Like)
6. Encourage each other’s wholesome aspirations: Take an interest in your partner’s pursuits. Gently discourage their unhealthy interests and enthusiastically support the noble ones. If, for instance, they love to sing but are self-conscious about it, you could have them sing for you, commend their ability and nudge them towards how they can improve. Don’t make fun of them or flatter them. Truthfulness is paramount if you actually want to help them.
7. Have a life: Be busy with whatever your hand finds to do. Be busy fulfilling purpose so that you don’t tie yourself around your partner. Clinginess can sometimes pretty much suck the juice out of a relationship.
Guide my steps in every relationship I have, dear Lord, and may they honour you even as they help me to fulfil my purpose in life in Jesus’ name. Amen.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Miracle Nwokedi is a young Christian who employs speaking and writing as tools in reaching out to the world. Whether she is speaking to a closed-group of people, writing fiction or nonfiction, the motivation is to teach, inspire, heal and create change in her generation. She became aware of God’s call upon her life at a very young age when she started joining her mum in missionary ministries. Since then, she has been teaching God’s word in several Christian outreaches especially to young people and women.
Miracle recently had a collection of her short stories published by Words, Rhymes and Rhythm under the title Sons with Roots. You can learn more about it here. She lives with her husband, Tony (a businessman who loves the Lord), in Asaba, Nigeria. She can be reached on Facebook.
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