Letters to a 16 Year Old, Finale

🙂 I don’t mind answering, beautiful, it’s just something that’s very important to me so I wanted to make sure I had time to gather my thoughts and write. Usually, I’m answering you between other things, on my phone. As it turns out, I’m actually on my phone now, waiting out a hail storm.

Which is kind of like dating (a hail storm is). Honestly, I think that dating and purity are almost mutually exclusive. I think unless your goal is to figure out if you can be married, and you are READY to be married, opposite sex friendships are best in groups and in public. And I think kissing or physical affection beyond that shared within all friendships, in romantic settings, is pretty much just asking for trouble. Maybe another or better way to say it is: I can’t think of much holy that comes from kissing and such outside of marriage.

A helpful lens for looking at the issue is this: purity is not a set of things you don’t do. It means freedom from all things but one. For instance, gold is pure when all other things have been removed. So for you or I to be purely sanctified or set apart FOR God, it means we are free FROM all other things. And by that standard I may ask myself, is it for the sake of God, his glory and his kingdom that I would date? What’s truly amazing to me is that sometimes in the world the answer is yes. Sometimes God brings people together and the result is that their effort together is worth more to His kingdom than the sum of each of their individual services combined. So they serve and love God better as a couple than they did as individuals.

That is not the norm in our world. In modern American society, ppl often start dating out of loneliness, lust, or boredom. Rarely do they ask, “will this benefit the kingdom? Will it benefit my relationship with God?” Rarely do they ask Him, “Would you have me do this, Father?” it’s not that I can’t relate, sometimes we start to get attached before we realize. Sometimes feelings and “chemistry” or “connection” scream louder than wisdom and the still soft voice of our Helper. The primary way to avoid this is by being in relationship with God such that you know his voice, and can pick it out of the rumble of the crowd of lies.

Every person is different. There is so much wisdom to be had. I recommend anything by Elisabeth Elliot (especially Passion and Purity) and “boy meets girl” by Joshua Harris. But I know this for me: the most edifying and purifying things for how I feel about dating have been reading the Bible and learning good doctrine. The more I know about God, the more accurately I view him, the better I understand and relate to the rest of the world. I find that the issue never is situation x or y, the issue is God’s holiness and my relationship or reaction to him.

That being said, it is also ALWAYS good to have solid and well informed accountability: someone who loves enough to care about the specifics of the relationship and ask the hard questions. And like everything else one goes after in life, it’s best to have clear goals and expectations.

Hope that answers what you were asking. 🙂

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