A Black and White Answer to the Question, “How far is too far?”
Within Christian dating, the most popular question still remains to be “How far is too far” as it relates to physical intimacy and what is permissible in God’s eyes. Before I had developed PLUM as a baseline for understanding God’s design for sex and defining sexual sin, I had always been unsatisfied with the majority of the answers that were being given to this question to Christians who genuinely wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes.
Many of these unsatisfying answers included ambiguous sayings, like:
“Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in front of your parents.”
“Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want someone else to do with your future spouse.”
“Don’t do anything that will lead to something more.”
“Don’t kiss on the lips, instead kiss on the cheek or forehead.”
“Remember that God is in the room with you, and He is watching!”
Even though these types of answers are well meaning, they lack any kind of Biblical support as far as defining the point of sinning sexually. As far as I can tell, the line that defines sexual sin is the same line that defines “how far is too far.”
If you read my blog at all, you know that I believe sexual sin is defined by any time that the four purposes (pleasure, love, unity and multiplying) of sex are separated from one another. Therefore, the answer to the question, “how far is too far?” would be the same. You can click here if you would like to learn more about PLUM.
Jesus said that whoever even so much as looks at another person lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart. This means that even looking can be going too far! For dating couples who are striving for holiness in their relationship, they will “go too far” anytime they even look at one another lustfully.
So what’s the answer to the question, “How far is too far?”
As soon as you’ve looked lustfully at someone else, YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR!
If we understand the line for sexual sin in this way, it should help dictate the dating philosophy of a committed Christian who is seeking to honor God with his or her body.
Here are a few practical ways this can change the way someone would date:
Dress appropriately, and seek out those who do the same
One of the biggest struggles in our culture is the custom of dressing in a way that seeks to draw the attention of other people. Christians who are seeking their future spouse should dress in a way that is conscious of this, and seek a wardrobe that does not intend to boast about their body. One of the ways I was attracted to my wife Mandy was when I noticed that she dressed modestly and it spoke volumes about her security in Christ. The best part is that after we got married was when we got to truly enjoy each other’s bodies and know that we had exclusive access to each other intimately! A man or woman who desires to reserve their bodies for their spouse should be an extremely attractive quality for a Christian.
Dating/hanging out in groups of Christian friends
This is one of the most practiced forms of accountability in the Christian-dating community and for good reason. Getting to know someone within a group setting provides several important benefits in seeking a spouse-for-life:
- You can see how the person treats others, both whom they get along with and those they may not.
- You can see how the other person relates to others of the opposite gender. If they are too touchy-feely or have questionable boundaries with “friends” of the opposite gender, those can be red flags to watch out for.
- The group can act as a buffer zone or even a healthy distraction that will lessen the temptation to become overly affectionate (1 Corinthians 6:18).
- Your other friends in the group can share their observations and feelings concerning the person you are dating or getting to know. Feedback from trustworthy Christian friends is extremely valuable! (Proverbs 12:15). Both Mandy and I had mutual friends that thankfully had very good things to say about us to the other person as well as our relationship together, and that was one of the most significant ways that we were confirmed in our desire to marry each other.
These are just a few of the ways that dating and hanging out in groups is a healthy option for Christian dating. I’m sure there are more, and I encourage you to ask other trustworthy Christians about some of the other benefits as opposed to the 1-on-1 dating method that is so much more common in the American culture.
Remembering where the line is
Christians should be constantly dragged back behind the line that firmly defines sexual immorality, and each time they mess up they can be reminded of the holy standard that God has set for them, but also be at peace in their salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin. This is the Gospel; that we are far more sinful that we ever thought, and God is more loving than we could ever imagine. There is no one that is pure in God’s eyes, let alone sexually pure, and it is only through the blood of Christ that we are purified and forgiven of our sin.
[bctt tweet=”This is the Gospel; that we are far more sinful that we ever thought, and God is more loving than we could ever imagine.” username=”ys_scoop”]
So, how far is too far? Anytime anyone looks at another person with lust, they have gone too far. Let us not compromise the holy standard that is set before us by a holy God, and to remember His great grace upon those whom He has called, we were all once children of wrath but are now made children of God through Jesus Christ.
Corwin Wong has served in youth ministry for 12 years and is currently a youth pastor in Brentwood, CA. He is also the author and founder of PLUM: God’s Design for Sex, a seminar that is presented to all audiences that explains the theology behind God’s purposes for sex. For more information and to read his blogs, go to: PLUMGODSDESIGNFORSEX.COM.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.