Honoring God In Singleness

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Honoring god in relationships

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K.A. Wypych

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Maybe you’re too young to remember John Cusack standing on the lawn with a boombox or Jerry Maguire’s, “You had me at, ‘Hello.’” Maybe you missed Julia Roberts’ moving statement of, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her,” from “Notting Hill.” Either way, love is a part of our culture and the human experience.

As teenagers and student athletes mature into young adults, the dating world can evolve into part of everyday life. Athletes develop attraction to friends and classmates and embark on relationships to test compatibility and grow together. As Christians, the question becomes, “How do we honor God in our relationships and in our singleness?”

Culture will tell us that being single and being in a relationship are opposite sides of the coin. I would challenge, however, that they are the same side of the coin. The reason? Our personal characteristics aren’t altered by our circumstances. 

If we want to honor God in our dating relationships, we first need to learn to honor God in our singleness.

QUESTION TO CONSIDER

How important is your mate’s walk with Christ?

CHECK YOUR IMAGE

Before heading through the door to go out, most people take a last look in the mirror. Does that last look really make a difference? Of course! While what counts is who we are on the inside, our outward appearance acts as an ambassador for what we believe and who we are on the inside.

How are your outsides representing your beliefs about God? Where do modesty and style meet for you?

WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL?

Dating as a way to interact and explore the land of relationships is reasonable, but at some point we need to narrow down what we are looking for. How important is your mate’s walk with Christ? Do you prefer someone who shares your same interests? Does family background influence your relationship decisions?

These are important questions when embarking on a relationship but they are also important discussion points for a single person. Figuring out what you are looking for can save a lot of hurt and confusion on both sides of a relationship later down the line.

DRIVING WITH GUARDRAILS

Just as civil engineers put guardrails up strategically along tight curves and steep overpasses to prevent catastrophe, so must we place guardrails in our relationships and our singleness. Knowing what we’re willing to tolerate is important before heading down the path of involvement with another person. In order to honor God in our personal lives, we need to have at least some idea of how to maneuver this difficult terrain.

Some potential guardrails might be:

  • How often do you think it is appropriate to see a boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • What is the difference between talking and dating?
  • At what point do you become exclusive with another person?
  • How much communication is too much or enough?
  • What physical boundaries are permissible?
  • Do you need to be present at your crush’s sporting events to show support? 

One of the keys to successful relationships is managing expectations. If people are on different pages in any type of relationship, then there are bound to be struggles and conflicts. Knowing our guardrails and what we’re willing to tolerate is a big start.

If we want to honor God in our dating relationships, we first need to learn to honor God in our singleness.

LET’S DRIVE INTO PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES

Probably the most difficult guardrail to face is physical boundaries. Culture tells us that sex and physical intimacy are permissable outside of marriage. We see it on television and online. Sex permeates nearly every aspect of our culture. Because of its pervasiveness, we need to know ahead of time where we stand.

God speaks a different message about sex. His Word says it’s a form of worship that is reserved for marriage. While this stance can be ridiculed by society, God doesn’t mince words. Part of setting up guardrails is knowing how much physical touch we can undergo without straying from our commitment to follow God’s Word.

Is holding hands too much for you? Is kissing okay? One pastor told me it’s okay to be affectionate but we must be careful about the limits. Committing to purity before getting into a relationship and standing solidly in that as a single is crucial to being God-honoring in our relationships.

THE 411

The key to being God-honoring within our relationships is establishing God-honoring behaviors and mindsets as a single person before we are in a relationship. We need to know what image we want to project, what we are looking for in a relationship or romantic friendship, and what guardrails we have in place before we venture into communication with a potential love interest.

If you are contemplating dating or potentially talking to someone, take a little time to journal your responses to the above three areas and answer the questions posed in each section. Get an accountability partner (preferably someone a little older and mature in their Christian walk like a neighbor, church friend, or a relative) and be sure to check in with them regarding your dating.

It’s easy to let our feelings get the best of us which can lead to hurt and the sinful relinquishing of our values. Establishing a firm foundation of who we are and who we want to be in Christ is the first step to being God-honoring in both our relationships and our singleness.

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