Over the last month we have been doing a series on sexuality at Bethel. We have had several questions come in on the theme of sexual boundaries in a dating relationship. The following are several statements that are designed to help couples concerned about sexual purity to establish healthy, God-honouring boundaries.
Boundaries reflect value.
Imagine the following crazy scenario. A two-month-old sleeping child, no doubt deeply valued by her parents is placed on a curb, then the parents get in their car and begin to drive by the sleeping child at high speeds. They start at 50 feet but with each pass they get closer – 40…30…20…10…5 feet. What’s happening inside you as you observe what’s going on? Concern? Any sane person would be deeply disturbed by what they were observing and would no doubt experience increased levels of stress as the car gets closer to the sleeping baby on the curb.
Now repeat the same exercise with a bag of garbage – 50…40…30…10…5 feet! What’s happening inside? Probably not much. I mean who cares, it is just a bag of garbage. You see: boundaries reflect value.
Now the question about sexual involvement- how close to the curb do you want to go? Based on what the Bible says about the value of sexual purity, what boundary reflects wisdom? 50…40…30…10…5 feet? Scripture says to flee sexual immorality. Driving really close to the “curb” would not seem like fleeing but flirting with danger.
Boundaries acknowledge my humanity/brokenness
Regardless of the area of life, we all have a tendency to indulge, go too far, cross over the line, whether it is because of a sweet tooth, an undisciplined tongue etc. What is your area of greatest vulnerability? Isn’t setting a boundary a healthy self-realization of who I am?
Let me illustrate. Would we agree that winning over alcohol is dramatically increased when the alcohol is beyond reach, out of sight, locked up? Would we agree that if we were to take an alcoholic (recovering) and fill his/her fridge with beer, place cases of beer in his/her bedroom, that the chances of him/her withstanding the pressure decrease dramatically? Exposure would reduce composure.
Thus in the area of sexuality how would you respond to the following question? “What would you say to a young man and woman who love each other and want to live together so that they can be together more and find out if they are meant to live together but not have sex?” Are they reducing the chances of sexual purity by this kind of lifestyle?
Here is another set of questions. “My question is where do you draw the line? Some very strong Christians I know interpret the Bible as 'anything goes', up until the act of sex. Whereas others will not even kiss.
Is sleeping together in the same bed too far even if there's no fooling around? Spooning? Snuggling? And what about acts such as oral sex? Does the Bible talk about this?”
Boundaries don’t just help guard the body, but also the mind.
Can I honestly be involved in all levels of physical involvement (minus intercourse) and not be going places in my mind that are unhealthy?
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
Where your head goes, your body will follow. One writer has said, “Ideas become words, words become actions, actions become habits and habits become character.” The mind can pollute the body.
Also, one person wrote in and said, “Today's average dress code says, "see what a great body I have first and foremost, but if you check closely enough, I have a great mind as well!”
Let me say that both sexes, when it comes to dress, need to be asking the question “Am I dressing in a way that helps others walk the road of sexual purity in their mind?
Boundaries prioritize building the relationship.
How many of us have been in family situations where we come home and we all become entranced by the Blue Hue (TV)? Instead of talking and pursuing each other, we zone out and on to the television.
What can happen in a dating relationship that is not properly sexually defined is that instead of pursuing, conversing, engaging, and developing intimacy, these are all compromised, the relationship zones out and in onto the “blue hue”…sex! What happens time and time again in dating relationships is that the guy gets what he wants – sex – but the girl is left not getting what she wants – intimacy. The relationship fails to develop the skills of relationship-building because sex has come to soon in the relationship.
Boundaries are set up to protect us.
Whether married or single, the sexual boundaries God has put in place are for our good. If you are planning on getting married be assured that God’s premarital boundaries will lead to blessing. If you are married, staying within the boundaries will help build your life and love on a strong foundation. The good intentions of God’s truth are announced in the following texts.
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2