I didn’t start dating until college. Yep. That’s right. My first ever time out with a boy happened in college. In fact, other than my fiancé, I’ve only ever dated one other guy. I chose not to date in high school because, truthfully, I didn’t believe I, or the guys around me, were ready to date. In my high school years, God taught my a really important truth about purity and dating that shaped the way I chose to approach any relationship with a guy.
That truth is found in Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[g] her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body.
31 For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.
God places a very high standard for marriages to the point that the author of the passage goes as far to say that a man should love his wife just like Christ loved the church (his people). Christ completely emptied Himself of Himself while on earth and ultimately died in the place of His bride (that’s us!) to make her spotless. In the same way, a husband should love His wife so far beyond how he loves himself and this will be reflected in his actions toward her and how he encourages her walk with God.
I believe we as Christians often sell ourselves short in the idea of purity and dating. Purity goes so much deeper than the popular Christian mind set of, “sex is bad until marriage so don’t do it.” That mindset then leaves believers asking the ever so popular question of “how far is too far?” or, better put, how close to the line can I get without crossing it?
1 Peter 1:14-16 says:
“…do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
See, I think many believers don’t quite grasp these two passages in Ephesians and 1 Peter.
Purity is so much deeper than just not being intimate before marriage. Our purity is designed to go hand in hand with the holiness of God and ultimately our future marriages are designed to be the greatest testimony of the sacrificial love of God here on earth. We as women of God, the spotless bride of Christ, are called to be holy as Christ is holy. We are called to a totally different level of living than those around us.
During my high school years when it seemed everyone else around me had someone, I clung onto that truth and instead of dating just for the sake of dating, I kept, and still do keep, my focus on the fact that ultimately marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church and unless a man was ready to encourage me in holiness and treasure me in a sacrificial way that mirrors the love of Jesus, then he wasn’t for me.
I want to encourage you, wherever you are with the dating scene, to remember your worth. God sees us as a beautiful, spotless bride if we trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the perfect groom, who, through the ultimate display of love, laid down his life for his treasured bride. No matter what we have or haven’t done nothing can change that in the eyes of God. We are dearly loved and treasured women through the love of Jesus who are called to live holy lives. Whether you choose to date or wait, look for the man who recognizes and treasures this amazing truth about you! You are worth it.
Written by: Kristen Porterfield
Photo Credit: Brittany and Nicholas Liberto