Guest Blogger: Chip Cogan, former Campus Staff member at University Reformed Church
It will always be a struggle for Christians to figure out what it looks like to live holy lives in an unholy culture. It seems to be especially difficult for dating couples to handle themselves in such a way as to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Over the last six years I’ve interacted with many college students who, from all I can tell, are walking with the Lord and pursuing holiness, but as soon as they start dating they seem to surrender to sexual sin.
Why is that? There are many reasons, but here are three dangers to avoid.
Acting Like A Non-Christian
This should seem so obvious that it’s almost not even worth mentioning—except that it’s biblical. I’ve found that most Christians struggling with sexual sin are ignorant of Paul’s implication in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5. The passage is worth reading:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…
Look at verse 5 specifically: Paul’s implication is that when you indulge in the passion of your lust you are acting like a non-Christian. So here’s the reality: when you sin sexually you are acting like you don’t know Jesus. Are you a Christian? If so, why would you intentionally act like you’re not?
Like little children, we often prefer the immediate satisfaction of now over the greater fulfillment of later. It’s hard to wait. More than that, why wait when I can have what I want now? Oh yeah, because someone in authority over me told me “no.” And his name is God. But oh how we hate not getting what we want when we want it!
Just like a parent with a child, God knows better than we do and he desires our good even more than we do. When I tell my son not to run into the street it’s not to kill his joy but to increase and prolong it. When God reserves sex for marriage and encourages self-control, it’s not because he’s a prude or a killjoy, but because he is a loving Father.
We often like to play with fire and push the boundaries. Let’s do a quick Q&A session:
Q: Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?
Q: Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?
Adventures can be fun and rewarding, but adventuring with sin always leads to death. God created our bodies for sexual pleasure and intends for us to enjoy it, but there are God-defined boundaries to which we must submit. A fire in the fireplace is beautiful and enjoyable, but take it out of its designated place and you will burn your house down.
We often think too highly of ourselves. I don’t always hear it said but I often see this lived out: people think they are the exception to the rule. Some people really believe that they are the ones who can play with fire and not be burned. So they think they have no need for clearly defined boundaries or regular accountability. Where others have failed, they are convinced that they are going to succeed.
You are not as awesome as you think, and while your graduation speaker probably told you that you were exceptional, you are certainly no exception to the rule of the scriptures. The world says that we need no boundaries and we can take care of ourselves. Wisdom says otherwise in Proverbs 14:16:
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
Let Lecrae instruct you on this:
If you wait ’til you’re alone on a date night
To figure out what’s wrong in the late night
It’s too late, right? You got caught up again
And now you back in sin feel like you can’t ever win
The point is this: you are not the exception, but Christ is. So let’s repent of our sexual sin, childishness, and arrogance, and seek to glorify God with our bodies as we live and date as those who have been redeemed by his blood.