Tough Questions Part II
Thoughts on Dating and Relationships
Recently I’ve been feeling the need to write more about “dating” and its processes. I’m realizing more and more that Christians are pretty horrible at dating, especially in the areas of keeping “pure” during the dating process. This in turn affects their lives and often stunts their growth. It leaves many feeling discouraged and confused especially in light of the “passion” they are experiencing.
We’ve often been told to set clear boundaries and stay accountable while dating to as to avoid “crossing the line”. But what does this actually look like? What is the motivation for staying “pure” in dating? Why is it so hard to keep our commitments to purity and respect for the other’s body?
Allow me to address some of these issues and questions.
A | Old Coach, New Coach
Recently, the Los Angeles Lakers (pro basketball team) have experienced a major shift in their organization. Their beloved zen-master coach has retired. Phil Jackson had coached the Lakers for
more than 10 years! The entire game for the players had been shaped by this coach. The player’s lifestyle, eating habits, practice, work-outs, game philosophy, were all influenced by Phil. 10 years of mentoring, 10 years of playing ball (or life) a certain way.
Then upon Phil’s retirement, the Lakers hired a new coach. The new coach changed and changes everything! His strategy, his practice regiments, the rhythm he sets for his players, the philosophy of the game… his philosophy, will now be the ruling “principality” or “culture” that the Lakers will have to adopt, implement, and practice.
We like the Lakers have lived under a “coach” for a very long time. We’ve been trained to see life, others, ourselves a certain way since birth. 1 Peter 4:3 says it like this, “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.”
The thing we have to realize is that even though we’ve gotten a new “coach” and even with our hearts totally committed to the new coach, the new plays, the new philosophy… the ways of the former coach has been imprinted in our minds. This makes our desire to execute the new plays all the more difficult. We need to first “renew our minds” or rid ourselves of old habits, practices, and philosophy before we are able to adequately accomplish the task at hand.
We need to create new “muscle memory”.
So it is with dating and relationships. Our view of the opposite sex, the way we see and treat them, the way we date, our philosophy behind dating, have all been influenced by Sin, our World, and the Enemy.
Therefore, the first steps into a healthy dating philosophy and process may not involve “dating” strategies at all. The first step into a healthy dating life is to submit to the ways of the New Coach. It’s not good enough to be in love with the coach. We have to listen and obey the new ways of the Coach. How does the coach view life, gender, others, sex, marriage, etc? We must spend plenty of time practicing with Him before we can expect to play well in game season.
Ways to Submit to the New Coach /
Where does He coach? Go there. Who are his assistant coaches? Hang with them.
What are his plays? Study them and memorize them. Practice the plays. Who are his players? Practice and play with them often.
Strength training - What area would the trainers spend time building in you? I.e. some spend more time on leg muscles because their legs are weak. Do you need to spend time working out your Purity Muscles? If that muscle is weak, i.e. porn, lusting, impure thoughts, etc then how do you expect to play well when dating? You need to spend time building the “Purity” Muscle now so as to avoid injury during the game.
(okay, I think used up this analogy quite enough, onto the next thought.)
Part III will be, “How Do I Keep Pure while Dating?” (I’ll get more practical here)
Tough Questions Part II