Characteristics of a godly dating: Attraction and Distraction in a relationship
Passage: Song of Songs 4:1-7
I think that this passage is a conversation between a man and his wife. But our Sermon series for this month is mainly focus on dating and building relationship particularly among unmarried young men and women.
However, I choose this passage in a literal sense to show us all that, God created beauty and this sense of being attracted to beautiful creation including a man and a woman. God created romance.
Remember God doesn’t want the first man Adam to be alone. And so, he created a woman for him.
It is our human nature to be attracted to the opposite sex.
And so what I want to share with all of us today is that, how should we nurture this natural instinct into a healthy approach that honors God, who created us with this instinct?
What God has created is good. But because of Sin, all these mesmerizingly beautiful things that God created are blemished. (it’s like a disturbing spot on a beautiful painting).
A redeemed mind is like a fertile soil for the Holy Spirit to sow a godly attitude towards relationship.
When your relationship with God is right, all other relationships have the blessing of God to be right too. Yes, I do not say that, when we are in a right relationship with God, everything in life will be smooth and rosy. There will be bumps along the way. But it has the power to get back to the right course.
While the Bible is explicitly silent on dating or tips to develop relationship between young unmarried man and woman, it absolutely has the implicit wisdom on how to go about in our everyday life in general, including dating and developing relationships.
God created us to be in a relationship – with him and with each other.
The creator gave us the manual on how to do relationships.
Imagine buying an inventory (washing machine, clothe hangers/dryer…etc.), and then build without the help of the manual that comes along with it.
Likewise, doing relationship without the wisdom of God the creator of all relationships, will most likely end up either in “hurtship” or in a meaningless relationship.
When should I start dating a girl or a boy?
The answer to this question is quite simple. Pray and date when you are ready to settle down. Till then, it is much wiser to abstain from dating a girl or a boy just to play around with your emotions or your infatuations.
Like Pastor Doupu, I also dated many girls prior to meeting Sarah.
Those we don’t have cellphone or any of these electronic devices we now have it so readily in our finger tips.
So, we write letter to each other. I wrote many letters. Many of them are plagiarized words. “Love of a lifetime” by Firehouse was one popular lyric I used to write to many girls. My high school classmates thought I was such a great love letter writer and so they used to hire me to write their letters.
My brothers and sisters, learn from the ridiculous things we do, and don’t make the silly mistake we made. That is my point in saying all these things.
Like Pastor Doupu mentioned last Sunday, when you are dating someone, it is best to be surrounded by some good friends.
When Sarah and I started dating, I had a mentor in my college. He is my professor too. So once a week, I meet up with him. Talk things through and those were a helpful talk. So, I highly recommend that you talk with someone who is a matured believer. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
What characteristics should I look for in a girl or in a boy?
We are naturally attracted to a person or a thing because of certain characteristics.
Physical attractiveness is a good but is temporary.
Character takes time to build but is lasting.
Characteristics to look for in a men and women: Basic Biblical principles. (I would like to give few characteristics and I do think that these points are not exhaustive)
1. A person who loves the Lord and his words.
- A man and a woman of prayer
This attractive feelings/emotion running through our veins while dating will reach the climax on the wedding day.
For men, when you see your bride walking down the aisle, all the vocabularies you know in any languages will disappear from your mental dictionary. The only word that will remain in your brain is the word, ‘Wow’.
However, as days, weeks, months and years go by, into your marriage, you will add many more vocabularies you do not know before as well.
What I am trying to say is that, this thrill we feel when we see something beautiful, something so mesmerizing, this thrill is God given thrill. This is emotional excitement, physical excitement…etc. All these things are God given. And they are best enjoyed when we do it according to God’s way. What God gave has to be done God’s way, then only we will enjoy it to the fullest and then only can it be God glorifying.
2. Characteristics of LOVE in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Now imagine replacing the word ‘Love’ with your name. Eg: Collin is patient, Collin is kind. Collin does not envy…….
Now, I want to be careful in handling this passage. I am not saying that we rewrite this passage, or distort it. All I am saying is that we can do a “litmus test” of who we are in accordance with the Scripture.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6).
One might ask, so are you saying, I should be looking for a perfect person that doesn’t exist? That is not what I am saying. All I am saying is that, these are the qualities or characteristics we should strive to be.
We are human being. Fallenness is part of us too. However, as redeemed community, the Spirit of God is chiseling us and pruning us of our rough edges. Therefore, we are to strive for these characteristics mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
3. Look for a man: 1 Kings 2:2.
“………Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways…..”
We like to say, ‘Be a man’, or ‘I am a man’. The world’s definition of being a man is define by the physical appearances, (tall, muscular etc.) and status in society. A man who genuinely knows the Lord will be a man who trustworthy, stable, temperament etc.
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Job 31:1 What Job is trying to do in this verse is that he is saying I am going to honor God and also women by not looking at them with a lustful eye.
Let me say something straightforward. My dear brothers and sisters, if you are in a habit of pornography, as a brother to another, let me say, Stop it!
Pornography will absolutely distort your understanding and view of woman and man too. Because pornography objectifies a person.
A genuine man and woman of God will see another person as created in the image of God, something sacred, something that has a divine mark, not as object to be use for worldly pleasures.
- thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10
Pornography will steal, kill and destroy your relationship. Don’t do it. It is not worth it. Be a man and follow the ways of the Lord.
4. A Woman of noble character: Proverbs 31:10
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.”
One might say, well this passage talks about a wife not a lady who is still single. My response would be that, you do not become a person of noble character in a day or two. (Rome was not built in a day) Noble character formation takes time, trials and temptations.
While grooming yourselves is a good thing, it is not physical prettiness that will endear in your relationship in the long run, but virtue or good character.
“If indeed Christ dwell in you young men, you will be attracted to the Christ manifested in the life of another woman.” – Paul Washer
Nowadays, there are churches around the world, were we see women with inappropriate dress.
Man should also be careful of our motives and behavior and women also should be careful with our dressing. It has to be both ways.
Men are tempted by what they see, whereas women are tempted by touch.
My dear sisters, God made you so beautifully. Carry yourselves with elegance. Don’t reveal yourselves so easily. Be classy. Be tactful. Be wise.
5. Eloping Issues in our society.
Since a long time ago, our culture practice union of a man and a woman by way eloping.
My personal, which I think is biblical, is that we must stop this. From dating to wedding, may God be glorified. God is excited when man and woman like each other, date and get married. Marriage is the first institution God established.
When we elope, we are disobeying God and his Words. With Holy Matrimony, we are honoring God and giving him the glory, he deserves. Some people told me, Holy Marriage is expensive. Well it doesn’t have to be. While that wedding day (just a day in your entire life) is so precious, your marriage, which is the many lives ahead of you is even more important.
God created beauty. God created romance. God created sex. And that this romance or union in relationship is sweetest and best enjoyed when it is done God’s way.
I am a married man, but I am still learning these things I have just said. I wish I’d known them better.
Recommended books: “Preparing for marriage” Edited by Dennis Rainey & Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.