Abstinence and God’s Will for Your Dating Life
I mean, for real? And not only for your dating life, but do you simply want to know His will?
Fortunately, our God wants us to know His will even more than we want to know it. In fact, three verses in the Bible explicitly declare, “This is the will of God.” And though dating wasn’t even a thing in Bible times, one of those verses proffers a very clear direction for your dating life. (I guess you could say God is pretty forward-thinking.)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification … —1 Thessalonians 4:3a ESV
There it is in black and white. God’s will is our sanctification. That means our purity, purification, or holiness.
So, the next natural question is, “How do you date in a pure and holy way?”
Well, we don’t have to wonder for long, for Paul clarifies it in the following verses, beginning with the second half of the verse we just read.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality … —1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV (emphasis mine)
Paul says if we truly want to follow God’s will, we will abstain from sexual immorality. The Greek word for “sexual immorality” is “porneia.” It’s the root word of “pornography,” and refers to any sexual activity outside of marriage. Can you see what this has to do with dating?
Sexual Purity Is Bigger Than Abstinence
Put simply, if you want to follow the will of God in your dating life, you will save sex for marriage. But Paul doesn’t just leave us with a “no-no,” he wants us to catch a vision for how we should live our lives, and therefore how we should date.
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 … —1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 ESV (emphasis mine)
Wow. That’s a grander picture of God’s will, isn’t it? He’s not just asking us to refrain from certain naughty things, He’s calling us up to become a certain kind of person. Not just a non-naughty person, but a person of true integrity, someone who knows “how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” Is that a tall order? Yes. Indeed, if you do not have God’s Holy Spirit inside you, I believe it’s an impossible order. However, I also find it inspiring.
The Biblical Sexual Standard Has Always Seemed “Unrealistic”
Regardless of anyone’s opinion, let me put one myth to death right here and now—the myth that the moral standards of scripture are no longer applicable because past cultures were somehow less “progressive” than we are today.
On the contrary, according to this passage, the culture in Paul’s day wasn’t any more chaste than ours is now.
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 … —1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 ESV (emphasis mine)
I guess you could say that those “who do not know God” have always lived their lives “in the passion of lust.” And in Jesus’ day, they managed to live so without the prevalence of internet porn.
So if Paul’s words applied back then, they apply to us today. Put simply, those who know God should act very differently from those who do not, whenever in history or wherever in the world they find themselves.
Do you really want to know God’s will? Well, this is obviously a pretty big deal to Him. And if you’re still not convinced, let’s continue reading after verse 5:
… that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. —1 Thessalonians 4:6-8 ESV
If you would like an entire book filled with the kind of practical, Biblical wisdom on sex, dating, and relationships you just finished reading, you can get it NOW! The above post is an excerpt from Date Like You Know What You’re Doing: Your DatePrep Guide. Here are other excerpts from the same book.
A dating life that leads to a life-giving, lifelong marriage doesn’t happen by accident. You need to know what you’re doing.
That’s why I wrote Date Like You Know What You’re Doing to empower you to:
- Discern God’s will for your dating life.
- Avoid heartbreak, rejection, and regret.
- Date with confidence and clarity.
- Win the war over sexual temptation.
- Let your marriage hopes inspire, instead of impede your dating life.
Want to Learn How to Control Your Sex Drive?
Better understand your sexuality and how to effectively pursue sexual purity in video form! This video featured on our FMUniversity YouTube channel introduces several different LoveEd series on sexuality.