There’s a new movie out titled, “He’s Just Not That In To You”. I’m not going to promote the movie by showing the trailer on this blog because I’m not sure it’s worth promoting. However, it would appear that one of its themes seems to go right along with our series TEXT LOVE. The idea that relationships become the center of attention yet because of social dysfunction (no personal contact – one of the movie quotes is “stop cyberstalking him” and “myspace is the new [pick-up style]” wording changed due to content) and selfish heart idols, relationships seldom fulfill us. Well, this message is about the value of friendship over dating.

As we discussed last time, TEXT LOVE is a love that is consuming but short-lived. Lots of attention, time and energy is poured into text love. In time, teens turn dating into an idol to be worshiped. Teens should recognize that dating often becomes “disposable” in the sense that text love crushes come and go. The only one lasting relationship you can count on is Jesus Christ. God loves you more than those who say they do and only for a time. God’s love is different because it is unconditional and eternal.

This message will look at TEXT LOVE from the perspective of dating. Should teens be dating? Or even should Christians date? What is the purpose of dating anyway? These are good and interesting questions when it comes to relationships. By examining 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 I believe we can better understand some principles to help us answer some of these questions.

God provides principles for my body.
Paul offers some strong commands in using your body for God’s intended purposes. He questions the Corinthians six different times to challenge their thinking in the way they are living by rhetorically asking, “Do you not know?” His purpose is to show that God does indeed have principles and commands to follow for Christian behavior.

The following questions can help guide you in the way you live your life. For the purpose of our theme TEXT LOVE we answer the questions accordingly.

·Does this action control me?
Paul quotes a popular saying of the day, “Everything is permissible for me”. People were using this quote to exercise their freedoms without self-control. Paul contrasted this in declaring, not everything is helpful nor will I allow myself to be mastered by anything. Paul knew that anything, even good things, can be turned into a selfish idol we worship.

Likewise, we must ask ourselves if dating a certain person is causing me to be controlled by them and separated from God and everything else. For instance, can you spend time with your family or friends apart from the person you are dating? Even more specific, while you are spending time with family and friends are you texting or constantly calling that person. If so, you may be withdrawing from personal contact with others and allowing yourself to be controlled by a single person. God wants you to repent from this and turn your attention toward him and patience in relationships. We should not be controlled by any person or any thing.

· Does this action honor God?
Paul states the purpose of each person’s body is to glorify the Lord. God created the body as a place for him to inhabit. It is not meant for sexual immorality, giving oneself to another without the boundaries of marriage. Even becoming a Christian has the symbolism of marriage, being united to Jesus Christ and him to you. As a Christian your body is the temple of God’s Spirit and would be dishonoring to God if engaged in sexual immorality.

When persons are dating the common question in Christian circles is “How far is too far?” This is the wrong question because its focus is not on honoring God but pleasing selfish desires. This only goes to further prove your body is becoming enslaved or controlled by that other person. If this is happening the best action is to put the brakes on the relationship. Make a commitment to not be alone with the person you are dating. Spend time in groups with other friends. Discover activities and hobbies that you both are interested in to help shift the focus off the physical to the relational. Above all, ask God to help you make wise decisions and actions that will honor him.

·Does this action protect future?
Paul reveals the dangerous nature of sexual sin saying that it is not only a sin against God but a sin against your own body. Meaning, sexual sin carries lasting consequences other sins often do not physically, emotionally and spiritually. Even more, sexual sin involves another being therefore multiplying the consequences. A Christian’s actions should not weaken another’s faith.

When it comes to dating one has to consider the future. Every relationship is moving somewhere. In other words, we must be intentional about dating because eventually dating should lead to marriage where physical, emotional and spiritual union can be affirmed. So, if you are dating someone, is it moving toward this goal? If not, why date?

The point is there is never any danger of being BFF. Friendship is a gift from God meant to encourage each other and exalt God. A friendship with this purpose has the potential to move to more but it does not have the expectation to do so. Therefore, teens should seriously consider the difference and openly discuss it with trusted mentors, parents and others so such relationships do not become a hindrance to honoring God. People who are BFF seldom if at all regret their relationship. However, those who date and/or engage in pre-mature sexual activity often and almost always have regrets.

· Do you think these 3 questions are helpful when it comes to dating?
· Why is “How far is too far?” the wrong question to be asking?
· How is sexual sin different than other sins? Is it more dangerous or carry greater consequences?
· What does it mean to date intentionally?
· What is the benefit of friendship over dating?

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