James Clear has become one of my favorite bloggers. I confess I do not consume many blogs and thus you shouldn’t put much stock in my limited exposure. But the reason I love him so much is that he writes a lot about change. More importantly he writes about maintaining change.
He approaches this from a scientific point of view. I have no idea of where he is spiritually but I find his stuff to be incredibly helpful for changing behavior. It cannot however change the heart.
In his short book entitled Transform Your Habits he writes about getting back on track after slipping up. He states this, “But small hiccups don’t make you a failure, they make you human. The most successful people in the world slip up on their habits too. What separates them isn’t their ability to avoid mistakes, it’s their ability to get back on track quickly.” There is truth in that.
Dating biblically is more than just a minor adjustment; it is a tectonic shift. That shift comes in our thinking, attitude, motivation, and practice. Be assured of this, if one dates consistent with biblical ideals, that one will be viewed with skepticism and perhaps even cynicism.
Sometimes we look at a path in front of us and determine we will spend so much time falling down that it’s not worth attempting. This certainly applies to biblical dating. In fact, I would say G. K. Chesterton hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
Dating in America is set up to serve our flesh and our flesh will wage war with the Spirit. Sin (hiccup, slip, falling down) is inevitable. So, what do we do when we fail to keep the biblical standard?
Repent & Believe.
Repentance is not turning from bad deeds to good deeds. Repentance is turning from a chair where I am wrongfully seated, to a throne where Christ is rightfully ruling. Repentance is turning from sin to a man. Repentance is saying to Jesus, “I can’t…You can.” Faith is saying, “I believe You will.”
Faith and Repentance says, “I can’t keep the ideals You have set out for your people. I can’t even maintain the desire to keep the ideals. But You can. You did keep the ideals and the desire to perfection. I believe You will. I trust that in surrendering my will to Yours, You will live Your life in and through mine. I trust You will give me the power and desire to live the way You have called me to live.”
Then step out. Get back up. Seek to apply the biblical standard to honor others above yourself. Seek to be patient and wait on God to meet your needs. If you have wronged anyone seek them out and take ownership for your wrongdoing. Ask for forgiveness.
Ask God for eyes to view them the same way He does.
Ask God for ears to hear their desires, fears, hopes, the way God does.
Ask God for a tongue to speak life & build them up the same way He does.
Ask God for hands to give service to them the same way Christ does.
Ask God for feet to walk alongside them the way He does.
Pray the same as Frances R. Havergal, “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.”
Dating Biblically (and any other attempt at living according to God’s standards) is worth the effort. Do not give up!
So when you fall, get up and relish your Savior. He is not finished with you. He died for your hiccup. He was slain for your sin. He gives grace to the humble.
Additional Resources For Dating:
The New Rules for Love Sex and Dating by Andy Stanley
Finding Your Million Dollar Mate by Randy Pope
We’re Just Friends and Other Dating Lies by Chuck Milan
For High School Students
Dating By The Book by Matt Brinkley
So I kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris ***HIGH SCHOOL ONLY
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot
For College Students
Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
Relevant Magazine Articles – http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships
Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas