It doesn’t matter what grade you’re in: the topic of dating has a special place in our minds. (Especially with Valentine’s Day in the not-too-distant future.)
And whether you’ve been on a lot of dates or you just built up the courage to make eye contact for the first time it’s an important part of the teenager’s life.
When you were a kid if you liked someone you wrote them a note that said “Do you like me? Check yes or no” and passed it under your desk. If they said “yes” you sat together at lunch. If they said “no” you just played with other kids at recess.
Now it’s a little more complicated than that. You still want to know who’s interested but you feel like the stakes are higher.
There is nothing more exciting and terrifying all at the same time than the first date between a guy and a girl who are starting to like each other.
Because you still have to ask!
What if she rejects you? What if you have your friend ask him for you and he starts to like her instead? What if her friends ask you to dance with her and you agree so they’ll leave you alone but what follows is 4 minutes of awkward swaying (like this***)?
But then we have to worry about WHO to ask? What happens when you do meet someone that you start to like? What happens when you get all psyched up and do pushups and stare in the mirror and say “I’m gonna ask her today! Yeah!” and then you see her and play it cool with “Wassup girl?” and expect your mysteriousness to sweep her off her feet?
There’s A LOT about dating that you have to navigate.
And so in this series my hope is to give you some biblical tools to help you process all of this. I can’t take away the jitters because that’s part of the fun! But I can point you in a direction that will help you make God-honoring choices when you start to date.
And today we’re going to talk about WHO TO DATE. Who do you ask? Who do you look for? Who do you pursue? It’s a big question. Let’s go:
Remember The Gospel
Before we start looking at WHO to date, we have to know who we are.
We have to remember the Gospel for any of this to make sense.
So I know a lot of you probably have a question like “How do I know who’s right for me? Who’s the right person to date?” Consider the following Scriptures first:
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6)
“There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18).
“All of us lived at one time among them, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:3).
For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:9-11)
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
There’s no such thing as the right person to date, because according to the Bible there’s no one good. None of us is good. I’m not good, you’re not good, the person you date is not good.
But if you’re in Christ, you are righteous, you are justified. You are good because of Jesus. Therefore, when you’re looking for someone to date, if you’re in Christ, you should be looking for someone else who is in Christ. Because that’s as close to good as you can get with another person.
Someone who is “good” in Christ should not be dating someone who is not good. Because we’re all not good. We’re all bent toward sin. We all want to rebel. We all want to do things wrong. We all want to date the wrong person. We all want to do things with that person we know we shouldn’t do.
But Christ fixed that. Christ redeemed that. Through his sacrifice on the cross we’re able to have good dating relationships. We’re able to find people who are good because of Jesus and date them in a good way because of Jesus. So when we talk about who to date, look for someone else who understands grace. Look for someone else who is in Christ, and we’ll go from there.
Because the Gospel isn’t just “you are not good.” See this:
I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior (Isaiah 43:11)
That’s good news! That means you don’t have to rely on some guy or girl to fulfil your every longing. They won’t complete you. Only Jesus will! Check this out, too:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
The Gospel means that Jesus is the good news because he was the only one good! And he took our sin upon himself on the cross so we are no longer identified as decaying, rebellious, God-haters, but justified people who are saved by His grace and are considered good.
Make a List
Now let’s have a little fun:
WHAT SHOULD A GIRL LOOK FOR IN A GUY?
- Doesn’t stink
- Respect for parents (especially mom)
- Respects you and others (kindness)
- Watches his mouth
- Not lazy
WHAT SHOULD A GUY LOOK FOR IN A GIRL?
- Doesn’t stink
- Modesty (does not need to draw attention to herself)
- Is not a flirt
Make your list (4-6 VERY important things)
Spend some time thinking about 4-6 VERY important things to you and make your list. A bad list would be “cute face, cute tooshy, has a twitter account.” A better list would probably include these things (if you haven’t thought about them already):
Look for a Christian seeking God
Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Someone who cares about others
(guys: avoid the drama queen, she only cares about herself; girls: avoid the guy who can laugh at everybody but himself, he only cares about his image)
(too many of are chasing after a physical “10” but will settle for a spiritual “2”)
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful face on an empty head. (Proverbs 11:22)
(they don’t act one way at church and a completely different way at school or at home)
(Girls always told me “I just want to stay friends” and that never made sense to me. Why would you not want to take someone you already like out on a date? It’s important to have a good friendship first with a person who you might want to go out with later.)
Your list is just a guideline. No one will fulfill you 100% except Jesus. But your list is a good place to start so that you don’t get impatient and start dating the first guy or girl that gives you attention.
How Do We Respond To This?
Dating is an exercise meant to help a guy or a girl understand who they are compatible with.
Dating is not meant to fulfill your every longing. Only Jesus can do that for you. Still, it’s pretty fun. And for it to be good:
Remember how the Gospel shows us that we are set apart.
Remember how Scripture reminds us that we are to approach dating differently than what we typically see as “the norm.”
Fellas: be men.
Ladies: be ladies.
And use this list you’ve made today as a guideline to help you make good choices.
Because you might already be thinking of somebody (ow ow), so next week we’ll talk about how to have a g