Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dating 101: Lust

(image taken from

Throughout the years of being in the ministry with PJ, my husband, we've encountered various situations dating couples are faced with. Some are small that can be worked out quickly and then there are bigger issues that require more in depth counsel and accountability.

First, PJ and I are not experts. The things I'm about to say are just wise words from us to people. Secondly, PJ and I are not naive to the physical pull that is placed on a relationship. That's one of the reasons PJ and I wanted to get married ASAP so we, by God's grace, tried to "flee from youthful passions" (2 Tim 2:22).  At the same time we weren't perfect and we had our struggles but by God's grace we were not physically immoral (sex before marriage). We tried a variety of things that would keep us from sinning against God and each other. I've see and heard from various couples the struggles of being Christian and trying to court/date in a way that honors God and each other.  

I'd like to share some thoughts to 1. Christians who are single, 2. Christians who are courting/dating, and 
3. Christian married couples. 

1. Clearly Set Accountability and Boundaries

Accountability is a must! Since you are a believer who still struggles with sin, we are called to "confess [our] sins to one another" (James 5:16) so that we don't get deceived by it (Hebrews 3:13). When there's a sexual sin or struggle, we are to seek accountability (confessing and encouragement) from our brothers and sisters in our church community. We don't have to seek it from the whole church but brothers and sisters you are committed to and are committed to you--keeping a watchful eye over each other's soul. Perhaps you want to pick a few sisters that are committed to helping you grow in holiness and vice versa. 

Whether you are dating or not, married or not, confiding and seeking accountability is needed. If you have a hard time opening up or have trust issues, you must remember that we are all sinners in need of grace. We as church family are not to seek to put on a facade and "pretend" we are holier than we are...No one is. We are all in need of growth, so beware of becoming a church community of performance rather than a community of grace [link added]. A community of grace seeks to repent when they sin and celebrate when they remember the cross to cleanse them from their present sin and grace to help with future sin!

If you're dating, accountability is vital so that neither of you is caught up in sin, (i.e. lust). Being open to your selected sisters about your life and your dating relationship, helps kill sin, since it wants to hide and grow, but we need to shed gospel light on it, to reveal it, and kill it!

Boundaries are helpful because they give you, and your accountability partner(s) guidelines that you and your boyfriend/girlfriend want to obey so you don't fall into sexual sin. To be clear, if you don't set boundaries it doesn't mean you are sinning BUT it is to HELP you stay far from it. 

2. Prepare for Marriage

Having a sex drive is NOT a sin. Sex is NOT a sin. These are gifts from God, BUT ONLY sex in marriage is God glorifying. Sex outside of marriage or lustful thoughts of any kind is sinful. But it could be argued that any sexually physical intimacy (foreplay, touching, rubbing, oral sex) outside of marriage is under the vise of lustful thoughts because I don't think it can be humanly possible that a couple could engage in the list above, without having lustful thoughts, thereby sinning.

So this sex drive that is God given, is given, so men and women get married! One possible problem to this, can be the American culture has cultivated a "prolonged adolescence."  Meaning men and women think they are too young to get married because A and B need to be handled first. Ok, sometimes it's true, you need a job to support your wife but it is rare that, that is the only barrier. At times marriage is seen as a last resort, even held off so a person can "have fun" before they are tied down. Our culture has men who are adolescents with nice toys, money, and a plethora of ladies to choose from (at least in the secular world). 

Our sex drive is to push us to get ready to have fun in the marriage bed and Lord willing make babies :) Sure it should be suppressed but for the right reasons (not currently dating/courting anyone, too young, no job), I don't think it should be suppressed 'because I need X amount of years of getting to know this person,' that you won't even fully know until you get married! That's the beauty of marriage-- you won't fully know who you are marrying until you're married. Of course choose wisely, but marriage is a blessing and hard because your own individual sin begins to surface like crazy (this can easily be another blog post)-- At the same time marriage is a blessing and I highly recommend it :)

3. Killing Lust Now, Helps Later

Killing sin in this realm strengthens your future marriage and protects the marriage bed even after marriage. Let me explain...

If you are fighting, and I mean really fighting to try to stay pure before marriage (having strong accountability to the local church family, asking forgiveness of each other when you both fall into lust with each other, etc), this "killing of sin" strengthens lustful actions after you get married. 

You see, currently all the lustful focus is on your boyfriend/girlfriend, but once you get married those particular sinful temptations don't stay on your wife/husband, unfortunately it moves on. This was completely new to me... Your husband's desire is still for his wife but now because we are sinful creatures, your husbands temptation now is to lust but after someone not you. Now those sinful temptations have morphed, now the temptation is to lust after other women, not your wife! Sorry boys to blow the lid on this, BUT sin is crouching at your door waiting to devour  you (Genesis 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8) Whether the temptation is online images, movie images, commercials images, personal memory images, the fight is present, and it's up to the individual to fight! Now if they've regularly given themselves in the past to sinful lust, then it's a no brainer submitting and fulfilling the desire that God has forsaken--They didn't "train" their bodies to fight (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). They're use to submitting to the call of sin before they were married, and that ONLY weakened them. 

One thing that PJ and I recommend after marriage, is keeping a strong accountability between spouses. Nothing off the table, including lust issues that the spouse struggles with. Because of our male/female sexual natures, many times it will be the male who struggles with lust issues in this way. Women struggle with lust but usually in another way (this can also be a whole other blog post!) which a husband can ask questions about. Warning: these talks will NOT be easy. A whole lot of crying, sinful bitterness, feeling inadequate, sinful anger, etc will be felt but the point of helping our husbands fight is a blessing. I see it this way, if my husband has strong accountability with his brother's in Christ at CrossView, because I'm his wife, I want it stronger, since I am his best friend, and bff's share everything, I feel I'm cheated if I'm not shared this information to. I want all of PJ--the good, the bad and the ugly. He'll in turn get all of me. Also, some couples won't be able to share as much as others, but I think as long as he has brothers in his church to confide in, that will encourage him and rebuke him when needed, then that is extremely helpful. I guess this is just one step further in accountability with your spouse, but perhaps not all need it or even want it. The point of your husband opening up to you is not so we discourage him but encourage his fight. Yes, it will be hard to hear and help but as you (and I) grow in humility (because really a self righteous attitude begins to emerge in most wives) we can begin to hold our husbands accountable and have them fear God, not us. If they just fear the consequence of us being mad at them then the fighting of the sin will only go so far. The reverence they have for God will push them to fight and then their love for us, of course will be very helpful. 

As I've spoken and speak to different ladies and keep them specifically accountable when in a relationship, this harsh reality surprises them. I know it surprised me after I got married. I felt so bitter, and broken and thought out loud (and to myself) "Am I not good enough for you?!" but the sad reality hit me. No, I alone am not good enough to keep my husband from sin. Don't forget that having sex with your husband is indeed helpful on many levels, one being: helping him to fight lust but it's not all he needs. Our husbands need to cling to Christ Jesus so that he can fight his sin (in this case lust) AND be happy in Jesus as he does it-- this will benefit our marriages! 

If you are not in any relationship, remember to keep fighting any sin, and make it a regular routine to fight your sin for the joy of having more of Jesus Christ. Train your body to have self control. Self control is not just for self control sake, its so you stay away from sin so you enjoy God through Christ Jesus far more then if you had that particular sin! 

Remember future grace-- this helps to remember that killing lust now will help your walk with God in the days, months, years to come. Test it now. See how good God is in helping you fight sin and see how much more you can enjoy him with a pure heart. He'll give you grace to fight when you're married, but you got to make it a habit now. Don't be sloppy, lazy, sinful with fighting now, because when you're married you can't expect yourself to know how to fight off your sinful desires after years of falling into sin. FIGHT NOW. Get strong accountability in your local church now. Prepare yourself for marriage now. It's never to early to prepare for marriage. Of course it has to be under the guise "if the Lord wills." PJ and I are trying to raise our kids in light of the gospel, and with that, teaching them now how to be godly spouses (if the Lord wills). 

I pray and hope something from this post can be deemed as helpful. Fight brothers and sisters, fight for your joy in Christ Jesus! Grace be with you!



  1. Hi Frances.
    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    1. Haha I just saw this comment :/ Thank you Alexandra for reading and considering...I hope it can be helpful in any way :)



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