Every other year, I take our high school group through a Sex series. I think it's something that the church must NOT remain silent about because every other influence in the world has a voice. We have remained silent for too long. Here are some thoughts right from our series.
I have been struck with I Corinthians 13 as I have taken our high school students through the sex series this year. We showed this video as we talked about moral fences:
1 Corinthians 13:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails.
But so often, I see teenagers and young adults and others living out relationships that are exclusive so contrary to what this described love is. If love is patient, then why are the physical boundaries pushed so quickly so often in relationships? Why can’t we control hormones, control desires, and live out patience? What about kindness? Are we not to live this out in the closest of relationships as well as those that are superficial? Last night, we talked about all sorts of things at AFW (Allied Force Worship). We talked about what it means to be marriageable. Last year, our Marriage Ministry Director gave some great identifiers to let us know when people are ready to date for marriage. He (and I last night) suggested that in High School, there is very little chance that one will be ready to date because they are not marriageable yet. There are alot of reasons that our culture perpetuates are worth dating for, things like pleasure, selfishness, having a girlfriend/boyfriend, being culturally savvy, filling a relational hole in our heart, and so on and so forth. But I would contend that marriage should be the reason that we enter a dating relationship. If it is not, then it can easily become simply using another person for our own gain.
The identifiers that were given last year and last night to know that one was ready to date were :
- Know your Master – This means that we know exactly who we serve and we have these things in writing. It means that we know that our king and master and the one that we follow is in control of all decisions that we need to make. It means that relationships that start and end are lived out in light of our master. If we get this, we will want to make sure that our Master is the same master for the person that we begin to date.
- Know your Mission – God has given all sorts of places for us to find our mission in his word. I challenged students to search God’s word, find where he asks us to be and do certain things and then write those things out. For me, Ephesians 2:10 was my mission. I know that God has created me as his workmanship, that I was created to do good works to advance the Kingdom of God. This is not really that specific and if God asked me to do that in the context of pouring cement, cleaning bathrooms, working at Cessna, mowing, or being a pastor at a local church, I would be willing to live that out! When I met Cassie, her and I compared missions and we found that we both had God’s mission on our heart and mind and it is pleasure and honor to live out that mission with her.
- Be “marriageable” within three years – I love what Vinny says when he talks about the statistics. I realize that there are certainly people that live in the minority of the statistic and this is in no way meant to demean those folks, but those marriages that seem to be functioning well and progressing forward tend to be marriages that dated from 1-3 years and then got married sometime in that time. Those that got married in less time or more time tended to have more issues in their marriage. There are probably all sorts of reasons why they tended to struggle (and I realize many of them don’t struggle) but just the pattern of life seems to be that 1-3 years of dating then marriage is a great time period. Being spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, and culturally ready to engage in the act of marriage is important. If we are willing to tackle some self evaluation and decide whether we are ready enough or not in these areas, it could give us a great grid to whether we are marriageable within three years. Quite honestly, Cassie and I were not ready financially to get married when we did, but we knew our Master, Mission, and expectations, and we were assured that God would provide in some cool ways. And he did.
- Expectations of your future spouse – I believe that people must write these out, seek scripture, and find the expectations that God suggests. Too often, people settle for someone that is less than their former expectations but if we are willing to write out these expectations, we would be able to do some grid work and look for very tangible qualities in the other person. For guys, Proverbs 31 offers some great advice as to some expectations you might have of your future spouse. As I looked through those qualities and made them expectations, God provided me with just that woman. For girls, 1 Timothy 3 may be a good place to start. I realize that this is expectations of overseers, but this is the quality of man that God is looking for to lead his church, and I often ask girls why they would settle for any different in the leadership of their home?
If love is really what 1 Corinthians 13 talks about, then dating cannot be tied to selfish, pleasureful experiences that are bordering using each other physically or emotionally. They must be rooted in the deep love of Jesus Christ that he displayed on the cross for us many years ago. He was patient, kind, not envious, not boastful or proud, not rude, not selfish, not angry, always forgiving, truthful, protecting, trustful, hopeful, and progressive. He never failed! He forgives and loves deeply and that is what relationships (not just the dating or marriage relationship) need to mirror and look like in our Christian lives today!
If you are interested in recieving the resources that I have put together with this series, please email me at email@example.com with "XES:The Unspoken" in the subject line. I will send you several of the transcripts, mp3's, powerpoints, and outlines.