Dating in such a way that even God would say, “Excellent!” is challenging. Of course, many of us would agree with that first statement because we’ve had sinful past dating relationships. This is, sadly, because of the few to no safe guard rails we place during dating relationships. Due to this, many will easily and regrettably fall into sexual temptation.
As clearly stated in the Bible, sex is to be done inside the confines of a marriage between an adult biological man and woman (Genesis 1:28, 2:24-25). In Matthew 19:5, Jesus reiterates that a husband and his wife are to be one flesh. In Hebrews 13:4, the author writes that sex inside of a marriage is holy and to be honoured by all. Sex is what gets a married couple to “know” one another (Genesis 4:1), be “one flesh” (Matthew 19:5), and bring “delight” (Proverbs 5:18-19). Sex is a good thing created by God (Genesis 1:28, 31). Still, we must not awaken these sexual desires until the time of marriage comes because sex outside of marriage will eventually harm us (Song of Solomon 2:7, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20). So, how can we resist sexual temptation in a dating relationship?
One way of resisting sexual temptation in a dating relationship is by imitating how Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations by quoting scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). Recalling scripture we’ve memorised will help cool the fires of temptation (Psalm 119:9-11). In addition, scripture helps to reveal the lies of temptation that a better promise is found in Jesus (Hebrews 11:24-26, Philippians 3:7-8). The ears of our flesh are often attuned to the voice of temptation, pushing us to submit to it (Matthew 26:41, Galatians 5:17). However, we need to remind ourselves that in Jesus Christ, there are blessings for those who resist temptation (Isaiah 59:1-2). An example of a scripture that gives such a promise is Psalm 24:4-5 which says that we will “receive blessing” and “righteousness” from God whenever we’re pure. Likewise, Matthew 5:8 promises that the pure in heart shall see God. As Christians, this should motivate us to overcome all temptations to disobey God.
Giving into temptation may have temporal pleasure. However, it eventually hinders our relationship with God. Also, Jeremiah 5:24-25 tells us that God provides everything we need to live and thrive, but our sin keeps this and other good things far from us. Remind yourself of the sinfulness of sin and how it blocks blessings from God that are superior to the “blessings” of sin. Scriptures will generally help us have the correct perspective of sin, which keeps us from sugarcoating sin and seeing the lies of temptation for what they indeed are.
Remember the Gospel
Reminding ourselves of the Gospel is a powerful way to overcome sexual temptation. For example, Colossians 3:1-4 teaches us to focus on how through faith in Jesus, we get to share in the power of his resurrected life (Colossians 3:1). The resurrected life in Christ means that we have died to our old self and live with spiritual power to put to death sexual immorality (Colossians 3:3-5). Through Jesus Christ, you can say no to temptation (Colossians 3:1-5, 1 Corinthians 10:13). If you have such power through Jesus, pray and ask the Lord to strengthen you afresh to say no to sexual temptation in your dating relationship.
Another helpful gospel truth is found in Ephesians 4:17-24 which teaches us that through Jesus Christ, you’re not alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18), but you have Christ in you to renew you in your mind (Ephesians 4:23). Through the Spirit of God you have the power to live in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). In other words through Jesus Christ you are a new creation and hence sexual sin, among other sins, have no power over you (Ephesians 4:19, 24). So with this in mind, pray and ask God for grace to say no to sexual temptation whenever you sense it.
Remember How Good Jesus Is
The goal of remembering the Gospel is to refocus on Christ and see how amazing he is. Remember how Christ gave us to a new life of salvation from the bondage of sin (Colossians 3:1), that nothing can steal the life of Christ that is in me (Colossians 3:3), and one day I will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4). All of this is made possible because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can also consider how through Jesus Christ, we have a life in Christ that is righteous and holy in the sight of God. Therefore, we no longer have to worry about God’s eternal wrath in hell (John 3:36, Matthew 25:46). As we consider the goodness of Jesus, we can again have our strength to resist temptation renewed by his grace.
In summary, considering such Gospel truths and our Saviour Jesus Christ will cause us to look, with much greater awe, at Jesus instead of falling for the false allure of sexual temptation. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will stand a better chance of making wise choices concerning boundaries in our dating relationships.