- 页码：第100页 2013-12-24 08:36:57
1. The premise of dating is “I’m attracted to you; therefore, let’s get to know each other.” The premise of friendship, on the other hand, is “We’re interested in the same things; let’s enjoy these common interests together.” If, after developing a friendship, romantic attraction forms, that’s an added bonus.” 2. Intimacy without commitment is defrauding. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only as long as the feelings last. 3. Just because lips have met doesn’t mean hearts have joined. And just because two bodies are drawn to each other doesn’t mean two people are right for each other. A physical relationship doesn't equal love. 4. Physical involvement can make two people feel close. But if many people in dating relationships really examined the focus of their relationships, they'd probably discover that all they have in common is lust. 5. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships. 6. Dating, in many cases, distracts young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future. We cannot live in the future, but neglecting our current obligations will disqualify us for tms responsibilities. Being distracted by love is not such a bad thing--unless God wants you to be doing something else. 7. Instead of equipping themselves with the character, education, and experience necessary to succeed in life, many allow themselves to be consumed by the present needs that dating emphasizes. 8. Dating plays a role in fostering this dissatisfaction because it gives single people just enough intimacy to make them wish they had more. Instead of enjoying the unique qualities of singleness, dating causes people to focus on what they don't have. 9. Dating creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person's character. 10. They need to see each other in the real-life settings of family and friends.They need to watch each other serving and working. How does he interact with the people who know him best? How does she react when things don't go perfectly? When considering a potential mate, we need to find the answers to these kinds of questions--questions that dating won't answer. 11. Until you realize God's gift of your singleness, you'll probably miss out on the incredible opportunities it holds. Perhaps even now you can think of an opportunity you could grasp if you let go of the dating mind-set. As a single you have the freedom right now to explore, study, and tackle the world. No other time in your life will offer these chances. 12. Intimacy is the reward of commitment--I don't need to pursue a romantic relationship before I'm ready for marriage. 13. God has made each of us with a desire for intimacy, and He intends to fulfill it. While we're single He doesn't expect these longings to disappear, but I believe He asks us to have the patience to wait and, in the meantime, seek close relationships with family and deep, non-romantic relationships with brothers and sisters in the Lord. 14. If you're not ready to consider marriage or you're not truly interested in marrying a specific person, why encourage that person to need you or ask him or her to meet your needs emotionally or physically? 15. I cannot "own" someone outside of marriage. In God's eyes two married people become one. And as you continue to mature, you'll often crave the oneness that comes from sharing life with someone. Perhaps you feel that desire even now. Yet I believe that until we're ready to commit our lives in marriage, we have no right to treat anyone as if he or she belongs to us. 16. Where, when, and with whom you choose to spend your time reveals your true commitment to purity. Do you need to examine your tendencies? If you do, make sure that you avoid placing yourself in settings that encourage temptation. 17. Choosing to quit the dating game doesn't mean rejecting friendship with the opposite sex, companionship, romance, or marriage. We still can pursue these things; we just choose to pursue them on God's terms and in His time. 18. One day a boy who has a bag of marbles proposes a trade with a little girl who has a bag of candy. The girl gladly agrees. But while the boy gets out his marbles, he realizes that he can't bear to part with some of them. Rather dishonestly, he takes three of his best marbles and hides them under his pillow. The boy and girl make the trade, and the girl never knows he has cheated her. But that night while the girl lies fast asleep, the boy has no peace. He's wide awake, pondering a question that nags him: "I wonder if she kept her best candy, too?" Like that little boy, many of us walk through life plagued by the question "Has God given me His best?" But the question that we must answer first is "Am I giving God my best?" 19. Christ gave His life for a world that rejected Him, and he told us to love our enemies. He washed the feet of the men who called him Master and told us to serve each other in humility. He gave us the pattern-- "As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (john 13:34)--and told us to share it with the world. 20. If a man "feels" love for the poor but never gives money to help them or never shows kindness to them, what are his feelings worth? They may benefit him, but if his actions don't communicate this love, his feelings mean nothing. 21. By inflating the importance of feelings, we neglect the importance of putting love into action. When we evaluate the quality of our love for someone else simply by our own emotional fulfillment, we practice selfishness. 22. For the person practicing the self-centered, feeling-governed, beyond-my-control love of the world, God's definition can be as startling as an unexpected slap in the face. 23. True love is selfless. It gives; it sacrifices; it dies to its own needs. 24. The danger of believing that you "fall in love" is that it also means you can "fall out of love" just as unexpectedly. 25. We shouldn't allow our feelings to set the tone or the pace for our relationships. Instead, we need to allow wisdom and patience and selflessness to guide us."love must be sincere" 26. The love God wants His children to live by has no room for deceit and hypocrisy--it has to be genuine and earnest. 27. We need to realize that the lifelong commitment so many of us desire in our future marriages cannot be practiced or prepared for in a lifestyle of short-term relationships. Until we can commit to making a relationship work for the rest of our lives--and yes, it is a huge commitment--we do ourselves and others a disservice by pursuing short-term love in the meantime. True love waits, but not just for sex. It waits for the right time to commit to God's brand of love--unwavering, unflagging, and totally committed. 28. In my view, if dating encourages us to wear the world's style of love, then dating needs to go. If dating causes us to practice selfish, feeling governed love that's contrary to God's love, we must kiss dating goodbye. We must stop trying to fit God's ideas. 29. "Too often, people want what they want (or what they think they want, which is usually "happiness" in one form or another) right now. The irony of their impatience is that only by learning to wait, and by a willingness to accept the bad with the good, do we usually attain those things that are truly worthwhile." 30. I don't need to pursue a romantic relationship before I'm ready for marriage."Intimacy "costs" commitment. If I'm not in a position to pay in the cold, hard "cash" of commitment, I have no business "going shopping" for my future mate." 31. Before two people are ready for the responsibility of commitment, they should content themselves with friendship and wait for romance and intimacy. 32. In friendship, they can practice the skills of relating, caring, and sharing their lives with other people. In friendship, they can observe other people's characters and begin to see what they'll one day want in their mates. 33. What that person really needs is someone mature enough to spend the season before marriage preparing to be a godly wife or husband. Let's do our future spouses a favor and stop shopping around prematurely. 34. Whether you're single or married; whether you're liked, loved, or lonely; the key to contentment is trust. Believe it or not, if we are discontented with singleness, we'll more than likely face discontentment when we're married. When we define our happiness by some point in the future, it will never arrive. We'll keep waiting until tomorrow. If we allow impatience to govern us, we will miss the gift of the moment. We'll arrive at that point in time that we expected to provide fulfillment and find it lacking. 35. If we truly want to pursue purity, then we need to point ourselves in God's direction. We cannot simultaneously explore the boundaries of purity and pursue righteousness--they point us in opposite directions. True purity flees as fast and as far as it can from sin and compromise. 36. No matter how good impurity's victims may be, or how holy they've been in the past, if they set foot in her house, they speed toward death on an expressway with no exits. Have you ever made a wrong turn onto a freeway only to find you must travel many miles before you can get off to turn around? If so, you've probably felt the aggravation of your mistake. You can't slow down; you can't turn around; you can only continue speeding farther and farther from your destination. How many Christians in dating relationships have felt the same way as they struggle with accelerating physical involvement? They want to exit, but their own sinful passion takes them further and further from God's will. 37. Living a pure life before God requires the teamwork of your heart and your feet. The direction of purity begins within; you must support it in practical everyday decisions of where, when, and with whom you choose to be. Many couples have made commitments to sexual purity, but instead of adopting a lifestyle that supports this commitment, they continue relationships that encourage physical expression and place themselves in dangerous settings. The path you take with your feet should never contradict the conviction of your heart. If we desire purity, we have to fight for it. This means adjusting our attitudes and changing our lifestyles. 38. "Men tend to see the physical as more of an experience," a good female friend once told me. A girl's point of view is very different, she explained. "Kissing and "making out" mean something very precious and deep to a woman," she said. "It is our way of giving our trust, our love, our heart to the man we love. It leaves us very vulnerable." 39. Physical intimacy is much more than two bodies colliding. God designed our sexuality as a physical expression of the oneness of marriage. God guards it carefully and places many stipulations on it because He considers it extremely precious. A man and woman who commit their lives to each other in marriage gain the right to express themselves sexually to each other. A husband and wife may enjoy each others bodies because they in essence belong to each other. But if you're not married to someone, you have no claim on that persons body, no right to sexual intimacy. 40. God has a very different view. "Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband," He commands (hebrews 13:4, The Message). 41. For me and many other people I know, it has meant rejecting typical dating. I go out with groups of friends; I avoid one-on-one dating because it encourages physical intimacy and places me in an isolated setting with a girl. Can't I handle it? Don't I have any self-control? Yeah, maybe I could handle it, but that's not the point. God says, "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). I won't stick around to see how much temptation I can take. God is not impressed with my ability to stand up to sin. He's more impressed by the obedience I show when I run from it. 42. Set your standards higher than you need to. Cut off sin at its root. Until you're married-- and I mean until you've walked down that aisle and exchanged vows--don't act as if your bodies belong to each other. 43. Physical interaction encourages us to start something we're not supposed to finish, awakening desires we're not allowed to consummate, turning on passions we have to turn off. What foolishness! The Bible tells us the path of sin, particularly in regard to the wrong use of our sexuality, is like a highway to the grave. We shouldn't get on it then try to stop before we arrive at the destination--God tells us to stay off that highway completely. 44. Only by keeping our standards too high and killing sin in its infantile stage will we avoid its destruction. Set your standards too high. You will never regret purity. 45. Guys, it's time we stood up to defend the honor and righteousness of our sisters. We need to stop acting like "hunters" trying to catch girls and begin seeing ourselves as warriors standing guard over them. How do we do this? First we must realize that girls don't struggle with the same temptations we struggle with. We wrestle more with our sex drives while girls struggle more with their emotions. We can help guard their hearts by being sincere and honest in our communication. We need to swear off flirtatiousness and refuse to play games and lead them on. We have to go out of our way to make sure nothing we say or do stirs up inappropriate feelings or expectations. 46. Girls, you have an equally important role. Remember the wayward woman we discussed earlier? Your job is to keep your brothers from being led astray by her charms. Please be aware of how easily your actions and glances can stir up lust in a guy's mind. You may not realize this, but we guys most commonly struggle with our eyes. I think many girls are innocently unaware of the difficulty a guy has in remaining pure when looking at a girl who is dressed immodestly. Now I don't want to dictate your wardrobe, but honestly speaking, I would be blessed if girls considered more than fashion when shopping for clothes. Yes, guys are responsible for maintaining self-control, but you can help by refusing to wear clothing designed to attract attention to your body. 47. I know the world tells you that if you have a nice body, you should show it off. And we men have only helped feed this mentality. But I think you can play a part in reversing this trend. I know many girls who would look great in shorter skirts or tighter blouses, and they know it. But they choose to dress modestly. 48. "Blessed are the pure in heart," Christ said, "for they will see God" (matthew 5:8). Only the pure may see His face. Only the pure may be vessels of His Holy Spirit. 49. In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in Anger," "Things I Have Muttered under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and bum the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. 48. Not one of us can stand completely pure before God. We are all sinners. But no matter how filthy the rags of our defilement may be, in a moment of true surrender the heart turned toward God loses its impurity. God clothes us in Christ's righteousness. He no longer sees our sin. He transfers Jesus' purity to us. So see yourself as God sees you--clothed in radiant white, pure, justified. Maybe you have a particular memory that continues to hound you, a memory that makes you feel unworthy of God's love and forgiveness. Don't let the past beat you up. Forget it. Don't replay that moment or any others like it. If you've repented of all those behaviors, God has promised to remember them no more (hebrews 8:12). Move on. A lifetime of purity awaits you. 49. "Stephen," the father said gravely, "times will come in life when you'll realize you've made a mistake. At that moment, you have two choices: You can swallow your pride and "pull a few nails," or you can foolishly continue your course, hoping the problem will go away. Most of the time the problem will only get worse. I'm giving you this tool to remind you of this principle: When you realize you've made a mistake, the best thing you can do is tear it down and start over." 50. The lesson of the nail puller is an important one for all of us who have built our relationships on the faulty attitudes and patterns of dating. For many, getting things right will require us to first tear down what's wrong. In some cases, that means bringing wrong relationships to an end. 51. If we want to build a godly lifestyle, we must first repent of sinful attitudes and behaviors in our relationships. The Bible uses starting with a clean slate. The word repent to describe turning from what's wrong and pursuing what's right. Repentance is a change of direction based on a change of heart. 52. Have you practiced selfishness in relationships? If so, consider admitting your selfishness and correcting it. Have you played loose and careless in the area of purity? Then maybe you need to ask God to forgive you and seek ways to reverse your course. Are you currently involved in a relationship that you know is wrong, for whatever reason? Then ask God to give you the courage to do His will, which might include breaking off the relationship. 53. Did any of these factors make breaking up easy? No, this messy aspect of relationships will always be hard. But remember, continuing a wrong relationship only increases the pain when it finally does end. Have the courage to obey now. Obedience today will save you a lot of sorrow and regret tomorrow. When you end a relationship, you need to remember a couple of important things. First, really end it. Don't leave any strings attached or hint at the possibility of reuniting someday. You should also probably agree to steer clear of each other for a while afterward. 54. Starting with a clean slate doesn't always involve a breakup. Sometimes it simply means refocusing a relationship to keep it from heading in the wrong direction. 55. Whether you're having to break up or refocus a relationship, approach the other person humbly, stressing your desire to please God. If you've wronged that person, confess your guilt and ask for forgiveness. Don't rationalize or make excuses. Just apologize. 56. You'll need two things as you live out a new attitude toward relationships: wisdom and accountability. Ideally, both of these should come from your parents. You need your mom and dad. 57. If you need to find a mentor who will give you wisdom and accountability regarding your relationships, ask God to show you who to turn to. Then, when He brings a mentor into your life, actively invite that person's input. If you're not already involved in a church, find one and ask a godly older man or woman there to fill the role of adopted dad or mom as you navigate the sea of romantic relationships. Whatever your circumstances, don't procrastinate. Develop a support team to help you stay on track.(晶晶& books are my mentors; friends are my backups!) 58. Setting boundaries like these will allow you to respond with confidence in different situations. 59. Does anything in your life cause that kind of discontentment? If so, then maybe you need to consider cutting out some things. Maybe you need to stop reading romance novels and watching soap operas because they encourage ungodly longings within you. Perhaps you need to turn off the radio because much of today's music exalts a false definition of love. You might need to tune out some of your favorite TV shows because they mock your beliefs about purity. Whatever even tempts you toward discontent or compromise, don't put up with it. Tune it out. Turn it off. 60. Ask yourself these questions: Are these people negatively affecting me? How can I be a positive influence on them without compromising my convictions? The answer might involve spending less time with certain people or choosing to spend time with them in different settings. Pray for these friends and love them, but honestly assess their influence on you. And ask God to bring people into your life who will provide support for your standards and beliefs. 61. Until I was ready for marriage and had found the right girl, I would just be friends with members of the opposite sex. 62. Guy-girl friendships can be pure, inspiring, and educational. As I've interacted with female friends, I've gained insight into their perspective on life, learning valuable things I would have missed in my narrow-minded, male outlook. 63. While we should take advantage of the benefits of guy-girl friendships, we must not forget their boundaries.If we want to enjoy anything good, we must recognize its limitations, and friendship with the opposite sex is no exception. No matter how beneficial or innocent something may be, when we ask too much of it, we can cause harm to ourselves and to others. Solomon passed down this principle using the analogy of food: "If you find honey, eat just enough--too much of it, and you will vomit" (proverbs 25:16). Just because something is good doesn't mean we should gorge on it. Like healthy eating, healthy friendships require self-control and moderation. 64. Friendship is about something other than the two people in the relationship; intimacy is about each other. In a true friendship, something outside the two friends brings them together. C. S. Lewis writes, "We picture lovers face to face, but friends side by side; their eyes look ahead." The key to friendship is a common goal or object on which both companions focus. It can be an athletic pursuit, a hobby, faith, or music, but it's something outside of them. As soon as the two people involved focus on the relationship, it has moved beyond friendship. 65. Were these desires wrong? No, but they were ill-timed. I'm not saying that we should avoid intimacy. We shouldn't. Intimacy is a great thing. But we shouldn't pursue intimacy without commitment. In God-honoring, male-female relationships, the burden of intimacy is commitment in marriage, if we're not ready or capable of committing ourselves to someone, we aren't ready to pursue intimacy. 66. Being just friends with members of the opposite sex doesn't happen by accident. We have to fight for and guard our friendships. Like magnets, men and women are designed to attract each other. But until we're ready to be "stuck for life," we need to avoid premature intimacy. How do we do that? By respecting the limitations of guy-girl friendships and relating to others within the framework given by God's Word. In Romans 12:1011 we read, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." 67. And only those beliefs springing from the heart can ever hope to stand the rushing winds of emotion. 68. "As I grew into womanhood," writes Elisabeth Elliot in Passion and Purity, "and began to learn what was in my heart I saw very clearly that, of all things difficult to rule, none were more so than my will and affections." The sooner we get acquainted with the contents of our hearts, the better. Too many of us are blissfully unaware of how deceitful the core of our beings can truly be. When we think "heart," we picture cutesy, red, cut-out valentines. But often, if we'd really examine our hearts, we'd find lies, selfishness, lust, envy, and pride. And that's the abridged list! 69. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Above all else, guard your heart..." How should we do this? First, picture guarding your heart as if your heart were a criminal tied in a chair who would like to break free and knock you over the head. In other words, protect yourself from your heart's sinfulness. Keep a wary eye on your heart, knowing that it can do you damage if it is not carefully watched. Next, picture guarding your heart as if it were a fresh spring of water that you want to drink from daily. The Bible tells us the heart is "the wellspring of life" (proverbs 4:23), the source of our attitudes, words, and deeds. If we fail to keep our hearts clean, the rest of our lives will stagnate and become dirty. 69. "Do not love the world," John warns us, "or anything in the world.. .for everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father, but from the world" (1 John 2:15-16). 70. You've probably experienced it--the constant thoughts about someone who has caught your eye, the heart palpitations whenever that person walks by, the hours spent dreaming of a future with that special someone. It's infatuation, and I know it well, having experienced it myself! In addition to diverting our attention from God, infatuation can cause problems for us because it is most often founded on illusion. When infatuated with someone, we tend to build up that person in our imaginations as the perfect guy or girl. We think we'd be happy forever if that person would return our affections. Of course, we can only sustain our silly crush because we've substituted fantasy for all the information we lack about the person. As soon as we get to know that person's true identity and discover that our "perfect" man or woman is human like everyone else, our dreams fade and we move on to a new crush. 71. Attraction only grows into infatuation when we pamper it. Each time we find ourselves attracted to someone, we have a choice to either leave it at attraction or allow our imaginations to carry us away. 72. But though it's not always easy, we have to learn to stand by our convictions without becoming bitter toward those who disagree with us or make fun of us. When we communicate our views to others, we need to watch ourselves so we don't come across as cynical, sarcastic, or defensive. 73. We communicate and live by our convictions in order to please God and serve those around us, not in order to feel superior or to look down on others. God hates pride and self-righteousness, and we should avoid those attitudes whenever we discuss our standards. 74. You don't have to prove someone wrong to do what you know is right. Don't concern yourself with being right in others' eyes. And don't secretly hope that their lives will fall apart so that your opinion will be vindicated. Instead, concentrate on obeying God in your own life and, when possible, helping others to obey Him as well. You don't have to prove others wrong to continue on the course you know God has shown you. 75. Our primary purpose for communicating with others should be their encouragement and growth.This principle means that sometimes we should explain our convictions and reasons for not dating in detail and other times we shouldn't. Sometimes our explanations are helpful, protecting others' feelings and possibly even challenging them. But other times our rationale only confuses people, ruining a chance for the natural growth of friendship and sending out a holier-than-thou signal. 76. On the other hand, I do explain my convictions to my close friends. They know I don't want to be "set up" with anyone and that I want only friendships until I'm ready for marriage. I've discussed this with my friends and shared books and articles that have influenced my thinking. Whether or not my friends agree, I've invested the time to explain where I stand. This makes my life much easier and protects their feelings. 77. When the time comes to share why you don't date, what should you say? Whatever words you use, remember that the goal of your communication is not winning a debate or convincing your hearers of your view. If your friends agree, great! But your main goal is to humbly communicate what you feel God has shown you, to encourage your friends, and to contribute to their growth. 78. As you explain your stance on dating, make specific statements about your own life, not general statements about everyone else. Remember, it's not your responsibility to live everyone else's life for them, just your own. Focus on what God has spoken to your heart. Be humble and honest about how you're trying to be obedient. If you maintain this humble spirit, you'll often find your listener willing to share his or her own struggles and questions. This opens up the opportunity for you to give counsel and support. 79. The Bible tells us we're to bear the pain of ridicule without flinching. Have you faced scorn from people who don't understand your convictions about dating? Instead of lashing out, respond with kindness, and ask God to show those people the same mercy He has shown you. 80. Even though we don't know the next step regarding our romantic relationships, we still have work to do. We have bad habits to get rid of, good habits to develop, and character to build. Let's hustle! 81. We cannot ignore our current responsibilities and expect to magically gain the strength of character and virtue that will make us good husbands and wives. If we aren't faithful and growing in the relationships we have now, we won't be prepared to pursue faithfulness and growth in marriage later. 82. Marriage won't transform us into new people; it will only act as a mirror, showing what we already are. We have to practice now what we want to be in the future. 83. Each of us must develop a dynamic, growing, personal relationship with God. This involves practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, Bible study, Bible teaching, and involvement in a local church. But in preparation for marriage, we also need to learn to seek God with another person. 84. Learn to share with others the lessons God teaches you. Learn to pray with someone else. Be honest about your areas of weakness, and ask God for a trusted person to keep you accountable to growing in the Lord. 85. Practice financial responsibility. Not only do we need to learn to make money and support ourselves, we also need to learn how to manage our money responsibly. Now is the time to learn how to budget, save, and tithe consistently. 86. In addition to learning about budgeting, balancing a checkbook, and car and health insurance, we also need to establish our own philosophy toward finances. What kind of lifestyle does God want us to pursue? What is His view of money and possessions? Left unanswered, these issues can cause serious stress in a marriage and serious regret if we waste our lives pursuing the wrong things. 87. Preparing for marriage is a byproduct of growing in maturity and Christlikeness. But while marriage is optional, developing Christlike qualities is not. Each of us must develop love, humility, patience, forgiveness, and responsibility. 88. A wedding is an event, but a marriage is a state of being. It's not a one-time act; it's a lifelong commitment to be developed and maintained. 89. Marriage is not to be, in the words of an old wedding sermon, "enterprised lightly or wantonly to satisfy man's carnal lusts and appetites, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained." 90. God intends to cultivate the same abundant, unconditional love between a husband and wife as he himself has for us. 91. From a distance, singles see the glow of married life and think only of how it will warm them. And in many ways it will. But we forget that God wants to use the fire of marriage to not only comfort us, but refine and cleanse us from our selfishness and sin. We come to warm our hands by the fire of marriage; God wants to throw us into it! 92. As quickly as possible, we must dispel any selfish notions that marriage is about what we can get instead of what we can give. 93. I tell them that a good marriage is not a gift, It's an achievement. That marriage is not for kids. It takes guts and maturity. It separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. I tell them that marriage is tested daily by the ability to compromise. Its survival can depend on being smart enough to know what's worth fighting about. Marriage is giving--and more important, it's forgiving. 94. That good marriages require work, patience, self-discipline, sacrifice, and submission. That successful marriages take "guts and maturity" and, we should add, a biblical understanding of God's purpose and plan for it. Only when we cultivate these qualities and disciplines can we carry out our responsibilities and experience true joy and fulfillment in marriage. 95. A Woman's Question Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing Ever made by the Hand above? A woman's heart, and a woman's life--- And a woman's wonderful love. Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing As a child might ask for a toy? Demanding what others have died to win, With a reckless dash of boy. You have written my lesson of duty out, Manlike, you have questioned me. Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul Until I shall question thee. You require your mutton shall always be hot, Your socks and your shirt be whole; I require your heart be true as God's stars And as pure as His heaven your soul. You require a cook for your mutton and beef, I require a far greater thing; A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts--- I look for a man and a king. A king for the beautiful realm called Home, And a man that his Maker, God, Shall look upon as He did on the first And say: "It is very good." I am fair and young, but the rose may fade From this soft young cheek one day; Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves, As you did 'mong the blossoms of May? Is your heart an ocean so strong and true, I may launch my all on its tide? A loving woman finds heaven or hell On the day she is made a bride. I require all things that are grand and true, All things that a man should be; If you give this all, I would stake my life To be all you demand of me. If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook You can hire and little to pay; But a woman's heart and a woman's life Are not to be won that way.” ― Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance 96. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Proverbs 31:30 tells us, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting..." 97. It takes real wisdom to observe a person's character. It also takes time. As we evaluate someone's character (including our own), we need to carefully observe three areas--how the individual relates to God, the way he or she treats others, and the way this person disciplines his or her personal life. These areas are like windows. 98. Habit is the greater part of nature. The things we do involuntarily, almost without thinking, reveal our character. 99. A person's spending habits reveal his or her level of responsibility. 100. Keep your eyes wide open before marriage--half shut afterward. 101. We're often guilty of the same impatience in our relationships. Instead of waiting until friendship fully blooms, we rush into romance. Our impatience not only costs us the beauty of friendship as singles, it can also place our future marriages on shaky ground. Strong marriages are built on a solid foundation of the mutual respect, appreciation, and camaraderie of friendship. 102. When we find ourselves attracted to someone, we need to make building a deeper friendship our first priority. Too often we believe that relating in a romantic, exclusive relationship will automatically mean we'll be closer and know each other better. But this doesn't always happen. Although romance can be a more exciting level of relationship, it can also foster illusion and infatuation, obscuring the true character of each person involved. Remember, as soon as we unleash our emotions in romantic love, our objectivity begins to fade. For this reason, we need to focus on developing a closer friendship with a potential partner before introducing romance. 103. The first priority for a guy and girl is to get to know each other better as individuals--to gain an accurate, unbiased view of each others true nature. How can you do this? First, instead of dropping out of your regular routines to spend time together, look for opportunities to include one another in your real lives. Find activities that pull you both into each other's world of family, friends, and work, as well as areas of service and ministry. 104. While your friendship progresses, avoid saying and doing things that express romantic love. The context of a deepening friendship is not the time to talk about your possible future together; it's the time to get to know each other, serve God together in the church, and listen for God's leading. 105. Don't take things into your own hands by flirting or dropping hints about your romantic feelings. And don't encourage your friends to talk about you or to treat you as a couple. When your friends do this, simply invite others to join you in your activities so you can keep from being paired off. 106. Love should not be stirred up before its proper time, because the love relationship, unless carefully guarded, may cause grief instead of the great joy it should bring to the human heart. 107. "You don't need to rush," he said. "If it's God's will, it will all unfold at the right time. It won't hurt to wait." 108. Do you have the balanced, realistic vision of married life that we talked about in chapter 13? Are you aware of and ready for the responsibilities of being a husband or wife? Have you reached a level of spiritual maturity and emotional stability as a single that warrants stepping into a lifelong commitment? Are you ready financially? You need to honestly answer these kinds of questions before proceeding with a relationship. 109. Keep your hands off and your clothes on. 110. "Where physical progression begins, depth progression ends." In other words, as soon as they began to focus on the physical side of their relationship, the spiritual and emotional side ceased to deepen.
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