Topic: Dating and Sex

“How far is too far?” This is one of the first questions the teens asked in my teen pilot group. "After losing my virginity, I have no idea what is appropriate in dating."  "What's appropriate? Where and how do I draw the line when I have already messed up?"  These are the questions tossed around when teens become real!

First of all, congratulations, we are all being honest. The only way to truly get help and change is to honestly assess yourself and where you really are before God. Okay, so you've lost your virginity and you would like to change your ways. You'd like to continue on the right path but have no idea what you should do. After being still with God and repenting there are specific steps you can take. Let's take a look at these.

1.  I want to start by telling you I'm proud of you for making this decision.

You've got a challenge ahead of you and you are the critical link in setting a new standard. You must be able to understand what you can and cannot do. You must know yourself. What are your limitations?

For some people, all it takes is a little kissing to get to a point of frustration. For others, light kissing might not be a big deal, but touching bare skin will do it. Think about the actions and activities that turn you on sexually and make sure you avoid them at all costs. You must know where and when to stop. If you do not have that kind of self control, you need to set firm boundaries around your dating.

2. It's important to set some boundaries for yourself that will help you stop before you get "hot and heavy" and cannot stop.

For you, that might mean not kissing—at all. It probably means not being alone with the person you're dating. And it definitely means talking about it with your boyfriend so you are both on the same page and can keep each other on track. If your boyfriend is not in agreement with the boundaries you are setting, it’s time to break off the relationship. If he really cares, he will honor your boundaries.

3. Also, dating in groups can allow you to enjoy each other's company and keep your boundaries in check.

4.  If you do go out alone, always have something planned, and have a time set for the date to end. That keeps you from spending a lot of time together without any solid plans. You might need to avoid spending a lot of time in a car with your date, sitting on a couch with him or doing anything that gets your mind on sex. Do not go into a home or basement alone especially if you know everyone in the home is out for the evening.

These things probably sound extreme, but once you've had sex, the desire to do it again is much stronger than it is for someone who has never done it. The best way to keep your promise to yourself is to stay out of situations where you'll be tempted to go back to your old patterns.

5. You'll also need the help of Christian friends who are committed to both sexual purity and to saving sex for marriage.

There's a great resource we use to help along these lines. Its called “Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships” by Chip Ingram: http://www.livingontheedge.org In this book and DVD series, he lays out the steps to living a lifestyle of purity. Chip shows us the world's way verses God's way.

God requires us to find out about a person's spiritual life before we ever consider the first date. Next, be social with your friend - meet with him in social settings and develop a strong friendship with him. Thirdly, see if there is a psychological connection. Is there chemistry? Do your personalities connect? Next is the emotional connection, and finally the very last stage and step would be physical contact – only adding sex in a marriage agreement.

Chip challenges us to think of the times there's a little chemistry and we go head first for the physical. Yet God would have us get to know the person on many levels.

6. Finally, purity is a heart position.

The scriptures say, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23

My battle cry for each of you is that you would save yourselves and walk in a lifestyle of purity! This will set the stage for one of the greatest celebrations of life – sex between husband and wife. If you've messed up, pray and ask God to allow you to be a "spiritual virgin." Carry this message in your heart and God will come through!

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