These are the words I most recently spoke to a friend…where I yet again took the position I’ve held for some time now. I wonder though, as I always do when I say the following…is there something I’m missing, or is it really that wonderful, intentional and asking of us when we make our way toward forever with someone?
“I know for myself, that I cannot kiss a girl before marriage. I only want to kiss my wife. This is something that I’ve failed at more than once, but, that personal, tailor-made conviction from God remains. I cannot do this…I should not want to do this…and through His help, I will continue to not do this. I wonder while it is perhaps not the honorable route everyone need take, why does my extreme, as it ends up being by default, seem so far from what others say is okay for them to take part in…kissing, making out, etc? I wonder if I am just seeing to a very specific God-spun conviction upon my heart for my life, or, are other people just fudging on what was once pursued to be application of Biblical truth, only to end in negotiation into something not entirely truth? Or, is the Truth of everything somewhere in the middle of all our worlds?
All I can say is that right now for me, I must hold to what God has impressed me to do. But I still do wonder and worry…are others taking an alternative path to relationships, filled with fast-track and short-cut that miss out on the courtly Love-approaches of old? …the lessons found in antiquity from those who have gone before us, and in my opinion, interpreted, applied and surrendered to God’s commands in ways that we’ve only negotiated with? I wonder if we’ve forgotten all about our heart’s motivation of application of Biblical Truth and exchanged it, entirely, or worse, subtly allowed it to mingle with negotiation of such Truth? All that time between being down on two knees and perhaps just getting down on one one day seem chasms apart with impossible in the air if not for God’s intentions to be remembered and devoured right now.”
I am attempting to be mindful as I court and sort sorting through the tendency of mine to see things only through Western eyes and assume that the Gospel through my eyes (Greek thought…what America follows now and has since its inception) is the only way it can manifest itself, I do wonder where those other ethnic-driven manifestations of the Gospel start and where Christ has always been?
I learned a valuable lesson in Scotland on my most recent mission’s trip where a pastor encouraged to think much more deeply about the idea that while the Bible is truth for all and does apply across gender and ethnic lines, it does manifest its perfect truth in different ways depending on where you are at. In other words, he challenged me to consider the expression of the gospel…of Truth…of true Faith outside of the expression I am used to in America and through my Western-eyes. He used the example of being “modestly dressed” as he asked to hear my views on the particular girls dress in the church I was serving in. I was told that I might look at a girl in a church in Western Europe and think she is dressed provocatively, looking of course through my Western eyes, and yet in Sweden, as he explained, I might be invited over to a church gathering where everyone is comfortably hot-tubbing nude…as he said he had known people who had experienced this.
I understand the idea of being sensitive to Gospel expressions…I really do! My Grandmother is Roman-Catholic, but is an example of faith my Protestant Christian friends could learn a lot from, despite her crowded sense of worship, what with Christ, Mary, Saints and Angels. I honestly adore the God-intended variety of gospel expression and manifestation across the world…but, I am sorry, I just can’t agree with what I feel goes beyond expression and into negotiation of Biblical truth.
I’ve spoken with Christian and Muslim men from the Middle East who talk about how they are filled with such a “consuming struggle, unlike any other for purity”…and mind you, these are men who are looking at “eye-slits and using imagination” as they so simply commented on the women’s typical attire in their country. The point in this example is that yes, of course there are different expressions of the the Gospel, but allowing things accepted by culture to mingle and tag-alongside, or worse, commandeer Biblical truth, is just sad and wrong.
Please, feel free to disagree with me. In my opinion however, sin is always gonna be sin, and more importantly, for preventative sake, the enemy is always going to use the same old temptations…whether you are routinely hot-tubbing, naked in Sweden, or staring at no more than an eye-slit with imagination as women pass you by.
What does this have to do with kissing a girlfriend or boyfriend exactly…? Perhaps everything I think. I believe the gap between discerning the holistic idea of exchanging Gospel application for Gospel negotiation, and deciding to kiss your girl versus kissing only she who is called your wife is not too far and wide, and hopefully, with some good insight from many of you, we can all better consider what it means to become a Lover.
So help me out guys and girls…share with me your God-logic…because I get confused when I hear what your reasoning behind drawing lines of physical and emotional intimacy are. They’re pitched as wise ways to fight, but they just sound like different ways to eventually fall…very determined, but doomed all the same as deviations from what God already laid out as instruction for the heart.
I don’t know about every guy, and I certainly would not assume my personal understanding and convictions for my own heart to be what everyone should have to hold to, but, how can kissing someone you care about, someone you might possibly even Love…how in the heck can that not be stimulating to so very many things that are not meant to be awakened before their time?
I know wonderful Christian men who are walking strongly with the Lord, who plant more than one (more than a dozen half the time) on their girlfriend nearly every time they see them. I guess my question is this…all I’ve ever heard from all of these guys (and I do mean all) is that they maintain that kissing their girl does arouse them and does awaken those things which ought not be awakened…but…and they all in their own words have added this sentiment…‘we simply take captive those thoughts and don’t let those emotions go too far.‘
Again, I’m not saying that kissing should go, more so because I am still sorting through how I think all of this applies to everyone…but…is going “too far” really what and where our hearts should be concerned with? Sure, it sounds honest and intentional enough, but guarding against what might be “too far” for situations you and your lovely find and/or put yourselves in sounds more like a fail-safe defense than a faithful stance of a true Lover.
I just wonder how guys and girls go about doing this without either going too far, or more importantly, without even daringly approaching those boundaries we are always seemingly obsessed with negotiating? While I hear and understand the confidence in many of my brother’s voices as they articulate to me the precautions they’ve taken to ensure it will not go “too far,” I begin to wonder…is not the deeper motivation of wanting to find that delicate line of physical intimacy testimony enough to the simple fact that we are dealing with something far simpler than the guise of honor and commitment.
I know in my own heart, EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ TIME I walk(ed) down this path of drawing up lines of intimacy, scribbling all over God’s blueprints, I end up dealing with a much simpler motivation beneath a bunch of others …my flesh! I simply want to do it, to have it, to take what is not yet mine! I think, in very real ways, this is true for all guys…we react and consider with the flesh, and then stray into strategy mode with our self-made Christian road-map…and then, WAM…we wonder why it doesn’t work.
I fear for all those who put faith and confidence in the probability that arousing such intense gifts might work with your pursuits of purity…I fear more for those of you who feel that such intimacy is working and in fact benefitting your relationship…not because it’s not, because clearly those things were always meant to enhance and deepen affections…but I am sad for all of you who might simply never consider giving that back or keeping from such indulgences…because once you get married, you never again have the opportunity to present it as waited upon and patiently waited for to your special someone. I think we, myself included, do nothing more that gerrymander our affections in the hopes that those forbidden “not yets” somehow, just maybe, now fall under Christian jurisdiction. If only I had yelled at myself these words…”Remember where you draw your lines you fool…you’re deep in enemy territory, and more likely than not, much of your collected counsel has come from spies.”
In other words, we want to kiss, make out and touch…so we drape some faith and morals in and around it, negotiate, re-negotiate, and then apply a new standard and method to something that already has a Christ spoken biblical standard to it.
Someone who wishes to apply biblical truth across the board in every area of their life is concerned with application of biblical truth, not that subtle shift into negotiation of Truth. We’re never to look upon God’s sweeping, comprehensive statements of expectation and freedom alike and peruse them as a buffet, trying to find what we’re most conveniently willing to try. Nor are we to approach His Truth with the attitude of trying to discern how it all fits into our life…question is, this Truth, these Commandments stand and always have, with or without me…how then do I then fit into their reach with all that I am.
So, I apologize for tearing off on rabbit trails where now some of you you’re either lost, or wondering why I seem to repeat myself so much…I’m still learning not to write circularly, which is how I think.
So, as simply as I can put it… When we as guys get physical, usually almost in every way, even the small ones, we run smack into that place where we begin to negotiate what should be added beneath God’s accepted action…extra-biblical exceptions fought for by the inspiration of extraordinary hormone and heartfelt rushes of affection. I know for me, when I truly take stock of where I must draw the line…where I begin to take what is not yet mine…I find myself not only not kissing, but not spending much time one-on-one with girls at all. I was even told by a pastor I deeply respect, “Justin, until you learn to better anticipate those around you, and likewise handle yourself, you would do good to not even make a girl feel special at all.”
Now, if you’re like me you’re thinking…”Great, then how the heck am I supposed to pursue even the idea of interest in anyone?” The answer is very, very, very intentionally! The kiss has become not my border of physical intimacy, but rather a reminder that such a simple thing is a very small and beneficial sacrifice to do what I think is most pleasing to God next to loving Him as He loves us…which is loving His kids as He loves them. I’m not saying back away from everything…that too is wrong. Just know that your flesh is ever ripe to be prompted by the enemy, and good intentions are often the strangled, last words of every regret. That same pastor told me, “Just focus on God, and if it pleasing to Him to pursue someone, pursue one…choose one…and let them be your one and only pursuit.” I didn’t follow his advice in the moment as I should have and I found that a crowded throne room weighs impossibly heavy on the heart leaning on its own strength. Point is…I missed the very simplest of God’s intentions…to Love God’s kids, even the one I am smitten with (especially that one) as He loves them…with patient freedoms, endless in their honor and Loving timing.
So, please let me know what you think…guys…is your explanation behind certain intimacies before marriage something other than, “I want to”…and…”I won’t let it go too far.” And don’t tell me it doesn’t hurt, but helps us get deeper…I already know that…physical touch is great…a lot of physical touch is even better…sex is it’s pinnacle…but marriage I believe was meant to hold much if not all of that precious.
Girls…knowing this about us and how much we covet intimacy with you, especially physical intimacy, what are your thoughts on waiting on even little things? It’s not rigid legalism, but perhaps relational deliverance in Christ. It is for my heart any way…and I would venture that your guy kind of works along the same lines as me, even if he coats it in different words.
I think many of us just flat-out don’t believe any more that we can find out deep things about someone…learn about them in the ways we would need to when considering forever…or even simply, truly fall in love with someone without physical intimacy. I know I often lean that direction despite the resolve to believe otherwise. All I know is it’s enough to try and honor the women around me by taking my thoughts captive, which I am honored and exhausted in doing. So why we ever think to add actual tangible stimulant to that, when it’s not even ours, and their hearts are soon quickly to follow us to those places, that no matter what we say IS TOO FAR…I will never understand.
I think it’s much simpler guys…the flesh has wants in this fallen land, and we battle against the spiritual forces unseen…let us consider what little more we can give back, to hold our redeem to be so much more. Just imagine…what if our “too far” was flung high into Heaven the opposite direction of trying to see what we could get away with…How far can I take this awesome Purit in this relationship for God…How far can I slingshot honor for her out in the open for all to see and hear and know…here is a woman who demands respects…How far can I take Love, a Love for her whom I have waited for and will continue to wait for as long as is needed. That “too far” sounds loudly of wild ocean currents, beautiful in every direction…instead of man made lakes, which only sit, lead and give away as little as they can.