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Friday, September 3, 2010

4-9-10 "How are Christian Young People Supposed to View the Opposite Sex?"

     I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. Most likely, you have either been on the receiving or the giving end of it.  Flirting. It’s a disease that is slowly weakening our lives, our social circles, and (dare I sound so eccentric?) our culture. Flirting fills our television sets as shows for both kids and adults portray the heroes and heroines of comedies and drama flirt with, fight over, and smooch on members of the opposite gender. Flirtatious songs fill iPods, CD players, the airwaves, and the minds of college kids, teens, pre-teens, and even young children. Even Barbie, as she enjoys her itty-bitty pink karaoke machine, sings about the dreamy boy she likes. Pre-teen girls giggle and chatter about the boys they like, and high-school boys make off-color comments as they check out cheerleaders in the school hall. Youth groups across the country have become contaminated with godless thoughts as guys and girls pair off during “Church events.” I’ve heard girls talk about flirting as if it were a pastime or a hobby. Even to grown-ups, flirtatious behavior seems perfectly innocuous. But how harmless is it, really? What are the long-term consequences of flirting?

     What does God say about the matter? Ask your average church-going teen or pre-teen, and they will probably reply, “Nothing!” Although God never said outright, “thou shall not flirt,” he has indeed addressed the matter in His word.

·         1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if her were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

Treat younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters. Treat members of the opposite sex with absolute purity. Treat them as siblings? Easier said than done! How on earth are we to do that? First of all, stop looking at members of the opposite gender as potential boyfriend/ girlfriends or husbands/wives. Realize that God has your future spouse in mind already and it’s up to Him, not you, to get the ball rolling. Begin to think of them as friends, not “romantic interests.” The easiest way to begin changing the way you think is to a) pray that God will give you a change of heart b) behave as if you already consider them as brothers or sisters. What does that mean? You respect them as a person, love them with agape, or brotherly love, and cease the flirting. Your attitude will eventually follow your actions.

·         Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

I realize that this does not really seem to fit this topic at first glance. However, is perfectly germane! When you find yourself attracted to someone of the opposite gender, you begin to think about them more and more. Then, once they are at the forefront of your mind, you begin to want to be around them more and more. What usually follows is flirtatious behavior, ansd then you begin to think about them still more. The result? God is shoved to the back burner of your mind. If you are not careful, you may find yourself completely removing Him from the stove, sealing Him in a Tupperware container, and putting Him in the fridge to refer to later. And that is when you slip out of His will. The result? Life starts to stink like last week’s leftovers. The preventative? Keep God at the forefront of your mind. When you start to dream about that cute person you like, push away the thought. Don’t let it distract you. Think about something else- focus on God! Start to pray. Prayer usually kicks that thought out of your head faster than anything else. Praying for another person takes the focus off yourself (did you realize that daydreaming about a crush is a self-centered action?) and onto that person and God.

·         Titus 2: 11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.”

What is a “worldly passion”? It is anything That absorbs your thoughts that is defiantly not of God, but instead of the world. An all-consuming crush fits nicely in this category.  That’s not to say that you won’t have crushes- you will, and it doesn’t make you heathen! When it becomes ungodly is when you allow it to take over your mind or even your life. Self-control must come into play when you find yourself having a crush. If you look around you, you will find that many people give into their crushes- or leap into them head-first! You may even find that you do this. Use self-control- divert your thoughts from this person, resist the urge to flirt, treat them like your brother or sister. Does it seem like less fun? Sure. But is it more pleasant in the long-run? Absolutely. When you look back a year from now, what do you want to remember – that you focused on school and made good grades, witnessed to people about the Lord, had carefree fun with friends, worked hard at your sport, and wrote uplifting journal entries? Or that you wasted time daydreaming about a crush, told a friend about your crush and were gossiped about, and made a complete fool out of yourself as you did your best to grab that person’s attention?

·         1 Timothy 2:9a “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…”

·         Job 31:1-2 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at any girl, for what is man’s lot from God above, his heritage from the Lord Almighty?”

These two verses, one for the girls and one for the guys, are hopelessly intertwined with each other. While everyone has a different idea of just exactly what is modest, girls, there are some obvious guidelines that you need to follow. A good place to find these guidelines is The Modesty Survey at www.threbelution.com. Why be modest? So that the guys you are around will be able to follow Job 31:1-2 without serious struggles. It may seem as though you will get more attention from guys when you wear flirtatious clothing, but trust me- you do not want that kind of attention from that sort of guy! The kind of guy you want to attract (i.e., a godly man who will respect your modesty and your body) will not be attracted by immodest dress. A lot of girls- even Christian girls- could care less about modesty and the consequences of immodesty because they are glad to get male attention. Don’t be one of those girls. Sure, for many of you, it may be a while before you actually want to get a husband, and it doesn’t seem like it really matters WHO you attract at this point. However, let your track record be clean and godly. Your husband will be appreciative, trust me, and you won’t have guilt or regrets.

     Guys, I think this verse pretty much says it about as plainly as it possibly can. As a member of the feminine order, it is not my place to write to you on matters such as these. If you would like a commentary on this subject, find one that is written by a guy- a good one is I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. I encourage you to take the time to read this book.

     Why avoid flirting? As the verses above show, flirting is not in God’s will. In addition, as I have discussed, it will damage your reputation as a godly young person, it will repel godly potential-spouses, it will cause you grief and regret. In addition, if you never flirt in the first place, chances are, you will never find yourself going “too far.” Don’t ever begin creating a potentially dangerous guy-girl relationship. I will even go so far as to encourage you to avoid dating or any type of courtship until you are old enough to be married. Why? You will be able to grow closer to the Lord, not to one, three or seven guys/girls whom it will not have benefited you in the least to have known; you will have time get a job, get good grades, or have a hobby; and you will never have a chance to “make mistakes”. As you can see, flirting leads to only heartache and regrets! Do not get caught up in it- live for the Lord, not for yourself.

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