"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." Pr 4:26,27

"Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not." Ps 17:5

Let's take a look at what the two words PONDER and PATH mean here and then apply that to the "dating game".

PONDER To weigh in the mind; to consider and compare the circumstances or consequences of an event, or the importance of the reasons for or against a decision.

PATH Precepts; rules prescribed.

        I had hoped when starting this study to apply it to young people, for that is who it applies to most. However, since they are YOUNG people, they make decisions based on 'what so and so can do" or "everyone else does it" ... I must say though that there have been a few that have written me that are truly seeking the Lord's guidance in this area. Praise the Lord for that!

        As parents we have such a great responsibility in the training of our children for the Lord. There are so many snares awaiting them at every turn. I venture to say that the ONE thing that takes our children's eyes OFF the Lord more than anything else is the 'Dating Game'. I know, I have seen it time and time again. Parents don't we teach our children this very basic fact? "But godliness with contentment is great gain" 1Ti 6:6 ... Of course we do! As I bring out the following thoughts, please keep this verse in mind.. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for what we allow in our children's lives until they are no longer under our authority.

1. With dating the seeds are planted for Jealousy! I don't care if you are 11 or 20, this is just part and parcel of the Dating Game. Once two people decide that they are a 'match' they find themselves either jealous of who someone talks to or even looks at! Why? because they are TO YOUNG to handle it. That is NOT contentment!

2. Dating causes bitterness towards others. It causes anger! How many reports do we hear of where it has even led to killing! Far to many. Let's look at the reason why..."For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1Jo 2:16. And why is this so wrong? the lust of the eyes, the flesh? Aren't they 'natural feelings you ask? Isn't this how 'everyone' does it? Maybe so, but the Bible tells us in this same chapter verse 17, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." THIS OLD WORLD IS GOING TO PASS AWAY! We are not here to fulfill the way of the world but the way of our Father in Heaven. If we are going to teach our children 'contentment' and allow them 'great gain' then we need to step in and say NO to the "Dating Game".

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil.4:8

3. Let's take a look at a verse about PURITY. 1Co 7:1 "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." I have always wondered how parents can not look at this verse and see that we are talking about MEN AND WOMEN here, yet we can allow this in our CHILDREN???

        "But," you say, "my child can be trusted...they know their limits when it comes to this". Really? can you control their thoughts? They sure can't, and neither can we. Even if they dont 'touch' can you control the very thoughts that come into ones heart and mind about the opposite sex? Purity comes from within!

4. The "Dating Game" breeds flirting! We find while looking at the examples of whorish women in the Bible that flirting should be totally UNACCEPTABLE! Flirting is not just the batting of eyes, it is the clothes they wear, it is the way they MOVE (body language), the way they talk, and their make-up. Their appearance speaks volumes. IF that 'appearance" is not so important then why did God take such care in showing us by example after example how this woman conducted herself? And then showed the evil and dangers that it resulted in?

The boyfriend/girl friend game.. will he like me? or her? How can "I" make him like me? WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP HIM?

5. The Dating Game breeds foolishness and betrayal. "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts," 2Ti 3:6. It is no shocker that boys are looking for 'silly' that they will 'go for' the one that is 'flirty' that looks more 'seductive', BUT when it comes to what they really want in the end.. it is a PURE woman.. because it leads to a life of peace. Proverbs 31.

6. The "Dating Game" causes division. A house divided can not stand. It is seen all over the states in church youth departments. It causes division in the home. One parent more lenient than the other, one parent more 'understanding' than the other. Siblings lying for each other and keeping secrets. Parents it is our RESPONSIBILITY to stop this.

7. The "Dating Game" breeds confusion! "In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion." Ps 71:1. What about dating breeds confusion? All of this back and forth nonsense.... this week it is so and so, the next is it the other guy/girl. Allowing our children to "date".. especially at an early age brings such confusion to their 'path'. In what way are we teaching them "let God direct your paths" when we allow all of this? Can you honestly say that you BELIEVE that God is bringing 10 different fellows/gals into your CHILD's life to 'test'? Hardly.

        Young ppl need to understand that when they 'date' they allow themselves to get serious. They say they are not or won't but before you know it they 'think' they are in love. We find in Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Parents, we can trust till we are blue in the face, we can stay on our knees in prayer round the clock, but we can NOT tell that heart how to feel. We have to PROTECT our children in this area! We are responsible to help them keep PURE thoughts, teach them to seek the LORD in this area, to trust HIM, to pray that HE will prepare for them the right help meet.

        As I wrote earlier, the heart begins to tell that 16 year old that this boy/girl he/she fancies is 'the one'.. must be love. She/he begins to write notes signing their name with LOVE, giving to that person the very thing that is only theirs to give. NO DOUBT this will happen over and over again when they start out so young. They GIVE THEMSELF FOR IT! What if Christ had done the same? What if He had not waited until it was His time?

8. The "Dating Game" breeds NON commitment! It is no wonder when things get a little rough in today's marriages that people are so willing to just give up, they learned early on in life through the "Dating Game" that breaking up (divorce) is a doable answer. sure why not.. hmmm what "tangled webs we weave".

9. The "Dating Game" breeds NON caution! The Bible tells us the flesh is weak, yes, even your perfect child. When we allow our children to date we are trusting the flesh. You are telling them NO and sending them out to test that flesh. Our children should NOT be put in that position or those situations. For who of us does not even TODAY fight the flesh? Parents it is our RESPONSIBILITY to guide our children.

10. The "Dating Game" breeds rebellion!. No matter what boundaries we set, children always want more. It is the give and inch, take a mile syndrome. Next thing you know their sneaking and breaking rules and even laws.. "Not my son or daughter", yes yours and mine! Remember that heart is deceitful and wicked, it WILL prevail if left to itself. Children are NOT capable of guiding it at such a young age. How many of us look back and say.. 'IF I had only done it different, how I wish I could go back.." We have an opportunity to help our young ppl NOT feel this way, by simply saying NO!

11. The "Dating Game" breeds selfishness! "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Ga 6:8. It is our RESPONSIBILITY to not allow them to have to make decisions centering on ME and MY wants, but rather on God's will for them.

        Let's consider Phil. 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." What is their sensual focus on life? Life is not just pleasure! Dating breeds DECEPTION! "Oh, I love you!" They give their heart, then it is "Sorry, your not the right one" break up time!!

12. The "Dating Game" breeds distrust! On again off again relationships! Break ups! Before you know it, they are so used to being lied to, fooled, that they become accustomed to feeling betrayed. They begin to distrust US their parents. How then do we continue to teach them to "Trust in the Lord?" Hmmm seems IF we as parents taught this in the beginning when they asked "when can I date?" that we wouldn't be in this mess we are in now right? The "Dating Game" breeds covetousness! It is there in the boy/girl game. Where is their focus, their trust in God?

13. The "Dating Game" breeds INSECURITY! I have saved this for the last because it is so important. Today suicide is rampant! Eating disorders are abounding! We are loosing our children to the world of fashion, trends, lifestyles contrary to the Word of God. They do this all to 'fit in'. The have lost their focus on God, His direction in their lives, because WE as parents have allowed this to be.

        God made us all different. In the 'game' however, they can't help but compare themselves to others. Of course this ends up with the child thinking "God did not make me good enough" WONDERFUL!!

        Many may feel that this is to 'narrow' a way of thinking. But we are to be 'narrow' in our thinking and parents and Christians. This may seem strange and odd, but, the Bible tells us we are to be strange and odd does it not? He calls us to be a peculiar people. Let us not worry about how the world looks at us, but rather our Creator.

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