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We Are Courting: How Far Is Too Far

Our church group had gathered for a two-hour hike through a rambling forest trail. Eric and I fell into step beside each other as branches and leaves crackled under our feet.

I scrambled up onto a steep rock near the edge of the overlook, to get a better view. After taking a few photos, I turned around to climb back down. But then I realized I would need help to get back down the rock without falling.

Eric was the nearest person to me, and the most obvious one to offer his hand to help guide me back down the steep incline. As he noticed my need for assistance, I could see a moment of tension flash across his face. I could almost hear his internal grappling with the question, “What is the right thing to do?”

Finally, in one swift movement, he reached down and grabbed a sturdy stick from the trail and held it out to me instead of his hand, grimacing self-consciously as he did.

Red-faced, I took hold of the stick and inched my way down the rock, silently praying that none of the others were watching the less-than-graceful scene. [1]

Huh huh!

Are you rolling your eyeballs like I did when I first read this story by Leslie Ludy? This awkward experience before she got married to her husband, Eric. Simply weird, right?

Like, who does that today? Is that the how far we shouldn’t go? – Holding hands or hugging each other or eating from the same plate.

You want to find out? Okay. Let’s dive in…

Insights

To court, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, in the context of this discussion, means – to act in a way that shows you want or intend to get married.

You start having this ‘thing’ – this deep love for him or her. (Not a crush). You sense it’s mutual, you’re good friends. And as a Christian, yes, you pray about it. It keeps gripping your heart. Maybe, just maybe, something will bind us together, till death.

Or it’s gone a step further – you’ve proposed, or he’s proposed to you, and the answer is “YES”. It gets stronger and hotter and sweeter.

Every Christian likely knows the Bible verse – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed, undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). Yes, God still demands that undefiled life – purity – from you, no matter the season of life you’re in.

In the book Radiant Purity, I explained why our sexuality is important to God (and the devil as well), and why you and I can’t afford to play games with it.

If your ears and eyes are open, you surely have heard and seen sweet singles, who set out on this courting journey, expecting to drive into the land of marriage. And yes, a good number started off on the “purity” road, but because they had no clear map, or tucked the map under their seat, they lost track and fell into a disastrous ditch. A lot haven’t even recovered from the deep wound.

Or, maybe, not particularly falling into the act, but issues cropped up here and there, that shook their boat, or raised brows, or threatened their “D day”.

Friend, I’m sure you don’t want to have such a painful story.

Love, that engine that drives relationships, is so powerful. You need to see what that engine is capable of doing.

Love: as strong as death

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (Songs of Solomon 8:6).

“Love is as strong as death”. Death! You know what death does… It numbs your physical reasoning. In a blink of the eye, it snatches off, uncontrollably, all you’ve known, heard, read and have.

Love is not just as strong as death, it is as well, as coals of fire which has a most vehement flame.

You know, a flame could be both beneficial and burning. Within the confines of your gas cooker, it cooks a sumptuous meal. When exposed to fuel, it explodes, and burns.

Because of this death-like and flame-like strength of love, the Bible, through the words of this lover, gives us a tool that “checks” this love power…

The Love Seal

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon the arm: for love is as strong as death…” Songs of Solomon 8:6

A seal (something that confirms or make secure), was what this “lover” requested be set on her heart (inwardly) as on her arm (outwardly). Love, true love, worketh no ill, Romans 13: 10 says. If this love exists between us… If I am “love”, I imagine this lover say, then I should be a seal.

The nature of that love that seals is spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. It –

suffereth long, is kind; envieth not; vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 

You’ll do everything to ensure that you confirm and secure your “love” in purity if you intentionally keep this “love nature” before your eyes.

Not how far, but how faithful

If you look through the Bible in search of how far we should go or not go, spelled in black and white, you’ll probably search forever.

Leslie and Eric never saw a place in the Bible that says “hold out a stick for her if she needs help. Don’t touch her hand.” No!

Other Christian who successfully drove through this path, and arrived safely didn’t see such things as well.

But they saw and applied, with discretion, numerous Bible passages that lead us in this path of purity.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.” (Songs of Solomon 8:4)

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (Proverbs 6:27)

Let not then your good be evil spoken of (Romans 14:16)

Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

So, it’s not about how far… Where the line is… But about how faithful you want to be to God. How you want to honour His word and shine forth His light in this dark world. How you want to faithfully guard your heart and body against the burning flame of love.

People who want to live such lives in this world, definitely, will have to do some things that appear awkward.

Awkward now, but glorious latter

The D-Day is finally here. He stands in front of the altar, his suit beautiful straightened and sparkling. His heart is pounding with joy and sweet anxiety as he keeps turning his head to the church entrance, eager to see the face of his beloved. A solemn hymn is being played. The congregation stands.

Just then… She walks in. Sparkling white gown, her steps synchronous with the soft rhythm of the hymn, her face glamorously radiant.

Your eyes meet. It speaks a thousand words. So we made it this far my beloved? Untainted. No “How I wish…” No “what if…” No “why…”

And yes, the Trinity, the angels, the saints; they’ll all be smiling and cheering.

When you remember the unfathomable glory of that day, dear friend, you’ll go the extra mile to guard yourself.

If sitting close to each other, or holding hands, or hugging, or even eating from the same plate will fuel a fire, of whatever sort, the seal of love will restrain you from doing that. That dress that looks hot on you, and will make him/her feel hot as well, you won’t put it on your body. You will fight for the purity of you both, helping each other to stand.

And what if you both have to walk away – it didn’t culminate in marriage – before that day, you boldly leave the door and shut it behind you without regrets.

Finally… On that glorious morning, when our Heavenly Groom will come for His bride, won’t you be glad to hear that resonating voice of His, as He tells you

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

It will be great!

“The intensity of the waiting makes the final consummation all the more glorious.” (Iain Duguid)

So friend, as you court him/her, presently or in the future, keep your love seal in place. Don’t expose the love flame to fuel. Set appropriate HEDGES. Swim in purity.

Now, kindly use the link below to share this with friends. And, I’ll love to read from you… Jump to the comment section, and tell me your view on “how far is too far“.

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Comments (2)

  1. Olufemi Omotayo

    Thanks for this timely message in a world that glorifies abnormality.

  2. Succinctly and wonderfully said! Thanks for this!

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