Question #5: How will I deal with temptation?
When you love somebody you’re going to want to express your love to them. And Satan is going to try to get you in a situation where you’ll be tempted to express your love in an unrighteous way. When you’re dating, there are godly ways to express love (verbally, materially and even physically in moderation) and then there’s ungodly ways to express your love (by going too far physically). It’s not a matter of IF you’ll be tempted, it’s a matter of WHEN you’ll be tempted. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that temptation is “common.” It’s going to happen.
And the Bible teaches that: Saying no to temptation begins with a commitment to resist it before you ever encounter it. Take a look. In chapter two Solomon is expressing his desire to be with his beloved but then says in Song of Solomon 2:15 “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Now the vineyards here refer to their bodies. Remember in 1:6 how she said she had neglected her vineyard? By that she meant her body so here they are talking about their bodies, which Solomon says are in bloom. So imagine a grape vineyard in bloom. What would you want to do with those voluptuous grapes hanging off the vine? You’d want to grab em! This is exactly what Solomon wants to do with the Shulamite. But he lets her know that he doesn’t want to be in the kind of situations with her where they might ruin what they have going.
The best advice I ever received in this regard was to stay with other people. In Song of Solomon, prior to being married they are always with their friends. In 1:4c the friends are there. In 1:8 the friends are there. They chaperoned the relationship to make sure everything stayed above board. They were guardians of the love the couple shared and they did everything within their power to protect it from being ruined by a stupid decision. If the couple tried to go be alone somewhere the friends say “oh no you don’t.” If they were thinking about going too far the friends would “oh no you don’t.” If you started talking about moving in with each other prior to being married the friends would say “oh no you don’t.” This is actually where we get the idea of groomsmen and bridesmaids. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are supposed to be the protectors of the love shared between the couple. They exist to guard it so it doesn’t get ruined by the couple putting themselves in a compromising situation where they would do something they would later regret.
So here’s some suggestions to help you keep things public:
- Go for a walk in a park (where there’s other people around) instead of hanging out alone in your car.
- Have dinner out at a restaurant (where there’s other people around) instead of at your apartment (where you’re all alone).
- Go on double dates so there’s always other people present.
- Take your date to your house so your parents and siblings can meet and get to know your date a little. After all, if you get married, you really and truly marry the whole family, so you might as well get to them now.
- Here’s something many of you might find surprising. The modern way in which we date didn’t even exist prior to about 1920. Before 1920 you would never go out on a date without a chaperone. It might be your little brother, it might be your sister – or you might have the date at the home of one of your parents. And you didn’t go hang out in their bedroom either! You stayed in plain sight to ensure that everything was above board.
- With other people around there’s built in accountability. On one of my favorite TV shows (Duck Dynasty), Si is always talking about how he was the chaperone for Phil and Miss Kay. He sat in the back seat and went with them wherever they went. This might seem old fashioned to you, but let me tell you that people in those times weren’t in situations where they were tempted as often as we are today. Sometimes it’s true that “The old ways are better.”