My wife recently asked me to speak to our youth members about some of the subjects I’ve been contemplating on this blog. I thought I would post pieces of that sermon on the blog to add to the conversation. This is Part 1–check back later this week for more.
Julie asked me to talk about HOW FAR IS TOO FAR tonight.
TO START OFF, I want to talk a bit about boundaries, or guardrails as our friend Andy Stanley refers to them.
Whats a guardrail? (Ask the students.)
The definition of a Guardrail is: a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas. You dont pay much attention to them until you need them. Theyre not located in the most dangerous areas. Its the area on the other side of the guardrail thats the actual danger. But we dont really argue why guardrails are there, saying I could drive there if they took out that guardrail. The idea is that youd do less damage if you hit a guardrail than if you went into the danger zone on the other side of the guardrail.
I want to use the idea of guardrails and apply them to our lives. As guardrails relate to life they are: A (personal) standard of behaviour that becomes a matter of conscience. I want you to create guardrails within your own life, personal standards of behaviourI want you to set standards for yourselfwhere when you bump up against one of these guardrails, the warning lights should come on that should tell you, DANGER, DANGER, DANGER, youre about to hit bad territory. It should inform or ignite your conscience. It should be something that protects you from ever reaching dangerous territory.
We need guardrails in ALL areas of our lives. But specifically, I want to talk about boundaries or guardrails in relationships, hence the suggestion of How far is too far. What are some guardrails or boundaries you could create in your relationships with the opposite sex?
Now there are some things that are just general knowledge. Most churches of course would promote not having sex until youre married. Our culture might say Dont have sex until youre ready! And when I was single, I would say to that Well Im ready now! Thats not a guardrail! Telling you not to have sex before youre married isnt going to help you much, unless you create some guardrails to help preventing you from doing so before you ever reach the DANGER ZONE!
The majority of us tend to justify sin with the vagueness for which some sin is described in the Bible. Because you dont have a passage that says, Thou shalt not force thy tongue down thine throat of thy maiden, we tell ourselves its ok. But the Bible is unspecific for a reason: This is why it is universal across centuries of time!
In the New Testament, a man named Paul wrote a letter to his protégé, named Timothy. He told Timothy this in, 1 Timothy, chapter 5, verse 1, half way through: Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
He advises young Timothy, a man in his late teens, to respect his elders and treat younger women with ABSOLUTE PURITY. This applies to you women as well. This is the lifestyle God calls us to as followers of Him. Now, if youre not a follower of Christ, then you have free reign. But if you claim to believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, He is calling you to a life of purity.
So let me give you some examples of guardrails in my own life. Most of you know Julie and I quite well. Most of you didnt even know we had any interest in each other before we announced our engagement. This was done on purpose. Julie and I dont really believe in dating. We think its a label people put on couples who have an interest in each other, and places certain expectations on the girl and guy of what they should do and how they should act as boyfriend and girlfriend.
- You should hold hands.
- Lean on his shoulder. Make it obvious hes your man.
- Obsess over him or her by pushing your other friends away and ONLY spend time with him or her, calling him at ALL hours of the night.
- Kiss a lot, especially in public, just to make it clear to everyone youre dating.
And in your private time together, you hang out at each others homes while your parents are out of the house, for some ALONE time. And the list grows of what could happen there.
- Lying on the couch together.
- Lying on top of each other on the couch together.
- Hands get bored and start to explore.
- Lips lock.
- The tongue usually gets involved in there somewhere.
Suddenly, you start having sex with your clothes on, until your mom comes home unexpectedly and youre left there looking like you just wet your pants. Isnt that how dating relationships go? (Tongue-in-cheek!)
Even if they havent worked out this way for you, this is what our culture tells us our relationship with our boyfriend or girlfriend should be. Just look at any TV show, movie, music video, song, whatever. Theyre all telling you to do this. And many happily oblige!
Did you know that with reference to the Holy Bible, weddings are PURELY secular! There is no wedding ceremony to consummate a marriage. How is it done in the Bible? For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Sex isnt just a physical act. Its also INCREDIBLY SPIRITUAL too! Two become one flesh! Your spirit joins together with the other! Why do you think its SO painful when you break up a relationship? A romantic relationship is also a spiritual one. In the Bible, you were legally married to anyone you had sex with. Therefore, according to Scripture premarital sex isnt even possible. You have sex? Youre married. Thats it. Shes yours!
Check back this week for more on Guardrails and what Julie and I personally did in our relationship to keep ourselves pure!
QUESTION: What has YOUR church taught you about relationships, and relating to the opposite sex?