Editor’s Note: The following article was originally given as a chapel speech at Calvin Christian High School in Grandville, Mich. We hope that these thoughts will also benefit our readers.
My topic is not foreign to us, but I must admit that we do not hear many students speak on my subject. Usually ministers, or at least teachers, will try to communicate their thoughts on this topic. But, somehow, it just doesn’t seem to sink in when a teacher lectures on sex. Maybe it is hard for us to imagine him ever being really involved in our situation. I hope this is one vantage point that I have, being a student. The problems of sex, love and dating are real for me as they are for you. And because I am a student, I don’t have to preserve the image that a minister or a teacher has to. I am free to speak openly about this subject. So let’s be honest with each other in order to take a critical look at ourselves.
First, we live in a sex saturated society. If anything in the whole, wide world is true, that is. We are not isolated from this saturation simply because we are Christians attending a Christian high school. Sex is all around us—we are bombarded with it all our lives. Before we are ten we are laughing at dirty jokes. We may not understand them, but we still hear them and laugh.
As we grow both physically and mentally, our knowledge of sex grows also, but its growth is usually not a healthy one. It seems as if every time a bunch of kids gather, talk turns to sex. It is really no wonder. The world uses sex in all sorts of ways, even as an advertising technique—and it is one of the best. Everyone knows that if a cute girl digs a guy in a Dodge, a lot of guys will go buy Dodges. All the songs we hear on our favorite radio stations have as their basis that three-lettered word “sex”. It is always covered over with the word “love”, but it is still “sex”. I could give many examples, but I hardly think it necessary.
Have you ever looked at the movie page? If you thought that I was exaggerating about the role of sex in our society, look at the movie section tonight—and don’t forget Floyd Bloss’s ad for “adult movies”—that’s the best of all. We can bring the subject even closer to home that. The number of illegitimate children has risen steadily over the past few years and the dropouts from Christian schools because of pregnancy number more than a handful.
The basic problem is that the world presents sex in the wrong light. It keeps trying to substitute “eros” (physical love) for “agape” (Christian love) and it cannot be done. The world cannot be the place where we learn our morals because of that wrong standard. Nor can we find those morals from the animal world or in ourselves. We must take them from the Word of God. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage if honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
If we are to follow God’s Word, we must live sanctified lives. This is hard. Face it. We are created male and female and God has placed in each of us the desire for the opposite sex. If that was not the case, the human race would soon die off. We have this desire—and it is as natural as the desire for food or drink or shelter—and it is meant to be fulfilled in sexual intercourse. But it must be fulfilled only in the marriage state which God has instituted as a sign of the relationship of Christ to His Church. Only then is the fulfillment of our natural desires in accordance with God‘s will. To break that sign is to commit fornication.
This poses a problem for us. In the time of the Old Testament and in a few societies today, people married when they first came to realize the desire—that is, when they had grown up physically. But in our society, people usually wait until they are 20 or 21 or older if for no other reason than financial difficulties. The result is a long waiting period, which can get pretty rough sometimes. But we must wait if we are serious about fulfilling the requirements set by our glorious God.
The fact makes a lot of difference to Christian young people who are dating. Society now accepts pre-marital sex. Why not? Contraceptives rid people of the consequences and it is much harder to fight one’s passions than it is to give in to them. But we must not go along with society, for we are called to be pure—both the woman and the man.
When we date, then, we must seek to love those we go with; for love is unselfish, it is kind and it is thoughtful of the other person. We must not seek to rouse each other’s passions, but rather we must concentrate on learning God’s will. We must ask ourselves, “Is this the one God would have me marry?” because that is the purpose of dating after all—to find a mate. And as we search for the right person with whom to share our lives, we must strive to keep ourselves pure as we also keep the Church pure for Her Husband.
Now let’s get a little more practical. What should we do on dates? I cannot stand here and tell you what you may or may not do on dates. But I can tell you that we must flee temptation. We should always know what we will be doing and where we will be going on a date. Unplanned dates are often those which lead to temptation. Parking is another thing we must avoid. No good ever came out of an evening which was spent necking. Things like that leave us wide open for temptation.
Let’s keep our dating what it should be, a searching of one another’s personalities to see if the other person is the one that God wills you to marry and save our love-making for marriage. It is certainly something wonderful to look forward to if one has kept himself pure.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 4 June July 1969