Drawing and blurring the lines

"How far is too far in a relationship?" That is a question that has been asked countless times by students and young adults who want to pursue what is God's best for them in a premarital relationship but aren't sure exactly how to define those parameters physically.

I've met people who have committed to share that first kiss only on their wedding day, a commendable act of self-control and diligence. Then there are others who found themselves involved in relationships that progressed way too fast, costing them their innocence along the way. Regardless of one's relational history or hopes for the future, we still want to know where to draw the line when it comes to purity in our relationships.

Many pastors and church leaders have tried to define where God's line is drawn, with answers ranging from the puritanical to "follow your heart" type gibberish. Just the other day a young man sought my counsel regarding how he should handle the physical aspect of his relationship with his girlfriend, and I found myself thumbing through a whole Rolodex of possible answers to give him. But what does God say? Where does He draw the line.

To answer that question, we can read a portion of what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NLT) to find some pretty clear cut answers:
God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor -- not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways...God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
Boom! That's pretty clear, isn't it? God is not in the business of drawing and redrawing lines for us to follow. His line for us is clearly marked with the words holiness and purity. God has a standard that has always existed and He is not One to redefine what He has already established as His truth.

Once we know where the line exists - with God's command for purity and holiness - we so often begin to want to blur those lines so that we can exist on them without having technically crossing them (which really isn't possible but we try anyway). "But," you may ask, "Aren't there different levels of purity and holiness for each person? Some can't handle more than holding hands while others are okay with a deeper degree of physical interaction." 

The very fact that you or I would even make the attempt to redefine what God's line is or blur it to fit our own desires is evidence that we are thumbing our noses at God's standard for holiness. Indeed we live in a culture where the concept of sexual sin is ambiguous at best. Few are the television shows or movies where couples wait until marriage to have sex or the married person remains faithful to his or spouse. Regardless of whether or not our society is even aware of where God's line is drawn, if you are in Christ then you most certainly are. God's line does not fade and it will not blur.

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