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The Six Radical Resolutions of Biblically-Wise Dating

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2024 9:00 am

The Six Radical Resolutions of Biblically-Wise Dating

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 22, 2024 9:00 am

Most people want fulfilling, happy, lifelong marriages, but we don’t get a lot of direction on how to get there. The Bible teaches that if you want something not many people seem to have, then you’ve got to do what few people are willing to do.


Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you are wise in the dating process, you're going to prioritize the presence of character. You're going to prioritize the beauty that does not fade, because that is the kind of beauty that builds a lifelong rewarding marriage. Marriage is companionship, and because marriage is permanent, it is character that matters most of all. Welcome back to Summit Life, the teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist, J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. Okay, so if you were to ask around, wouldn't you expect to hear that most people are looking for fulfilling, happy lifelong marriages? I mean, who wouldn't want that if they chose to get married?

But the challenge is we don't often get a lot of direction on how to get there. Well, a solid biblical principle related to this says that if you want something not many people seem to have, then you've got to do what few people are willing to do to get it. Today, Pastor J.D. shows us how understanding the biblical basis for marriage can actually make us wise in the ever-daunting, ever-changing world of dating. That's right, we're talking about six radical resolutions for biblically wise dating. Grab a pen and your Bible and let's get started. Here's Pastor J.D. Well, this weekend, we want to talk about having a Jesus-centered approach to dating.

But here is the dilemma when we discuss this topic. The dilemma is people in the Bible did not date. Adam did not notice Eve on Tinder in the garden and swipe right.

Joseph did not notice Mary at the synagogue go home and start stalking her on Instagram and liking her photos to show that he was interested in her. Dating is, in fact, you realize, of course, a relatively modern invention. It really only goes back historically, what, 70 or 80 years.

That is not to say that it's bad just because it's new. In fact, in the Bible, they mainly had arranged marriages and they traded donkeys and cattle for their wives and that's not a great system either, honestly. Just to say that there's not a lot of specific teaching on the subject of dating in the Bible. So what we have to do is we have to take biblical principles on marriage and we have to reverse engineer them to apply them to dating.

But because there is no big go-to text when it comes to dating in the Bible, it means I don't have one primary text. I'm going to have you open your Bibles to and work from for the rest of our time together. I've got to bounce around a good bit in your Bibles over the next several minutes. If you really want to open your Bible and anchor in one place, you can do it in Matthew 19 where we're starting all this series from. Every message will begin in Matthew 19. 1 Corinthians 13 is another one that I'll be getting into here in a few moments if you want to open your Bible there. What this series does is it takes principles from the Bible and applies them to a place not directly addressed by the Bible.

That is a process called wisdom that you need to learn to develop not just in this area but in all the different areas of your life because there are some fields of our life that scripture is not going to specifically address but there are principles that should shape how you approach those particular areas. Okay, here is the understatement of the year. Dating is complicated. Amen?

Amen. All right, it's complicated whether you are 16. It's complicated when you're 36 or 56 or 86 and I see a lot of people get hurt by dating.

I see them do long-term damage both to themselves and to others and honestly I've been thinking about this all week long. I really want to help keep some of you from that if I can. I want you to look back on this chapter of your life without regret which very few people can do. By the way, if you are already married, my goal today for you is to help equip you to better understand not just your relationship but to understand the relationships that are developing around you in our church and help you better equip people to do that. As I'm going to show you, dating and the formation of this relationship is supposed to be something that happens in the context of a healthy thriving community and so all of us have a role when it comes to the things that we're going to unpack today. Okay, first Matthew chapter 19. There are three things that Jesus taught about marriage in Matthew 19 that should shape our approach to dating. This is what he taught about marriage.

We're going to reverse engineer them to apply them to dating. Number one, Jesus taught us that marriage was primarily friendship. God's primary purpose in creating marriage according to Jesus was to create a friend, a companion for man. God looked at man in the garden and said it's not good that he should be alone. So he created a haloop in Hebrew, a deep friend for him. Like we saw last weekend, marriage is not the only way that God deals with our loneliness but it was the first way.

It was his plan A for dealing with man's aloneness. That's the first thing, marriage is friendship. The second thing was that marriage is permanent. In marriage, you lock the door and divorce should be taken off the table as an option. According to Jesus, divorce should be as radical and as rare as the amputation of a body part because that's basically what it is.

Divorce should only occur in extremely rare cases where one partner has killed the relationship. Finally, number three, Jesus taught us that happy marriages require God's help. I think it was Socrates who, I'm not a Christian, but Socrates told his young students, he's like by all means you should get married because if you marry well then you will be happy in life. If you marry poorly then well you'll become a philosopher and you'll think deeply about life. Jesus, by contrast, wanted everybody to have a happy marriage and he taught that marriage, while it is beautiful and it is rewarding and one of God's best gifts to us, marriage is also so difficult. It is so difficult because you've got two simple people trying to make a life together.

It's so difficult you can only do it well with his help. He says that marriage is a gift. Matthew 19, it's a gift that has to be given you from heaven. So those were our three things. Marriage is friendship, number two marriage is permanent, and happy marriage wires God's help. So if those three things are true, and we believe that they are because Jesus taught them, then let me give you six, dare I say, common sense resolutions that biblically wise people, followers of Jesus, will make about dating. And I want to challenge you, specifically if you are single, I want to challenge you to own these resolutions as your own, whether you are 16 or 56 or 86. I want you to write these things down and say, I want to challenge you to consider them, pray through them, and say this is going to be my new manifesto, my new series of resolutions when it comes to approaching this subject of dating. And if you're married, I want you to write these down and help those around you live according to these. Now one more thing before we jump in, one more warning, these resolutions, I'll go ahead and tell you, they are counter-cultural.

And that means that if you adopt them, you're going to be counter to your culture, and that means that people on your college campus or people in your high school or people at your workplace or even your own family are going to think you're cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs like we used to say when I was in college. But I'm telling you, following these resolutions will lead you to the kind of marriages that our culture longs for that seems unable to obtain. Hey, here's a newsflash, right? Newsflash, our culture isn't doing awesome when it comes to dating and marriage.

I was reading one author who was writing for the very popular millennial newsfeed site called He said, and I quote, dating today is the worst. Every time I ask friends who range from early 20s to their late 40s how the temperature in the dating pool is, I'm met with borderline hostility. For all the talk of the ease that dating apps create, and what he says next is a little bit crude and I apologize for that, but here's what he said. For all the talk of ease that the dating apps allow, the impression that I'm left with is everybody is swimming in a pool they all took a dump in.

But instead of feeling gross and getting out, everybody decides they have no choice but to keep swimming in the sewage because it's the only pool where you can meet other people. Our culture yearns for good, fulfilling, lifelong marriages, but honestly they don't really seem to know how to get there. Hey, here's your life lesson again, especially if you're single. If you want something nobody else has, then you got to be willing to do what nobody else does, and that's what these six resolutions are. They are six things that hardly anybody around you is going to do.

You're going to be counterculture and you're going to be weird, but if you want something nobody else has, you got to be willing to do what nobody else does, and that's what these are. Here's resolutions, okay? Number one, I will.

All these will start with I will. I will, by God's help, prioritize character over chemistry. Y'all, if marriage is about friendship, think about this, if it's about lifelong companionship, then character is more important than chemistry. Our culture says that chemistry, physical attraction, it says it's everything. Well, according to the Bible, chemistry is not nothing. I mean, God created that kind of attraction.

It's supposed to be part of the package, so it's not nothing, but it's not everything. Did you know that studies show that the effects of attraction, the butterflies, so to speak, wear off in about 18 months, which is why, by the way, some of you have never had a relationship that lasted longer than 18 months. And see, the point is, if that's primarily what your relationship is built on, physical attraction and chemistry and butterflies, well, when that fades, and it will, then you're going to have nothing left. The apostle Peter, in his letter to the church, says that there are two kinds of beauty. Specifically, he's talking to young women in the church when he says this, but you could apply the same principle to men also.

Now, here's what he says. He says, 1 Peter 3, your beauty should not come from outward adornment, like braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. No, your beauty instead should be that of your inner self, because that is an unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight, and by implication should also be of great worth in your sight also.

Why? Well, because that kind of beauty that he's talking about, that inner beauty, is a beauty that does not fade. You see, physical beauty fades in at least two ways. I mean, first, the beauty itself fades, right? Things sag and wrinkle and gray and droop.

I've told you before that the way that I've learned to measure my own fat content and the progress thereof is when I get out of the shower, I stand in front of a full-length mirror, I stamp my foot and start a stopwatch, and when the last part of me stops jiggling, I stop the stopwatch, and that is my new metric for the fat content of my body. So, the actual physical beauty itself fades, but the second way that it fades is its power on you fades. I mean, even if that person nips and tucks and botoxes themselves in place, or even if he starts working out and unbuttons his shirt down to his navel and drives a new red sports car, eventually its impact on you fades. So, that means if you are wise, listen, in the dating process, you're going to prioritize the presence of character. You're going to prioritize the beauty that does not fade because that is the kind of beauty that builds a lifelong rewarding marriage. Matt Chandler, who is a pastor friend, he's about my age, he got brain cancer a few years ago and had to undergo some pretty severe treatment.

He wrote a book called The Mingling of Souls About Marriage and this is one of the things Matt says in that book. He says, when I got cancer, everything that was sexy about me vanished. My strength, my vibrancy, my sense of humor, even my hair. All that was gone for about two years.

I became a shriveled up version of what I was before the cancer. But Lauren, Lauren, my wife, had entered into a covenant with me and she loved the character that God had formed in my heart. All that mattered in that chapter of our marriage was her character and mine. Character sustained the marriage, fueling and ultimately reigniting all the rest. See, it is character that ultimately builds that basis of lifelong companionship and friendship. And I know you're like, oh, but he is just so cute and his eyes are so beautiful and when he takes his shirt off, oh my goodness, that six-pack.

Let me just go ahead and tell you right now, when your kid gets sick and you're on your way to the emergency room at 3 a.m., it's not going to matter what kind of six-pack he has. What's going to matter to you at that moment, all that's going to matter to you is that he is the kind of guy you know can petition God in prayer and that he is a spiritual rock that you're going to be able to lean on. Or when you learn that you've lost your job, what's going to matter to you about her is not how hot she looks in tight pants. What's going to matter to you is that you know that she's going to stand by you and not go anywhere because when she said for better or for worse, she means it and she is committed to you, not just her own comfort and ease in life.

You see, because marriage is companionship and because marriage is permanent, it is character that matters most of all because you're going to tie yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to one person for the rest of your life. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. I wanted to take a second here on the program to shout out a very special group of people. It's our gospel partners. This team of faithful supporters gives so generously to this ministry each and every month.

It's not an exaggeration to say that they are the financial fuel behind everything we do, including broadcasting Summit Life every weekday on this radio station. We call them gospel partners because that's exactly what they do. They are actually partnering with us to help make the gospel known around the globe. This month, we are sending each of our faithful givers a copy of One Day at a Time, a 60-day journey to help you learn to love the people that God's placed around you, written by Pastor Kyle Eidelman. This ministry wouldn't exist without our gospel partners, and it's always a privilege to say thank you with a specially curated featured resource each month. To give a one-time gift or to join with us as a monthly gospel partner, as well as get your copy of One Day at a Time, call us right away.

The number is 866-335-5220, or you can visit us online at Now, let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. You want to marry somebody you're in love with, right? You want to marry somebody who's in love with you and who will stay in love with you, but you've got to ask yourself, what actually is love?

I mean, it's not just the warm fuzzies, and it's not just the butterflies. In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul defines love. 1 Corinthians 13 is called the great love chapter and for good reason.

Listen, if you are single, I would challenge you, maybe memorize this chapter, but if not, at least master the concepts in this chapter and focus on becoming this kind of person and then evaluate it, looking for this kind of, these kinds of qualities in the person that you're looking to marry. Now, Paul says a number of things like love is patient. Love is patient. Patience means they're okay with you not being perfect and they're okay with you disappointing them because, you know, at some point, your intoxicating effects on them are going to wear off also and you're going to disappoint them and you're going to let them down and, hey, you're going to bore them a little bit.

I hate to tell you that, but at some point in the relationship, it's going to happen. The question is, how are they going to respond at that point? Are they going to lash out at you? Are they going to punish you for how you disappoint them? Are they going to chase something somewhere else because now that other person interests them?

Is that what they're going to do? No, real love, Paul says, is patient. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Well, that's going to be a huge one in your marriage. Are you the kind of person, are they the kind of person that every time you do something wrong, they pull out their little mental list and just add it to the running log they've kept of all the ways that you've messed up and disappointed them in your marriage over the years? I know married couples who actually keep like files, you know, of just like every time they do something so that I can go back and pull it out and be like, here it is. This is how you have hurt me and how you have wronged me.

Is that the kind of person you want to be married to? Love does not dishonor. That means that love doesn't use somebody else like a commodity for the fulfillment of their needs, whether that's emotional or sexual or whatever. It means they honor the whole you.

They respect you that way as a whole person. Love, Paul says, never gives up. Love doesn't give up when they've let you down. Love doesn't leave when it feels like there might be a better option somewhere else. It's not when it's bored. It never stops believing in you.

It never stops being committed to you and the long-term success of that relationship. Isn't that the kind of person that you want to marry? If so, then you've got to prioritize character over chemistry. You say, well, how can I tell what their character is like? Well, the English word character comes from the Latin word carox.

The word carox actually means an engraving tool, like think metal that would make the same imprint no matter what you pushed it in. And the reason they chose that word to communicate character is because character is the same in whatever relationship you evaluate it in. So the way that you can tell what their character is, watch this, is to look at what they act like in the relationships that are not dating relationships because that reels their character. I mean, you guys realize in the dating stage, they're in full-on used car salesman mode, right? Because they're putting out the best possible for it. It's washed and it's waxed and it's vacuumed and it smells good, right?

And it's like, I mean, you hear a rattle in the engine, the used car salesman, let's turn off the radio and, you know, let's turn on the air conditioner. Let's distract you away from that. That's what people are doing in the dating stage is they're hiding all the flaws. So if you want to know what their character is like, you got to ask questions like, how do they treat their parents?

I mean, you realize this, right? I mean, guys, how she treats her dad is how she's one day going to treat you. How he treats his mom, ladies, is one day how he's going to treat you because that's her character. How do they treat their friends? How do they treat their siblings? Are they forgiving? Are they patient? Are they kind?

I remember hearing a very successful CEO tell me that one of the things he would often do when hiring somebody for a position in his company is would take him out to lunch and watch how they treated the waiter or the waitress because he knew that how they treat the waiter or the waitress is an indication of what their character is really like and when the infatuation of this new job wore off, their character would come back out. Do they keep their word? I mean, if they can't hold a job or they don't keep their word to others, then you realize ultimately one day they're not going to keep their word to you either. If they lie to other people, they're going to lie to you.

Now here's one that might feel like a punch in the gut for some of you. Can they keep their hands off of you? If they don't have the self-control to keep their hands off of you in this stage, how do you know they're going to keep their hands off of somebody else after you've gotten married to them and they're a little bit bored with you? They don't suddenly develop self-control just out of nowhere.

At some point, they're going to, that power you have over them is going to fade and if they don't know how to control themselves and they're not a person of self-control, they're not going to control themselves there either. So see, if marriage is a lifelong union of companionship, then it is character that matters most of all. Again, I want to make this clear. Chemistry is not nothing.

God made it. It's just, it's not everything. Really quickly, sometimes people will ask me, in fact, I had a guy ask me this recently. Practically speaking, he says, what do you do? What if you do if you're super attracted to a girl's character, but not to her? Do I keep dating her for Jesus? I would never tell somebody to date somebody that they're not physically attracted to. I would tell you not to do that for for that person's sake because every woman wants to be beautiful to her spouse and vice versa. No woman wants to hear, hey, how you look doesn't matter to me. I don't really find you attractive at all, but I admire your quiet time discipline, right?

No woman wants to hear that. The same is true for guys. But what I will tell you and what I told this guy is sometimes that kind of attraction grows over time. So practically speaking, if you're in a relationship like that, just give it some time. Stay in their proximity. Don't date them. Don't go down that romantic road, but stay in their proximity and see if that physical attraction develops.

If not, it's not the person for you, right? But it very well might because that's the way God has designed us so that character is a more beautiful beauty. Again, I'm not saying chemistry is nothing. Just don't give it the way that our culture does. Well, that's true.

If that's number one is true, right, then number two, here's your second resolution that common sense flows right out of that one. I will date for clarity, not intimacy. At first you got to ask yourself, what are you after in dating?

What's the purpose? Dating is not supposed to be like an appetizer for marriage, like commitment light or sexual pleasure light or companionship light until you get to the main course, the meal of marriage. No, dating is a time where you're supposed to evaluate the person that you want to join yourself to for life. So if the purpose of dating is to choose somebody to marry, and if that means character matters most of all, then physical intimacy is something that, for the most part, you should keep to a minimum.

Why? Well, that's because physical intimacy works like a drug. It intoxicates you and masks the other things that are actually going on. When you're sick and your body's in pain, the doctor very well may prescribe to you a codeine pill. You take that codeine pill and your body's in pain and you feel terrible and you take that codeine pill and all of a sudden you feel awesome.

Now, truth be told, you're not awesome, you're still sick. The codeine just masks the symptoms for a while and that's fine when you're sick, but when the drug of physical intimacy keeps you from seeing what is really going on in the relationship and it keeps you deluded about who they really are, you're in deep trouble. Because when the physical excitement of sex fades, which it will, all that you're going to be left with is a sick relationship.

Listen, let me be clear, okay, because what I'm trying to do is make an argument to you as to why this is in your best interest. Let me also make very clear to you, the Bible is very clear that awakening sexual lust, awakening sexual stimulation outside of marriage is sin. Jesus said in Matthew 5, for example, the Sermon on the Mount, he said for us to look at or think lustfully about somebody who is not our spouse is committing fornication with them in our hearts, in God's eyes. And so obviously doing things that get your motor running, even if you're not going all the way, is going to cause you to think lustfully about that person and so it's become sin. 1 Corinthians 6, Paul tells us to flee sexual immorality, not to see how close we can get to the edge of the pool without falling in.

So we are to avoid this kind of thing because it's sin, but what I'm saying is even beyond that, even beyond that, y'all knowing what I know now about marriage, even if I weren't a Christian and the law of God was not a factor, I would counsel a couple who were dating to keep physical intimacy to a minimum because sexual stimulation sabotages the spouse search. Here's how King Solomon counseled single people in the book of Solomon. Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right. Gazelles and wild deer are a Hebrew metaphor representing youthful sexual vigor. And King Solomon is like, keep them hibernating until it's time for them to run and then let them out of the cage and let them go wild.

But until then, don't even wake them up. A beautiful reminder not to awaken love until the time is right. You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor J.D.

Greer. Today's teaching covered two of the six radical resolutions for biblically wise dating. Be sure to join us tomorrow for the final four. So, J.D., a resource that we mention often here on the program, but we seldom discuss with you directly is your daily email devotional.

This is both a valuable resource and a free one. Can you share some of your heart behind it? Yeah, Molly, thank you for asking that. That's something that we here, we put together. It's kind of a small way of being, if I could say it this way, in your lives almost every single day just to share a thought. It's enjoyable to put them together. I enjoy actually going back through the messages and saying, I think that's what I want to do. And I think this insight here might really help.

And what you'll find is that it's the promise of scripture or the reminder of the gospel that you need. And so, I think it would benefit you. I would love for you to sign up for it. If you just go to slash resources, you can click that button and you can sign up and we'll see you tomorrow morning. We'd be honored to receive your gift of $35 or more to this ministry. And to say thank you, we'll send you a copy of Pastor Eitelman's 60-day devotional called One Day at a Time. To give, simply call us at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can always give online at I'm Molly Bidevich and I am so glad that you joined us today. Be sure to listen Friday for the final four, the last resolutions for biblically wise dating. See you then for Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-22 10:07:42 / 2024-02-22 10:19:09 / 11

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