The Comparison Game | Day Sixteen
By: Megan Gover | To download the third week of this study, click here.
A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek him just to find her.
– Maya Angelou
Did you find the woman at the well to be a sweet example of the Lord’s tender mercies and grace? Hopefully, yesterday the Lord convicted and challenged you to define your identity not in a relationship status, but a relational Savior!
Through comparisons we can easily compromise our worth and identity in dating relationships, but we can also find ourselves compromising our integrity while in a relationship. How fitting for us to be studying healthy relationships on no other day than Valentine’s Day!
As we finish out studying comparisons of dating relationships, I pray you began to unravel some of the lies you believed about your identity and ask the Lord to help you protect and fight for integrity.
How would you define integrity? (Look it up here if you need help!) Why does a relationship with Christ call for a life of integrity?
How could comparisons threaten our integrity in dating relationships?
It’s as simple as this. As our identity inflates in relationships, our integrity can deflate due to pressure of being in a relationship. Whether you give away parts of your heart, settle for someone who doesn’t love the Lord, or physically compromise your boundaries, our character becomes jaded through comparisons.
Let’s look at how we safe-guard our heart and integrity within relationships:
#1 – GUARD OUR HEARTS
Read Proverbs 4:23. Write this verse out and say it aloud five times.
What do you think of when you hear the word guard?
With what priority should we protect our heart? How can boys easily get in the way of our pursuit to vigilantly protect the wellspring of life?
What is a time in your life that you didn’t guard your heart? What were the effects of that? How did you feel?
What action steps can you take to protect it within dating relationships?
How can guarding your heart produce joy?
#2 – FIND A GUY WHO LOVES THE LORD
The ultimate purpose of dating is to find someone suitable for marriage. Therefore, I believe dating should be reserved for a season of life when you are mature enough to consider entering into a marital relationship. However, dating is something that needs to be discussed with your parents about when, how, and why you should begin dating.
Since there is not a dating 101 anywhere in the Bible, we don’t have a ton of Biblical specifics as to how-to date, however, we are given more details about the hearts of those who date.
Let’s look at how the biggest one, being equally yoked, plays out with potential boyfriends.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. What does it mean to be yoked together?
Why parallels does Paul make about believers marrying unbelievers in this letter to the Corinthian church?
Those are pretty powerful illustrations! [Side note: Belial is a name for Satan.] How could it be detrimental to marry someone with different views as Jesus as you?
How could dating someone with different views of Jesus effect or tempt you?
How can our misplaced identity in dating cause us to compromise our integrity in dating someone who loves the Lord?
Ultimately, someone who loves Christ is going to treat and serve you like Christ. When dating someone with different faiths, values, and character, it’s easy to compromise the truth and convictions you uphold.
Take for instance Solomon. How did the love of women of different faiths lead him astray? Read 1 Kings 11:1-6.
How did it affect his relationship with the Lord?
If you are in a situation where you are dating someone who is not equally yoked, talk to a Christ-following adult for wisdom and steps to address your relationship.
#3 – PLACING PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES
With temptations and a lack of boundaries, regret and shame can easily steal the joy of dating within the confines of God’s design for sex. Though the Lord’s definition and creation of sex is for a man and his wife, the Lord gives great grace to those who have already struggled with sexual sin. However, this does not mean we are offered a license to continue sinning or negates the consequences of those choices.
As Paul addressed the Ephesian church, he mentioned in Ephesians 5:3 some thoughts about sexual immorality. What constitutes as sexual immorality?
What would a hint of sexual immorality look like?
In 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, he talks to the church in Corinth about sexual immorality.
What adjective does he use to describe our action towards sexual immorality?
Why does the Lord reserve sex for marriage of man and woman only?
Being in student ministry, I have often been asked how far is too far?! And if you are wondering if something is pushing the envelope, it’s probably super safe to say that’s not within God’s boundaries of physical intimacy. Ultimately, the question we should be asking ourselves is not how far we can go, but how holy something is going to make us. Most of the time, this train of thought will help us honor our bodies as a temple!
If you are dating someone right now, what steps do you need to take to prevent yourselves from stumbling physically?
If you are not dating, what are some ways you can think of integrating boundaries into future relationships?
As we begin to mature in our walks with the Lord, we begin to see relationships through His perspective. Though dating can be filled with joy, we must not sacrifice the fun of dating on the altar of obedience to the Lord.
End this asking the Lord to help you safeguard your integrity from compromising situations, as well as anchoring your identity in His love—not a man’s. If you were convicted of not protecting your heart, emotions, or character, confess those things to the Lord, expect to be forgiven, and walk in repentance. Bring a trusted adult and friend into your situation, so they may help you wisely navigate situations accountably!