Warning: This will not be effective for those who do not desire to please God. I say this, in part, because people like to know how something will benefit them. They want to hear that their lives will be improved in some way. Well, it will help you. Count on it. I could list those ways, but you’ll still be missing the big, big picture if that’s all this is about to you.
In my very informed opinion, the greatest obstruction to honoring God in obtaining a life’s mate is how great dating feels. Dating gratifies fleshly lust and feeds pride. It makes a boy or man feel more important, more powerful, and admired. It makes a girl or woman feel prettier, wanted, and more significant. However, 1 Thessalonians 4:5a says, "Not in the lust of concupiscence," that is, not in the feeling of desire. God forbids this if we are to please Him.
Many of these feelings are natural and they are caused by those chemicals called hormones. The hormones are intended for marriage. I like to say that hormones shouldn’t be choosing our spouse. Hormones are easily fooled. Hormones aren’t smart. This is described in Proverbs 7:7: "[I] beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding." Proverbs 6:26 pictures it well too: "For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread." You can actually watch the IQ of this young man drop right before your eyes. He gets as stupid as a piece of bread. Is anything more stupid? We used bread as carp bait. Uh-huh. Very stupid. These feelings dumb us down to some of the most stupid decisions in life. The qualities that make a great life’s mate have less to do with how we feel when sitting right next to her than what we know about her character, spirit, energy, skillfulness, and attitude. Is he or she positive and happy? Is he or she disciplined? Is he or she selfless? These are traits not easily discerned when we are blinded by our feelings.
We like to make our own choices. We don’t want someone making them for us. Dating lets us make our own choice. We feel proud about our choice. We think we know better. We don’t think we’ll make mistakes. We think that we are smarter than our God-ordained authority. However, unless we make our choices like God wants, we won’t consistently make good ones. And we surely don’t want to make a bad decision in the most important area of our life, who we’re going to marry.
The "Gentiles which know not God" (1 Thess. 4:5b) get their mates by dating. They like it. It’s fun. And what it does as well is to create all sorts of distractions and impediments to what is really important in life. Much attention is placed on style and fashion. Instead of doing as well in class, seduction skills are honed—how they talk and walk. The whole process becomes a competition in which a successful seduction is called a "score." Boys score by using the right words said in a particular way, buying the correct gifts, being very attentive, and planning the appropriate activities. Much of what is on television and in movies constitutes preparation for "successful" dating. The writers, directors, and producers of these shows don’t care if the people watching are wrongly influenced by their work. They want people to watch, and this is a theme that is very popular, so they keep offering it, perpetuating and increasing the problem. The parents and especially the father are essentially bypassed in this process. In most shows about this theme, the dad is the biggest imbecile in the universe, even though Scripturally he is the most important person to ensure the best decision.
A large portion of modern music has parts of dating as a theme. The musicians are telling people, especially young people, what their audience wants. They are speaking directly to them about their feelings in this dating process. The composition of the music, the melody, harmony, and especially the rhythm feeds erotic senses of the listener, guiding them toward self-gratification. They call it love in most cases, even though it is lust, which further breaks down discernment. Love itself becomes a victim in this, because few know what it means any more. A very high percentage of young women admit that music contributed greatly to losing their virginity. And this was all a part of this thing called dating.
Dating also naturally defrauds, stealing things from those to whom they belong. Dating steals the heart of a daughter from her father and her future life’s mate. It takes away many opportunities to serve God with loss testimony. It swindles the potential skills the either a man or woman could have developed if he had kept his attention on them, instead of dating.
If we are to honor God in acquiring our life’s mate, we will not succeed in that goal by means of dating. Dating is the world’s way, invented by the world. The characteristics of dating are those warned against in the most applicable passages of Scripture. If we go about utilizing dating as our means, we know we will not please God because God has told us not to do it as the Gentiles which know not God. And as a result of the defrauding, God will avenge (1 Thess. 4:6b). The believer belongs to God, is bought with the price of the Lord’s death and sacrificially shed blood. He has been redeemed to God. And God will avenge the holy priesthood who will defile himself and the Lord’s church by means of the uncleanness (1 Thess. 4:7) he has embraced in dating.
You may despise this. People who want to date often will. But look at verse 8: "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." So despise away, but you are only despising God, and that is not going to do any good. And this relates to the Holy Spirit, because you will grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by doing this the world’s way.
Next time we will start looking further into God’s way in this.