Teen Alert

So, Where's the Line?

PURITY IN THIS SEX-CRAZED society? Is it even possible? One of the biggest questions asked - by those comfortable enough to voice it - is "how far is too far?" Many of you have wondered but never asked. Most of you don't even think about the question until you're in that situation. All of a sudden, you're in this great relationship with a guy or girl that you really care about and you find yourself in hot moments when your conscience is eating at you but you've never taken the time to decide what you "will or won't do" in a physical relationship outside of marriage.

Having someone tell you what lines you can cross and which ones you can't may seem like the best and easiest answer, but it's sure not going to mean much to you. You may have been told that the Bible doesn't really give straight answers in this area, but let's go to the text and see what the Lord says.

Look up these scriptures yourself, as this article will only be able to quote key phrases. Proverbs 6 deals with many sins, particularly adultery. It says in verse 32 than an adulterer lacks judgement and destroys himself. Pretty harsh, yet we all admit that sex outside of a marital relationship is wrong.

What about the "gray" areas? Eph 5:3 tells us that there must not be "even a hint of sexual immorality" among us. What about 1 Corinthians 6:18, which tells us to "flee sexual immorality"? Does looking for a time to be alone with a guy or girl so you can "be together" on the couch or in the bedroom sound like "fleeing"?

Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:2 to treat "younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." If a guy is trying to take sexual advantage of a girl, is he treating her as a sister with absolute purity? "Finally, brothers, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philippians 4:8 hits the nail on the head. Are the physical actions that you take with the opposite sex excellent or praiseworthy? Do they honor God?

If you go down the list of all the things you can do, from holding hands to having sex itself, and evaluate them against these and similar passages, and if you're honest with yourself, you'll probably find that there are a lot more things that don't hold up as Christlike conduct than you might have first thought. Many of you have already crossed these "lines" of physical relationships. If it seems that there are too many rules and regulations, go talk to someone who's been there. They'll tell you stories of hurt, shame and regret for many different levels of physical relationships outside of marriage. It's not about keeping you from fun; it's about keeping you from pain.

But perhaps we're missing the point. Why do we so often find ourselves asking the question of "how far is too far" in the physical relationships, drinking, and other "gray" areas? It's almost as if we're saying, "Show me the line where sin begins so I can go right up to it without crossing over." Is that really the kind of life God calls us to live?

What would happen if we approached life with the Spirit as our guide? 1 Peter 1:16 says "Be holy as I am holy/" When we are truly seeking the face of God, all other things fall into place and the question of lines we aren't to cross over never comes up. Do we sin? Of course! but there is a different heart there - a right heart desiring to please God.

Forget the lines. Flee from every appearance of evil and run toward the Lord. Desire holy living and in intimate relationship with God. As you humble yourself before God in prayer, he will bless you and guide you as you strive to live holy, joyful lives.

(Shana Curtis. Fall 2000. Church & Family Magazine. p. 9


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