Though the month of February might hold different meanings for different people, the majority of Americans link the second month of the calendar year with Valentine’s Day, a day when “Cupid” gallivants about helping us express our love and appreciation for those who mean so much to us. In elementary, students decorate paper mailboxes with pink and red so classmates can share valentines. Every child will more than likely receive an equal number of glitter-riddled valentines, one from every other classmate. In junior high and high school, however, the number of valentines might noticeably dip as teenagers entertain the thought that perhaps one valentine is all they need. And so, as I considered the focus of my youth article for the month of February, it seemed fitting to consider the subject of Teen Dating.
First of all, teenagers may find a wealth of information about this possible new chapter in their lives by studying God’s Word and reading other good books that provide insight and give instruction about teen dating. (By “good books,” I mean Christian literature that parents and pastors approve. It goes without saying that the world’s view of dating is contrary to the Word of God, and books that they produce would follow their own corrupt philosophies.) Indeed, much of what I share with you today stems directly from those good books, beginning with this key thought—
There are three important questions that every young person must ask himself as he plans for the future:
1. What will I do with Christ?
2. What will I do with my life?
3. With whom will I spend my life?
Unfortunately, of these three, teenagers concern themselves too much with only one—the last question. Although finding a godly husband or wife is important and something about which young people should pray daily, teenagers should be more concerned at this time with developing qualities in themselves to prepare for the day when the “whom” comes into their lives. Good qualities to cultivate would be godliness, maturity, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, loyalty, self-discipline, responsibility, obedience, kindness, and other fine attributes. Young people should also know how to get along with family and with others, turn in homework on time, find and hold employment, and work to the best of their ability. Rather than focusing on a relationship with someone else, teenagers should focus on developing themselves for adulthood.
Teenagers should also consider timing. Though hoping to get to know someone of the opposite gender better is only natural, junior high and high school may not be the proper arena to act on those feelings. Young person, you are a teenager only once! Don’t waste one of the most exciting times of your life tied down in a relationship that may not last. You’ll have time enough years from now to settle down and raise a family, so enjoy your teenage years. In fact, let’s be honest—the person that you are so sure about right now and can’t imagine your life without might be the bane of your existence by graduation. Now, think of the days, weeks, months, and years you will have exhausted in that doomed relationship. Think of the opportunities with friends and family that you might have missed. Now, granted, it is possible to marry your “high school sweetheart.” But I have personally known of only four people out of hundreds who married the person they dated in high school, two of whom are my sisters.
Teenagers should protect their heart. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Young people, Satan wants your heart; and he will set anything or anyone on your path to trap it. What better way is there to ruin the life of a Christian for service than to destroy it on the threshold of that life? You see, the devil has an arsenal of weapons more sophisticated than anything man has ever invented. He knows that when he aims for the heart, your resolve might weaken. He might use someone who has not given his or her heart to God to win your heart; or, he might even use a “good” relationship to deter you from God’s will.
Teenagers should wait on the Lord. When I entered the seventh grade, I began to pray for my wife. Sounds odd? Not really. I realized at an early age how important my decision about whom I was to marry would be. I earnestly began to pray that, when the timing was right, God would bring the right woman into my life. Thirteen years later, He did! If you’re not in the habit of doing this, it’s not too late to start today. Pray for wisdom and that the Lord will direct you in this matter. God will lead and guide you, so be patient. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14