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Sunday, September 17, 2017 by Finn

Posted by Riley Burks

Dating or Courtship… Which is the way to go?

Now before I really get into what I think is right, and what I think pleases God most, I want to warn you that all Christians, or all people for that matter, most likely will not agree with what I have to say. I am going to try my best to incorporate scripture in the things that I state, but many people have an uncanny ability to interpret things however they would like. I must admit I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion. What matters most in this situation is remaining pure. Yep, I said it, remaining pure. A very unpopular opinion in our culture today, but nonetheless important, it is also very honoring to God and other people. In Matthew 5:8 it says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” It doesn’t say some of the people that are pure will see God, it says the pure in heart, that is very general. To me, that is amazingly encouraging and just makes me truly want to be pure in my actions as well as in my heart. They shall see God! What a wonderful promise to cling too! God will keep His promises- this should be an awesome encouragement for all those who are trying to remain pure today.

While the problem for some may be that they lack the desire to remain pure, the problem for those of us who have that desire is actually doing it. I think this is why it says “pure in heart” God knows it is entirely impossible for us to remain pure according to His standards, which is why I am so grateful for the amazing amount of grace, love, and mercy that he shows each one of us. It says in Job 25:5-6, “yea, the stars are not pure in His sight. How much less man that is a worm?” Yet, we do not have a High Priest who is not sympathetic with our weaknesses! There is still hope although we cannot truly remain completely pure. So, what does it mean to remain pure in heart? I wondered the same thing and looked it up online just to see what I could find. I found this and thought it was really great.

“The Greek word for “pure” in Matthew 5:8 is katharos. It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.” Interestingly, the word can refer specifically to that which is purified by fire or by pruning. John the Baptist told people that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). Malachi speaks of the Messiah as being like a “refiner’s fire” (Malachi 3:2). Jesus refers to believers as being the branches and to Himself as being the vine (John 15:1-17). For a vine to produce fruit, it must be pruned. Those who are truly “pure,” then, are those who have been declared innocent because of the work of Jesus and who are being sanctified by His refining fire and His pruning.

The Greek word for “heart” in Matthew 5:8 is kardeeah. This can be applied to the physical heart. But it also refers to the spiritual center of life. It is where thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character reside. So, to be pure in heart means to be blameless in who we actually are.

Being pure in heart involves having a singleness of heart toward God. A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile, no hidden motives. The pure heart is marked by transparency and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things. It is more than an external purity of behavior; it is an internal purity of soul.

The only way we can be truly pure in heart is to give our lives to Jesus and ask Him to do the cleansing work. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” God is the one who makes our hearts pure – by the sacrifice of His Son and through His sanctifying work in our lives (see also 1 John 3:1-3).”

I think that really sums it up quite well. God is the one who makes our hearts pure. God also wants for each and every person, or at least each believer to strive to be pure. In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul says that it is “the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication…” If it is God’s “will” for us than it must be something that is very important to Him, and if it is that important to Him, than I believe it should be extremely important for us as well.

True purity is something to be awed. It should be held with the highest respect and admiration. It is something heavenly. Which is why we so desperately need God’s help to begin to achieve purity within our hearts, and if we truly are pure in heart, we will most certainly have very pure actions.

So, is dating something that can be done purely, in heart as well as in actions? First off, we need to define dating. It can mean many different things, but I think what we are getting at is really, “A form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The result of dating may at any time lead to friendship, any level of intimate relationship, marriage, or no relation.” I think Wiktionary captured what it means in the world today, even though many people will disagree. It could mean assessing the date of a chunk of rock to someone, our opinions and beliefs differ vastly and thus each person must assess these things personally to truly figure out the best way for them.

I think if we take the definition above and call that dating, and try to date while keeping our heart pure we will have some difficulty. Now before I say too much more, I also want to define courtship. If we go back to Wiktionary, it means, “The act of wooing in love; solicitation of woman to marriage.” I think most people’s definition of courtship today varies from that, and is much less a ‘one-on-one getting to assess if it’s the right person thing’, and it is more about getting to know the person in group settings and starting as a friend, so you don’t mess with someone’s feelings. Now you probably think I am leaning towards courtship, but I am going to say that I do not believe there is necessarily a right or a wrong between “dating” and “courtship”. I think depending on how we approach or perform, either one can be wrong in some way, but it is also going to vary between people. Their ability to keep their heart pure in different situations can be a thing of experience as well as personality. What it really comes down to is pleasing God first, (big part of that being keeping your heart pure) and honoring others. So, to really answer the dating or courtship question, I think it is a matter of deciding which would be best for your particular personality as well as which would not hinder you in your pursuit of purity. So, I leave it with each one of you, it is for you to assess what is the best choice for your personal needs. And on a side note, you can really call it whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be just dating or courtship. 😉

I hope thinking on these things helps you as much as it has helped me.

Love in Christ,

Riley

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http://www.southtappschurch.org/2015/07/dating-or-courtship-which-is-the-way-to-go/