Before I share about some principles concerning dating, I want to share something that has stood out to me from the book of Ruth.
Ruth was a young widow; whose late husband was from a nation called Moab. In addition to the Moabites worshipping false gods, Moab and Israel were nations in conflict. Now Ruth’s mother in law was called Naomi. And Naomi’s husband, Elimelek, decided to move his family from Israel to Moab because Israel had a famine at the time.
While in Moab, Ruth got married, but becomes a widow shortly after. Instead of going back to her mother’s house as was custom, Ruth moved to Israel with Naomi. She was now left with the task of adapting to a new land, a new territory, and a new culture (Ruth 1:19).
While there, Naomi granted Ruth the permission to go down to the fields to pick up leftover grains (Ruth 2:2).
Make Time For God
Then she left and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.Ruth 2:3
In Ruth’s case, the owner of the field, Boaz, was not hiring, but she showed up for the job anyway.
A lot of people are looking for a job right now, but instead of sitting at home and binging on Netflix, I encourage you to seek the face of God. Instead of wasting time trying to earn $200, which you will easily spend on material things, invest into your spiritual life. Especially in the seasons of singleness, shift your focus from, “I need a boyfriend or girlfriend” to “I need the spiritual gifts.”
Let your desires be godly; desire to be used to lead others to Christ.
Remember that if they are not hiring, don’t just sit at home.
Working and doing productive things in your life allows you to stay away from idle time, which will give you the opportunity to live in holiness. God wired us to be productive and occupied, not idle. Being young, single, and having a lot of free time gives the devil an opportunity to run rampant in your life. This then allows satan to easily lead you to fall into sin.
Although going to college and getting a degree is admirable, I find that many families unfortunately pressure their children to attend before they are ready or are able to determine what they want to study. Although some parents may disagree, I believe there are times when taking a gap year to consecrate yourself to the Lord can be a good idea.
Too many times, people end up with degree’s and certificates hanging on their walls but they find themselves working in a completely different occupation. Many others find that they spent countless years in college trying to find their “purpose” in life, while never finding it there and only accruing heavy amounts of debt. Taking a year off while you are young is not an excuse to get pregnant out of wedlock or travel the world for one year, which may also place you into great debt. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to spend time with God to allow your roots in Him to go deeper.
From Volunteer to Owner
Once in Bethlehem, Ruth inquired of Naomi to go to serve in someone else’s field.
What Ruth didn’t know was that the field that she was gleaning would soon become the field which she owned.
So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”
And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”
Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.Ruth 2:2-3
If they’re not hiring, volunteer! You never know if one day the place in which you serve may become the place that you lead or even own.
If you are having a hard time finding a job, don’t just sit at home all day and fall into depression.
Do not allow the devil to tempt you by making yourself free and available to him.
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
I always encourage people that if they ever find themselves in a situation where they cannot find a job, they should get up in the morning, dress up like they would for work, and go to church to not only fast and pray, but to also serve. Do not waste your time in life. Many young men in our church have done this and were not only able to find great jobs or careers, but they were also able to discover their spiritual gifts. Many people long to be on big stages preaching in front of the church, but what they don’t understand is that you don’t randomly end up on stage one day because just because you have a gift to preach. You also need to have a heart to serve.
For those of you who find yourselves working for somebody else, you need to begin to dream that one day you will become your own boss. I want to also encourage you to dream to be like Boaz–to not just be your own boss but to be a boss to other people (Ruth 2:5).
Being your own boss solely for your own independence—so that you can wake up whenever you want and have no accountability in your work is selfish and limiting. Instead, change your mindset from that to dreaming about running your own company or establishing your own organization. God may already be developing skills within you to prepare you for that season without you even realizing it, such as by having you bear the responsibility of caring for your family. God has a call and a destiny inside of you and maybe the assignment of being a boss is inside of you as well.
Don’t Allow Passions to Set Your Principles
Purity only happens when passion is regulated by our principles.
When Ruth goes to Boaz’s field, she becomes noticed by him. We see in Scripture that Boaz was very kind-hearted towards her and she found favor in his sight.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.Ruth 2:8-9
Naomi encourages her young, single daughter-in-law to get married again (Ruth 3:1). Even though Ruth had no marriage offers at that time, Naomi instructed Ruth to make the first move with Boaz.
Young ladies are often told to wait on the man, but I’m going to give you permission and freedom here today to sometimes give your Boaz a little push! Ruth obeys Naomi’s instructions: get dressed up, go to where Boaz will be tonight, and uncover and lie at his feet (Ruth 3:1-7).
Although this is not advised in our culture, it was permissible in theirs. However, it is important to note that nothing inappropriate happened between them. Ruth uncovered his feet as Naomi told her to do and in the middle of the night, he realized she was lying at his feet (Ruth 3:8). Although Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, he was aware of the tradition that the man closest to the family has to marry the widow first and he knew that was another man in line before him (Ruth 3:12).
If the man refused, then he or someone else could then come in and marry her. Even though she was young, single, noble, and probably really beautiful, Boaz needed to talk to the elders first (Ruth 3:11, 4:1-2). Boaz did not let his passion dictate his principles. He let the principles regulate his passion.
That means if he’s attractive, do not pursue him if he is not a Christian!
It does not matter how “hot” you think he is; Hell is hot too! You have to let the principles of God control your passion.
When the principles were in check, Boaz was able to marry Ruth (Ruth 4:13). If you forsake your godly principles, you will always make mistakes in your dating life and you will lose your purity. Passion, or lust, should not be driving your decisions. Purity can only exist when you honor your standards, which should be based on God’s law and Holy Word.
They should not be based on culture, your friends, or even from celebrities, like Kim Kardashian. If you step out of your standards, it does not matter how much you pray, you will never be pure. Purity is God’s gift for honoring your standards. A lot of people struggle with purity because you can never be pure outside of your principles. If the person of interest does not pass the test of your principals, he or she should not be given a second thought. You should never compromise your principles for somebody you are attracted to just because they make you feel butterflies in your stomach. Otherwise, this will lead to compromise, to pregnancies out of wedlock, losing your virginity, demons, and heartbreak. Protect your standards and your principles. Have the attitude of Boaz—check with God’s laws, check with the elders of the church, and God-given people of authority in your life.
Dating is Like Driving–You Need a Good Car
In order to drive, you need to have a license. In order to date, you need to be of a certain age. Just because you can drive in video games or your parents let you back their car out of their driveway, does not mean you are ready to drive on the real road. In a similar manner, just because you have an attraction for someone, does not mean you have the right to date. Just because you have raging feelings, are losing sleep, and have a racing pulse around that person does not mean you are licensed by God to date just yet.
When am I ready to date?
Make this a standard for yourself. I believe when it comes to dating, you should be over the age of 18, have a job, be ready for marriage, and at least have your own car. You should be responsible. Do not rush! Protect yourself from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and demons that enter from other people who are not walking in the Lord.
If you are not ready for marriage, you are dating for fun, which is wrong.
Dating is like driving because you need a car that is working. If you are a wreck right now from a past heartbreak you are not in a right place to date. A common lie of the devil is that you should date when you are broken so that you can get someone to fix you. This is like saying if your car’s oil is leaking out, driving it will solve the issue. In actuality, this will not fix the issue, but rather make it worse. If you are getting yourself on the road when you are a mess and broken, it is dangerous. Do not be deceived!
Instead, get yourself into an auto mechanic—the Holy Ghost. Allow Him to put some oil and gas inside of you and to tweak and adjust things so that when you are dating you are not looking for a messiah, but a prospective spouse.
You cannot drive very expensive cars on just any type of terrain. Expensive cars require paved roads, not gravel or grass. It is a very specific road to drive on. Similarly, our road to drive on is purity. But if you start driving yourself on the gravel of compromise, you will find your tires popping, smoke, and rocks hitting your hood. Just because you have your license and proper vehicle, does not mean you are meant to drive down any road you choose. You need to stay on the proper road of purity.
When you are driving, you have to follow the signs: Yield yourself to God’s Speed Limit.
Limit the number of text messages sent and the time you spend with that person per day. You should not be pushing your family and loved ones away as a result of the person you are dating. Slow it down.
Lastly, there are certain places in dating that you don’t enter with the other person until you are married.
Similarly, when you text and drive, you will get distracted and can cause accidents. When lawmakers tell us not to text and drive, it is not because they want us to have our phones confiscated, but because they want you to get to your destination safely and unharmed. Your latest Instagram and snapchat likes can wait!
The same concept goes for having sex before marriage—it can wait until you get to the altar! Physical boundaries were placed by God so that when you do get married you can have an enjoyable married life without unnecessary complications and problems. It wasn’t placed by God to steal your fun or joy, but so that your heart does not get broken and that you don’t get ripped apart by sin and Satan. Planning on getting married or being engaged is not the same thing as being married.
If he or she refuses to honor your standards, then you need to call in the reinforcements. If he loves you, he will get a job, put a ring on it, and take you to the altar. God wants you to live your life in purpose, in purity, and in His presence.
Some may ask—What if I lost my virginity before knowing Christ?
When you come to Christ in repentance and accept Him as Lord and Savior, He resets your past and forgives your mistakes. Begin to live in holiness as if you will never sin again. Begin to raise your standards and remove yourself from compromising situations.
Do not spend your weekend clubbing, but in prayer. Go to church during your free time. Get your life in line with His principles and Holy Spirit so that He can use you.
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