I suppose I could have come up with an easier subject to tackle. But, I believe that this is one that needs to be tackled straight up, and dead on! I suppose next to the death of a child, nothing is as threatening to a parent then to have a Teen get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. Except possibly permanent disfigurement or debility. Yet, time and time again Teens are told not to have sex, but the tools to help them avoid the inability to say no are not given. A major part of prevention is dating. I will not touch as to whether there is such a thing as Christian Dating, or what it's true purpose might be, at least not at this time. Well, not so much dating as to the conduct of it. And specifically the danger of petting.
OK, what is petting. Ha! Depending upon who you talk to it can be anything from a simple 'peck' on the cheek to full blown intercourse. Why the wide range of definition? Probably because of the wide differences in the way people react to each other physically. The way our parents got into or didn't get into trouble. And, the goal of the person sharing the definition. For this discussion petting is defined as any contact between opposite sexes that results in a rise in body temperature, and the feeling that 'I must prove my love'.
Consider, petting is a progressive addiction. Make no mistake about it! What ever level of 'loving' you achieve today will be with you the rest of your life. There will be no going back. This presents a small problem if you break up with one person and start dating another. Your physiological self remembers the level you were at before, and will not give you rest until you make it at least to that level again!
Next, the deck is stacked against restraint. At puberty the most powerful emotions ever known to man come into play. Hormones and social pressures REQUIRE sex. Your body will use any and every trick it can come up with to propel you towards that first sexual encounter. Of course, that is the one thing you can't do... at least not now.
Spiritually, satan wants you to have sex outside of God's timing. I can only guess at how many sold out, on fire Teens were forced to put their visions on hold or abandon them entirely because they were forced to marry outside of God's timing. Think about the consequences spiritually! Resolve now to FLEE youthful lusts!
Economically, the deck is stacked against people who are forced to marry early.
First, there are the economics of trying to support a family on one income at McDonalds. (Where else would you or your spouse get a job without High School and College Diplomas?) The Armed Forces are not an option because they are no longer taking people without a High School diploma. And, even people with GED's are being turned down!
Socially. (Ha! What social life?)
The freedom and invulnerability of youth dies a rather sudden shocking death at marriage. When you add a Baby to the scene you can pretty much rule out any social life as you once knew it, or hoped it would be.
Abortion is NOT the answer. As Christian Teens are being addressed I shouldn't have to even address this issue. But, it is necessary. Why, add murder to your list of indiscretions?
Look, the issue isn't the Baby. The Baby is only a symptom of your lack of restraint, lack of trust in God, and Sexual Union. The issue is that two people have become one physically! And, under the old testament marriage is required to at least be offered the other party. Even today when two Teens are 'caught' it is accepted practice to require a public formal Wedding.
OK, so much for basic ground work. Pretty dreary, huh? Look, I don't care how spiritual you are, I don't care how committed to being a virgin when you marry you are. I don't care if you're filled with the Holy Spirit. If you start petting you will NOT be able to stop! You will never be able to go back to that first kiss.
And, as petting is a progressive addiction at some point you WILL give in and say yes. Some will take a month. some will take longer. But, all will at some point lose their ability to say NO.
Have you ever noticed how when your folks are just a little peeved at each other, how if one of them starts caressing, and showing a little tenderness how quickly the argument fades?
Sex is the MOST addictive drug you as a teen will ever face! Once 'hooked' there will be no turning back, no deliverance. Of such a person Paul said it is better to marry then to burn!
And, so it is. But, why put yourself into such a position before you're ready? As I said, if you pet you WILL progress. And, sooner or later you will give in. The key is, is to stop where you're at now. And, pray like you've never prayed before for strength to resist. Stall for time. Spend time with that special person... But, only in VERY public places. Only, with people, who with you, have covenanted to walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
As for me, I started really dating at 17. I was in LOVE! Really, I was! I was a High School dropout, she was a Veterinary Assistant, and 18. I was managing a Rock Band and met her at a dance. We both were starved for affection, and found ourselves hugging and kissing almost immediately.
You've heard of love at first sight, well, I guess this was it. I joined the Navy at 17 because I knew I couldn't support her otherwise. We covenanted to not have sex very early on in our relationship. We were open about it, and I guess that is what helped us avoid the 'inevitable' for so long. But, after nine months, or so, of petting. It was all we could do to keep from tearing each others clothes off!
And, although we tried a number of times to fulfill these passions, God providentially provided timely interruptions, and once made it physically impossible to proceed. Yes, we were quite out of control! In the end the level of passion caused our breakup.
A very troubling issue is this. It was almost impossible for me to date from age 18 to age 30. I had already progressed to the point where I had to marry because I knew I couldn't contain. Girls are not too interested in dating someone with a real heavy accent on marriage! Further, when God did finally bring someone into my life who was to be my wife I was not able to stay at the casual peck on the cheek stage!
We dated and covenanted to marry early on. But, even with only a six month delay until the wedding we were not able to refrain! While I was able to obtain forgiviness AND forgive myself, my wife has had to deal the emotional scaring resulting from our indiscretion. Even years after the wedding!
Now, look! I am not a heathen, I am a Spirit-Filled Adult! I was then and I am still now! If I as an adult found it so hard to refrain, what makes you think as a Teen that you can refrain? Ha! You have all these feelings for the first time! You've never had to cope with them before!
It is hard enough to resist petting when dating a Christian. Even a Christian that has not covenanted with you to do what ever is required to avoid those 'HEATED' moments, has some idea that luring their date into bed is wrong. But, a nonChristian is total bad news!
Why? Because their whole outlook is ordained of their father the devil. Their goal in dating is SEX pure and simple. I don't care what they say, that is their goal. Period.
And, don't think that you are going to convert them either! Remember all those new feelings and hormones? Well the other person has them too! And, that other person knows you have them! And, it is amazing how quickly the world becomes adept at using a Christian's weaknesses. There is a high probability that a non-Christian will fake wanting to know about Jesus just to get 'close' to the believer.
Don't be fooled friendship with the world is FOLLY! Especially in any 'close' relationship. The more interested you may be in a non-Christian the more you should preach Jesus to them! You'll either win them or drive them away. But, under no circumstances should you date them!
Understand this. I spent six years active in the U.S. Navy. I heard a lot of things, some directed at me and some overheard. One thing that I'll never forget is the statement of why certain people were going to church. 'Christian girls are easy'! And, they weren't talking about church social friendliness either!
So, how do you survive? Good question! I wish I knew that with absolute answers. I don't, but, I have a few ideas that I hope will help.
1: Only date those people who put Jesus first... even above you. Remember that 'Love song for #2?'
2: Memorize 2 Cor. 10:46 where Paul talks about pulling down every thought that exalts itself against God. And, the willingness to punish disobedience in yourself.
3: Avoid, like the plague, even the lightest girlie magazines, and the ones for girls, too. It is very hard to pull down such images once they are in your head.
4: Censor your own television watching. For the same reason as given above. Also, TV love and romance has the tendency to exalt a false view of love and romance, and especially marriage.
5: Censor your own reading. The Psalmist said that he would set no evil thing before his eyes.
6: Seek out fellowship with people who understand the hardships of the Teen Years and will help you overcome the risks. A strong youth fellowship can be the key.
7: Do things in a group. A group that keeps track of each other and notes the absence of couples.
8: Make no provision for the flesh. This includes inviting someone over when you know you will be all alone. It also includes having ANY form of contraceptive handy... 'Just in case'.
9: Be open with your folks. Encourage your folks to be open about their dating years with you. It helps to know they were there just like you. If you really can't talk to your folks find someone you can trust who you aren't attracted to, and preferably an adult who you can talk to.
10: Draw near to God! If there is one time in a persons life where there is the highest Spiritual potential it is as a Teen.
Teens are the young men and maidens spoken of in Joel 2:28-29. If there ever was time when God shows the most mercy it's to the Teens. Walk in the Spirit and you WILL NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh. What a promise!
Of course even Christians can get aids. From aiding an accident victim, to receiving blood transfusions, to a past life you don't know about. Yes Christians can and do get aids! So, if for no other reason than to save your own life... Live a life unto God!
Original file date: January 3, 1992