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Recap: Bishop Gibson and Pastor Haizlip plan a gang summit. Meanwhile, Pastor Chaney adds a pastor to his conference. Deitrick also introduced a friend, Pastor Tim, who is 50 and a virgin, to The Chaneys.

Lesson: Just so we’re clear right up front, I’m not saying everyone should make a hard-and-fast rule to never stay up late talking to their honey or not kiss a guy until they’ve got a ring on their finger. People know their own personal strengths and sources of temptation way better than I do.

I’m just giving a list of situations that can become – or are – minefields for a couple trying to date chastely. Now, a couple of those situations listed are “avoid at all cost” – drinking too much, clothes off. Most are “it’s really wise to avoid.” And one or two are for those who know they’re no good at putting the breaks on once things get going even a little bit and find it safer to avoid letting things get going in the first place.

Too often we approach questions about chastity from a negative standpoint. We ask ourselves, “How much can we do before I have to go to confession.” But if that’s the question we’re asking, the battle is already half lost.

Partly because the farther we go, the harder it is to stop, both physically and emotionally. Most of us understand the physical part of the problem. The emotional part is a bit more subtle. A romantic kiss between a man and a woman – as opposed to a peck on the cheek – isn’t just a kiss. It’s the beginning of the gift of self. For a moment, we share breath with another person. For a moment, we share life. That’s serious business – entertaining business, mind you, but not mere entertainment. We shouldn’t treat it like it is.

What God has in store for you in marriage is so worth the sacrifices you make now for each other. Often couples struggle with chastity before marriage because they are focused on the pleasure that sex will hold for them once they are married and so they have a hard time waiting for it. It’s like a child waiting for a treat with terrible impatience.

While it is perfectly natural for your longing for physical intimacy to grow as you grow in emotional intimacy, it is for that very reason that you must be ever on guard. And by that, I mean that you must be very practical. Every act of physical intimacy stirs the deeper desire within for union in marriage. A lingering hug or a kiss is like a spark which wants to be fanned into a flame. The more a couple expresses their love for each other in these “little” and “harmless” ways, the more they are stirring their passions. A couple committed to chastity will experience a great deal of frustration in waiting, if they repeatedly stir their passions.

Instead, I think you need to consider limitations to your expressions of affection now. There is nothing wrong with a kiss or hug. It certainly is not sinful! But, when a couple chooses to refrain from these ways of showing their love for each other – they often find it much easier to wait until marriage. Does that mean you can’t ever kiss? No. But some couples do make that choice. They decide they will not kiss (again) until marriage. While that choice is not for everyone – for those who do choose it, they find themselves incredibly blessed! You may decide to limit when and how you kiss! Again, the goal is to not stir your hearts to desiring something for yourselves now that is not yours to have!

Another area of caution is in fantasizing your future relationship. This is a dangerous thing! Some people feel they can justify sexual fantasy, because they are engaged or married. They feel that it is alright to dwell on thoughts of being together because of the nature of their committed relationship. But this is not so.

Guard what you are exposing yourselves to in terms of entertainment: movies, books, magazines. Many forms of media are geared directly toward stirring sexual desires – sex is a huge marketing device: it sells! But it is not appropriate for us to allow ourselves to be entertained by others’ sins! Be choosey about what you read and watch. If you want to be pure in heart, you can not be consistently nurturing your mind and heart in sin! There are great movies and books out there. You don’t have to settle for the junk! This will also change out you view yourself.

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