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Finding a mate, finding "true love", the dating scene, the pressures of society - all of these and many more factors factor in to what is the currently culturally accepted dating process. Arguably, many feel as if dating a number of individuals with the subsequent trial period often resulting in broken hearts and misplaced priorities, is simply part of the process of finding that perfect person you will spend the rest of your life with. Is this God's pattern for relationships and finding a mate? Pastor and author Joshua Harris, in his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Romance and Relationships, looks to Scripture for what is really not a new attitude, but rather one rooted in trusting in a sovereign God, a commitment to emotional and physical purity, and a perspective focused on serving God.
This book was one I read about 11 years ago as I was struggling with trying to figure out how this who finding a mate process worked. The dating scene with its seemingly never ending parade of a different boyfriend/girlfriend every week with the subsequent heartbreaks and emotional rollercoaster did not seem very biblical to me. While perusing the local Christian bookstore, I picked up a copy of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and found the truths contained in this book to be what I needed to hear. Far too many Christian relationship authors have spent time trying to fix the current dating model not realizing it is beyond repair. No amount of tinkering with that system can bring it in line with God's model for relationships. Harris takes a completely different approach, focusing the reader on the need to understand what godly love and relationships look like, furthermore, suggesting the rather radical yet timeless biblical truth that all we do should be focused on God thus allowing Him to be God in our lives.
For example, many feel as if pre-marital intimacy is necessary to see if the person you are "in love with" is right for you. Harris reminds us "the joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment...In the Old Testament, God makes a covenant - a binding commitment - with the people of Israel so that they can know Him intimately. The institution of marriage is founded on the same principle." The dating model seeks to divorce love and commitment doing what Harris notes as "defrauding." This was a term I had never heard before 11 years ago but when I understood the meaning of that term, it shed a whole new light on what relationships are all about. Harris defines defrauding as "arousing a hunger we cannot righteously satisfy." How many dating relationships do you know of or perhaps have been involved in that are defrauding? If one were honest, far too many approach dating in that manner. Instead of seeking God for your mate, the trial and error process is engaged in with an inordinate amount of time spent on building up and tearing down relationships, each time letting a piece of your heart be torn away from you.
Harris declares there is a better way, one rooted in devotion to God while building godly friendships committed to a singular goal, glorifying God. For many, the time of singleness is spent canvassing the potential crowd or perusing the dating websites for that one person who meets all your factors of compatibility. Harris notes enjoying this time of singleness "requires us to wait...Waiting for God's timing requires trusting Him in His goodness and wisdom. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us what we think is good because He has something better for us - both now and in the future."
The issue of purity and what that means is focused on in great detail by Harris and rightly so. The slide towards physical and emotional compromise often does not happen all at once; conversely, it is a slippery slope of one step after another away from God's perfect standard of holiness. Harris saliently comments "Living a pure life before God requires the teamwork of your heart and your feet. The direction of purity begins within; you must support it in the practical everyday decisions of where, when, and with whom you choose to be." This means being around godly friends, having accountability partners, and focusing on God in every situation.
If you or someone you know has strayed from that path of purity, all hope is not lost. Harris reminds us we serve a God who can cleanse our past and heal broken relationships. This involves asking for forgiveness and repenting of past improprieties. It may involve breaking free of relationships we should not be involved in, even with people we think we "are in love with." It will involve adjusting your focus from being strictly on the person you have feelings for to a strict focus on God seeking to serve Him and to enjoy the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ first, waiting for God to lead you towards the path He has chosen.
In regards to what it means to have biblical fellowship and friendship with members of the opposite sex, Harris does a marvelous job of unpacking exactly what that looks like. He notes brother-sister relationships are "characterized by biblical fellowship, affection, and genuine care." Biblical fellowship involves the development of friendships, not on the basis of what you can get from other people, but rather a desire to build one another up in the things of God. Additionally, viewing friends as brothers and sisters places a proper perspective on what affection looks like. The world defines affection as purely sexual and physical in nature. Harris reminds the reader that "totally separate from romantic interest and dating, we're to care deeply about each other" with what the Apostle Paul called genuine affection, the delight in honoring each other. Finally, genuine care is centered on the idea of serving, challenging, and even rebuking if necessary. This is the accountability factor, the keeping each other focused on the straight and narrow in this time of singleness God has called you to.
One last area Harris does an excellent job of discussing is the issue of guarding one's heart. As the father of a twelve year old girl, this is a topic we having been introducing to her in discussions about boys and proper relationships. The current dating model is perfectly fine with wearing your heart on your sleeve and giving it to the next person who comes along with any level of attention or the often overused phrase "I love you." Harris provides a number of key points concerning what guarding your heart looks like in a practical sense. He states we should "picture guarding your heart as if your heart were a criminal tied in a chair who would like to break free and knock you over the head. In other words, protect your heart from your heart's sinfulness." This is why Harris spends so much time noting the importance of always focusing on God and not on the opposite sex or the allure of love. Second, Harris reminds the reader to "picture guarding your heart as if it were a fresh spring of water that you want to drink from daily." Being rooted in God's word filling your heart with His timeless truths is essential to accomplishing this.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a clarion call for righteous living in a world that is sex crazed and that has turned what God intended for good into something perverted. I would encourage every parent to read through this book with their pre-teens and teenagers and even their young adults. The truths outlined by Joshua Harris will redirect your approach from one of just accepting that dating with all its pitfalls is somehow a rite of passage to a more biblical centered model for focusing on God and allowing Him to bring to you the mate He has planned from eternity past. As parents, we must guide our children in the ways of God and quite frankly, the disastrous dating model followed by many today is wrought with failures and broken hearts. Doing things the Bible way, namely serving others and treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ while building godly relationships, while difficult, is well worth the effort. As one who took the principles in this book to heart, I can declare I am glad I kissed dating goodbye.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for free for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
There are a lot of theories and assumptions made about the effectiveness of colon cleansing. I am not a medical authority so it is impossible for me to comment as to this product's capability to acheive the intended medical benefits over time. I will say that I have been using this product for over six months and have found that it does everything it advertises. If you take the product as directed, your digestive system will become regular, and you will be a lot more sensitive to the few occassions later you experience constipation. I use to get frequently constipated, however, since using this product, I have been constipated in the six month period less than four occassions. It is important for the user to be consistent in taking the product in regular intervals and also do not resist the urge to respond to your body's need to naturally cleanse itself at the time. Very effective, I plan to not stop using or substitute to the other multitude of products available. I"m not saying the others are not effective, because I have never tried, however, I know this works, so why go to another?
Caveat: I have read drafts of this book as it was being written and I received an early edition, so, yes, I know Shel. That said, I take my reputation seriously and am not liberal with my reviews or praise.
When the concept of the book was prsented to me, I thought "Hmmm, that's interesting." I've since heard Shel talk about this book for months and what he's gleaned is captivating. I remember when I picked up the first chapter, I didn't want to put it down. We're living in the middle of a tremendous revolution and the road(s) they lay out before us are one's that I can wait to visit but one's that make me wonder what's at the other end. Regardless, Scoble and Isreal do a first rate job of mapping out the first part of your journey into the Age of Context.
I highly recommend reading this book. You may not agree with everything (or even most) of what they suggest about the future but they paint a fascinating picture of what is happening in the labs, startups and major players (ahem, Microsoft!?!?) of today and give you a lot to think about.
I love the Pioneer Woman show on the Food Network and decided to try her holiday cookbook. What wonderful ideas and great pictures of each recipe step by step. Even a new cook would be able to follow with no problem. Also love the pictures of her family and friends. This is a great addtion to my cookbook shelf.