Whenever I write about boundaries in dating, the same question inevitably arises: “But how far is ‘too far’?” Setting physical boundaries in your relationship is necessary if you want to honor God. Because God requires a covenant for intimacy, He blesses relationships that live out His design for sex.
But God also created us as sexual beings. Our desires aren’t evil; they are God-designed! But just because God gives us desires does not mean we get to fulfill them whenever we choose. God’s design for sex is marriage, and that includes the foreplay leading up to sex as well.
It’s true that not every couple will have the same physical boundaries. Some couples choose to save their first kiss for their wedding day; others do not. But this choice (and others) shouldn’t be made impulsively. The boundaries in your dating relationship will reflect how dedicated you are to the work Jesus did on your behalf. How purely you walk is determined by the status of your soul.
When we ask, “Is making out going too far?”, we’re actually asking the wrong question. That question is actually asking, “How much can I get away with? How much do I have to deny myself and my pleasure?” When we ask those questions, we’re more concerned with pleasing ourselves or our boyfriends, or not being “weird,” than we are with God’s holiness.
God doesn’t give us rules for physical behavior because He wants us to walk by His Spirit. You can only walk by His Spirit if:
- You recognize your inability to be pure on your own strength.
- You have accepted Christ’s purity in your stead.
- You are seeking God daily to lead you in His Spirit and show you what purity looks like in daily life.
When you seek God this way, you won’t want to transgress His holiness. You will desire to be pure in every part of your relationship, and you’ll make efforts to uphold that purity.
This will look different for every couple. Some couples have extremely strong desires, and even kissing opens a door they don’t have the strength to shut. This was the case for me and my husband! We learned through previous relationships that kissing caused us to stumble. We could have ignored this fact and kissed anyway. Instead, we chose to be ruthless with temptation, and saved our first kiss for our wedding day.
But for other couples, temptation presents itself in other forms. For some it is location, such as an apartment or car. It can be certain items of clothing or even events, like attending parties together. As Christians, we have to acknowledge the things that cause us to stumble and remove them from our lives. This is not optional:
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
Flee from anything that causes you to compromise. If it’s kissing, do the hard thing and say no. If it’s partying, stop attending. If it’s hanging out at your apartment, only go on dates in public. Your purity is important to God because it is how you remain in His will! It is for your purity that Jesus died. He sacrificed everything to make you righteous before God—and now you have the chance to live up to that identity.
So is “making out” going too far? Let me ask you this: Will it help you honor God in your relationship?
Will it uphold your purity?
Will your boyfriend become a stronger man of God?
Is it true to your Christ-won identity?
Ask those questions instead, and God will give you the answer.