How Far Is Too Far?


Erin Davis offers three checkpoints on the path to purity.

Consider these principles checkpoints on the path to purity. If the level of your physical activity in your dating relationship allows you to stick to these principles, you have strong boundaries in place. If the level of physical contact in your relationship violates even one of these principles, you've probably gone too far.


Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

The question you should be asking is not "How far can we go without getting into trouble?" but "What can we do to think about things that are pure and honorable?"

Can you hold hands and think thoughts that are pure and honorable? Can you hug and think pure thoughts? What about kissing? Making out? Sexual touching? Clearly there is a point when your actions will cause your thoughts to shift away from what is pure and honorable and true and toward a desire for increased sexual contact. Don't decide where your line is after your thoughts have switched to the impure. Decide ahead of time how far you think you can go and still keep your thoughts fixed on the things of God.

Not Even a Hint

Ephesians 5:3 says, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people" (NIV).

God's Word doesn't suggest that we get as close to the line of sexual sin as possible; quite the opposite. This passage tells us not to even hint at sexual sin.

Are you hinting at sexual sin when you spend hours passionately kissing on your boyfriend's couch? Are you hinting at sexual sin when you hold each other for prolonged periods, leaving each other wanting more and more physical contact? If you are hinting at sex, you're going too far.

Don't Light the Fire

If purity is your goal, make a commitment to never cause another person to want to go all the way. At all times consider whether your actions might cause your significant other to want to become more physically involved. That includes what you see on dates (movies, videos, TV shows), what you do when you're together, how you relate to each other, how you touch—everything you do!

Don't ignite a fire of passion in your partner with the way that you behave. It might seem easier if God drew a hard line in the sand and said, "Do not go past this point while you're dating," but I am not convinced that would keep us in check. If God drew an exact line dividing acceptable physical contact from the unacceptable, we would race right to that line and then push it "just a little bit" further. It is our human nature to sin and to push back against authority. If the Bible gave us a bunch of rules, we would find a way around those rules. In His wisdom, God didn't just list a bunch of rules for physical behavior before marriage in His Word. He did something better by giving us principles in His Word that we can apply to our relationships.

I can't tell you exactly how far is too far, but I can encourage you to start asking different questions. Start with these three:

  1. Are my thoughts pure when I have physical contact with my significant other?
  2. Does the level of our physical contact hint at sex?
  3. How much can I save for my future spouse?

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