Sex and dating can be dicey subjects, especially for single Christians, which is why Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina has offered simple answers to complicated questions.
In his podcast shared last Monday, Noble answered an array of questions about dating and sexual sin.
1. Do I Need to Feel a "Spark" or "Butterflies" in My Relationship?
Feeling a "spark" can be a good sign that you're on track to make a love connection, according to the pastor.
"You've got to have a spark," says Noble, who shared that he once received a "Dear John" break-up letter from a former love interest, which stated that he was a great guy but that their relationship lacked romance. Noble totally agreed. "There's got to be that initial spark."
"You're not always going to feel butterflies … you're not always going to feel like this is the most awesome person in the world, but there does have to be a general excitement in your demeanor when the person walks in the room. That's pretty necessary, especially in the beginning."
2. Should You Stop Dating Someone With Whom You've Committed Sexual Sin?
Don't give up just yet, says the megachurch pastor.
"If you're called to be with each other and you messed up sexually it doesn't mean you need to end the relationship," Noble says. "It means you need to place some very protective boundaries around yourself."
The pastor urges Christians to repent of their sexual sin and to confess "fully" to a godly couple, or godly man or woman. "That way you've got somebody that can step into your life and hold you truly accountable to how that relationship's going to go on."
When confessing, Noble discourages Christians from using generalities like, we've "messed up," or we've "crossed some lines," but says to be specific about what was done. "When you specifically confess sin, you open yourself up to the potential of healing unlike you've never experienced before."
Finally, the pastor says that couples who simply promise to each other that they'll "never do it again" only find "temporary relief" and not repentance. "When we truly move from seeking temporary relief to seeking repentance, God can heal that relationship."
3. Is It OK to Date a Man Who Is Separated From His Spouse and Is in the Process of Getting a Divorce?
Noble says, "He's still a married man. … I would always advise 'no' in that situation."
The pastor referred to a recent series he taught on marriage and divorce called "Better Together," and suggested a theory that might be unpopular with those who find themselves coming between estranged spouses. The theory that perhaps God intends to save a troubled marriage, but "maybe you're the thing in the way."
Noble explained that he once knew of a family member who was having an affair with a married man. The affair eventually fizzled and the man went back to his wife. Although many thought the married couple had no chance of survival, the pastor says, "God actually healed that relationship and kept them together."
So to men or women who want to date someone who is still in the process of divorce, Noble says, "You could be the obstacle in the way of God doing an incredible miracle."