“… that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2. What is the perfect will of God when it comes to flirting? Are we seeking to live for ourselves, or only to do God’s will?
Flirting is a very subtle game. To flirt is to behave as though attracted to someone, but playfully rather than with serious intentions. But if we examine what lies behind flirting, would we find that it is fitting for us as Christians?
Jesus said very clearly, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28. “But flirting isn’t lusting” we can say. Isn’t it? If we are being honest with ourselves, when we flirt isn’t something in our lusts being nourished? As people who are interested in keeping ourselves pure for God, we have to be very honest and awake when it comes to our interactions with people, and the intentions behind them.
What is flirting?
The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to “flee youthful lusts.” The word flee means to run away from. What did Paul mean when He said this? That we should never interact with members of the opposite sex? Not at all. Rather that we love Jesus so much that we want to remain in purity, so we do what it takes to keep ourselves pure. We each know what that is for ourselves. If we are determined to be pleasing to God, then we know when our interactions can be defined as flirting, and thus fulfilling a lust. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:14.
When we have examined the thoughts and intents of our hearts, judged our motives, and know that our intentions are completely pure, can we just assume that another person has it the same way? Imagine that because of our behaviour we could put someone else in the way of temptation! We should make sure that we are never a stumbling block for someone else.
Of course as humans we are attracted to each other. We are human. This is natural human behaviour. But we are also people who want to live for God, and although we are tempted to act according to our lusts, we don’t need to give in to that; we don’t need to act according to our human tendencies. That’s not naïve, that’s Biblical. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:12-13.
What is the danger?
But if it is natural, then why is it so important to resist it? What is the danger? Has God really said that flirting is wrong? Our lusts want satisfaction. At first it’s just a little bit of “innocent” flirting. It’s OK, just having fun. But your lusts are still getting a little bit of nourishment there, and the Bible is very clear that the lusts should be denied (see above). And the lusts are demanding. Flirting satisfies for a time, but it won’t always be enough. It can be a very slippery, and sometimes very gradual, slope.
Doesn’t flirting bring so much unrest with it? We’re constantly watching for reactions, wondering if we are noticed, trying to get attention, whether consciously, or subconsciously, etc. It’s all about “me” – we become selfish and lose sight of living to do God’s will. How can we serve God while in this kind of spirit? If we are seeking God, then we will think, “What gives me peace and rest? What gives me unrest?” Then we will find our direction. And when He gives us light over what to do, then we need to be obedient to do it.
If we want to do God’s will and not our own, then no matter what where we are, and what we’re doing – at school, what kind of books we read, sports, etc. – our conscience guides us and we have freedom for anything, as long as we are in truth blameless before God’s face.
Motivation to remain in purity
We have to make sure that nothing is clouding our relationship with God. He should be everything for us, and it should be such that we have it as Joseph said when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against my God?” Genesis 39:9. If we are asking ourselves, “God is watching me right now. What does He think about this?” it will become clear what we should and should not be doing.
Jesus tells us that,“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8. Everything that we do here on earth is for one purpose: for eternity. If we keep our heart pure, we will see God. So simple, and so hopeful. This is real motivation to make the right choices when we are tempted. And the choices are ours to make.
What do we achieve?
In Ephesians 5:27 Paul talks about the bride of Christ: “…not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Just think that one day we can stand before Jesus, our heavenly bridegroom, completely holy and pure! And not just in this one area. Pure in every aspect of the word. By being obedient to what God prompts us in our hearts, we can have a spirit that is not blemished by pride, envy, anxiety, or any other thing that God’s Word identifies as sin.
Then on the day that we meet Jesus we can look Him in the eye and know that there is nothing that we need to apologize for; we have nothing to hide. We can lift our heads up – that is our future; that is our hope!