There is a powerful illusion that sexual sin is only what we do with our hands, and not also what we do with our hearts. In his day, it was rightly taught that sexual sin of the hands was wrong, but Jesus pressed the issue even further to speak of adultery of the heart (Matt. The heart matters, which is why Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts (Prov. Jessica, I do not know you or the heart of your question, so I want to be careful to not wrongfully accuse you of anything.But I would ask you to earnestly search your heart and see if what you really want is to sin, and if you want to see how far you can go before you cross some line into sin.

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” My guess is you would want me to tell your husband that the heart of his question was sinful by intent, and that whether or not he crossed some line of appropriateness with his hands, he was in sin at the heart level. But if the person you are with is not marriage material, you should not be together anyway.

For some reason, there is a tendency to allow singles to dance on, near, and even over the line, yet most would not extend this same permissiveness to married couples. If you want to be sexually active, that desire may be well and good. If one or both of you is not ready for marriage, do the hard work of getting ready for marriage first, and then enjoy the pleasures that accompany it.

If you are both ready for marriage and struggling to keep your hands to yourself, maybe you don’t need self-control, but rather a wedding?

This is where parents and pastors who know you need to speak into your specific situation.

Here are some Scriptures to consider on this issue: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. There can be affection between a brother and a sister that is not sexual, and a dating relationship needs to keep this in mind.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3–5) The word “sexual immorality” here is a broad word that can refer to any number of sexual activities, and so it is comprehensive. Before you are husband and wife, you are brother and sister with God as your Father.

Are you in “control” of your “own body,” acting “holy and honorable,” and not out of control like people who don’t have the Holy Spirit’s power? As his daughter, I assure you he’s not happy if there is hanky or panky with your brother in Christ. Elsewhere Paul tells the Ephesians, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality” (Eph. Some lines are clear, such as no fornication before marriage.

To gear up for the Real Marriage 2014 live event on February 21–22, Pastor Mark and Grace Driscoll are answering your dating and marriage questions here on Resurgence.

To submit your own question, post it on Twitter and tag it #RM2014.