Susan: "We don’t have older people to counsel us on matters concerning observing chastity with one’s boyfriend before marriage. This has been a great temptation and challenge to me while dating my boyfriend. Can you give me some suggestions?"
When I hear you say that you are struggling with observing chastity with your boyfriend before marriage, I can feel your sense of helplessness. I know that you must identify personally with the Bible verse that says, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). I care about you and hope I can help ease your mind.
The following suggestions may be of help to you.
Establish a good relationship with God. God is real. He loves you very much and He also loves your boyfriend. Pray often and read the Bible. The Bible will give you the wisdom and patience that you need. Whenever you are troubled or worried and feel that you don't have the ability to do what you wish to do, God will reveal His truths to you through Bible verses, prayers, the church, or people and events around you.
Know that are not alone in your struggle. God also cares about your boyfriend and knows your boyfriend’s weaknesses. As it is written in Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God cares about everyone and understands the circumstances they face. He is very familiar with our weaknesses and struggles.
Learn to rely on God everyday. God is trustworthy. He wants to help you everyday by giving you the strength and wisdom to walk in purity. But you must depend on Him by faith. Here's a prayer to do that: “Dear God, thank You for giving me such a good boyfriend. I love him very much, but we are struggling with temptation. Please help me make wise choices and have self-control. I ask that You will also do the same for him so we can honor You in our relationsnip. Amen."
Be smart. I'm sure you are most tempted when you are alone together. Commit to going out to public places. Hang out with friends or in a room of the house that is not closed off. If you live on your own, don't exchange keys for each other's appartment. If you reduce the number of tempting situations, that will really help. But ultimately, you cannot avoid all temptation. You will need to turn to God in prayer whenever you feel weak. If you feel that God is asking you to set a boundary, make sure to follow through. That will show the genuine nature of your repentance — that you truly desire to walk according to God's principles.
Don't avoid God. If you become physical with your boyfriend and feel ashamed, don't waste time running from God. That will only make your struggle harder. You will continue to feel isolated and guilty. Run to God in repentance as soon as you fall. He will help you stand up again, have a fresh start, and walk in purity once again.
It has been my personal experience that when I put my trust in Jesus and in His guidance with all my heart, He always gives me strength and wisdom to help me out of my predicament. Susan, I am confident that He will do the same for you.