He Said-She Said: Showing Interest without Causing Lust
- Thursday, January 15, 2009
- Clothing that is too low-cut or too tight. Are you unsure if how you present yourself is too tempting to a man? Ask your trusted friends (or perhaps a male family member, too) for some honest feedback. What may seem appropriate to you and just “very tailored” or “well fitting” could be too revealing and a stumbling block to another.
- Lengthy late-night conversations. Whether on the phone or in-person and in a secluded location, things said when it’s dark, past your bedtime and with no one else around can quickly lead to inappropriate thoughts or way-too-intimate words being spoken.
- Physical touch gone overboard. A backrub or a cuddling session can turn into something not so innocent very quickly. Especially if the two of you are alone and the moon is full and the hour is late. If this is a stumbling block (for you or your man), you might have to relegate your one-on-one time to public places only (there’s a Starbucks on every corner now with very comfortable sofas and armchairs!).
- Movies or television programs that are sensual or contain sexual content or nudity. Even emotional chick flicks or rom-coms might excite a man (and possibly you, too), and you might need to limit (or even cease) your consumption of this type of entertainment.
- Music with a slow groove or suggestive lyrics. Barry White or Luther Vandross anyone? I know you might be chuckling at that, but music can lower defenses and get people aroused or “in the mood,” so to speak. After all, they don’t call some tunes “baby-making music” for nothing.
It’s encouraging to know that you can plan ahead, pre-decide and avoid situations or choices that lead to temptation (for either yourself or a man of interest). Also, know that you are not alone. God is with both of you in the midst of this struggle:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Cor. 10:13).
Also, as you show interest, keep these verses in mind:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thess. 5:11).
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).
In your interactions with a man of interest, are you first and foremost trying to “encourage”, “build up” and “spur on”? Here are some ideas that can foster that kind of focus:
- Have you inquired about your man of interest? Word travels fast (if you haven’t already figured that out yet). Asking a trusted, mutual friend about your interest can be an indirect way to show that you are interested. Also, this is a great opportunity to “build up” a man in public to someone else. Verbalize why you think he is great and how he has captured your attention in the first place! You are adding to this man’s reputation and acknowledging his good character in front of others.
- Are you friendly and do you engage in conversation? Sometimes a man is more scared of you than you are of him. Find areas of commonality or inquire about his career or hobbies and ask lots of questions. Men love sharing about what they enjoy and know something about. So get them talking, sit back and observe. In your feedback, encourage them in their endeavors and agree to pray with them about any obstacles or challenges they may share with you.
- Find a way to spend time together within a group setting. Perhaps you are part of the same small group Bible study. Or maybe you volunteer or work together. A group setting can help to buffer or slow down the sexual temptation process and allow you to grow the friendship first, before romantic feelings even enter the picture. Plus, you will be doing something productive and spurring one another on toward love and what is good—and won't be focused solely on each other.
Bottom line, as sisters in Christ to fellow brothers or as witnesses to nonbelievers, it is our responsibility to point others to Christ (Matthew 5:16). And we must also be open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit who will reveal what is really going on in our hearts and minds: Is my flirting really just manipulation? Am I leading on someone who I’m not really interested in? Am I just trying to get a man’s attention so that I will feel better about myself? Do I have this man’s best interests at heart? Am I hindering or helping him in maintaining purity?
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