The question inevitably comes up every time there’s a youth group rug discussion (a rug discussion consists of each teen writing an anonymous question on a slip of paper, dropping it in a hat, and then the youth leader withdraws the questions one by one while everyone sits in a circle on the floor). Sidelong glances and an occasional guffaw are the norm as the adult reads the question aloud: “How far is too far?”
The answer is this: it’s the wrong question.
“How far is too far” is a setup for failure. It’s the same as asking, “How much can I push the boundaries and still keep in God’s graces? How much can I gratify the flesh, rather than clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 5:16).
Throughout scripture adultery (sexual immorality) is consistently linked to idolatry (the worship of false gods). No one can serve two masters. He will love the one and hate the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24). This principal holds true to choosing to gratify the lusts of the flesh, or instead choosing to walk in the spirit. It is never a solitaire choice, but a decision that leads down a consistent path one way or the other.
So if “how far is too far” is the wrong question, what is the right one?
“How shall a young person stay on the path of purity?” (Psalm 119:9, NIV). The Bible even provides the right question to ask. It follows up immediately with the answer: “By living according to your word.”
The world screams at the church, “It’s not normal to keep sexually pure! It’s not natural! You’re the only one holding on to this crazy ideal!” And yet Christ says, “All things are possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9:23).
There are other right questions to consider: “Do I want to be a real disciple and follow Him wholeheartedly? Do I want to receive the fullness of His inheritance? Have I counted the cost?” We tend to think of cost in terms of what it will require of us – but counting the cost of following Christ also means knowing what we’ll lose by not going after Him with everything we have.
Do you want to stay on the path of purity? If this is the desire of your heart, are you living by His word, both His written word, and His spoken word?