“What’s wrong with flirting?” Some might ask, “It’s all in good fun!” Perhaps you are one of those who is confused about whether flirting is ok or not. Many of us have grown up being told that flirting is the only way to let a guy know you’re interested…or to find out if he is interested. But…interested in what?
First, let’s define “flirting”: “To behave amorously (‘strongly moved by love’) without serious intent; to show superficial or casual interest or liking.”
Flirting Without Knowledge
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 (This applies to women too!)
Flirting is basically just a way to “market” yourself to guys. It’s a way to say, “I’m available!” Though, more often than not, the message it really sends is, “I’m desperate!” When you flirt, you are giving yourself away without any commitment, and usually without any real serious desire for commitment. Flirting is generally done just for the “thrill” of being noticed and feeling appreciated. However, what kind of “appreciation” is it when a guy you barely even know (if at all) returns the attention? Does he actually appreciate you…or is he simply lusting after your body? I think the answer is pretty clear. How can you really know what someone is like and what kind of things go on in their hearts if you’re just casually flirting with them? You can’t. And I believe that this is one reason for the extraordinary amount of broken hearts and failed marriages these days; people flirt with everyone for a thrill, find someone who makes their heart beat faster, marries them…and then ditches them when they get bored, because they’re used to relationships being no-big-deal, and no-commitment required. “I do” means nothing any more. And even for those who do want it to mean something, so many get stuck in a marriage with someone who isn’t what they seemed to be before they got married, because their whole “romance” was wrapped up in the physical side of things, and they were able to hide their true selves just long enough. Flirting glorifies the physical and emotional side of “being in love”, and neglects what is really important: integrity, love for God, and selflessness. Flirting says that you should chase after those lustful feelings in your heart and just “have fun” with them. But since when can you play with hot coals and not get burned? (Proverbs 6:27-28) To be blunt, flirting is the very thing that any prostitute on the street would do…but a woman who desires serious commitment and real love, and won’t settle for a childish, flirtatious “fling” is a rare jewel. All of the things you indulge in when you flirt – the way you dress and act – is all designed to stir up lust in a guy’s heart…and it will probably work…but is that what you really want? A guy who just lusts after you, but doesn’t care about your heart, your character, or any of the things that actually make you who you are? He may say the words “I love you”…but they are empty words when not accompanied by true, selfless love. And yet, it’s not simply the guy’s fault for desiring your body, when you peddle your wares like any street vendor in Mexico, and give yourself away dirt cheap to anyone who will take a second glance. Sure, you might “catch” a guy. But any guy you catch that way isn’t going to be worth keeping…which, of course, is why flirting is done simply for the short-term pleasure and emotions it stirs up. Anyone who wants a real, lasting love knows that flirting with any guy who gives you the time of day is not the right foundation to build on. Real love is built on selflessness. Real love is accompanied by commitment. Real love doesn’t depend on circumstances or looks or emotions being just right. Also, it’s not just the guy who is grieving God’s heart by lusting. If you examine your own motives for flirting, you will see that it is rooted in lust as well (thinking a guy is “cute”, “hot”, etc). Flirting can’t come from any kind of real love at all, because real love “is not self-seeking” (1 Cor. 13:5 NIV), and everything about flirting is self-seeking; seeking your own gain, pleasure, fulfillment, etc, and not about what is best for the other person, or best in the long term.
Also, if you aren’t old enough to be married, and/or you aren’t in a position to be seriously considering marriage, you should not even be playing with a guy’s heart or attention. What if the roles were reversed? What if a guy started flirting with you and playing with your emotions, who was just planning to ditch you for another girl in a month’s time? What if a guy who wasn’t planning to get married for years and years started telling you he loved you, but wasn’t willing to commit to you, or take care of you, and was continually looking at other girls, desiring them, and was only looking for what he could get from you, and would just as soon chase after another girl who caught his fancy? That’s a pretty shallow version of “love” if you ask me…and causes a lot of hurt. And it’s just as wrong and hurtful coming from a girl.
And most likely, any guy who will flirt back, isn’t one who is seeking God above all else – those guys know that they can’t marry just anyone, and aren’t willing to settle for a quick emotional fling, which would simply be a distraction to them from seeking the Lord. If you call yourself a Christian, what business do you have pursuing guys who aren’t Christians? The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) And if you decide that having the attention of a guy is more important to you than God’s Word, you will find yourself flirting with danger.
Flirting With Danger
Flirting can quickly draw you into not only having your mind full of lustful, wrong thoughts, and causing your focus to be set on attracting guys instead of what is truly important (which things are explained more in other articles), it can also draw you into sin very easily, when you cross the lines of simply being extra chatty with a guy and giving him “the look”, to kissing, holding hands, etc. Outside of marriage, these things are very dangerous. God has given these things to husbands and wives as a way to show their love for each-other, but they are not meant for simply getting good feelings with anyone you want to. The Bible doesn’t say a lot about flirting specifically…but the things it does say are very serious. “The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty [prideful] and walk with outstretched necks [showing off their bodies], glancing wantonly [lustfully] with their eyes, mincing along as they go [walking in a way as to gain attention], tinkling with [the anklets on] their feet [to make guys look at them], therefore the Lord will strike with a scab [disease] the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts [causing them to be ashamed, and their sin to be exposed].” Isaiah 3:16-17 (The explanations/clarifications in brackets are mine.)
When you flirt, you are walking outside of the safety of God’s commands and blessing…and that is a dangerous place to be, because there has to be consequences for disobedience and sin. Also, any guy who is not sold out for Jesus is going to only lead you away from Him, and many “good Christian girls” have been led astray and even had their hearts and lives destroyed by “successfully” getting the attention of ungodly men.
Also, notice that, in the verses above, it talks specifically about what the girls are doing, and not the response of any guys…and it also doesn’t mention any particular physical contact. This is because it doesn’t matter if you have guys following you like puppies or not – God sees what is in our hearts, and acting flirtatiously without being successful is the same as getting a guy to kiss you, because we have the same sinful, lustful thoughts and desires going on in our hearts in both cases. This is why the verse from Matthew 5:28 is so important; it shows us that it’s not just crossing a line or doing something physical that makes something wrong…it’s actually the sinful thoughts, and the secret fantasies that we let roam freely through our minds, which is where all sin starts. These are the things that God sees, and wants us to deal with. And this is why you can’t just say, “Oh, it’s ok because I flirt, but I never actually kiss anybody or let them touch me.” First, we all know that’s baloney, and will never last, because our sin nature is never satisfied, and is always wanting more, and more. But also, that doesn’t make flirting ok, even if you were able to hold to that “standard”, because God isn’t only just concerned about what we do…but what is going on in our hearts. And even if we never actually DO anything wrong, if we have sinful thoughts, it is still a sin.
Flirting Comes From The Heart
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b.
Whatever we put into our hearts will come out. Whatever we think about is going to eventually be displayed in our words and actions. If we read romance books, and watch chick-flicks, and listen to music that’s all about sinful relationships…then that is exactly what is going to grow in our hearts. No matter how good your intentions are, if you are feeding your heart with those things, that’s what is going to come out. I was one of the most careful girls I knew about what I watched, read, and listened to…..but not careful enough. I spent hours wondering if a certain song related to my love life at that time….or if my relationship with a guy would turn out like I’d seen in a movie. I would try to act like a certain movie character who got the guy of her dreams…hoping it would help me. I would take the “advice” of a song about a romance above what the Bible said. Those things shaped my world instead of the Word of God shaping my world and my thought life. Instead of seeking to be a virtuous woman, and striving to hear His voice, I was trying to figure out how I could make a relationship take the right track in order to end up like some fairytale story I’d heard of. If you listen/read/watch things that make it seem like flirting and flings and relationships with guys are the most important things in the world…then those are the things that will be most important to you. But if you trust God’s word which says that spending time with Him, and obeying His commands, and telling other people about Him are the most important things in the world…then those are the things that will become most important to you…and you will realize that all the other things are so fleeting and shallow. When we flirt, we are trying to take our lives into our own hands, and make something happen that God doesn’t think is a good idea (or He would have already done it!). When we flirt, we tell God that we don’t trust Him. We tell Him that we don’t think He has enough power to bring us the right guy at the right time. We think we have to “shop around”, and take matters into our own hands if something is ever going to happen. But I have seen God do things that seemed impossible to bring two people together that He had prepared for each other…including what He did to bring my husband and I together from two different countries! And I am so glad that I waited on God’s timing, and that I didn’t have tons of baggage from previous relationships that I had to deal with, but that I could just give myself completely to the one man God had been preparing for me! And yes, there were a few times when I did try to make things happen myself…and none of those times were blessed by God…and I only wish I hadn’t been impatient.
Flirting also comes from a sin that seems to be native to us girls: manipulation. From the beginning of the world, we ladies have been trying to coax, finagle, and manipulate our way into whatever we want or think is best. However…what we set our sights on as the “best thing” usually isn’t. And yes…the desire to manipulate is a sin, not dis-similar to lying…because we often will do or say things in a certain way that we know is going to bring about the response that we want…instead of just being up-front and honest about our thoughts and desires. I still have to fight against this sin, which I have struggled with from childhood. It started with trying to figure out how to get my mom to let me do what I wanted to do…which often ended in me convincing my brother that it was something that he really wanted to do, and getting him to ask mom so I didn’t have to. And now it still shows up, like in times when I am upset, and I just want to act dramatic about it, to get more pity. In the same way, flirting is trying to manipulate a guy into liking you, or noticing you…and using sin to get what you want is never going to bring forth God’s best for your life. In fact, it is likely to do more harm than good.
Flirting is Disregarding God
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain [keep away] 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; that no one transgress [sin] and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger [bringing forth justice on behalf of the one who was wronged] in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
I just want to make this clear: if you choose to ignore these things, and continue flirting and throwing yourself at guys in lustful and lust-causing ways, you aren’t just ignoring my personal opinion. You are ignoring God Himself, who has called us to have self-control over our passions and emotions, and to not just let them run wild. If nothing else convinces you that it is wrong, I hope that God’s desires for you to be pure and to not wrong those around you with your self-seeking lust for attention will be enough to convince you.
The fruit of having the Holy Spirit in our lives is self-control…and He gives us the ability to keep watch over our bodies as well as our hearts, to keep ourselves from sin, even when we feel too weak on our own. God has freely offered us the power of His Holy Spirit to overcome these things if we would just ask…so we are without excuse. We can’t get away with the excuse of, “I’m just too weak to fight the temptation,” or “God’s rules are just too hard.” That is just saying that really, we don’t actually want to give up our sin, and let God actually change us. Because God has given His Holy Spirit to us, we can keep His commands, and live in a way that is pleasing to Him – running from sin!
So…how do you get boyfriends without flirting??
You don’t. If you don’t flirt, you will never be the girl with a new boyfriend every month. It’s just the truth. If you don’t flirt, most of your friends will probably think you are silly…or that something is wrong with you. But…if you don’t flirt, you won’t be giving yourself away for free to guys who would lead you down the road to sin and wreck your life. If you don’t flirt, you don’t have to worry about the drama of who likes who, or wonder how to outdo the girls around you who are flaunting everything they have in order to attract new guys. And, if you don’t flirt, your heart will be free to serve the Lord however and whenever He asks you to…and it will be free to love the guy that God is preparing for you, and preparing you for…and you won’t have to deal with the baggage of past relationships, or spend years of your life “searching”. Because, when it’s God’s perfect timing, He will make it happen. Without flirting. Without even looking for a boyfriend. God is very powerful…and very, very good. You can absolutely rest in trusting Him, and letting Him do all of the matchmaking work. You can pour yourself completely into studying His Word, and serving Him, and serving others, and not even spend a moment worrying about who you will marry, because when it’s the right time, He will bring it to pass. And I know you may struggle with waiting, with being “single”, with the uncertainty. But I would rather cast myself on the “uncertainty” of letting God be my matchmaker, than the uncertainty of trying to be my own matchmaker. And you don’t have to worry that you’re going to “miss” him, or be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that you have to be doing things in such a way as to meet as many godly guys as possible. You could be working at an all-girls school and God would even still not be stopped when He wanted to bring you a spouse. And honestly, I knew a few guys who loved the Lord from various activities I’d been involved in…but God chose to bypass all of the guys I had met or ever “considered”, and in His perfect timing, He brought a guy into my life that I’d never met before…and within a year, we were married, because it was all so completely directed by God. And I am SO grateful that God wrote my love story and not me. He has given me the dearest friend for a husband, who leads me in following Jesus.
And what will you say when people ask you the inevitable question of, “So…when are you going to get a boyfriend?” (Trust me…it will happen…a lot – especially as soon as you decide that you are going to wait on God’s timing.)
What if you just replied, “Well…I don’t actually care. And I don’t want any boyfriend who’s not the guy that God wants for me.”
And then smile…and let your heart rest in God’s goodness.