Having just spent a few days hunting, I was keenly aware of the behavior of the deer population. Understanding animal behavior can be quite helpful when attempting to take home game. During the "rut," male deer become very intent on pursuing females. In fact, during this time bucks are so single-minded that they become less aware of other things in the woods, such as hunters. My hope was that this would work to my advantage.
Deer, of course, are quite different from humans. After mating, the animals go their separate ways. Bucks and does only spend a brief amount of time together for the sole purpose of propagating the deer population. Sadly, some humans think we are just like animals. They think that it is OK to have sex whenever we want and that we can leave that person after the act.
The reason some people sanction such conduct is based on their belief that humans are part of the animal kingdom, in which such behavior is quite acceptable. The Bible, however, says otherwise. Jesus explained that humans were created for the ultimate purpose of becoming "children of God" (John 1:12 John 1:12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
American King James Version×)—a marvelous potential that animals have not been given. And as for the way we interact with the opposite sex, God has some specific instructions regarding how those desiring to enter the Kingdom of God should conduct themselves.
For Christians, spending time with the opposite sex in preparation for marriage is supposed to be an honorable, godly process. Paul wrote: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body [or how to take a wife for himself] in holiness and honor" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:
 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor;
American King James Version×, New Revised Standard Version).
This issue of Vertical Thought focuses on the higher, godly values regarding dating and sex. In the various articles you will find biblical principles and practical suggestions for applying God's instructions. We hope you will think vertically about these critical principles.
In closing, let me go back to my hunting trip. I did manage to take a nice buck on this excursion—partially because he was more concerned about the doe he was following than about paying attention to who or what else was in the woods. And here is an important principle for us regarding dating. If we don't pay attention to God's instructions, we, too, can end up paying penalties. Ungodly human behavior brings penalties that can include heartache, disease and divorce. May each of you reap the sweet, rewarding blessing that comes from dating God's way! VT