You can’t have low standards for whom you date and high standards for whom you marry. Typically people do not date low and then marry high.
This principle is true for so much of life. Some of us like to envision a future for ourselves in which we live right, marry right, and raise up our children right. We may envision a good life in which we enjoy life and God gains pleasure.
In the meantime, we may live in a way in which such a future could be just an illusion. In the present, we may think that we can pretty well do what we want and it will all work out later. We may not flirt with others but we do flirt with the world. The illusion is that we have everything under control. It will all be different someday, we tell ourselves.
What some do not consider is what such a life (in the present) actually does to one’s heart. Jeremiah said that the heart was deceitful. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9).
What does my heart display when my aspiration about the future says one thing and my present behavior says another?
One day, I want to marry a godly man/woman. (But today, I date men/women whose lives do not reflect a pursuit of godliness.)
One day, I want to give much money to help the poor. (But today, I spend much money on random purchases and impulsive buying.)
One day, I want to grow and mature in Jesus. (But today, my attention is focused on my physical appearance and showing others that I still have got it.)
One day, I want to be a person who is passionate about being a kingdom influence on other people. (But today, my heart is preoccupied with wanting the things of this world.)
One day, I want to make a godly difference in another’s life and character. (But today, I am more known by my efforts to gain attention for myself.)
One day, I want to speak words of encouragement and grace to others. (But today, my speech seems to be mostly focused on myself.)
Today is the day in which I need to live with the values that I envision being a part of my life one day.
Today is the day in which I need to deal with my life through repentance and Spirit empowered transformation.
Today is the day to start becoming the kind of person I really want to be someday.