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17-Oct-2017 12:00

Soon, a chain of six girls stood by him as he repeated his vows to Anna. Going out with someone came to mean you made out with that person, too.

Anna felt her lip beginning to quiver as tears welled up in her eyes. I remember standing by as a girl I liked called her boyfriend and broke up with him over the phone. That meant we were an "official couple." Looking back, I can only shake my head at how immature we were.

Until I can do that, I'd only be using that woman to meet my short-term needs, not seeking to bless her for the long term. Instead, by avoiding romance before God tells me I'm ready for it, I can better serve girls as a friend, and I can remain free to keep my focus on the Lord. Smart love looks beyond personal desires and the gratification of the moment. I looked out for my needs and fit others into my agenda. But when I reversed my attitude and made my main priority in relationships pleasing God and blessing others, I found true peace and joy. When I stopped viewing girls as potential girlfriends and started treating them as sisters in Christ, I discovered the richness of true friendship.

Knowing What Is Best Waiting until I'm ready for commitment before pursuing romance is just one example of smart love in action. It looks at the big picture: serving others and glorifying God. When I stopped worrying about who I was going to marry and began to trust God's timing, I uncovered the incredible potential of serving God as a single.

Does love motivate the guy who sleeps with his girlfriend when it will scar her emotionally and damage her relationship with God? They need to "get smart" and realize how their actions affect others.

Over the past four years, I've come to understand that God's lordship doesn't merely tinker with my approach to romance—it completely transforms it.

God not only wants me to act differently, He wants me to think differently—to view love, purity, and singleness from His perspective, to have a new lifestyle and attitude.

The basis of this new attitude is what I call "smart love." Paul describes this kind of love in Philippians 1:9-10: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

Smart love constantly grows and deepens in its practical knowledge and insight; it opens our eyes to see God's best for our lives, enabling us to be pure and blameless in His sight.Now, for the first time since its release, the national #1 bestseller has been expanded with new content and updated for new readers. Each January he leads a national conference for singles called New Attitude. But I still feel the ache of having given away my heart to too many girls in my past.