Disclaimer: The following secrets are intended for devoted Christians. I would rather not argue about their legitimacy with those who have not chosen a life of consecration unto Christ our Lord.
I know. I know. Mentioning the prom is almost taboo for preachers. You can’t win. You either upset the radically committed who choose to avoid the trappings of the prom all together, or you anger the ones who go all out for prom night.
Well, those who know me know that I have typically tried to avoid religious legalism and manipulative tactics. At the same time, I have steered clear of using grace as a license to sin and tolerate worldliness. The fact is simply this… Some Christian kids who love Jesus will choose to attend the prom. Other Christian kids will see it as a stumbling block they had rather avoid.
Before I list the “secrets to surviving prom night” let me admit a couple of things. First of all, I attended the prom my senior year of high school. And my only excuse for skipping the prom my junior year is that I was representing our local FFA chapter in a national land/soil judging competition in Oklahoma City. Woo Hoo!! Hey, at least I was a state champ at something. So I attended the prom, and I was one of the few that had little regret.
Secondly, I have never met a dedicated Christian adult that said, “I sure am glad I didn’t miss my prom!” I have heard many adults, however, that regretted going. And though I have little to regret, I’m not particularly glad that I went.
What do I remember about prom? Lots of time washing the Oldsmobile that was bigger than the house in which I now live. I put on an uncomfortable tux, took my date to the Peddler Steak House in Athens where we met a group of my friends and their dates, and dropped big money on prime rib. After dinner we headed to the prom which was in the not so attractive old gym. We stood in line for pictures, enjoyed a couple of dances, remarked how worldly much of the music was, and left for a Christian prom party at the home of a member of our youth group whose parents were in attendance as chaperones. As I recall, it was not a late night. We were all at church the next day, pretty much awake and attentive.
Therefore, knowing that Christian kids who love Jesus are going to choose to attend the prom, and knowing that what I’ve shared above carries little weight in influencing a.) young ladies who look forward to dressing up for the special night, b.) young men who look forward to styling and profiling (is that 80’s vernacular?) with a beautiful young lady on their arm, and c.) young couples who haven’t discerned the difference between love and infatuation, my shepherd’s heart compels me to at least offer some survival tips. Parents, if you read this, please pass them along and help appropriate them as much as possible. Talk about these tips. Please!
1. Absolutely no alcohol. This should be a no brainer. Not only is it sinful, it is illegal. Lots of stupid decisions are made on prom night because of alcohol. Some believe it’s enough to “know when to say when”, know when to put the brakes on. But as Pastor Johnny Hunt explains, our brake fluid leaks after the first drink. Avoid it at all cost!
2. Have Accountability. Group dates with other devoted believers are great. It’s also a good idea to have that solid Christian student who doesn’t have a date as part of the group to make group make-out sessions awkward and virtually impossible! Perhaps a post-prom party hosted by Christian parents, like the one I attended, could be helpful. And keep in mind # 1, and refuse to attend a party where alcohol is present.
3. Know the influence and impact of music on your emotions. Love songs went from saying “I want to hold your hand” in the 1960’s to “I want your sex” by the 1980’s. And it’s much worse today. Don’t expose your heart and mind to that garbage. It will affect your impulses. I jetted from the prom early because there was no way I could stay longer without being disobedient to Philippians 4:8. Sappy love songs have a way of stirring emotions meant for married couples. Keep that in mind. Be mature. Rise above that sappy junk.
4. Keep your mind fixed on Christ. If you are a devoted Christ follower, one of those I’ve directed this post to, then you are always on mission for Him. You can’t take a night off and say, “Hey Jesus, I am headed to the prom. You just stay home tonight.” Speak and act with your date and others as you would if Jesus were in the car, at the restaurant, on the dance floor, and at the party. Remember, HE IS THERE. So, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
5. Respect your date! 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 reminds us that sexual purity is not only God’s plan for you, but that you must not defraud your brother or sister in Christ in this matter. Defraudrefers not only to how you treat your date, but to how you treat his or her future spouse. So, go with the assumption that your date is someone else’s future spouse. Mine was. And do nothing with your date that you would not want someone else doing with your future spouse. Having trouble knowing what that is? See #4.
6. Practice modesty. Ladies, surveys tell us that 90% of males struggle with lust. DO NOT exploit that. You can be cute and beautiful without being revealing. Having seen a few prom dresses last weekend, I will defer to Beth Moore on this one. Click here for her powerful and humorous reminder.
7. No sleeping together! Uh, Pastor Robby, you covered that one in #5. No, seriously, I mean NO SLEEPING TOGETHER. The marriage bed is for marriage, sensual moments and literal sleeping together moments included. Don’t lay down and sleep together. Parents, do not allow it. I have hosted lock-ins where I worked feverishly to prevent this. If a young man says he can lay down with, beside, or in the arms of a beautiful girl for an extended period of time (even fully clothed) and not be tempted in mind or body, he is either a god, superman, or no man at all. If a young lady experiences such an attachment, she will be ready for marriage in the very near future and challenged to not be overcome by her vulnerabilities. Beyond that, even those who do not drink alcohol experience some of the same loss of judgement when they are tired. My solution as a dad would be STICK TO A CURFEW. But for youth pastors and/or Christian parents who host all-nighters (NOT A GOOD IDEA IF YOU ARE A DEDICATED WORSHIPER ON THE LORD’S DAY), you have essentially volunteered to stay up all night to protect dedicated Christian kids from vulnerabilities and rumors! 1 Thessalonians 5:22 reminds us to avoid every “appearance” of evil.
Well, there you go! To the legalist this was as bad as passing out birth control. I just suggested that someone could survive the prom, therefore endorsing it. Hardly. To the liberal or the one looking for license, I just robbed them of all their “harmless” intentions. But I hope there is a devoted follower of Christ, perhaps a parent or teen, who will say, “I get you. I get IT. I understand and appreciate this. Thanks, Pastor, I intend to apply it.” If it helps one survive the prom with no regrets, it’s worth upsetting the masses.