I’ve noticed the one thing that Christians can’t seem to do is interact with members of the opposite sex very well; we can’t seem to keep from hurting each other. In church we see a guy or girl walk in, and the title of “brothers and sisters in Christ” is quickly replaced with titles of “I want to date” “I don’t want to date”, “I just want to sleep with them” “I just want to flirt with them”. And of course we are thinking all this while singing praises to God to Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Is Our God”.
We young Christians wear masks in front of each other, we act like we are so holy and devoted to purity and love, and we spout out nice Christian buzz words and clichés about just wanting to ”focus on God”, and “waiting on our Lord” to bring us our, err, “help -mate” (that word incites creepy feelings in me). But in our minds we have already sized up every guy and girl in the building within 15 years of our age.
I’m not saying I’m not guilty of doing this as well, because I know I do quite often (more than I like to admit lol). But I think that we Christians have created a problem by being so focused on wanting to “mate” each other (is my wording freaking you out yet? …good), that we have completely forgotten how to respect each other as fellow children of our King.
Let me give an example; I once met a Christian guy who seemed pretty cool, he paid attention to me and was all flirty…I was enjoying it because I was attracted to him as well. Then one day he asked me if I was single, and by the way he said it, I was very sure he was inquiring because he had interest in me. So I answered him with “*nervous giggle* Um, yes, I am *nervous giggle*”. He answered back with “I have a fiancé”. I was in awe. It left both me and my friend who heard it pretty confused and miffed. I just didn’t understand how someone could call themselves a Christian and yet be so irresponsible with their words and actions with the opposite sex.
Now, I want to say I don’t hold anything against this guy. But his actions that day really had me thinking, if we are Christians, who strive to live a righteous life pleasing to Christ, then shouldn’t we strive to date righteously too? Shouldn’t we strive to please Christ with our relationships and interactions with each other? Real Christians should date with integrity.
How do we do this?
First, you must get your relationship with God in order:
A person who is in a dating relationship, but does not have a strong relationship with God is liable to make their world center around their significant other. God requires us to not have any idols and God’s before Him, He must come first, but when you forget about God, and focus all your attention and affection on striving to love and please another person, that is exactly what you are doing; you have made your boyfriend/girlfriend an idol in your life. Also, having a strong and deep relationship with God before you date will help you develop your identity only in Christ, and not in your significant other. I know so many people who have gotten into relationships without knowing fully who they were in Christ, and because of that they eventually ended up meshing their personality with their partners, forsaking the call on their own lives. And, a warning to anyone who is dating someone who has not fully developed in God; be very careful, because that person is still seeking and still questioning their identity and calling, and that can lead to them becoming very unstable, and they may go and make some very foolish and hurtful choices.
Choosing Who To Date:
After we have developed our relationship with the Lord, and are ready to date, the second thing we should do is make sure the person we are setting out to date shares a love for our Creator, and has a stable relationship with Him. We know clearly from the scriptures that being Un-equally yoked with non-believers is wrong, for it says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” For some reason though what God says in His Word doesn’t seem to be good enough for us, we seem to brush those scriptures off like they are just suggestions, not commandments given to us by a Holy God. I’m not trying to condemn anyone here, but I do think it is vital that we Christians realize what we are doing when we go against God’s word and date/marry someone who does not have a relationship with our God; we are setting ourselves up for hurt and compromise. We are, for one, putting our relationship with God in jeopardy by living in sin, which is what we are doing when we disobey God, sin keeps you separated from God. And second, we are putting ourselves in the position of eventually compromising. It may start out small at first, a few compromises here and there, but eventually it snowballs and you are neglecting spending time with your Heavenly Father, to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and are staying night’s at their apartment (we’ll address that topic in the coming weeks). All of these things will in time have you drifting away from your Savior.
We must let our actions reflect God:
As Christians we need to be mindful and conscious of our actions when it comes to things like flirting and playing around. We need to beware of the fact that the person you are flirting with is a son/daughter of your King; we must treat each other with respect and dignity that the relationship deserves. Flirting is fun, I’ll be the first one to admit I have to keep myself in check in this department, I am naturally a playful person, but this can be very dangerous when interacting with guys. I try my best to not flirt with guys until I know them well, and have a real interest in pursuing something with them. And to be honest, the guys I respect more are the guys who just get to know me as a person and friend, with no use of flirting. Flirting and over playful interaction without intention can be very sticky and sometimes hurtful, and can leave the other person feeling used, and bewildered. Also, always remember to keep in mind that the guy/girl you are flirting around with has emotions, and you never know what has gone on and/or is going on in their lives that they are trying to heal from, so walk in love, and be careful to not further hurt them.
Gavin DeGraw said it best when he said “So, since you want to be with me, you have to follow through with every word you say”. One thing I would love to make a call to Christians to take a stand in is follow through. The bible says in James 1:8 that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways”, and when a person is in a constant state of changing his/her mind on if they want you or not, I would say they were very double minded. Pretty words, plans, and promises are all sweet and fun, but if there’s no action to back them up, they instead become a bitter showing of your character. Our words are important, so when dating someone we need to make sure that the things we say are what we mean, and that we are clearly sure that we are going carry the weight of our words and actions.
Our relationships must be God centered:
A relationship that is based and founded on God will bring forth spiritual growth in both individuals if they are both actively seeking the Lord. If the person you are dating has a deep love and passion for the Creator, then that passion will seep into you, and make you want to grow closer to the Father, and that fire you have inside you will catch to your significant other and so on. Dating with God as the center of both of your lives creates a beautiful cycle of love, you will fall deeper for each other as you fall deeper for God. Dating is not one sided, and love is not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13), so we must seek to glorify God through our relationships and ask God what you can give to that person and how you can be a light in their lives. Relationships bring many wonderful opportunities to serve one another, and help each other grow closer to our Savior through talks and the sharing of knowledge and Godly encouragement.
We must pray and listen to the Holy Spirit:
Prayer is so important when dating, when that special someone catches our eyes and we become all smitten like a kitten, is it vital that we seek God on whether we should enter into a dating relationship with that person before we make any move. Because dating can ruin the best of friendships if it was not meant to be taken there, we must proceed prayerfully, asking God what direction he wants for the friendship/relationship. Once in the relationship we must remember to continually seek God’s divine wisdom and direction, letting Him guide us through. We should pray for the person we are dating, spend time calling their names before God, pray for that persons heart, life, mind, protection, and emotional healing. Pray that they fall deeper in their love for Christ. Pray before you see each other, pray before you talk, ask God’s hand to be upon your time together. And also, get your close trusted friends and family to pray for your relationship, if you have an accountability partner (which everyone should have; we will address this topic more in a later blog), get them to join with you in prayer as well. One thing that always sticks out in my mind is the time when I was with a guy, and my mom actually wrote out a specific prayer for him, we would pray it together, and it was so special. The Holy Spirit really is your best friend when dating, we have to let the Spirit guide our hearts and minds, for He will protect us and alert our spirits to things we need to see if we just listen to His nudges.
So guys and gals, in closing, I want to encourage you all to walk in the fruits of the Spirit when approaching relationships with each other, which is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance (Gal. 5:22-23). And I want to encourage you all to rise up and date with integrity and grace, let your relationships, romantic and otherwise, be pleasing and glorifying to our Heavenly Father.
This blog is the first in a series The Waking will be doing on dating and relationships.We invite you to follow along in the coming weeks and months for more on topics such as purity, accountability, break ups, and other related issues.