Relationships are such a touchy subject for anybody but when it comes to Christians I fear that we sometimes can act like children when it comes to this. I am saying this as someone who has struggled in this area in times past. Sadly though it’s probably not completely the kids fault because many of us do not know what the Bible says about dating because dating was not a concept in the Bible and many churches fail to teach on how to approach this issue. Marriage is all we ever hear about and so if your single, dating, or waiting, times can be tough and awkward because you do not know what to do and if you ask you usually have to sort through a bunch of terrible advice. The tools of application when searching for your spouse though are all through out the Bible and they actually would save many of us a lot of time and heartbreak if only we knew what to do before we date. If only we knew the questions we should be asking both before and in the season of “dating.”
The biggest elephant I noticed in the rooms I have walked into with couples dating is the unequally yoked issue. For me, answering this question has become the initial groundwork for which I can then begin to establish any other details in a relationship I want to pursue. I want to be very honest to you though. I have not always obeyed God in this area. I am also not an expert. All of this has been part of my learning process the past few years so as you read and are possibly convicted; do not beat yourself up if you never knew any of this. That’s the very reason why I wanted to write on this issue. I know first hand how little has been written on this issue and how much terrible junk is out there. Over the years I have compromised and “fudged the numbers” a bit so that my emotions are pleased but as I have been in this time of singleness for the past 2 years or so I have really got to hammer this nail in. Sometimes with the nail starting to bend as I start to bend towards my own desires but God inn his grace always has given me the wisdom to knock the nail back straight and begin hammering again with better focus than the last hit. This is a truth that I need desperately everyday as I continue in singleness until the time that God has pre-ordained for me to meet the godly woman he has for me.
The obvious question for anybody is probably: Why is it important for Christians to be equally yoked? But maybe I should define what “equally yoked” even means before I go into detail about it’s importance. The passage this concept comes from is 2 Corinthians 6:14.
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-16
As I read this passage it goes into great detail about ramifications or at the least causes us to be begin thinking through the ramifications for being unequally yoked. Being equally yoked is simply to share of the same foundation upon which you build your life. As a Christian you have surrendered your entire life to Christ. Luke 9 I believe really paints the best picture of what a Christians general lifestyle will look like as Jesus describes it in verse 23: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. “
Jesus has called Christians to carry their own life in their hands as an offering to God. We are temples of the living God. He has called us to follow him with everything we have. To give up everything for the sake of making his name known among the nations. Our lives are constantly at risk not merely because of living in a world of persecution but because our life is no longer our own. We hold it loosely in the palm of our hand. A christian’s lifestyle is vastly different than anyone of any other faiths or of no faith at all. So for the christian pursuing a relationship the first question you need to ask as you look upon someone you want to pursue a life with is: Are they a Christian? Not a Bible-belt, Sunday morning only, or a nominal Christian. Are they a Bible-believing, life-giving, devoted, mature, seasoned Christian? Are they in love with the God you love? Do they love God more than you love God? Does their lifestyle resemble what Jesus says in Luke 9:23?
The passage mentioned earlier really helps compare the two different lifestyles of an unequally yoked couple. Paul uses the words “righteous” and “lawlessness” to describe the difference between a Christian and a non-christian. As a Christian you are accountable for obeying God’s word. You hopefully have built your life on the precepts of God’s word and are devoted to constantly being in a state of falling deeper and deeper in love with him. John explains that the love of God is a life of obedience: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”(John 14:15) Only Christians live a life of obedience because they only love God in this way. Mark Dever describes it this way:
“The difference between a Christian and non-Christian: When a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself."
Why does this happen? Why is there a difference between the christian and the non-christian?
Because their lives are built on two different foundations. One is built on faith in Jesus Christ, the other is built on anything but a faith in Jesus Christ. The greatest commandment for the christian’s life is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”( Matthew 22:37). The unbeliever’s greatest commandment is to live life however they desire. God is not their supreme.
By this you will know if they are a christian by their fruit. This is important. The person you date now could possibly be the person you wake up to everyday of your life for years to come and could possibly be the person your kids are looking up to one day. So is the person that you want to pursue a person who is living a life that constantly points not to themselves as a savior or a hero but lives their whole life, in every square inch of it pointing to Jesus Christ? That is of utmost importance for the christian as they begin the search for who they will date. If the person you want to pursue is not a Christian, you may be making one of the biggest mistakes in your life. I would even go so far as to say you may be making one of the biggest mistakes for your kids life because your kid/s will be influenced highly by whoever you marry so what type of person are you hoping your children to become one day?
The fear in many people’s minds as I just said that is that they are going to be going too far too fast but asking the tough critical questions about the one you are about to begin to pursue is needed and asking before is always better than asking when it is too late. It is not bad to think about your kids as you are in the process of contemplating whether to pursue a dating relationship with someone because if you are even thinking about dating you should be thinking about marriage and family. They should not be separated. You need to be a good steward of every gift God gives you, especially family.
“Dating without the intent of getting married is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unsatisfied or take something that isn’t yours.”
So ask yourself as you begin to think about pursuing someone, or if you are still in the dating process ask now! Ask before the covenant is made. “Are they someone who loves God more than anything and anyone else?” Ask that same question with a little more weight to it: Are they someone who loves God more than anything and anyone else and would be that especially as we start a family one day?
The conversations that come up in marriage and dating, the arguments that will be held and the outlook on life will all flow out of the couple’s faith. So as you think about even the everyday norms of being with somebody: who is the God that shows up in the other’s person outlook on life? Who is the God making himself known in those arguments and conversations? Is Christ the first thing that this other person begins and ends the day with? Is Christ merely an add-on to their life? Is Christ the most important person in their life? Better than that who is the most important person in their life: Jesus or you?
Who is this person’s greatest treasure?
“Marriage cannot be a deep union if two people have different supreme treasures, one Christ and another something in creation.”
By: Austin Neil Gregory