Navigating the dating scene is hard, and it’s even harder for Christians. While apps and technology have made it easier to meet people, the process of looking for someone whose values align with your own call to discipleship can be taxing. Once you meet that person, it’s often difficult to maintain your commitment to discipleship while nurturing a romantic relationship.
Even though the Bible doesn’t come out and explicitly discuss dating, there are some passages that can be applied to relationships other than marriage. Today, discover more about what God’s Word says about trying to navigate the dating landscape while living a life that is fully committed to Christ.
I Want to Know What Love Is
Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Humans are hardwired with a need for love. Before we dive into today’s study any further, we should clarify something. There are Christians who are perfectly content with their lives without being in a romantic relationship. Dating and marriage isn’t the “key to happiness” anymore than anything else is. However, if you feel like a romantic relationship is something that you truly want or need, it’s important that you truly understand the love that you’re pursuing.
Loving God is the key to loving other people. Why? Because according to 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” He is the perfect embodiment of the love that we want to experience with others. Once we love Him with every fiber of our being, we can then truly understand how to love others.
This isn’t because God wants us to love another person as much as we love Him. Instead, it’s because the love that Christ was discussing in this verse meant that we pursue the things that please God more than the things that please ourselves. When you build on that foundational principle, you can love others as you love yourself.
God’s love for us involves wanting what is good for us at all times. Loving God the way that Christ said to involves pursuing the things that matter to Him. Those concepts illustrate the way that God wants our romantic relationships, including those in the dating world, to go.
Knowing Who You Are
Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting!
One of the most difficult aspects of dating, especially when you are a disciple, involves knowing who you are. Unfortunately, many people choose to identify themselves by their romantic relationships, which is never the best idea.
No matter how happy you are in an eventual relationship, the love that you share with that person is not the defining force in your life. This is true in the world of dating or marriage. While there is nothing wrong with being happy in your relationship, you are more than someone’s boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife.
Before you can truly know what you want in a relationship and who you want to be in a relationship with, you need to know you. Fortunately, God already knows every detail about your life. In the verses before this one, David spoke about the fact that God had sewed together his most inward parts. David knew that God had physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually put together every part of his makeup.
In addition to acknowledging that, David asked God to continue to search him. David wanted to be sure that his life was constantly what God wanted it to be. That’s the kind of self-reflection that God wants for us, especially when we’re dating someone. Doing so ensures that we’re not allowing our priorities to shift into a negative place in which the person we’re with matters more to us than the God we serve.
Build your identity on what God says about you. His Word is filled with powerful declarations about how He sees you. Start seeing yourself that way, and then allow those truths to dictate how the romantic partner in your life treats you. If their treatment doesn’t align with God’s Word, you should find someone who sees you and themself like God does.
Proverbs 11:3 (ESV)
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Obviously, honesty is one of the most important parts of any relationship. While today’s study is about dating, we can apply the need for honesty to any relationship in our lives. If you have close friends, you know that your friendship with them involves honesty. You cannot be close friends with people who you are constantly lying to. You’re not really friends with someone if you are presenting a false version of yourself to them.
When dating, integrity and honesty are crucial principles. This doesn’t only include being honest with your partner, but it also means that you must be honest with yourself.
One of the most important areas in which you must be honest with a romantic partner involves your commitment to Christ. As a Christian in the dating world, your top priority is being committed to Christ. You are a Christian dater, not a dating person who is trying to be a Christian. Priorities matter.
This means that you will be honest with your boyfriend or girlfriend about your commitment to Godly standards, and you will put them into practice. For example, when it comes to sex, disciples know that sex is designed as something to be shared between a husband and wife. When you’re honest about your commitment to God’s Word and His commands early, you’re setting your relationship up for success.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
The dating scene can often feel like a merry-go-round. Every time you think you’ve found somebody who has some potential, they move on around the circle and you’re left looking for something new. In those moments, it can be hard to trust God.
It’s also difficult to trust God when you’re having problems in your romantic relationship. This is true in the world of dating and the world of marriage.
Whether you are waiting for God to send you the right person, or you’re dealing with difficulties in your existing relationship, trusting God is crucial. First, you must trust that He has a perfect plan for your life, including your romantic relationship. While you’re waiting, you must trust that God has someone for you and that He will bring them into your life when you’re ready.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know that You know my desire for a romantic relationship. Help me to trust You while I’m waiting. Lord, send me someone who is equally as committed to You as I am. Not only so we can keep one another accountable, but also so we can pursue You together. Help me to maintain my integrity before You while I pursue these relationships. I know that You want to give me the desires of my heart. In Christ’s name, Amen.