SHOULD CHRISTIANS DATE?
If you didn’t catch part 2 of the series, the answer to this question might not be clear to you so I encourage you to please go back and check it out because there, I explained what dating really is. Try this link: http://wp.me/p6rlMY-9H
With that background, we can move forward and address the questions that surround Christians and dating.
From the previous article, knowing that dating gives us the opportunity to get to know one another before getting married, I would say it is essential for everyone to date honourably, Christian or not.
For most young people, being too busy to have time for friends has become quite common. Many of us don’t even have time for our own selves. Quite frequently, you hear people say they are well paid but they don’t even have the time to enjoy the money they are being paid. And this is no longer the reality for doctors only.
I, for one, remember piling up computer games as I graduated from university with the intention of using them to pass the time as the occasion arose however I am yet to find that time. I am quite sure you have a similar story.
Now, in such a busy busy busy world, getting to know someone will not happen without concerted effort to take the time to know him or her. Even colleagues at work will only know your professional side and since everyone races to his car at the close of work, there is no way they will get to know you unless you set up a date to sit with and be with each other and just talk or have lunch or dinner. [Please, be reminded, there is nothing in my definition of dating that involves kissing, sexual intercourse or any other act of physical intimacy.]
Sometimes, the problem is distance. The two of you could be in cities far apart from each other. Effort has to be made to bridge that gap on occasion, frequently enough to demonstrate commitment and other things and get to know each other. So, quite simply, Christians should date in order to get to know each other because there is no free time to do otherwise these days. And there is nothing about dating that says it has to be at a restaurant or even involve a meal. It simply refers to making an appointment to be with someone.
Now, someone is asking, what is the point in dating and trying to get to know each other when you could just pray and God would point out his choice of a spouse for you? I mean, after you’ve had this powerful vision or dream or prophecy confirmed by three or more prophets that agrees with your heart and you heard a loud voice saying “This is the one”, what else is there to know? Why not just fix a wedding date and get on with it?
Nothing wrong with that. In fact, that used to be a common way Christians found and married their spouses. I must point out, however, that such was applicable when the general society accepted no other roles for women beyond having children and keeping a home. It was at a time when love was not needed to seal a marriage. Some fortunate ones would find love in the shadow of mutual respect with their spouses. And, unfortunately, even amongst Christians, quite a number never found the fulfillment that marriage was meant to bring.
Interestingly, today’s woman is very much exposed to her destiny which takes her beyond the kitchen and the bedroom. The successful woman is now judged by more than how many sons she was able to bear before she hit menopause. And rightly so.
The bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as BEING HEIRS TOGETHER OF THE GRACE OF LIFE; that your prayers be not hindered.” Also, Galatians 3:26-28 says “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Bottom line, if a guy has a destiny to fulfil, so does a babe. God had to show me that in 1996 and it has changed the way I viewed Christiandom. Women are not second class citizens simply because they have been asked to submit to their husbands. They have a calling to fulfil and they are going to give account of it just as the men do.
This truth was not always so clear to the body of Christ. For whatever reason, it took us time to come to terms with this light just as it took us time to accept other truths such as divine healing, divine prosperity and unconditional pardon for sin. We are still struggling with some other truths but at the end, we shall learn the truth and be free.
Does that make us stupid? No. It makes us human and alive. We don’t know it all so we will have to learn and learning is one of the things that living beings do. As long as we are still learning, we are still alive. Needless to say, the body of Christ is alive.
Ecclesiates 9:10 says “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor KNOWLEDGE, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” And 1Cor 13:9 – 12 says “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
So, we may have reasoned childishly before but we are growing and we will keep learning until we meet with Jesus whether by death or by rapture.
Now, since today’s woman is expected to live a life much less simplistic than her ancient counterparts, it would suggest that there are more factors to consider in determining which man she would be suitable for. Choosing a matching spouse is now far more tricky than it used to be and we need God to be involved in the process far more than before.
It also means we have to use our heads and hearts more than before. We need to observe, consider, think, and pray and do it all over again and again until we know for sure what the mind of God is and what our part in it is to be.
Why is it important for us to review something or someone after God has said this is the one? Firstly, it’s because God does not impose his will on anyone. God’s will shall be done but not by imposition but by willing devotion. The manifestation of the will of God on earth is not automatic else Jesus would not have taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Secondly, the fact that God says something doesn’t mean it will come to pass in the earth. He is God, yes! He can do anything, yes! But, by His own principles, He has chosen not to do anything in the earth without the permission and cooperation of man. That cooperation is called faith and if he finds faith in only one man, God will do great things in the earth and in our lives.
Psalm115:16 says “The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”
We have a part to play in order to experience the good that God has spoken concerning us. For example, God wants all men to be saved but people die and go to a Christless eternity because they chose not to agree with God and give Him permission to effect salvation in their lives.
Isaiah 1:19 says “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” This is literally what happened with Israel as they journeyed from slavery to the land promised them. The land was right there, the good of the land was there and they even had a sample but, for lack of cooperation with God, they lost it. It took another generation with faith to enjoy the blessing.
I said all that to say this, even if God has pointed out your spouse to you, you need to do your part in getting to know the person if you want to get the most out of the relationship with the least difficulty. Just as Moses had his people spy out the land and take samples, so also you have to get to know the person you believe God wants you to marry and take samples, not of his body via physical intimacy, but of his mind and his spirit. Let what you can see of his or her body and dressing be enough a sample for you until you get married.
How does he/she think? How does he/she respond to difficulties? How does he/she respond to authority especially when they prevent him/her from doing what he/she wants to do? Does he/she keep his/her promises? What does he/she think about things that are important to you?
I am yet to meet anyone who claimed that God told him or her the answers to these questions about another person. I am quite sure He could but He doesn’t. Why? It is your responsibility to find out. It is up to you to study and find your place in his or her life though you do it prayerfully and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 25:2 says “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.”
So you have work to do. You need to get to know this person, Christian or not, and one of the avenues to meet this objective is what is known as dating. God pointed out the person to you but he doesn’t need to get to know the person, you do. So get to work.