Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Can I date someone who doesn't believe?

Speaking to the lovely single ladies I know, there are many questions go through your mind when you think about dating, so we’re going to look at a couple.

·         Is it EVER alright to date someone who isn’t saved, even if he’s religious?

·         How far is too far?

·         And what did you mean about the BarlowGirl’s firsts?

Today we’re looking at the first one, tomorrow we’ll look at sex and the single girl and we’ll look at what BarlowGirl does that is so special on Friday. (I know I said I was going to talk about it today, but today’s topic is just too big!!) We’ll also talk a little about prayer.

So back to today… I am going to start with the BIG one. Is it EVER alright to date someone who isn’t a Christian? For the purposes of this post, I am talking about someone who hasn’t accepted Christ as their own personal Saviour and who isn’t growing daily in their walk with God. Someone who is ‘religious’ still hasn’t the same faith as you unless they have taken that step – no matter how many times they go to church each week.

I know I may antagonise any of you who either have done this or are doing it at the moment, but I am going to just come out with it – NO - it is NOT ever alright to go out with someone who hasn’t got the same faith and relationship with God as you. Let me explain my thoughts.

One of the best books I ever read was a book called ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ by Joshua Harris. This is a book that really challenges your thinking on whether you should date at all, but one thing it did do for me was to make me think of the consequences of dating for the sake of having someone. At that point in my life I had just broken up with a long term boyfriend (yep and he become… my hubby!) and I was starting to lament that I would be on my own forever and that no one would ever love me like he did. I started thinking about all the places I could go and all the parties I could attend to try to find someone new – and honestly, at that point, anyone would do. How wrong I was! I never actually got to any of the wild parties – we went on holiday and I bought the book to read while I was away – and that book really challenged my thinking.

Well, the guy who wrote the book – Joshua Harris – answered this question in such a good way in a sermon that he gave on ‘What it costs to follow Christ’. This is what he said…

“Because of the topics that I’ve taught on in the past and the books that I’ve written, there have been so many occasions when I have encountered young men and women who are in a relationship with a person that is not a believer in Jesus Christ. And this seems to be in particular young women who will come, and they’ll talk about their desire to live for Jesus and to give their life to Him. But there’s this guy in the picture. And there is a relationship that has been formed, and there are affections, and there is a growing love for this person. But this person is going in the opposite direction from their Savior. And they’re often confused, and they’re often distraught and they often don’t know what to do. And when you quote the passage about not being ‘unequally yoked’--this kind of picture from agriculture and cows and stuff, just really isn’t doing anything for them. ‘Yoke. Cows. What? He’s so cute--what does that have to do with a cow, you know?’ And they’ll often have a desire to try to care for this guy. They don’t want to hurt his feelings. They think they can reach him with the gospel, and they’ll just stay in this relationship.”

“And what I say each and every time is: ‘You’re facing a choice. If you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, then you must choose Jesus and you must turn your back on that guy. In fact, if you have a desire for him to see the reality of Jesus Christ, the most loving thing that you can do is show him that you are more committed to Jesus than you are to him. If you want to show that guy that God is real, then obey the God who is real and choose Him over this relationship –with a person that doesn’t know Him, doesn’t follow Him, doesn’t obey Him. Those are hard words, but those are the words of Jesus.’”

I don’t know how much simpler we can put it. If you really and truly want to follow Christ with your whole heart and live for Him alone, then you are going to have to make the choice to put aside your feelings and your desires and turn your back on anything and anyone that is going to hinder your walk with God.

I know that this can be a very hard thing, especially if you have been dating someone for a long time. But this is the only way to go. If you do continue the relationship and end up getting married then you have a lifetime of compromising your beliefs to fit in with your husband’s non-belief. It may just start with him getting annoyed at your going out to church things, but when you have children you then have to decide how to bring them up, and as a mother, if someone told me I couldn’t introduce them to God and show them how important He is in my life, I would be devastated.

You are probably thinking ‘you’re just trying to make a point and things wouldn’t be that bad’ but I can honestly say that out of every relationship between a Christian and someone who didn’t have the same faith that I have seen, none of the women have been able to pull their husbands up to their faith… and worse, most of them have been dragged down and now have no faith at all. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but do you really want to live your life hoping that you are going to be that exception?

Just think about it like this – if you start to go out with a guy who doesn’t have the same faith as you, there will always come a point when he doesn’t ‘get’ why you need to go to yet another meeting or go to do a particular job or why you won’t do a specific thing in your relationship… and if you manage to get through the dating to the marriage without this, then you will be living out the story of the two builders – building a house which cannot be built on the rock totally because both people don’t believe that. You may be building on the rock, but your partner is building on sand and a house divided cannot stand.

There is a very good reason why so many people in your life have told you NOT to date non-Christians. It is because they don’t want to see you hurt when the inevitable happens. If you really want to live for Jesus you have to put Him first. And that means that you have to make a choice between your boyfriend and Jesus… and you MUST choose God.

I hope you understand that this is just as hard to write as it is to say… but it’s a truth that must be shared. Jesus wants all of you. Every single part. I really do pray that you will understand that I am not judging any of you, but hoping to encourage you that if you do have a big decision to make, that you will take the time to talk to God, that He will give you the strength to make the choice, and then that you will choose God. He is the one that makes life worth living and I promise you that if you honour Him in your relationship choices, He will truly honour you.

Keep shining… J

PS – the sermon by Joshua Harris can be found at  HERE  and it is well worth a listen! And thanks to girltalk for the transcription of Joshua's sermon.

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