The world of Christian dating can be a messy, messy world. We’re constantly tossed about like a ship on a sea of opinions from a worldview that is rooted in a more self-centered, self-pleasuring and outcome based than any other generation this planet has seen.
As Christians, we are constantly bombarded with the over sexualization, discontentment, constantly being told our bodies are our own, and that any activity is moral and right by our own judging. Amongst the many opinions and voices in this world, the only thing we can stand firmly on is the word of God as for dating, or any other important topic for that matter. We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
As a recently married man, there are quite a few things that I can now look back and recognize before I was a follower of Christ that defined the relationships I was in and ultimately led to the end of many un-Godly relationships. Before I followed Christ, I walked after the lust of the flesh, attracted to what drew my wandering eyes and my sinful heart to lead to seeking my own pleasure and rebellion with complete disregard for respect or anyone or what God says on the subject. I wanted a partner who would complement my mindset of sinful thoughts, attitudes and desires. This is summed up perfectly by the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans while speaking to new Christians concerning the New Life found in Christ:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
For years, I walked with my mind set on the things of the flesh in a dead-end relationship that involved going to church, but no relationship with Jesus Christ. It took a gut-wrenching wake-up call one day after nearly two years in this dead-end relationship to see the new life Christ was offering me.
No longer did I want sin and death, but instead a new hope and fresh beginnings. It was a very hard adjustment for me as I was living with her at the time and seeking my own will instead of acknowledging the gentle tug of a loving God who was simply trying to bring me closer to him. The new hope and fresh beginnings ended years of what was sexual sin and spiritual death and brought me over 2,000 miles back home to my family, a new church and eventually the woman I call my wife today.
After this change occurred I began to look more at the interior of a woman instead of what her flesh could offer me. I began to look at the lifestyle lived and attitudes represented to see if they lined up with the word of God and not my own sinful desires. What I found was a breath of fresh air, not offered by sexual sin but a life affirmed by the life-giving Word of God as found in Proverbs 30,
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Looking back at the failure point of my relationships prior to marriage, the stark contrast was Christ at the center of it all. As cliché, as that may sound it still rings true with marriage. It may seem like a given but Christ would much rather set us free from sin and end human relationships than to be severed from us completely for eternity due to our temporal choices in this life. A sobering reminder that has always stuck with me has been the wise words that were written by the wisest man who lived other than Jesus, King Solomon:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”