Looking for Love
The Bible does not give us a direct example, or rules for dating. Dating wasn’t even a thing in the Roman world (at least, not as we know it). Then, how can this book help us learn how to date well (or anything else for that matter)?
Even if the writers of Scripture didn’t know what love and courtship would look like today, the principles for a good and godly life that they highlighted are still useful to us in our modern context.
When you are looking for someone to ask out, or considering if you should ask out a certain person, there are three things you should look for. The first one is; you need to find someone who is running the same race as you.
Last week we focused setting the pace. We said that the first step into entering the world of dating is to have your foundation set in Christ. You don’t want to be looking towards someone else to fill in you what only God can fill. Therefore, you need to set the pace for your life. Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” Run after God, seek His Kingdom, pursue righteousness; and everything else will follow. Invest in your relationship with God above all things. This is the race I am talking about when I say you need to find someone who is running the same race as you.
Second, find someone who is running at the same pace as you. You want the same goal (being the Kingdom) and you want to be moving at the same rate, so that neither of you will slow down the other, or take the place of God in their life. If they say they are a Christian, do you see evidence of it in their life? Do they get consistent time in the Word, in prayer, attend worship regularly? Is their walk with Christ a life they live, or it simply a title they can claim.
Be careful that you look for more than just habits. There are plenty of Christians who do all the “right things” attend the right events, read the right books, and yet are unwilling to grow and change as the Gospel reveals sin in their life. This is why I am telling you to look for someone who is running at the same pace and not someone who is in the same space.
In Matthew 19: 16-22, we read about someone in this position:
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
By all accounts, this young man was a great individual. He had kept all the commandments! What he lacked wasn’t righteous acts, it wasn’t generosity (as we can assume that he was probably highly generous). What he lacked was faith; faith that what Jesus was asking him to give up would allow him to grow, and gain so much more (though not financially). Look for someone who is running at the same pace.
And Third, seek confirmation from God. This can often be the hardest part. We get wrapped up in emotions, know that this person is a catch, and don’t even think about taking to the Lord in prayer. But that’s the thing; we can get too engrossed in emotions. We often call it “falling in love” because we have so little control over it. You really do just “fall” into it. But that isn’t love, that is infatuation. The pure emotion of it is simply a chemical reaction that will come and go (no matter how long you are together). Love, though, love is a choice. Love is deciding that you want to look for what is best for that person, regardless of how you feel. We often say we love something, but what we are talking about is how it makes us feel. Instead, true love is selfless, seeking to put the other first in everything. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a:
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.”
This is not easy; love is not easy! And that is why we need to seek confirmation from God. We do this because we want to make a wise decision in who we choose to love, and not get pulled down by emotions that will fade over time.
In the end, it all comes down to our focus. (Matthew 6:33) Are you putting God first? If you seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness, and you find someone who is also seeking this, you will see each other through the lens of Christ. You will both be whole in Christ, and able to serve the other without looking towards your own interest. You will be build each other up, as you run together towards God. And it all begins with your commitment to Christ.
What are your non-negotiables when looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend?
Where are you in your walk with God? Are you in a good place to be dating, or do you need to wait?
What does your prayer life look like, as it relates to your relationships?