It wasn’t too many years ago that I was a young unmarried Christian man and I got plenty of advice from older, well-meaning Christians. Most of that advice was fantastic; but unfortunately, I completely ignored almost all of it. I was embarrassed and even offended when it was offered to me. So I’m hoping there are some young Christians who are wiser than I was and are willing to listen to advice from a slightly older brother in Christ about dating.
1. Don’t Idolize a Relationship
We make something an idol when we see it as “an ultimate thing,” something that makes life worth living, something we can’t live without. Without realizing it, you may be idolizing a relationship you’re in, or even a relationship you are pursuing.
Listen to the way popular love songs praise the object of their affection. They truly are songs of praise. They are worshipful. They are idolatrous.
Our hearts want – yearn for – someone to worship, someone in whom we can lose ourselves. And we also want to be worshiped. We want someone to say, “I can’t live without you. You make everything make sense. You are my sun, moon, and stars.” But all of this is idolatry and it is spiritually (and emotionally) devastating.
The only One we should see as ultimate is the Lord. We must lose ourselves in Him. He should be the only One we can’t live without. That’s what it means to have no other gods before Him.
True satisfaction is only found in the Lord. And it’s only when you understand this that you can truly enjoy a relationship with another person. Because only then will that person not have to try and bear the weight of “godhood.” You are setting yourself up for disappointment and failure when you make someone – other than God – the object of your worship.
Only God can bear the weight of your worship and only God will satisfy you and not disappoint you.
2. The Idea of One “Soulmate” is a Myth.
I realize the idea that there is ONE person who was created just for you and you just for them, sounds incredibly romantic. But I hope you will listen when I say, this idea is not only unbiblical, it can also prove to be incredibly devastating.
Picture this scenario: A man and woman meet, fall in love, and get married. They tell each other – and everyone who is willing to listen – they are soulmates. “Everything is absolutely perfect,” they say, “We understand each other on the deepest possible level and communication is almost effortless because we are just so perfect for one another.”
However, it doesn’t stay like this. After a year or so of being married, the man realizes, “She doesn’t understand me at all. I’ve made a horrible mistake. She isn’t my soulmate after all.” But because the man still believes he has a soulmate out there somewhere, he begins to think, “Perhaps my secretary is my soulmate. She seems to get me, in a way my wife never has.”
Think this scenario is unrealistic? Think that could never happen to you? Think again. It happens every single day.
The Bible teaches us that having a great marriage is a choice (see 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5). Loving another person is a choice. Learning to communicate well – through all of the challenges and changes of life – is a choice. If you want to have a great marriage, you have to choose your spouse well and choose to love them until death do you part.
The Universe hasn’t destined you for anything or anyone. You have to choose how you will spend your life and who you will spend it with. Of course God knows what decisions you will make, but your choices are your choices.
3. Sex is Great, But It’s Not Worth Going to Hell For.
Sex is great. It is a blessing from God. But I’m going to tell you something a lot of people seem too afraid to tell young people these days, sex outside of marriage is sin. Like any sin, if you keep on sinning and don’t stop and seek forgiveness in Christ, you will spend an eternity in hell (see Hebrews 10:26-27).
The Bible says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4, emphasis mine). And Jesus was specifically talking about sexual sin when He said, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matthew 5:30).
God loves you. He knows what’s best for you. He knows what’s best for mankind. He designed sex. He knows how it works. He knows sex is a blessing, but only when it is experienced in marriage. Outside of marriage, sex has long-term emotional, physical, and (most importantly) spiritual consequences.
If you decide to sleep with someone you’re not married to, you need to ask yourself, “Is this short-term pleasure really worth going to hell for?”
The Bottom Line
I’m telling you these things because I love you. I’m telling you these things because I want you to have a great relationship with God and because (if you choose to get married) I want you to have a great marriage someday.
I know it’s hard not to buy into the popular lies of our culture. I know it’s hard to walk by faith and not by sight. I know it’s hard to resist temptation. But these are the things the Christian life is all about; and it is such a better life than the alternative. Just look at all the drama in the world, do you really want that kind of life?
Make the Lord your life. Be obsessed with Him and with doing His will. Then, if you meet a Christian of the opposite sex with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, choose to love, choose to serve, choose to communicate well, choose to wait for sex, and once you’re married choose to be committed until death do you part.
If you’ve already messed up, just know it’s never too late to start making godly choices and it’s never too late to find forgiveness in Christ. “They lived happily ever after” is for fairy tales. In real life, happily ever after begins and ends with making godly choices.
I love you and God loves you,