One of the biggest questions plaguing Christian single women in 2017 is the cry, “Did God really say that?”
In fact, it’s such a big topic that we are going to divide it up into three parts as we address the dilemma between our cultures views of dating and the principles that are found in God’s Word.
But let me start by setting the scene:
It was several years ago and I was teaching a group of pre-teen girls on a Wednesday night. As February approached, we bridged the topic of dating and I began with the basics:
Don’t date Non-Christians.
Honestly, I thought it was a no-brainer, but it was about to cause a major stir in my usually happy classroom.
You see, one of my helpers (a young woman approaching her twenties) disagreed---strongly.
Sure, she’d heard it taught all of her life, but she’d come to believe it wasn’t true. Her reasoning was simple: “There are no Christian guys to date. I don’t want to end up single.” (In fact, the room when deafeningly quiet when she caught herself just short of saying the “like you” in “I don’t want to end up single like you.”)
Okay, swallow hard, ignore insult, and go back to teaching.
Because I understand the problem. Like her, I faced it many times.
As a woman, you want to date and get married. It’s natural.
Yet, you look around and the pool of single Christian men is sparse.
What’s a girl to do???
Well, far too many have decided that God must not have really meant what He said about dating non-Christians or that it didn’t apply in their case and they’ve wandered into the much bigger and broader world of dating.
Although it seems reasonable, it just isn’t right. (And it rarely ends in happily ever after)
So this week, we’re going to explore the question: Did God Really Say I Can’t Date Non-Christians?
Let’s start with the answer:
“Don’t become partners with those who reject God.
How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong?
That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark?
Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?
Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:
“I’ll live in them, move into them;
I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise;
leave it for good,” says God.
“Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.
I want you all for myself.
I’ll be a Father to you;
you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
The Word of the Master, God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Sorry to disappoint, but no matter what the excuse, the Bible is clear around dating non-believers.
Now let’s get to the why.
Believe it or not, God doesn’t tell us to only date and marry Christians to make our lives hard and lonely. Quite the contrary. God loves us and He knows where dating and marrying unbelievers will lead. It will not end in happily ever after.
Instead, it will end in you having to choose between God or the man you love. You will always feel torn between the two of them. An unsaved person will not want to live according to God’s ways. He won’t care what God’s will is for your lives. You will have to choose to follow his ways or God’s ways. This is why God told the Israelites in the Old Testament not to intermarry with the people around them.
1 Kings 11 tells us about Solomon and how disobeying God’s commands ruined his relationship with God. It says in verse 1:
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharoah’s daughter–Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonites, and Hitties. They were from nations from which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love...and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech then detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord and he did not follow the LORD completely.”
Verse 9-11 tells us of the consequences of Solomon’s intermarriages.
“The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my command and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.”
Because Solomon loved and married foreign women who served foreign gods, he followed them into idol worship. This broke His relationship with God. He chose the women he loved over God.That is the choice that God is trying to keep us from making.
God understands women’s hearts. He knows that when we fall in love with a man we will want to do all that we can to please him. The more time you spend with someone the more you will start seeing things from his perspective. You will become more like him.
That’s great if you fall in love with someone who has a heart for God. The two of you can follow God together throughout your lives. However, if you allow yourself to fall in love with someone who is not following God, he will try to draw you away from God.
It’s like trying to drive a car east and west at the same time. It can’t be done.
Ultimately, you have to make a choice which direction you are going to choose.
The temptation will be very real to follow Solomon’s example and choose the person you love.
If you choose to follow God while you are in a relationship with an unbeliever, you run the risk of losing the unbeliever. Even if the unbeliever doesn’t physically leave, you will have a life of constantly choosing to disagree with your partner to follow God. That makes for a very lonely, heartbreaking life. Every decision becomes a battle. Do you follow God or compromise?
For example, say you fall in love with and marry a non-Christian. Because he is a non-Christian, he does not feel the need to consult God in the area of finances. He definitely sees no need for tithing. On the other hand, you know that the Bible gives clear direction that will help in financial matters.
A battleground has developed.
You will encounter the same type of difficulties in every area of life. How you raise your children, the types of activities in which you participate, and who your friends will be, will all become battlegrounds. These choices will be stressful and full of heartache as you choose whether or not to compromise.
That is why the Bible is so clear about not dating non-Christians. God is trying to save us from a life of heartache. He wants us to be free to follow Him and walk in His ways throughout our lives. He is warning us for our good.
Okay, I can hear you now. This still doesn’t solve the problem about a lack of Christian men in your life.
Well, you don’t need there to be a lot of Christian men. You just need there to be one man that God has designed for you and you need to wait until it is God’s time for you to meet him. In the meantime, you cannot date non-Christians.
“But it’s not like I’m planning to marry him. I just want to have a little fun until God brings the right guy.”
Yeah, tell that to your heart once it gets involved. Casually dating a non-Christian is the first step on a treacherous path. Don’t do it. Once your heart is involved, it will be very painful to get off that path.
Honestly, I understand the struggle. As a single Christian woman I know that this is one of Satan’s favorite traps. Several times in my life, Satan has tried to bring a non-Christian man into my life at very vulnerable times. I know that it is hard to say, “No, I don’t date non-Christians”.
I remember being in my early twenties and meeting a man at work. My heart had just been broken by a Christian man when along came a very charming, attentive co-worker. When he asked me out to lunch, it was not easy to say “No thank you.” I really wanted to go. Fortunately, I had someone in my life to hold me accountable and remind me of the importance of only dating Christians. They helped me to avoid the trap that Satan had set.
So let’s get real. What are some practical ways that we can avoid the trap of dating non-Christians?
1. Determine in your heart that you will only date Christians.
Today, make a commitment to yourself that you will not date non-Christians. Decide that you are going to obey the Bible in this area. Write your decision down somewhere so that you can go and see it when an opportunity arises. Tell a mature Christian friend about your decision so that they can hold you accountable if they see even a spark of interest on your part toward a non-Christian.
2. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
It is imperative that we are very careful who we let into our heart. We cannot allow ourselves to entertain any thoughts of a relationship with a non-Christian. We cannot allow ourselves to have a “crush” on a non-Christian. Absolutely, no flirting with non-Christian men.
I learned this lesson the hard way. There was a time when I met a non-Christian man that I liked as soon as I met him. Instead of avoiding the situation, I allowed myself to engage in some casual flirting. I thought, “What’s the harm?” I have people around me would never let me date him, and I really enjoyed the attention I was getting. It made me feel really good.
Well, the problem was that my heart got involved. I started really liking this man. I started caring what he thought and wanting more attention from him. Although I never went out with him, it became a problem in my heart.
When I realized I was in trouble and cut off all contact with him, it was really painful to my heart. That’s when I learned the lesson that you have to watch out for your heart. You have to be extremely careful who and what you let near your heart. You need to protect it like your most prized possession. Don’t play around with it. Guard it.
3. If you are in a situation where you find yourself interested in a non-Christian, RUN!
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
You can tell yourself that you can handle your feelings and you won’t let things go too far, but you cannot trust your own heart. If you are spending time with someone who is not a Christian, and you feel even the slightest bit attracted to him, you must end the relationship. End all contact with that person.
If you are already dating a non-Christian, you must stop. Yes, it will be painful, but the pain will be temporary. If the courtship leads to marriage, you will have a lifetime of pain. No matter how many excuses we want to make, there are no gray areas. It is a black and white Biblical commandment.
No Christian woman can date a non-Christian—it’s like choosing to pick a frog instead of a prince. Unless you plan on moving into the pond where he lives, don’t choose him.
No matter how great he seems, you will never have a happy, healthy relationship with a man who lives in the kingdom of darkness while you are living in the kingdom of light. Instead, continue praying and waiting for God to bring someone into your life who is fully committed loving God and following God’s ways. Then the two of you can walk together through life following God’s path for your lives.
In the end, that’s why God said “Don’t date non-Christians”.
It’s for your good. So you can live a happy life….not just avoid being single for a season.