- Don't date and don't marry a non-Christian. Despite clear Scriptural teaching, lots of Christian girls wind up married to non-Christian men. This is because they so deeply long for a man to pursue and love them that his faith, or lack thereof, is deemed a non-issue. They may rationalize dating him on the hope he will come to Christ later. Some do. But most don't. And a man who says he is a Christian but who doesn't go to church is simply a liar. So is a man who can't articulate his faith in Christ-what he believes about Jesus. If I had a dollar for every woman I know who married a man who wasn't a believer and who wasn't interested in church when they were dating who now comes to church alone, I might not be rich, but I could definitely take Karen to a very nice dinner. Ladies, don't underestimate the value of common faith. It's a Scriptural command and that should be sufficient to obey. But please consider this too: if you want a deep connection at the heart level, you won't have it with a man who doesn't share the deepest commitments of your heart. Instead you will be frustrated, sad, and continually praying for God to break through to the man you love while you try to raise your children to know the God their father rejects. It's painful and God wants to spare you from it because He loves you.
- Don't date and don't marry a man who isn't a real man. I don't mean you need a guy who can rip a phone book in half with his bare hands or pull nails out of the wall with his fingers. I mean you want a man who is responsible, who can not only get, but also keep, a job and who works hard at the one he has. I mean you want a man who opens doors, pays his bills on time, doesn't live beyond his means, doesn't live with his mother beyond a year out of college, doesn't blame others for his failures, and who is a leader instead of a passive follower who lets you decide everthing. You want a man who treats you as a prize to be won and who will lay down his life for you, since daily doing that is what Scripture requires of him (Eph. 5:23). You want a man who has put away both childish things and immoral things. If some of these things aren't true, he isn't worth your time. You should walk away before you wind up married to a man who frustrates you for life.
- Keep your sexuality pure. Perhaps no commitment is harder to keep than that of reserving sex for marriage, especially when you are deeply in love. But keeping sex (in all its forms!) out of the equation actually helps your relationship immeasurably. First and foremost, doing so honors God, who set it up and blesses marriage and marriage alone as the appropriate context for that fire to burn. Second, purity keeps you from thinking you have more than you've got, mistaking committed love for emotions, hormones, and temporary passion. Third, it also guards your heart, so that do you do not wind up feeling used when the relationship ends (as most will). Fourth, godly men aren't attracted to ungodly women. A man who is really following Christ with all his heart won't find appeal in a woman who is only following Him with half of hers. Finally, when saved for marriage, there is a security, a depth of passion, and a freedom that comes from sharing sex with just your spouse that the promiscuous will never know.
- Be willing to wait. Lonely married is far lonelier than lonely single. Lonely single people have hope. Lonely married people are often hopeless, having long since resigned themselves to the idea that this is as good as it will ever be. Don't be one of them. Wait for the Christian man who truly is a Christian man.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
All the Single Ladies
I have been a pastor now for close to 11 years. In that time, I've had my theology of sin regularly affirmed by both my own behavior and that of my parishioners. We truly are a depraved race of rebels, me included. But for whatever reason, there are some sins that I find more troubling than others. And one of the ones that bothers me a lot is the number of young Christian women I see who are willing to make serious compromises in their romantic lives for the sake of a relationship with a dude. I've dealt with this so often that I practically have a speech prepared. The speech itself doesn't usually work, since most people who are "in love" don't have ears to hear a rebuke, even if it is one delievered in love and with their long-term future in mind. But in the possibly vain hope that I will save someone a lifetime of heartache, here's the guts of "The Speech."