“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land & befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” (Psalm 37:3-6)
You're probably wondering why I'm starting out a dating blog post with that verse. Don't worry — it'll all make sense soon.
What's your relationship status? Dating? Single? It's complicated? For those married, this may seem like old news. But today, I want to talk about how to date differently. How to date for the Lord. That may sound like the cheesiest Christian thing I've ever said (it might be) but I have never been more convinced of something. I've never been more convinced about the importance of dating differently and better — all for the Lord.
Let me tell you a story about a past relationship of mine...When I was a sophomore in high school, I was involved in a very toxic relationship. If you would have asked me if I was dating this guy, I would have told you "Heck no!" But really, I was. This relationship was unhealthy and it pushed the standards that I had prided myself in holding for so long. I was cheating myself of God's beautiful design of dating. In those few months of "dating", I wasn't looking for Jesus or loving Jesus above this relationship. I wasn't pursuing Jesus over emotional intimacy or praying for wisdom. I was digging into the flesh. Needless to say — that relationship fizzled, crashed, burned and exploded. Looking back, I'm thankful that it didn't go any further and that the Lord protected me.BUT... the reason I'm using this story as an example is because I want to remind you, gals, why it's so important to date differently — to date for the Lord.
Maybe you're single and waiting for Mr. Right. Maybe you're okay with being single or maybe you're super anxious to be in a relationship.Maybe you're dating someone right now or maybe you've been burned a few too many times that you're discouraged.Wherever you're at in that list, I wanted to encourage you with a few goals to strive towards this year. I wanted to challenge you to seek dating and singleness differently this year. Here are five encouragements for you!
1.) Resolve to look for Jesus.
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:21, "...to live is Christ and to die is gain". What he meant by that is that his life was not about him, rather it was about advancing God's kingdom. It didn't matter if Paul died — it was all for Christ. To live is for Christ.Well, if to live is for Christ, then to date is Christ, right? To marry is Christ. To be single is Christ. Jesus Christ is our reason for living, working, learning, dating, marrying. Because of Christ, we have the opportunity to do all of those things.The first thing we need to do as Christian gals is to look for Jesus. We need to put off our worldly lenses and put on our Jesus lenses. If everything in life is about Jesus -- then we need to be looking and seeking Him first. Before we date or do anything — we need to be looking to the One who knows all.
2.) Resolve to love Jesus with your whole heart first.
If we're ever going to make a relationship work —-we first need to resolve to love Jesus with our whole hearts, souls and minds. Make Him your first priority (Matthew 6:33).It's so easy to become infatuated with love — heck, I have been and sometimes still am. But, if we want a God-honoring relationship someday, we need to resolve to love God more than love.
3.) Resolve to grow from failure.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 says, "... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life."
Maybe you've been through a lot in past relationships. I know some girls who have felt the guilt and shame from their past and at times, it's heavy enough to weigh them down and make them fearful of the future. But ladies — I'm here to tell you that those feelings only qualify us for God's love! Jesus came into the world for people like you and me — people that are broken and are in need of forgiveness. This is exactly what Jesus does best: He's in the business of restoring what's broken. If you're dealing with the shame of your past, bring your shame before the Lord's throne and He WILL forgive and restore you. He will make you new from the stains of your history. Philippians 3:13 gives an encouraging word about not dwelling on the past, but learning from the failure. Let the Lord guide you out of your guilt. Let Him grow you for who He has for you in the future.
4.) Resolve to pursue clarity, not intimacy.
As women, we are naturally attracted to the emotional and physical. We are more emotional and tender beings. That's just how God made us! All of us, not just women, are looking for intimacy in some form. But when intimacy becomes the greatest prize in dating, it will cost us the greatest price. Things become easily clouded and foggy when we date for physical intimacy. Things can go from 0-100 in .5 seconds if we're solely focused on the physical.Instead, let's date to find clarity from God. What I mean by clarity is God's wisdom (Proverbs 3:6). Date purposefully, knowing what God considers a pure relationship. Date for more than physical intimacy. Look for ways in which you can honor the Lord as a man and a woman. Let your love life stem from seeing and enjoying and sharing more of Him. If God wills it, the intimacy will come in marriage — and it will be sweeter in marriage than anything else.
5.) Resolve to always ask God for help.
This may be the most important resolution you could make in dating, singleness AND marriage.First and foremost, we need direction from the Lord. If you're truly seeking to honor the Lord, if you're truly seeking to date differently and for the Lord -- you will need direction.And how do we get direction? By asking God! By praying to Him and seeking out His wisdom and His will (Psalm 145:18). We should be communicating with God before we communicate with others. Especially if we desire to honor the Lord. When we honor the Lord first, we're not only honoring Him — we're honoring the person that we're in a relationship with! In closing, I want to get back to the passage that I opened with at the beginning: Psalm 37:3-6. In this Psalm, David points out how important it is to trust the Lord. He recognizes that when we're faithful in waiting patiently, the Lord will always provide.Can you see how this particular Psalm relates to the five points we just talked about? This Psalm is all about trusting the Lord's will for your life; and in life, that includes dating.
When we are so in tune with the Lord, our desires will become His desires. God will give us the desires of our hearts when we embrace and delight in the Lord. When we do that, we'll desire God's will; the right things.And if we're committing every single moment of our lives to the Lord — we can be assured that He is trustworthy and He'll do all He knows is good. Jesus will bless your obedience to Him. It doesn't matter if you're single, dating, married or in the "it's complicated" stage of life.That's why it's so important to look for Jesus, love Jesus, grow with Jesus, pursue Jesus and talk to Jesus.
The greater intimacy you have with Jesus, the greater clarity you'll have about who to date, pursue and marry. My encouragement to you beautiful ladies is to always remember that. Jesus has your best interest in mind. He is faithful and trustworthy to provide. All He wants is your heart and your life!Look for Jesus. Love Jesus first. Let Jesus grow you and change you. Pursue Jesus and His wisdom. And always talk to Jesus.Abide in Jesus — and you can always trust that Jesus has your relationship status in His heart, hands and mind.