Today we’re going to study three passages of Scripture to help us discover three relationship principles. These principles will not only help you attract the right person God wants for you, but they will also help you repel the people God does not want for you.
Principle 1: Trade Unwise Kindness for Appropriate Acceptance
Passage: 1 Peter 4:3-9, “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Perhaps the most used tagline by churches in the last 50 years has been, “Come as you are.” There’s something very Christian about this statement because we know the gospel is for everyone. None of us are saved by works. We are only saved by grace. And yet, when you read the Bible in its entirety, “come as you are” is merely an invitation and not a mandate to live by. You must come as you are, but you must not leave as you are. If you leave as you came, you don’t know the true Jesus – for he always transforms those who believe in him (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
You can see this balance in 1 Peter 4:3-9. In verses 6-9 you see the call for love and kindness. But in verses 3-5, you see the call to live differently than the world. A principle for dating is that you must trade unwise kindness for appropriate acceptance.
Kindness is attractive. But unwise kindness is when you overlook obvious red flags God is showing you about this person. Unwise kindness is when you mistake the call to come as you are as an excuse to also leave as you came. It’s like not locking your doors because you are afraid of hurting the criminals’ feelings. Unwise kindness keeps assuming the best of someone even when they’ve shown you evidence that you should no longer give them the benefit of the doubt.
Rather than being unwisely kind, be appropriately accepting. This means you aren’t expecting people to be perfect. You know no one is Jesus except Jesus. Appropriate acceptance is when you hold others to the same standards that you hold yourself to. You’re not hypocritical, but you also have some standards for the people you allow into your inner circle.
If you want to be more attractive while also protecting your heart, trade unwise kindness for appropriate acceptance.
Principle 2: Trade Critical Judgement for Realistic Requirements
Passage: Matthew 7:1-6, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
In point 1, we talked about the dangers of too much tolerance and not enough judgement. But now we need to talk about the dangers of being too judgmental and not open enough. If you are too serious and you never allow someone to be the imperfect person they are, you will wear them out and they will find you unattractive.
People generally oversimplify the biblical instructions about judgment. They read verses like Matthew 7:1 and think Christians are never to judge. But in context, Matthew 7:1 is really talking about judging someone’s heart and motives. We are not supposed to do that. This passage takes place during the Sermon on the Mount. And the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount was to highlight the importance of inner obedience to God.
But notice in Matthew 7:5 Jesus said that after you have addressed your own sin, then you are to actually judge and help other people address their own sin too. While we must not judge someone’s heart, we are to take notice of people’s actions (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
The dating principle we can form from all this is that you want to trade an overly critical, judgmental spirit for a more realistic set of biblical requirements. In other words, if your requirements for people are stricter than Scripture’s requirements for people, you are making it very difficult for anyone to want to get to know you.
The Bible basically requires three things for Christians when it comes to marrying someone. They need to be a Christian, they need to be bearing fruit as a Christian, and they need to be able to fulfill the biblical roles in marriage for a husband and wife. Don’t date someone if they can’t meet these minimum biblical requirements. But if you are looking for someone who never does anything wrong, you will push everyone away from you.
Principle 3: Trade Pointless Dating for Purposeful Dating
Passage: 2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Pointless dating is when you are dating for the moment. Pointless dating is when you think a boyfriend or girlfriend is a title that can last forever. Pointless dating is when you waste your time playing games with someone you know you will never marry one day.
Purposeful dating, however, is when you know dating is a tool to help you figure out what God’s will is for you and someone. You don’t need to know you will marry the person you are dating. That’s the point of dating, to figure that out. But you are also unwilling to waste your time dating someone you already know you will never marry.
Now please don’t get me wrong. Purposeful dating should not be too serious too soon. You can still go one dates, have fun, get to know people, and don’t talk about marriage on the first date. This will scare people away. A relationship needs time to build up to something more serious. Don’t smother it too soon. But also cut the cord when you know you are just hanging onto someone until someone better comes along. Don’t date someone just to make your ego feel better or because you are lonely at the moment.
Date with a purpose – to find clarity about God’s will for you and this person. This will make you attractive because when someone knows you are not playing games, they will know you value them if you are giving them your time. But it will also protect your heart by keeping you out of pointless relationships.
Should marriage be the goal of dating? No, and here’s why: 4 Reasons Marriage Should Not Be the Goal of Dating.
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