I read about a dating service called Just Coffee. You can have a cup of coffee with someone without being stuck in an entire dinner escapade. If you take one look at the person and don’t like him or her, then you can order a really small espresso.
But instead of Just Coffee, how about Just Church? Instead of meeting for coffee, why not suggest that you meet at church? You can have coffee afterward. That will narrow down the field a bit.
Here’s what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to get involved with a nonbeliever, because you will end up married to a nonbeliever. This happens far too often. I have met people who tell me, “I’m not happy in my marriage. He [or she] is not a Christian.”
When I ask why they married a nonbeliever, they tell me their husband or wife claimed to be a Christian when they got married.
My question is, was there any evidence of it? Just because someone says they are a Christian doesn’t mean they are.
The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14–16 NLT).
Here’s what will happen when you get involved with a nonbeliever. In most cases the believer will not pull the nonbeliever up to faith; the nonbeliever will pull the believer down. That is why it’s a trap and something Christians should avoid.
A single Christian needs the Holy Spirit’s power to be the person God has called him or her to be. This is true of the Christian life as well. We can try so hard to not do this and not do that. But the Bible tells us, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions” (Galatians 5:16–17 NLT).
If you focus on the positive, it will help you deal with the negative. I want to be filled with the Spirit and under the control of the Spirit, living by the counsel of Scripture. Then the other things will sort themselves out. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. We can’t do this on our own.
Having said that, I want to point out there are certain advantages to being single as well as certain disadvantages. The same is true of being married.
When you are married, you make a commitment – and you have to take that commitment seriously. We are told in 1 Corinthians 7, “An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband” (verses 32–34 NLT).
The apostle Paul is not saying this critically, as though it is a bad thing to be married. What he is saying is that when you are married, you have to think of someone other than yourself. A husband has to think about how to please his wife, and a wife has to think about how to please her husband.
That doesn’t mean you still can’t please God. What it does mean is that you now have limitations in your life that you didn’t have before. When you are single, you are mobile. In many ways, you are free. That’s good. Use your mobility for God’s glory. Use your extra time to serve him and grow closer to him and pray about finding the right person.
As James Dobson said, “Don’t marry the person you think you can live with. Marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.”
My wife reminded me about something I didn’t remember saying when we first started dating many years ago. One day I turned to her and said, “Cathe, I’m going to tell you something. I am following Jesus Christ, and if you ever get in the way of my relationship with God, you are out of here.”
Cathe said she really liked that because up to that point, she always was trying to control guys. She wanted them to do what she wanted them to do. She told me, “When I found a guy who stood up and had convictions and thought God was more important than me, I thought, ‘That is the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with.’”
Of course, someone might have the opposite reaction that Cathe did. They may say, “See ya.”
If that happens, then let them go. Trust God to bring the right person into your life. If you are single, wait on the Lord for the one he will bring to you. Maybe you know that person already. Or maybe you will meet that person tomorrow. Whatever the circumstances, you can start praying for your future spouse today. Pray for wisdom for the right person and the right timing. Once you are married, you’ll enter into a relationship that you want to last a lifetime.