Relationships are a massive hindrance to missional living. Yet, most never consider a relationship as an obstacle to obedience.
It’s easy to say, “No vision, no date” when you are surrounded by a dozen like-minded, global-Christian, disciple-making people. It seems completely different when you’re thirty-five and you’ve only been on three dates in ten years. You cry out, “Lord, where are the godly singles?” You start thinking deeply on the phrase “single life” and realize it may mean “single for life.” However, there is something worse than being single for the rest of your life—marrying the wrong person! Many people are derailed from the mission because they fell in love with someone who doesn’t have a Godly world vision.
Obedience to God must be a higher priority than getting married. If the person you desire to date is not obeying God, they are not a candidate for dating. In dating, world vision must be a nonnegotiable or you are setting yourself up for a rough relationship. Easier said than done, I agree.
What does the Bible explicitly say about dating? Actually, nothing. What does the Bible say about marriage and relationships? Actually, a lot. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). From the very beginning God’s goal was for man and woman to be united as one. Hebrews states, “Marriage should be honored by all” (Heb. 13:4), meaning the marriage commitment should not be treated as routine. In God’s eyes marriage is precious. Marriage is the living symbol of the gospel. Ephesians says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). The sanctity and meaning of marriage are significant. So, what does this mean for dating?
Some people date because they are lonely or bored, but we should always date with a view of marriage in mind. Dating is one of the blessings of singleness. Dating should be fun. You have the privilege to get to know someone before saying “I do.” It is a chance to spend time with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get to know. But before you begin looking for the right type of person, you need to be the right type of person. To do this you must have three things in order: Master, mission, mate.4
First and foremost, you need to decide who your Master is. Who are you submitting to? Jesus needs to be Lord of your life. If there’s some pursuit or interest that is not subjugated under His rule we will have problems.
Once we know whom we are following, we need to know our mission. Jesus tells His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). God is not so worried about what profession you choose or where you live. He is far more interested in you dedicating your talents, time, and resources to fulfill the Great Commission. Marriage is God’s idea! God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Adam wasn’t out beating the bushes, but instead was doing what God had told him to do, naming the animals (v. 19). All the animals were brought to him, yet none was a “suitable helper” for Adam (v. 20). So God designed Eve, his mate, and “brought her” to him (v. 22). Adam was being obedient to God’s commands, and God brought Adam and Eve together. When we are submitted to the Master and pursuing His mission, He provides what we need most.
By Josh Cooper