This post aims to talk about relationships, which is a huge subject (often complicated and emotional), especially for Christians. As a young man, the issue of being single is one that can play on your mind from time to time, and I hope that this post gives encouragement and helps you on your way.
Do we need to be in a relationship to be happy? A few years ago, I would have said it plays a big role in being happy. And this is where my first point starts. You don’t have to be in a ‘relationship’ to be happy; period. Now, living in a liberal world, it feels as though if we are not in a sexual relationship, there’s something wrong with us. Everything in society is geared towards a sexual relationship. Our identities are formed by our sexual lives, rather by who we actually are. As Christians we need to be different from the world, and therefore in relationships, as well as in the rest of life, we have to show this difference!
The Bible speaks a lot about relationships, and tells us that being single is a gift from God (1 Cor. 7:8), that some of us are called to live single lives (Matt. 19:10-12 & 1 Cor. 7:38), which could be for a short while, or it could be for the rest of our lives. Being single is by no mean a curse! You can do so much more, especially when it comes to helping spread the Gospel message. We are not tied to anything and we can put so much more energy into our evangelism. I have come to know a lot more peace than I ever did at university. I have come to understand that God is sovereign over all, and he knows what is best for me. I now realise that the world is wrong: being in a ‘relationship’ isn’t the be all and end all, but it took me a little while to figure it out.
Singleness is a gift. You don’t have to spend loads of money on a significant other; you don’t have to worry about forgetting their birthday, making the right impression. You can just be you, serving God with all your might (1 Cor. 7:33-35). Don’t worry about what the world think! Focus on the kingdom and see what God will do in your life. Do not fret, do not worry, pray to God, and trust in him! We already have a relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we need nothing else! Remember how close he is to you, how much he loves you and that he is everything to you! Anything else in life is a bonus!
Patience is a valuable virtue
Brothers and sisters do not rush into a relationship, I did and it was a mess. I have never felt further away from God, my conscience was telling me it was wrong, that God didn’t approve. I tried to suppress the feeling, but it got worse and worse. Take time, take everything to the Lord in prayer and listen to what He tells you.
This can be related to the question; do we have to date a fellow Christian? For young people, the answer may not be what they want to hear, but I think the best way to answer this is that it is best for your spiritual soul if you do. “Do not be unequally yoked,” (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). You have someone to share your faith with, whom you can pray with and whom properly understands the Christian life. This is vitally important for our spiritual well-being and our spouses.
Dear friends, be patient. God knows the future, he is in and out of time, and he guides us in the way we should go (Psalm 119:105 & Proverbs 16:9). He knows what lies ahead of us, and that goes for relationships too. There is no need to rush, to worry about this. He has it all in his more than capable hands. Trust in the lord, and see what he will do in your life. I can imagine quite a few of us young folk, look around our churches, noting that there are no young females or males, wondering if you will ever be in a relationship. Don’t worry, God is in control! He might have someone lined up for you in the future, in some other location, he may bring someone into the church, he may never bring someone into your life, but that’s great! He knows what’s best, and as long as we follow him, and not go our own way, we will be blessed.
At the same time, we shouldn’t be painting an ideal image of a life-partner. If we did, then I would be waiting for a God-fearing historian, who loved Skillet, loved football, voted Conservative (I seem to have more enjoyable conversations with those on the right at the moment, weirdly enough!), was smart, funny and above all focused her life entirely on Christ. Now for most of those ideals, I have to realise that they are selfish and to be honest, rather unrealistic. The only ideal point we should ever want in a spouse is that they love Christ first and foremost. Of course spouses have to connect and share interests, but Christ and the gospel should always be our number one passion, interest and priority. If we share Him, we share everything.
Dating sites and ‘flirting’
So what about Christian dating sites and apps, is it OK to use them? I do think we have to be careful when we use websites to find someone. You do not know the person at all, and have no idea if they truly are a Christian. It can be very dangerous, I wouldn’t use them, personally, at all. But I do understand that for some people, being on these sites gives them some comfort, but it’s important to question our heart motives – are we serving God or ourselves? So before you go anywhere near a dating website, ask God for guidance, consider the pros and cons, and whether it will actually be beneficial for you.
Now, I wish to briefly consider flirting. Is it OK? Now this all depends on what you mean by the word. If you like a girl, you are undoubtedly going to have a bit of banter and say some stupid things, I know I have said some really daft stuff before, where you’re trying to be funny or intelligent, but in fact you look like an idiot (!), but you shouldn’t be flirting in a sexual or even vaguely suggestive manner (1 Thess. 5:22). That is completely wrong.
Is it OK to be romantic? Well I hope so; I’m often called a hopeless romantic by my family! Sometimes I feel that as we are not of the world, therefore we have to be emotionally dead. Our services are emotionally dead. But we should thank God for emotions, for joy, for laughter but also for sorrow as it allows us to express ourselves in a way words cannot. Therefore, there is nothing wrong about being romantic.
I have been in relationships at university and in all seriousness, I realise that it was not the right time for me to be in a relationship, and as time goes on and on, I see that that still have much to learn. One day perhaps, but for now, I’m content in prayer and in the company of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Finally to those who are reading this, who are already in a relationship, then remember to always keep the Lord in your heart and that you honour Him first, well above your spouse. Relationships, and especially marriage are gifts from God, and we thank him for them, but so too in singleness!
Remember friends, unlike the world, we search for a life-partner, not something to amuse us for a little while, so to speak. Our ultimate goal in a relationship is to marry; of course this doesn’t mean that if you date someone that they will be your married partner! Look around you in the church, take inspiration from those who are married, and listen to their advice without judging. Let it be a blessing to you. Marriage can be an immense blessing.
So to conclude! Don’t rush, Don’t panic, Don’t worry! Make sure you flee from sin (be like Joseph, run!!), from the desires of the flesh, and run to Christ. Make sure that you don’t fall into the same mistakes I, and many others have. I do recommend that as a Christian, you find yourself a fellow Christian to date. Above all, put your faith in Jesus, seek first the Kingdom of God, and let your heart put him as your no.1. God is good, God is great, God is love, and he is amazing. Rejoice that you have a friend like no one else; you have a love that no unbeliever has. You have Jesus! Amen!