Episode 059 | Because Dating is Hard
How do you find someone to date? What happens when the person you’re dating changes their view on church and faith? And where exactly is the line? Pastor Matt gives real answers to your tough questions about dating.
Want to hear the questions we couldn't cover?
Pastor Matt did a lightening round on our Facebook page! Check out the video.
Before diving into answers on all things dating, Pastor Matt talks through some more of the details surrounding the story of Jacob and Esau from the previous weekend’s sermon on lying - including whether or not God uses things like lies and deception to accomplish his purposes and why he picked this story in the first place.
In this episode about dating, the discussion starts off with how to get a date in the first place. From online dating to special prayer projects to bring your spouse in a year, Pastor Matt shares how to work through the desire to get married when it seems like the opportunities just aren’t showing up.
While it’s fairly common knowledge that marrying someone who doesn’t share your faith is a bad idea, Pastor Matt talks through what to do when the spiritual makeup of your dating relationship changes and whether or not it’s more loving to break up with someone who isn’t interested in following Jesus. In this part of the conversation, Pastor Matt suggests that we may need to completely reverse our views on what it means to work through things in dating vs marriage.
As expected, the conversation wraps up with Pastor Matt’s take on the classic question of “how far is too far?” when it comes to sexual boundaries in dating.
This Week's Topics
Why does Jacob’s story from the sermon about about lying fit above other stories in the bible about lying?
We are looking at the dysfunctional relationships within the book of Genesis and this story is a great picture of what happens when we lie in the context of family. The beauty of Jacob’s story is that out of our mess, God can bring the Messiah. There is salvation that can come through our worst mistakes and disasters. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to our actions, but that we can take comfort in the fact that God’s will is going to happen regardless of our shortcomings. When it comes to overcoming lies, we need to not fear the truth, but instead fear God.
Did God have another plan to bless Jacob, or was betraying Esau always a part of the plan? Does God use lies by people as a part of his master plan?
God did not cause Rebecca and Jacob to lie, that was a result of their selfishness and lack of wisdom. The prophecy about Jacob and Esau was that the “older will serve the younger” and even though Isaac tries to circumvent the will of God, it still happens. He didn’t cause Jacob and Rebecca to sin, nor did he cause Isaac’s stubbornness. Ultimately God’s will is going to happen. God saves us, in spite of us, because that is what he does.
I have read books that talk about dating God for one year in order to meet your future spouse, how should we feel about this?
Sometimes it’s important to remember that most books are written to make money. The truth is, the verse “God will give you the desires of your heart” means that when we love God with all of our hearts he will give us the desire of our hearts, because the desire of our hearts will be him. We must remember that happiness is not found in relationships with other people - whether spouses or friends. The deep void that we need to fill in our hearts is the desire for God.
God is perfect intimacy, he is father, son and Holy Spirit in one. Marriage is to be a picture of that intimacy, being one with one another and God. It is ok to desire that intimacy, but it is important to have healthy expectations of commitment and relationship and in the end God is going to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. Continue to date God, but not with the intentions of finding a spouse right away.
If someone goes to a small church with very few people their age, should they go to a new church to pursue finding a significant other?
It’s ok to consider a new church because the best place to meet a significant other is at our church. If we are in this position, we should be honest with our current church family by conveying our love for them, letting them know our desire to find someone who loves God and our desire to be at a church that will allow us more opportunities to do that. But when considering the people at your current church, don’t only look for a significant other solely based on how attractive the person is, but instead by how they serve God and if they will live out our marriage and parenting in a way that honors God.
How should Christians view online dating and dating apps?
While not inherently bad, an online dating profile only provides what the person wants others to think about them, and having others to speak into our lives is incredibly important in the dating process. Equally so, the environment that singles are in is really important for them to find the type of person they would want to be with. As much as possible, look for people to date at church by getting involved and having community there.
What should a Christian do if they are in a relationship with a person who doesn’t share their faith?
If someone doesn’t go to church with us when we are dating, they probably won’t come when we get married. If we are married we should make it work, but if we are just dating we should probably move on. If we are in this position we must communicate to the person that they are important, but Jesus is the most important thing in our lives, and try to introduce them to Jesus. If they are not interested in following Jesus, sometimes the most loving thing to do is leave the relationship.
We should know that there are other vegetables in the garden, and that when we meet Jesus we have not found a vegetable, but we have found the gardener. Our faith matters very little in dating, but it is everything in marriage. If you are a Christian in a marriage with a non-Christian, God is still pouring blessings over your family - especially your children. 1 Corinthians says that “God will sanctify our children… he will make them holy because of his love for us.” And if a Christian’s non-believing spouse is willing they should stay married, because our word is our bond.
How do we go about drawing a new Christ centered line in when it comes to sexuality in our dating relationships?
If Christians are having premarital sex, they should stop because God clearly forbids sex outside the context of marriage. In practical terms, sex catapults a relationship past where it actually is emotionally. We need to deal with the emotional aspects of the relationship and ask why we needed to have sex so quickly. Talking through the spiritual aspects of our relationship prior to marriage is very important as well. It can ultimately damage a marriage if the only way we know how to connect is through physical intimacy. Instead, we should do the work of getting shoulder to shoulder and aligning what is most important in our lives while we are still dating. It may be that after discussing what is important to us we discover that the relationship is really just about sex.
1 Corinthians 7: What Paul had to say about singleness and marriage.
Hebrews 13: The verse Pastor Matt mentioned about marriage and adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:14: The verse Pastor Matt mentioned about children of a spiritually mismatched couple.
Psalm 37.4: The verse about God giving us the desires of our hearts.