I dated a man who was not saved. Let's call him Johnny. I wasn't exactly sold-out to God. In fact, the proper term was that I was backslidden. But I had given my heart to the Lord, and God and I were still on speaking terms. So much so that I kept having mental panic attacks every time I thought about the afterlife and Johnny. Would he eventually get saved? Or would I be in heaven and him in hell?
I remember getting down on my knees one night after one of these episodes and making a deal with God. "God," I cried out, "if You'll save Johnny, I'll come back to You. I'll be an on-fire Christian. I promise."
From that experience, I learned that God doesn't make deals. Instead of Johnny being influenced by me, I was influenced by him. I slid deeper into the world until we broke up. Then I was faced with a decision: get right with God or continue down the world's path. I chose God.
A lot of good Christians fall into this trap. So many that Christian circles had termed it "missionary dating."
What exactly is missionary dating? It is when a Christian person dates an unbeliever and convinces herself that it is okay because she will lead him to Christ.
As I found out, nine out of ten times, the opposite happens. Usually the Christian ends up backsliding.
The writer of 2 Corinthians writes in chapter six, verse 14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
What does it mean to be unequally yoked?
To be unequally yoked means to date, or marry, someone who is not a Born-again Christian.
As easy as you might think getting an unbeliever to convert is, God still frowns upon marrying, or dating, an unbeliever.
Remember the movie, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding? If you havenít seen it, the main character, Toula, is dating someone her parents do not approve of? Why? Because he is a non-Greek. His solution is to convert to the religion of Greek Orthodox church, so that they can be married in the church. He was then considered an honorary Greek.
Yes, a non-believer can convert to being Born-again, but if it is just to date you, he has not really given his life to God. That is a decision that the person must make on his own. He must be led by the Holy Spirit.
Is God trying to punish us by telling us who and who not to date? No, He gave us this guidelines to help us avoid mistakes like the one I made. Being involved romantically with unbeliever, some issues are bound to come up. Different beliefs mean different standards. Does he think pre-marital sex is okay? How far is too far? Does he think cheating is fine? What about lying? What happens when he asks you to do something you are uncomfortable doing? Are you going to go along with him? Are you going to stand up for your beliefs?
You can say that you are going to stand up for what you believe in now, but what happens when you start to fall for this guy? What happens when you start to visual a future with him? When you invest your time and energy into making this relationship work? Can you honestly say, without reservation, that you are going to be strong enough to stand up and say no to pre-marital sex? To telling a white lie? To cheating?
It is better to avoid the temptation altogether rather than put yourself in a situation such as this one. God is trying to give you the heads up on what is going to happen down the road if you continue to date an unbeliever. Letís say, he goes to church with you, is a nice guy, understands that you want to wait to have sex, what happens if you both died tonight? Would you both be going to the same place? If your destination is not the same, you need to rethink dating this guy.
Contrary to popular belief, dating is not about having fun or being social. Dating is about finding the person God has for you. If Godís Word says not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, do you think that He would send an unbeliever for you to marry? Absolutely not.
How can you tell if a person is really Born-again? Or if they are just saying that to date you? The proof is in the fruit. Are they attending church? Do they conduct themselves according to the Bible? Do they talk about God?
If you still arenít sure, consult God. Ask Him to give you wisdom on whether the guy is saved or not.
Follow Godís plan and avoid dating unbelievers, it will save you a lot of heartache in the long run.