After last week’s blog, a friend wanted to be sure that fear was not my true motivation for declining the man who wanted to go out with me. I gave this some thought. My conclusion: I am not afraid. When I was young, Christian men never showed any real interest in me. So, I stupidly entertained the attentions of men that I should have ignored. I rationalized my decisions, justified my actions to my conscience, and I pretended that there wasn’t a problem. But in every situation, I knew that I was making the wrong choice.
If the years since have taught me anything, it is that there is joy in obedience which exceeds anything that is gained from temporary pleasures. I can’t honestly say that I have learned to be patient, but as I mentioned last week, I have become steadfast. Fear is not keeping me from dating, lest I make a bad decision. I feel confident that I can make the right decisions. In addition to praying and listening to the Holy Spirit within me, I am resolved to listen to my friends and family. I remember when my father called me to express his concerns that the young man I wanted to marry would not be a spiritual leader for me and a family. At the time, I tried to convince him, and myself, that he was wrong. But, he was right, even though he had never met the man I was dating. In the future, should my parents or friends have an objection to a man that I am in a relationship with, I will take their concerns seriously. It is like a safety net, lest my desire to be loved and wanted tries to win out against good judgment, again.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh, that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
My real secret is that I am impatient. I know my own eagerness, and that is why I spent a week thinking through and discussing with others, whether I should respond to the recent request. I do not believe that I have anything to fear from a man of faith, such as I described in last week’s blog. The last time I dated, I proved to myself that I have grown and matured, and I have even learned to guard my heart. Three dates with a sincere Christian man did not result in anything that I would fear to repeat. Rejection always includes some pain, yet, those who are following Christ don’t toy with one another’s feelings. There are times when believers will cause one another pain or heartache, but it should never be with forethought or malice.
My question to my single readers is, Are you afraid? As I was thinking about this issue, I remembered something I read when I was researching for my book proposal. I was looking at other books for Christian singles, in order to compare and contrast my book with the competition. I came across a book that had researched singleness in the church and proposed a theory as to why Christian men were not marrying. I don’t remember the thesis of the book, but I distinctly remember one of the reviews. The reviewer objected to the author’s conclusion. He felt that many men, like himself, didn’t want to get married because they had seen men they knew marry, only to be destroyed by the woman. That is, the predatory women divorced the men and took their kids, house, and money. I know that this happens to both men and women. Perhaps men perceive that women do better in divorce proceedings, but women are equally destroyed when husbands leave and tear their families apart. I don’t need to look up statistics to know that in these situations, everyone involved loses, whether they realize it, or not.
What I have observed, in the situations I have been privy to, is that these divorces are not initiated out of faith, by a person who is walking with God. People get upset with me when I infer that the ex-spouses who initiated these divorces were not persons who had committed their lives to Christ. I am sure there are exceptions, but usually there were warning signs, before the wedding, that betrayed the person’s lack of faith. I had a dear friend who experienced a painful divorce at a young age. He was honest that he had noticed things early on that he should have paid attention to, but ignored. I still appreciate his honesty and openness; he didn’t want others to make the same mistake he had.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Before establishing an ongoing romantic relationship, the other person must be “vetted.” Does he or she seek a close relationship with God? Is going to church just something he thinks he is supposed to do, or does he treasure the learning and fellowship? Does she read the Bible regularly and take time to pray on her own? If God isn’t important to a person, it will be obvious, and we should walk away, no matter how cute or nice the person is. If he is putting God first, there is no need to fear that he will “take you for a ride.” I’m not afraid, and I don’t want other single Christians to be afraid, either. Pray for wisdom, and be discerning. God will lead you through His Spirit, if you allow Him to have control of your life.