I'm about to get a booklet I wrote published and figured I'd post it on here to get some feedback before it's available in print.
Tell me what ya think :)
GROWING IN THE LORD & DATINGCourtship, Dating, and Marriage
By: Michael Taylor
It has been said, the second most important decision an individual will ever make is getting married, (the first is accepting Jesus Christ as your Saviour.) Marriage is a wonderful thing but it can either be a glorious, God-honoring experience or a seemingly unending set of problems. Many marriages today struggle and, too often, end because they were built on a flawed foundation. “A foolish man… built his house upon the sand… and great was the fall of it.” If the time of courtship and dating is flawed, either by dating the wrong person or dating the wrong way, then the marriage will inevitably be flawed. As my dad used to tell me, “Don’t ever date someone you wouldn’t marry.” That is good advice, but not only that, also don’t ever date in an ungodly or unbiblical manner.
This booklet is intended to give good, biblical insight by helping you to prepare yourself for courtship, giving you thoughts on choosing the right individual to court, and teaching you how to maintain a pure testimony while enjoying a godly courtship. When you look back on your life, you don’t want the word regret to define and characterize your time of courtship.
Note: In this booklet the author sometimes uses the terms dating and courting interchangeably.
The word court means the act of wooing or earnestly earning favor for marriage. The word is derived from the form of manners that would be used in a castle court (i.e. respectful, polite, and proper.)
The word date means to set aside a special or specific time with someone.
While the author in no wise advocates the worldly form of dating, the word dating is not improper to describe the time in between friendship and a marriage engagement. Dating should never be done without courting, but courting is dating because you are setting aside time to get to know someone better, considering them for marriage. Living like a Christian:
Growing in the Lord
For a born-again believer, everything that we do should reflect what the Bible teaches; and this includes dating! Christians are called to be separate from the world in how we live. However, a godly life does not come automatically once you are saved. It takes a conscious effort to be the person God wants you to be and to do the things God wants you to do.
Throughout the Word of God, we see a theme of the believer’s need to grow in the Lord and to increase in the things of God.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” - II Peter 3:18
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” - I Thessalonians 3:12
“Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” - II Corinthians 8:7
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” - Colossians 1:10
The second epistle of Peter chapter one gives us a formula for growing as a Christian by telling us to add some things in our lives. Read the following passage carefully:
(If you’re really serious about following the Lord, don’t just read this; go, pick up your Bible, and read the whole chapter.)
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ - II Peter 1:5-8
We need to add these things in our lives with “all diligence”; that means we are going to have to put forth an effort and work at it. Every Christian needs to start off with faith, then add virtue, then knowledge, and so on, towards charity. That is growing in the Lord and that is what will cause you to have a successful, victorious Christian life! As a matter of fact, you don’t stop growing at charity, you continue to add and re-add these things over and over again into your life.Growing Terms Defined:
Faith: To believe, trust, or obey in/on something/someone.
Faith is not just a blind, wishful belief that something is or will happen, but a trusting in the Word of God about something not yet seen. Faith isn’t hoping there is a heaven or that Christ is coming back, but knowing that Heaven is real and that Jesus will return because God said so in His Bible.
Faith is always the first step because:
1) It is the requirement for Salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith…” - Ephesians 2:8 No one can grow in the Lord without first being born into the family of the Lord.
2) It is the very key to doing what God would have us to do. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him [God].” - Hebrews 11:6
Virtue: Moral goodness, strength, and excellence.
“Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.” - Psalms 125:4
Virtue is doing right, no matter what. It is shown through our standards, held in our convictions, obeyed from the Bible, and derived from our love for the Saviour! Virtue means to “walk the line” and do things right. A virtuous walk doesn’t necessarily mean you are right with God (like the hypocritical Pharisees), but anyone who is right with God will have good character and earnestly make an effort to abstain from all appearance of evil. ( I Thessalonians 5:22)
Knowledge: To know, understand, have clear and certain perception, or have learned a fact or truth; an illumination of the mind; or a furtherance of what is known through observation or experience.
Knowledge is the act of knowing. How much do we really know about the Bible? How much do we really know about the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we satisfied with the little understanding that we have and count it as “good enough”? The old phrases, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” or, “Ignorance is bliss” aren’t biblical in the least.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” - Hosea 4:6
Temperance: Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; Self-Control; Not unrestrained, wild, or fleshly.
Temperance is one of the major marks of a real Christian waiting for the return of Christ.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” - Philippians 4:5
An individual without restraint (temperance) is typically gluttonous, lascivious (sensual), greedy, hateful, violent, impulsive, and unable to be content. God help us to have control over our body (mouth, hands, feet, etc.) and our minds (what we think, feel, and want). Temperance is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23)
Patience: To endure over time; the act of waiting, perseverance, or to be calm and not hasty. It comes from the Latin word meaning to suffer.
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” - Psalms 27:14
Patience is a hard attribute to obtain because it never comes suddenly or without affliction; either of body or of mind. Romans 5:3 tells us that tribulation is what brings about patience in our lives. Just as exercise, which brings physical strength, causes pain in muscles, suffering in mind and spirit brings mental strength (i.e. patience).
Godliness: A religious life, carful to observe the Laws of God; pious; righteous; having the character of God.
Godliness is to be holy and righteous on the inside. Virtue is what Christians do, godliness is how and who Christians are. Godliness is more important than exercise according to First Timothy 4:8. Second Peter 2:9 teaches us that godliness brings deliverance from temptations.
Brotherly Kindness: A close caring or affection; tenderness or goodness of heart; good-will or actions that bring delight to others
“Let brotherly love continue.” - Hebrews 13:1
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” - 1 Peter 3:8-9
This world lacks kindness. It’s not uncommon for people to push, shove, be rude, and show no regard for the welfare of others. And those who smile, hold open doors, and exchange friendly words are pleasantly strange. It is weird, now-a-days, to show common courtesy. We need more kind people!
Brotherly kindness is a step above regular kindness, (i.e. pleasantries and politeness.) It is really caring about someone and treating them like family. The way God would have a family to treat family, I might add - not a Cain and Abel kind of family…
Charity: Loving, giving, and caring kindly, selflessly, and freely; True Godly Love.
The word charity is translated from the Greek word Agape, which is sometimes translated in the Bible as love. Agape, charitable love, is true godly unsearchable love and it can only come from God. The natural man (or unsaved) only has access to physical love and emotional love, but he cannot experience pure love in his heart until he knows God. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” - 1 John 4:8
To have a life that is right with God, we need to believe right (faith), act right (virtue), know what’s right (knowledge), choose right (temperance), wait right (patience), be right (godliness), treat others right (brotherly kindness), and love right (charity). If you want to be right altogether, you are going to have to date right. We are always to be growing in the Lord, adding these things to our lives. So let’s look at how to grow in the Lord when it comes to dating.Dating and Faith
If you want to have a godly, God-given, God-led, God-blessed courtship and marriage, first and foremost you have to have faith in God! First of all, you need a saving faith: if you aren’t saved, you have a problem bigger than worrying about who and how to date. You need Christ. I urge you to turn your heart and life to God before it is eternally too late. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Next, if you are saved, you need to determine that you will never date someone who is unsaved.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” - II Corinthians 6:14
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” - Amos 3:3
If you are heading towards Heaven and he/she is heading towards Hell, you will never truly be able to be close to that individual. You are heading in opposite directions. A lost person does not have the same desires, goals, or values of a Christian. It is never a good idea to consider dating someone who is lost; they can never lift you up spiritually.
Once you have determined that you won’t date an unsaved individual, you then need to put your faith in God in the area of finding a spouse, (i.e. who to date and how to date.) The number one flaw in dating is doing things your own way and trusting in you, instead of trusting in the Lord and doing things His way. We are prone to go searching for our soul-mate by using our own methods, because that is what the world has taught us to do. But you will never find the right person by looking in the wrong way. It isn’t your job to go and get yourself a spouse. It is your job to serve the Lord faithfully, listen to His still, small voice calling you in His work, and let God handle the matter of finding you a spouse. First Corinthians 7 talks about being content with whatever stage of life you are in. Verse 27 of that chapter says a man, who has a wife, shouldn’t seek to be unmarried and if he is unmarried; not seek out a wife. Paul wasn’t saying you shouldn’t marry, but that you aren’t to fret over getting married. Let God do the job of guiding your life.
Unfortunately, God won’t send your special someone with a big neon sign proclaiming “YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE IS HERE!” However, I do know from personal experience that when I stopped looking for a wife and started focusing on God’s will for each day, God allowed me to meet my beloved wife Jill. Psalms 37:4-5 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Commit your ways unto God, and then he will bring it to pass. You may even find, that once you commit to God, He may change the desires of your heart. It is not God’s will for everyone to marry, but the only way to know His will and to have peace with such a decision is to trust in Him.
Have your faith and focus on God alone! The devil wants to discourage you and render you ineffective. Satan will try to get you to focus on the wrong things, fret over finding who to court/marry, worry about being alone forever, date and marry the wrong person, or date in an unbiblical way. Only faith in God will prevent these. Do you believe that God is in control and will providentially work things out? Faith in the Word of God is the first step in the area of growing in the Lord and dating.
1) Be born again! (John 3)
2) Determine only to court a saved person.
3) Trust God to supply your needs.
4) Trust God’s will for your life.
5) Trust God’s way in courting.Dating and Virtue
Virtue is to be morally excellent; to be right and biblically pure. Are you living the way the Bible says you ought? The world says that virtue is for losers and sissies. Hollywood typically portrays people with morals as weak and helpless. The Bible teaches otherwise. Did you know the word virtue comes from the same word that means valor and manliness? It is manly and ladylike to be virtuous. We need to keep ourselves pure, undefiled, and separated from the world.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” - II Timothy 2:22
We need to understand though, that being physically pure is not the same thing as being spiritually pure. Virtue is a matter of the heart. A person who will laugh at the dirty jokes or listen in to the wrong conversations, even though he/she hasn’t ever held hands or kissed, shows that his/her heart is already defiled. Also, an individual who has morally failed but repented and is now growing in the Lord is more pure than someone who has always “walked the straight and narrow” outwardly but on the inside is impure. No one can take back the wrong that has been done, but they can leave that sin in the past, under the blood, and go on for God. God’s grace is a beautiful thing!
You should determine never to date someone who isn’t living by the Book. Also, don’t be hypocritical by having a double standard. You need to be right, and keep yourself physically AND spiritually pure.
Never go anywhere or do anything that would compromise your testimony. Stay away from bad situations. You don’t have to fight a temptation that you can avoid. That’s why Paul encouraged Timothy to flee youthful lusts. You won’t be tempted to do wrong if you’re not in a situation that can go wrong. Being alone with a person of the opposite gender, (even someone you aren’t dating,) looks bad (an appearance of evil) and can lead to wickedness. You should avoid being in dark or dimly lit places with the person you are courting. Don’t try to get alone with him/her. Don’t do or say anything that would make him/her want to do wrong! God can help you through any trouble; but if you set yourself up for trouble, you won’t be looking for help. Be pure in your heart and let God work it all out.
1) Be right, inside and out.
2) Only date people who are right.
3) When dating, stay right!Dating and Knowledge
If I were building a house, I wouldn’t wait until it was finished to see if the lights worked, if the plumbing was correct, or if the roof was the right angle. I would check the blueprints and instructions (and perhaps even consult some builders for some good advice) before and during the building process. Then afterwards, I would check to make sure it’s safe and well-built. You don’t just start building a house and “hope for the best.” But that is the approach most people have concerning dating and marriage. You don’t want to wait until you are having marital problems before you find out how God expects you to act as a husband/wife. Learn now and be ready for when you are married. Read passages like Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, First Peter 3 and other passages on the roles of the husband and wife. Sit down and talk with your pastor and other trustworthy spiritual elders who can give you sound, biblical advice. Know what is expected of you. Get in the Bible and know what is right.
The Bible commands husbands to dwell with their wives according to knowledge (I Peter 3:7), but many men get married and they don’t really know the woman they are marrying. Many people start dating before they really know the person well. So, you like the same TV shows or you both are into the same sport? SO WHAT! Relationships built on a mutual liking of physical things or on appearances are shallow. Get to know them spiritually and grow in the Lord with them. Learn what their burdens are. Learn what their goals in life are. Learn who their favorite preachers are. Hear their testimony. Find out what they believe. Get to know who the person is (not just what he/she does or looks like) before you even think about dating them. Truly consider the person you want to date before you consider dating.
Most importantly, to grow in the Lord, you should spend time in the Word of God so you can know God better, (not just know about God, but know God!)
“That I may know him [Christ], and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” - Philippians 3:10
Also, when you are courting, you need to get to know God together. Pray with them! Read the Bible as a couple! When I was in college and courting Jill, we would sit in the dining hall (a public place where there is accountability) and we would read the Bible together. She would read a verse, and then I would read a verse, back and forth. It was a wonderful time reading and discussing God’s Word with her. We still do that to this day, and I am very thankful for it. We were fellowshipping on a spiritual level, getting to know more of God together.
1) Know the spiritual and mental condition of the person you consider dating.
2) Come to know God by yourself and with the person you are courting.
3) Know what’s expected of you as a husband or wife.Dating and Temperance
Proverbs 25:28 tells us that a man who has no rule (lacks control) in his spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. The devil can come in and out and raid and ruin as he pleases, when we lack control. Temperance means control; but the fact of the matter is, your flesh can’t control your fleshly nature. You don’t need self-control; you need Spirit control! You can’t trust yourself to keep you out of trouble. You need to trust the Holy Spirit of God to keep and guard you. When I say “Spirit control” I’m not referring to something spooky or magical. That term means to be guided and guarded by the Holy Ghost, who lives inside all believers; to have your will yielded to God’s will. When the Bible speaks of walking in the Spirit (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:25) or being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) it is meaning that your life is guided by the Spirit of God, because you are living in a way pleasing to Him.
To have Spirit control, you must first have sin removed from your life. When you do wrong after you are saved, you are reverting back to the old fleshly sin nature and are no longer letting the Spirit operate in and through you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - I John 1:9
Chapter two of First John goes on to tell us that you shouldn’t sin. But if you sin, you can go to God, through Jesus, and get things right. Confessing our sin is acknowledging our wrong. Repentance is turning from it. That is how to give the Sprit first place again. Once you are walking in the Spirit again, you need to work to stay filled with the Spirit. Some things you can do to keep Him first include; having godly music in your heart, being thankful in all things, and humbling yourself. (see Eph. 5:18-21)
Temptations will arise, no matter how safe and sheltered your life may be; so you will always need to keep your guard up. Some may think that, because they are courting a good person, they are safe. Last time I checked, the whole human race is bound under the curse and has a fleshly nature, so even the ‘best of people’ are still people at best. We have an adversary and will be tempted as well. We need to keep our guards up against sin at all times.
One of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard of temperance, as it applies to courting, is “Choose the Higher Standard.” The Lord wants us to be more careful than normal when it comes to dating. As the old sayings go, “Give the Devil an inch and he will take a mile,” and “Give the Devil an inch and he will be your ruler.” Let me give an example of what choosing the higher standard means:
Most youth groups have a rule that guys and girls can’t sit any closer than a Bible’s width apart. That’s a fine rule, but I have a couple different size Bibles. I have a slim-line Bible, pocket-size New Testaments, and sizes all the way up to a family Bible. You could even bend the rule by turning the Bible different ways. Couples who lean over their Bibles to be closer than allowed are showing their rebellious hearts. At that moment, they are choosing not to grow in the Lord. Choosing the higher standard means to pick the bigger Bible. It means you should always err on the side of caution. If the person you are dating and his/her family has stricter rules than you, you shouldn’t try to compromise but choose the higher standard!
Sinfulness, especially when it comes to sensual sins, is a slippery slope. Once you start down the wrong path, it’s very easy to lose a lot of ground very quickly. It may seem easy in a weak moment to give in, but remember, “the way of the transgressors is hard.” - Proverbs 13:15. Live a life pleasing to God without regrets. Praise the Lord that if you mess up you can get help from Him, but you will never be able to undo the damage that was done, and you will have a harder road ahead of you. Pray for God’s help and guidance in your life and obey the Spirit so that He can have control.
1) Recognize that you need God’s Spirit to direct your life.
2) Choose the higher standard.
3) Be cautious and “walk circumspectly” Eph. 5:15.Dating and Patience
Nobody really likes to wait. Patience is an area where more than a few people struggle. Many don’t want to wait to start dating, to get married, or to have a physical relationship. Waiting can seem hard, boring, or unproductive. However, waiting on God can be the greatest blessing in the life of a Christian! If you read the books of Psalms and Proverbs you will soon find out that waiting on the Lord brings about great things. Strength, defense, deliverance, exaltation, not being put to shame, and more blessings are the results of waiting on God. It may not be easy to be patient, but it is always worth it.
Patience, when it comes to dating, is about waiting for the right timing according to God’s plan. We should never try to rush God’s perfect timeframe. One question asked often is “When am I old enough to start courting?” My reply is, “When does God want you to start courting? What do your spiritual authorities, your parents and pastor say about it? Are you mature and responsible enough to consider a lifelong commitment?”
Courting isn’t about getting pleasure or finding fulfillment in your life; its purpose is to lead (hopefully) to marriage. Most impatience comes from having the wrong reasons to start courting. Dating and marriage alone won’t bring true happiness or satisfaction in life. Fulfillment in life only comes from doing the will of God. So if it’s not God’s will for you to start courting yet, then you shouldn’t do it. Find contentment in waiting on God.
Waiting isn’t sitting around, doing nothing, and just letting time pass by. Waiting is serving, like a waiter at a restaurant. You need to be doing God’s will, as His time allows. Your mind set shouldn’t be, I’m waiting for the right one; but I’m waiting on God! While you are single ask yourself, “What does God want me to do while I’m single?” If you will work for God, you will find it easier to wait. Right now, if you will get busy doing what He wants you to do, you won’t be troubled worrying about what you want to do. You will find the only true contentment is in doing what God wants you to do. Serving is the only way to find real joy, true purpose, and lasting victory over fleshly desires.
You need to determine that you will be patient and that you will only date someone who is willing to wait. An impatient spouse will be a hindrance to you serving the Lord. Even if you think you know who you should date/marry, you may not know when. Wait for parental approval. Wait for God’s providence to bring things to pass. I saw a sign once that read “I wish I would have met you sooner, so I could have loved you longer.” That is a sweet thought, but what if sooner, you or the other person were not ready? You don’t want to eat an apple that isn’t ripe yet. God is ripening you and your future spouse for each other to meet at the right time, in the right way. Waiting brings about the kind of relationship God wants you to have. “…Wait, I say, on the LORD.” - Psalm 27:14
1) Patiently wait for you to be ready for courtship and marriage.
2) Wait for the right person, in the right timing.
3) Don’t rush the dating process.Dating and Godliness
Godliness means to have the character of God, to be God-like. Obviously we can’t be omnipresent and all-powerful; that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean to be like Jesus. As the saying goes, WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? In fact, the word Christian means to be Christ-like. Just because someone is saved, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is a Christian. You may have put your faith in Christ for salvation, but a true Christian trusts Christ day by day, and moment by moment. Being a Christian is about being a faithful disciple of Christ.
You need to decide and purpose in your heart that you will be a real Christian and also that you will only date a real Christian. I have heard saved people say about their worldly boyfriend/girlfriend, “Well, they were saved when they were younger, but they don’t really go to church anymore.” They may have been saved and baptized, but if they aren’t living for the Lord now, then by definition, they aren’t a Christian. If a saved person doesn’t believe on Christ on a day to day basis, then wouldn’t that, (in some way,) make them an unbeliever? I’m not saying that people who don’t follow after Christ daily are unsaved, even though they aren’t very convincing about their salvation; but that unbelief, in any form, is not good. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:” Just as the verse disqualifies dating an unsaved person, it also disqualifies dating someone who isn’t a good Christian!
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” - II Timothy 3:5
Our churches are filled with lousy, so called Christians. This is sad. When you think about it, how many godly relationships do you know of? We need more Christians who will stand firm on the Word of God and won’t lower their standards or let their guard down for some worldly infatuation. As I heard my dad once say, “Don’t date a loser!”
Be a godly man/woman, and only date one who is a real Christian.
1) Live a godly life.
2) Only court a godly Christian.
3) Have a godly courtship.Dating and Brotherly Kindness
Unkindness is a reproach to Christianity, yet it is way too prevalent in our churches today. If we would get our focus on Christ, it wouldn’t seem so normal to be unkind. First of all, are you a kind person?
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” - Proverbs 18:24
Essentially, courtship comes from friendship. You shouldn’t start a courtship with someone you don’t really know. Ask yourself, “What kind of a friend am I?” Are you a friend who is uplifting and encouraging, someone who is normally pleasant to be around? Or are you simply tolerable and often moody, someone who puts other people down? It is easy to overlook faults in ourselves and the people we love (for a while), but the devil will use these character flaws to destroy good relationships.
Secondly, is the person you like a kind person? Of course courting couples will show each other a certain amount of kindness, especially when they first start dating, but ultimately if they aren’t a kind person at heart, then they will eventually be unkind toward you. Do they respect their parents? Are they kind toward their teachers? How do they treat waiters and waitresses? Are they kind to strangers? How about people they don’t get along with? (How does Jesus say to treat your enemies? Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27)
“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” - Proverbs 22:24-25
Don’t date (or be friends with) an angry person. Why? Because it has an effect on you. Unkind people will bring you down, spiritually as well as mentally and physically.
Here are some things that are not kind: rudeness, arrogance, gossiping, harshness, lying, crudeness, dirty talking, back-talking, and disrespectfulness. If these things are in you or in the person you consider courting, then you aren’t ready to date. Personally, I think it is better to end a relationship once you realize a person is unkind, rather than “try to fix them.” There is no need to drag yourself down by being in a relationship with an unkind person. Unkindness is a disgrace to Christ; it doesn’t help you or them, and it hinders your spiritual growth.
1) Be kind-hearted.
2) Only court a kind person.
3) Keep kindness in your relationships.Dating and Charity
Charity means love, but not what the world calls love. It is a true, heavenly love that can only come from God. Charity is not selfish. However, charity is not just selflessness. (See First Corinthians 13 for the characteristics of charity.) It is God showing His love through you.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” - I John 4:7-8
Biblical love can only come from God and cannot originate in the heart or mind of man. A lost person cannot truly love, because he doesn’t know God.
Godly charity is a gorgeous attribute for a person to have! The thing that attracted me the most to my wife was her heart. She had a love for the kids she worked with in church, she loved doing things for others, and most of all, she had (and has) a love for God. Love that is God-focused and God-given is a beautiful thing! You need to be filled with godly charity, and you need to court only a loving person. We need more Christians to show the love of God through them, but before anyone can love like God, they need to be in love with God.
The key for any of this to work is to love God. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” - Matthew 22:37-38. Loving God is the first and great commandment. That means it is most essential, of primary importance, and crucially vital that we love God above anything else! If you have done everything else right, but failed to put loving God first, you have failed. If you want to date right, you’re going to have to love God. If you want to grow in the Lord, you’re going to have to love God. If you want to have a love for your future spouse, you’re going to have to love God. There are no rules, standards, human efforts, systems, steps, programs, boundaries, religious activities, devotions, or anything else that can replace loving God. And although we need good standards and righteous living; loving God must precede it all. We need to love God completely.
Isn’t He worthy of our love and affection? “We love him, because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19) When you think of what Christ has done on the cross for you, does it make you want to pour out your love in return to Him? Oh, that God’s people would fall in love with Him again!
If you feel like you’ve drifted away from God, your heart has grown cold to the things of the Lord, or if the love of God isn’t as real to you today as it once was, you can get that right. You don’t have to be at a church altar to get your heart right with God. If you aren’t where you need to be spiritually, why don’t you pray now and rededicate yourself to the Lord? Don’t put it off. You can finish this booklet later, if you need to pray now, then that is more important!
God loves you and He wants to have a close relationship with you. Without the love of God in us and flowing through us, we are just wasting our time. Anything that goes on in a Christian’s life, including dating, requires godly love. We need the love of God in our lives!
1) Love God.
2) Let God love through you.
3) Let God’s love be the bond that brings and holds a couple together. Conclusion
Dating can be a wonderful, memorable, and Christ-honoring experience but it takes work and determination to turn out the way God would have it to. Wouldn’t it be great if more married couples could look back and say, “I’m glad we did it God’s way,” instead of “I wish we didn’t have so many regrets?” You can’t change what has already been done, but you can change what you will do with the future. Go forward for God and determine to glorify God when it comes to dating and courtship. It will pay off in the end with unimaginable peace, joy, blessings, and victory, which can only come from God!
I hope this outline from the Word of God has been presented in a way that will help you to make wise and godly choices in your time of courtship, and in other pursuits, because the principles of growing in the Lord can be applied to every part of life. All Christians need to start to grow in the Lord and never stop growing in the Lord!
Remember: You need to be right before you date, only date someone who is right, and while you are dating you need to stay right. That way, your marriage will start out right.