Online dating can be a sketchy proposition.
Add the Christian component and things can get really weird. Even though the online dating companies do their best to provide a safe and enjoyable experience, people are still people and things can get complicated.
I know many Christians who’ve had a wonderful experience with online dating and ended up getting married. I also know of others who have had bad experiences and felt like they were duped by their perfect “Christian” match. So how can Christians protect themselves and also explore what God may have for them through online dating?
Here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Include Others in Your Process
Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Christianity is a team sport and we are called to help each other grow in the Lord. Anytime we isolate, we put ourselves at risk. The same truth applies to online dating. It is important you include your close Christian friends as you explore potential dating opportunities.
Dating can be a very emotional and insecure time, so it is important that you have godly people around you who can speak into your life, and will help you process any potential candidates. This will provide protection and prevent you from fooling yourself. I’ve found those with the most success in online dating have included their friends throughout the process.
Tip #2: Look for Fruit Not Fluff
John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
One of the biggest disappointments I hear about online Christian dating is that people present themselves as Christians but they really aren’t. Jesus makes it very clear that if you are following Him, your life will reflect it. There is a big difference between believing in God and walking with God and it’s important that you discover this before your first online date. You can do this in terms of spiritually probing application questions.
In other words, get beyond the general questions of where someone goes to church or how long they have been a Christian. Ask more application-orientated questions. For example, “What did God teach you last Sunday at church?” “Are you part of a mid-week small group?” “How do you serve at your church?” “What is God teaching you in your personal Bible study time?” “How often are you able to share your faith?” You get the idea?
It’s all about what they are doing, not simply what they believe. It goes without saying this is a process that will take time so don’t just fire off a list of questions at someone or you will become the weirdo people avoid. But the more you dig the more you will discover if a person’s Christianity is just a tag line on a website or a fully surrendered life to the Lord.
Tip #3: Pray for Wisdom
Matthew 6:9-10 – “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'”
Every Christian knows that living in God’s will is the best place to be. Jesus highlights how prayer keeps us aligned with the Lord and invites Him to accomplish His will in our lives. The same is true for online dating. It is important that you bring every online profile and interaction before the Lord in prayer.
You can’t have any hidden agendas and must always be open to what the Lord wants first. Have your friends praying for you as well. Ask God to show you His will and to prevent you from making a mistake. God will lead and direct a yielded, surrendered heart.
Like anything in life, online dating is a journey and a process that requires steps of faith. Jesus loves you and as you trust and follow Him in the process, you will protect yourself and others.
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