Is it a sin to date a non christian?
Three ways to win in love, sex, and dating.
“Rob, I think that I love you”
Hearing those words at the age of 18 was like, what I imagine, a hit of heroin must feel like. It made me feel SO good, and strummed my heart strings in a way that intoxicated me.
Hearing “I love you” at 18 was intoxicating, but nothing compared to the depth of love and wholeness from my wise and Godly wife.
What does this have to do with the question, “is it a sin to date a non-christian”? I pursued that intoxicating feeling in a foolish way when I was young, and it caused me to go into the ditch with my life in many ways. It also pales in comparison to the amazing contentment, fulfillment, and utter ecstasy of my marriage with my wife – I just wish I would have pursued that Godly vision when I was young.
When we find ourselves asking questions like this, it’s because we’re wrestling with a tension between our desires and our conscience.
The question “is it a sin to date a non Christian person” isn’t as much about dating, as it is about having desires and behaviors that lead to abundant life, because the only reason why you’d ask this question is if:
You’d only inquire about “is it a sin to date a non christian” if:
- You know there’s a standard for right and wrong
- Your conscience is bugging you
- Your desires are getting a hold of you in a strong way
If you’re asking “is it a sin to marry or date a non-christian,” it’s because deep down, you want to live in a manner that leads to abundant life, honors God, and leads to wholeness. However, chances are that your struggling with executing on that vision, or with the power to live in such a way.
Why I’m writing this:
So why is it that I decided to write this? It’s because I can remember back when this was an important question in my life, and I didn’t make the choices that lead to relational wholeness, or to abundant life; although God eventually called me to repentance and redeemed me. Because of the foolish choices that I made, it caused some death in my life.
Too Many People are Screwing Up Their Lives
I’ve been happily married to my wife for nine years – and it’s been a journey. Things haven’t been perfect, but it’s my wife and I’s pursuit of a God-honoring vision that has allowed us to move our marriage in the right direction.
Nine years of marriage isn’t a super long time, but it’s been interesting to observe some of the people around us deal with the wreckage in their life because of the choices they’ve made concerning love, sex, and dating. Not only did I see people around me suffer because they did not pursue a Godly vision for love, but my younger self caused so much harm to my life that I hope others don’t have to go through.
I’ve noticed that there are always some prime indicators and root causes to many of people’s problems.
When I meet somebody, who has decided to date someone who doesn’t care to honor God in the way that they live, I’ve learned that it always leads to disastrous results. Starting to date somebody who doesn’t follow Jesus, might not seem like that big of a deal and it sounds kind of corny even as I type it out, but I assure you that few things cause more wreckage in peoples lives, then getting intimate with a fool.
Few things cause as much wreckage in people’s lives that getting intimate with a fool
Getting intimate with a fool, sounds harsh. I don’t mean it to be cruel, demeaning, or arrogant, I mean it to be helpful and authentic.
My Graduating Class was the First Generation of Millennials
I am 35 years old, and I’m technically the first generation of the millennials. I graduated in the year 2000, which means I’m literally the first of the millennials.
In my experience, few things can impact someone’s life more than how they handle love, sex, and dating. In fact, I’ve found that what the Bible says about sexual sin, and the company of fools, to always be true.
What the Bible Says about:
Sexual Sin: No other sin is quite as damaging to oneself as sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18
Fools: The company of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
As I spend time meditating on the life I want to live, and the life that I’ve lived up to this point, I’ve decided it’s important to share what I’ve learned along the path. That’s why I’ve decided to write about the subject, because I think it matters greatly to peoples ability to live in a manner that leads to relational wholeness, contentment, and wisdom.
Who asks this question?
If you’re asking this question, it’s probably safe to assume a couple of things:
- Who you are: You probably consider yourself a “Christian person”
- The situation your in: You probably have found yourself, or a friend, going out with, dating, or desiring a person that you think or know isn’t a “Christian”
- Your Conscience: Somewhere along the line in life, you’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t date or marry a non-Christian person.
I’m glad that someone would be asking this, because I think that it’s a question that can easily delve into some pretty important things for young people, and even older people.
3 Things to help you win in Love, Sex, and Dating.
1 – Create an Inspiring Vision for the Future, one that’s Worth Latching your Desires to.
Whether your over 35, or your still in middle school, if you’ve found yourself asking this question, it’s critical that you stop and do some thinking.
We are heavily influenced and manipulated by our desires.
It is our desires that creates a “gravitational pull” in our lives, tempting us or motivating us towards something.
If you want to experience wholeness in any area of your life, you should start by examining your desires.
My Desire to Be a Lakeville Football Stud:
My desire was once to be one of the best football players, which lead me to work and train harder than most people.
I’ll never forget back in eighth grade, when my little group of friends decided to attend a Lakeville panther football game on a beautiful, fall Friday evening.
Going to that football game, hearing the fans, the thundering sound of the Earp’s marching band, watching the fury on the turf, and remembering my love for the game, all worked together to formulate a vision for the future. I wanted to be like those badass football captains that rallied the team to dominance over their opponents.
I wanted to be an awesome football player that everyone would admire on a Friday evening.
I’ve learned that this desire and vision for the future was too much about my own glory, which lead to some foolishness.
But that night I developed a vision and I turned it into an obsession.
Vision motivates us and shapes our desires.
That night I formulated the first version of my vision, but it became more fully orbed when I chose some mentors in the weight room that summer. Once my vision was formed, and I saw the path needed to obtain it, my training became almost effortless.
I always wanted to train harder, go heavier, get another workout in, and challange myself. My vision for the future allowed me to relentlessly execute for a couple of years.
That is, until my vision changed.
A Non-Christian Dating Relationship was the Tide-Turning Moral Compromise which Wrecked my Vision and Desires
What caused my vision for the future to change? When I became a different person through a long serious of moral compromises and then the tide-changing choice of intimacy.
I was already on a path of destruction because I was pursuing my own glory, but there was a particular tide-change when I compromised in the area of purity.
I think the first thing people should do if they’re wondering about whether or not they should date a non-Christian person, is to develop a vision for the future.
We too often settle for the life that shows up, rather than pursuing an intentional, and purposeful vision.
It’s a tragedy and we don’t create invigorating visions for our future, because it can drive us towards good things.
Why is Vision so important?
The reason why the intentional pursuit of a God-honoring vision is so important, is because Vision creates the gravitational pull in our lives concerning our desires. Vision doesn’t make our choices, but it’s a useful tool in helping us move towards a more beneficial future.
Plot the Life you Hope to Live – and Examine your Desires.
If you’re asking “is it a sin to date a non Christian?” I hope you can take a step back and think about something for a minute: your path and your desires.
Your Path: What do you want life to look like 5, 10, and 25 years from now?
Open up a note in your phone, and write down this question:
What do you really want in life in 5, 10, and 20 years from now?
write down your answers, because it will help you get more intentional.
Create a vision for the future – something good, life-giving, and God honoring, that you can attach your desires to.
Vision for the future exercise:
Deep connections through intimate friendships are extraordinary, do you have any deep relationships with wise, content, and “upwards and forward” types of people?
Imagine yourself sometime in the future – don’t worry about the timing. Dream about what the perfect spouse might be like.
- What is your future dream person like?
- Do they have a real relationship with the God that causes them to live with their eyes on eternity
- Do they seek to love God and Love their neighbor as themselves?
- How are they temperament wise? Are they short tempered?
- Do they get mad that you get in the way of their weekend pleasure?
- Do they spend their free time catching a buzz and getting surly with you and your friends?
- Do they obsess over sex and watch pornography? Or do they obsess about honoring you, having a covenant relationship with you, and keeping their desires locked on you sexually?
- Did they sleep with anyone else before marriage? Would you hope that they wouldn’t so that they don’t have the videos of past sexual encounters running through their minds all the time? Expecially when they’re being intimate with you?
- Do they spend time reading books and gaining wisdom from others?
- Do they live out the principles of the bible such as using their words to be helpful, serving others, humility, kindness, meekness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
- Are they financially wise? Are they loaded with debt?
- Have they built professional momentum through education or entreprneeurship?
- Do they have a sterling reputation? or would they not be the type of person a good parent would avoid letting their children be around?
- Do they get promotions and have a great reputation for integrity, high moral character, and always doing what’s right?
- Do they want children? Will they be engaged in the process of teaching, modeling, and parenting your children?
- Will they encourage you, love you, and never give up on you?
- Will they take divorce off the table?
Really think about these things, and dream about the type of person this will be. Start listing out the character and morality of this person. Put some words to it, and think of it.
You CAN find the perfect person… well kind of
2 – The One Year Love & Sex Challenge: Become the Person your Future Dream Person will be Looking for
Commit to at least one year of honoring God by not dating, not hooking up, not going to the bars, and just trying to honor God.
There’s no such thing as the perfect person, but you can find the spouse that can help you fulfill a God-honoring vision for the future.
How can you find this person? By becoming the type of person this fictitious person would be attracted to.
One of my favorite speakers, Andy Stanley, has one of the most amazing teaching series called “The new rules for love sex and dating.” In it, he tells the testimony of one of the members of their church as it concerned dating, sex, and marriage.
This gal went down the life route that we hear so often for guys and girls. She got involved with some pretty serious dating relationships in high school which lead to fooling around, which slowly moved the boundary markers further and further with each relationship. Pretty soon, she was deeply involved sexually with her boyfriends until she found one that she thought was going to last. They fell deeply in love, but he was not a follower of Jesus and their relationship was not one that her parents or a pastor would condone. That relationship ended in an ugly way, leaving her broken.
When that relationship ended, she was left scarred, empty, and angry. She had already been enjoying the party scene, getting drunk, smoking a little weed, and enjoying the “girls nights out” with her old college friends.
Girls night out had a new meaning when she was single and had no guardrails in terms of sexual standards. She would go out every weekend, get wasted at the bars, and end up with all sorts of different guys throughout the year.
This lead to lots of regrets. In her mind, she built up an argument that it was totally fine, that this was a liberating experience for her as a woman, and that she ought to be able to do this.
The affections of the guys were intoxicating, almost as much as the vodka.
She was running on empty.
Then one day, a friend invited her to come to church. Over the period of a year or so, she started to make some huge changes in her life, and that’s when she heard about the ONE YEAR CHALLENGE.
The One Year Sex & Dating Challenge.
She heard about the one year challenge, where you commit to not sleeping around, dating, or getting involved with anyone for a full year. Go cold turkey, and be pure for one year, and ask God to bless it.
Honor God in your love, sex, and dating life for a year, and see what happens.
This gal accepted the challenge, and momentum started to build in her spiritual life. She started to notice that her desire was to live in a way that honored God, and that living in a God honoring manner, meant that she was a better friend, a better employee, a better student, and an overall better person.
Living in a God honoring way improves your professional, personal, and relational life.
Your Dream Guy or Girl – are you what they’ll be interested in?
One day while at church with her mom, she bumped into a super-hot guy. She happened to remember this guy from a long time ago in high school, and remembered that he was known as a follower of Christ, of integrity, character, and being a great student. He was “gorgeous”, and about as close to “perfect” as she could imagine.
Her and her mom spent some time talking to him, and it seemed like the last 10 years were authentically filled with nothing but an increase of all the God-honoring characteristics that he was known for in high school.
Guys like that, don’t date girls like you.
The gal was smitten, and super excited at the prospect that she found her dream spouse. She asked her mom what she thought, and her mom just laughed at her and said:
“Honey, guys like him don’t date girls like you”
That seemed harsh to her, until she sat down and thought of all the baggage she would have to explain to him if she desired any level of authenticity and transparency. She realized that while he was sexually pure, she probably couldn’t even list some of the men’s names she had encounters with.
She realized that while she was out partying and living vicariously, he had been working hard in pursuing the life-giving characteristics of a God honoring man.
He had educated himself, and become a remarkable type of person that she would have really wanted to be able to have in her life. But it was true, he would not be interested in dating her because she was not the type of person, and did not have to type of reputation, that he would hitch his life to.
We all make mistakes, and God promises that we go through trials so that we can help others on the other side. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we would all go back and convinced our younger selves to commit to the disciplines that build momentum in life.
3 – Live in a way that builds momentum rather than regrets
I don’t regret anything – but only because regrets are unhelpful. If we’re honest, if we could coach our younger self to execute on the things that build momentum in life, we’d all do it.
Mistakes are part of life, and they’re like the tuition you pay for education. But education doesn’t need to come at such an expense, because God’s word provides us with a path to living in a manner that causes wholeness and goodness.
The Bible teaches us that we go through trials and brokenness for a God-ordained purpose, but does that mean that it’s perfectly acceptable to sin and dishonor God? NO!
It’s darn foolish to head into life and live in a manner that creates hurt, regrets, and baggage. Our irresponsibility will become someone else’s responsibility in the moment, and it becomes our baggage for the future.
Jesus will forgive us, and set us free from the wages of our sin when we place our faith and trust in Him. When we allow God to transform us, we will be given new desires, and the power to live in a God-honoring manner, which builds momentum in life.
“For it is God at work within you, both to WILL and WORK for His good pleasure.”
God is the one who will give us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. We just need to continually seek it from Him, ask for it, and pursue it.
What if we just don’t want to be a slave to obedience? What if we think we should have just enough God to keep us out of the ditch, but not so much that we can’t enjoy life? What if we simply do not care about being anything more than “average” in holiness?
It took me far too long to become a man that desires to honor God in every aspect of my life. It’s taken far too long for my desires to get adjusted so that I will obey God.
I now have a vision for my future, which was given to me by the word of God.
God’s Vision for Life:
I am going to stand in front of my creator the second after I die. I will then be judged according to God’s law, and His promise that my faith in Christ Will ensure a not guilty ruling. After finding that I am not guilty because of what Christ has done, everything I do will be exposed and I will be graded according to how I worked for Him.
I want to stand before God, and have Him say “well done, good and faithful servant.”
But my life is filled with disobedience which I will have to account for during that portion of my examination. He will reward me on earth, and in heaven, for my own obedience and the fruit that’s been produced in my life through God.
For without faith it is impossible to please God. But to honor God, one must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him.
So to conclude, if you find yourself asking “is it sin to date a non Christian?” I’d much rather you work on developing a Vision Worth latching your desires to, commit to some small wins like the “one year challenge”, and then eventually pursue deeper obedience by working together with God to develop the power and the desire to please Him.
All that being said, I would highly discourage anyone who wants to honor God, from getting involved in the dating scene, the party scene, the drinking scene, the too-much-video game scene, the gluttony scene, or anything else that can become an idol. Keep away from idols and sin.
Nothing will influence your life more then your choices around love, sex, and dating.