Should I Date An Unbeliever?

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Have you ever asked yourself if Christians should date non-believers? Maybe you’re new to the Christian life or you’ve been a Christian for a long time. If you’re a Christian churchgoer, you can ask the question, “Can a Christian date a non-believer?” Your pastor can give you a clear verse from the Bible indicating why the answer is “No, Christians should not date un-believers.”

However, I believe that after finding a Biblical answer to life’s questions, we can sometimes also see a scientific or practical reason to why things are so. God is so gracious to us that He does not tell us to “check your brain at the door”. Instead of God just saying “No, because I said so,” there are practical reasons why Christians should not date non-believers. We can think this through using our God-given logic. There are several reasons why Christians should avoid dating non-believers.

Dating can lead to marriage.

“Obviously”, you might be thinking. Here’s what I mean – one date can lead to another date, which can lead to another date, which can lead to a long term relationship, that can lead to moving in together. Unfortunately, this is not always a good thing. Some folks get locked into relationships where they just aren’t compatible or where one person wants a serious commitment and the other wants something casual. This can lead to resentment and tension from not being on the same page. Putting two people together who are Christians doesn’t guarantee a cakewalk, but it should make some pivotal conversations easier, or take them off the table entirely, because you have a common faith to work from.  “I can’t believe I wound up with this person” you might say, but it all started somewhere. Putting a little more thought into things on the front end might spare you a little heartache later on.

Are you looking for someone to share your values and worldview?

If you go beyond the surface of what a person looks like and the water cooler talk, what is this person really about? When their looks change, and both you and them have been through a major life change or two, what’s left? Do they share your values and your worldview? Will they still be interesting to talk to? If you’re a Christian and they’re a Christian, hopefully your faith will still be common ground for you both. Physical attraction is fun and important for the beginning of a relationship, but a person’s appearance can change over time. When the outside changes, will you still like what’s left on the inside?

It isn’t fair to ask (or expect) someone to change. 

I’m talking big, huge pieces of life here. If you’re a devout Christian dating a non-believer, you may have said that you don’t mind their belief system. And you are free to do as you wish. But deep down, in the secrecy of your own thoughts, are you wishing for a change? Are you hoping for that guy or girl to get saved? (If you love them, or even just like them, you are.) Are you hoping they’ll change from being an atheist to a believer and just accept Jesus? I hope with you for that to happen but I also know that staying stuck there in that situation is an unhappy place. Pray for them, love them from a distance, but don’t do “missionary dating”. Don’t hope for them to convert while you’re dating them. It’s not fair to them or to you.

Dating a non-believer makes chastity more difficult.

Similar to expecting people to change, it’s hard to stay on track with trying to practice chastity if you’re dating someone who doesn’t value that goal. Just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean they’re interested in abstinence, but for the most part, there’s a worldview that dominates the media when it comes to sex: if both parties consent, it’s fine. This opposes the Christian worldview as laid out in the Bible that says it’s not fine until you’re married. Even if you want to. Even if you’re in a committed relationship. Teaming up with an unbeliever is really pointless if you’re serious about chastity and abstinence.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Four Marks of Date-Worthy Men (Or Women)

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There’s a new show on Netflix called Back With The Ex that has a unique premise. Four former couples – who dated and separated for various reasons – have a chance to re-unite and decide: Do we want to give this another go? Or should we stay apart, forever? It’s interesting to watch couples go through what is essentially an autopsy of their relationship. As a single woman, I’ve watched this series with a critical eye. For one couple in particular, I can’t help but think that the goal of marriage must be on one of the women’s minds – considering that she clearly wants it and he, well, has not proven himself to be a family man.

For Christian singles, there’s so much being said about dating, courting, and so on. Some of it is good and some of it is lacking. I believe that now more than ever one thing is for certain: if you are a true, deep in your heart Christian, it’s tough to be a “Christian single”. The path can be lonely so please know that if you’re a Christian single who desires to find a teammate that compliments you and your life, I understand where you’re sitting in life, because that’s exactly where I am. No matter where you’re sitting in your life – maybe you’re single again, had a broken engagement, or just getting into the whole dating world, please know that the Father loves you more than anyone in this world can.

I think it can be helpful for Christian singles to think about what their non-negotiables are when looking for someone to potentially share their lives with. Especially Christian women – because it can seem like eligible Christian women outnumber Christian men. If you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, you need to anchor yourself to what your are looking for in a partner. Remember, you are are NOT crazy if you’re asking for these things:

Care and Concern for Others – I’ve done my share of church hopping and I no longer attend a church. But I do remember one congregation that gave people the opportunity to pray out loud during the service (if they wanted to). One man in our group – who society might unfairly expect to be out of touch with things – would pray in great detail for so many people. His prayers included world events because he kept up with things. His compassion was evident. While he depended on others for certain things, he was clearly a man of prayer, compassion, care, and concern for others.

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As we go about our lives, whether it’s sizing up a potential mate or striving for our own character improvement, we can look at the traits of care and concern for others. These can manifest themselves in various forms. If we look at ourselves and see that these qualities are lacking, we can always ask God to give us more empathy (but beware, ask and you shall receive!) And if you’re looking at a relationship,  you can ask the Lord if this area is lacking in the person so much that it is a red flag or if it’s an area where he or she is growing (as we all grow and mature).

While not everyone will have the gift of deep prayer, your love interest could have another gift, like wanting to give to the needy, or being a great listener, or performing acts of service. Maybe she sings in the choir at church, or he does manual work for free or just speaking a kind word to someone without anyone else knowing it can be an expression of a caring heart. Having a caring, concerned heart for those in need is a wonderful trait when you consider the type of person you’ll choose to spend your time with. Having no concern, no empathy, no care is something to certainly think twice about. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you suspect this to be the case.

Fidelity/Faithfulness/Integrity – Ever seen the show Cheaters? The poor folks who ask the producers of the show to find out if their beloved is cheating on them… such a sad situation. Not having trust in a relationship really leaves nothing left; wouldn’t you be better off alone? It’s critical to know that the person you’ve chosen will be faithful to you. This is not about casting judgement towards other people, but this is about what we, as singles, want for our own lives.

Christian women (and men), if you want a partner who is loyal and faithful to you only, you might feel like you’re waiting forever, but you are not crazy. Want a guy who is dating you but doesn’t get an ego boost from flirting with other women? Yeah, you might feel like that’s a rare catch, too! The saying goes that how you catch them is how you keep them, so while you might feel lonely not trying to catch a man by wearing short skirts and low cut tops, you’re more likely to “catch” a man who is like-minded, morally speaking.

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Solid Work Ethic – Charm, looks, muscles and a good tan – sounds good, doesn’t it girls? But I have to tell you what my mom has always told me (and still feels the need to tell me) – it ain’t all about that. One of my favorite YouTubers says that we all get old and we all get ugly – that’s also another way to put it! The person you’re interested in – do they have a desire to work? (At least while their employer is paying them to?) Does she want to be a Proverbs 31 woman so she can create a warm, loving household or a successful business venture? Got your eyes on that man at the office, girls? Those TPS reports he has to do at work may seem stupid, but does he do his work as unto the Lord? Work comes in various forms, so look at the person you’re interested in and ask yourself (and God) if they have the character trait of a good work ethic. While we all like to rest and have fun (I certainly do), there’s a time for work too. A man (or woman) who abuses their employer’s time will probably find themselves without a job (or at the very least, on thin ice), which can cause a great amount of stress.

Good Steward of Resources – Does he blow all his money gambling? Does he spend more than he earns? Does she have to have the best of everything, getting all tied up in having a high status, top appearance, and making other people think she’s the best? Does he try to save a little bit, even if it means he can’t have the fanciest car? While there are many times in life that we can fall upon bad luck through no fault of our own, you can ask yourself if the person is, in general, a good steward of their resources. Do they think about the future in general terms of what they want? Or are they irresponsible, making huge, messed up choices, that could impact you or your children, in a big way? No one is perfect and we all do things we shouldn’t. No one is in perfect condition – we are all works in progress and will be until the day we die. But if you’re attracted to someone who has a major issue of irresponsible living, it will impact you. Especially when there is no desire to change, it’s probably best to just cut your losses and move on, and consider that you’ve dodged a bullet.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Study the Bible When You Don’t Have Time to Study the Bible

Do you study the Bible on your own? Maybe you’ve been told at church that you need to have Bible study as a family, or that you need to read the Bible on your own, or that it’s good to be able to read through the Bible in a year, but honestly, just between you and me, are you on a plan of studying the Bible?

I won’t lecture you here because I know how things are.  Some seasons of life are more challenging than others. As the Bible says to everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose. Some times are rougher and come with less ease. Maybe you are in one of those times – a season where you’re being a caregiver where you don’t have a lot of time for yourself. A time that is draining you to the max, full of doctor’s appointments, waiting, and worrying.

Or maybe your season is busy for some positive reasons – full of family commitments, schooling, work, and activities that you love, but with a jam-packed schedule, the only quiet time you have with God is when you’re tucking your child into bed or when you’re jumping into bed yourself.

Or perhaps it’s not so much a time constraint that’s keeping you from studying the Bible so much as a distance you might feel from God. It might feel like God is far from you, so it might feel hard to get into the Bible right now. Maybe this is a feeling you’ve felt before. Mature Christians know that this feeling of distance from God is not a sign of a lack of faith, and that feelings don’t mean an absence of faith, but it can make you not want to read your Bible.

So – how can you study the Bible when you don’t have the time, or the desire, to study the Bible? Here are some practical tips for getting a little bit closer to the Word when time and energy are in short supply:

Pick one verse that relates to your week

With a Google search, you can do a search of the Bible for any topic of your choosing. Dealing with discouragement? Fear? Want to know what the Bible says about happiness, money, or success? Pick just one verse to focus on for the whole week that you connect to. That might not sound like “Bible study” to you, but in my opinion, it’s better to understand and relate to one verse than to plan to study an entire chapter and never touch any of it. You can also search online for images with the verse to set as your computer’s wallpaper, cellphone screensaver, or if it relates to your kids, place it where they can see it too.

Bible Coloring Books

Adult coloring has become popular for a reason – it’s a great stress reliever that isn’t unhealthy. Bible coloring books for adults combine this trend with Scripture verses. This can help you unwind when you don’t have time for “quiet time” by reminding you of a Biblical truth that you already know. It’s also a nice activity to have on hand if you spend all or most of your day behind a computer screen.

Consider an e-mail subscription

Bible Gateway has an email service that works well for busy people. If you don’t want the constant stream of emails, you can visit their website to access the verse of the day. Bible Gateway also gives you the opportunity to access Scripture in the translation of your choice, and to opt to hear it read. You could open one window and read the Bible while another window has the Scripture being read by a narrator. Today’s verse of the day is Psalm 136:1, 26 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Can a Budget Give You Freedom?

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Can a budget give you freedom, or does it have to be restrictive, controlling, and so tight that it makes you feel like a boa constrictor is clamping down on your wallet so tight that it could make a dollar bill scream?

The word budget is almost a dirty word to some. If your funds are low and there’s never enough money to go around, that’s definitely cause for concern. If you’re living in lack or chronic poverty, it’s frustrating to not know how you’ll be able to pay the water bill, the rent, and groceries all in the same month. Robbing Peter to pay Paul gets old quickly. But when your situation is different – and you truly do have the funds needed to cover all the month’s expenses when you start off – having a game plan can set you up for success. Rather than looking at a budget as a dirty word, here are some ways that a budget can give you freedom.

Freedom to make choices: When you make a general guideline for where your money goes each month, you get to make choices. You get to decide. You’re the boss! Do you want to eat out this weekend, or would eating out during the week be better? In which setting, at which time, can you get better tasting food? Will you have more fun ordering take-out at work or does it make more sense to pack your daily meals?  What about at home  – on what nights does it make more sense to cook rather than eat out, when considering your other obligations? Budgeting ahead of time can give you freedom to make informed choices rather than making impulse buys when you’re tired, stressed, or hungry. This might sound like a silly example, but for most people, food costs take up a huge chunk of the funds.

Freedom to enjoy: The ability to budget gives us freedom to enjoy the fruits of our labor to the max. Choosing yes to the items and experiences we only truly want or truly need makes our work more worthwhile. With the freedom to enjoy what we’ve purchased, we reduce the items that will sit in our closets or on our floors unused and unwanted. With this philosophy in place of being more selective about what I buy, I’m much less likely to buy clothing that I don’t wear. I love that I have less laundry to wash, and fewer possessions to care for. I have more time to enjoy my life rather than be a caretaker of things. Enjoying what you buy, and buying what you enjoy gives freedom. If you’re not there, try starting with a budget in just one category or two and see how it goes.

Freedom to stress less and work for less: Considering how long it takes me to work for something always helps me put in perspective if the item is truly “worth it”. You can do the same. If you’re using a credit card, ask yourself if it will really be worth it for the interest rate you currently pay. How long will it take you to really, truly, finally pay for that sweater, that necklace, that ring? Will it be worth six months of paying on the cart of clothes that looks so good right now? Will those clothes even still be in style, or in season, with the changes in trends and fashions? Don’t shackle yourself to buying things just because it’s pay day; it’s ok to just “window shop”. Give yourself a budget and the freedom to enjoy your time rather than taking care of a bunch of junk you won’t like and definitely don’t need.

Freedom to give: Finally, having a budget isn’t just all about saying no and paring down. Having a budget or a spending plan can allow you to say yes. You can say yes to things that aren’t possessions, things that matter, things that can make an eternal significance in your life, your loved ones lives, and the lives of people you will never meet. Do you have the desire, the means, or the interest to support a charity? There are lots of possibilities. Will you do a charity walk or run, or will you make it possible for a child to go to camp next summer? Do you have a church that you want to support financially? When Christmas or Thanksgiving comes, is there a cause you’d like to support with a special end-of-year gift? Having a budget can give each of us just a little bit of wiggle room for those occasions that cause our heart strings to be pulled.. so we can use our freedom to give to say yes to causes we love (and no to those less worthy).

So what are you waiting for? More choices, more enjoyment, less stress, more giving… four wins that you get, only when you budget.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.