This article was originally written in October of 2015 for Project Inspired, a website that encourages Christian teenage girls all over the world. Thank you for reading!
I’ve had my fair share of being interested in guys who admittedly didn’t follow The Lord, or their relationship with Him was on rocky ground. I even had to turn down someone I had feelings for because God didn’t want me to be with him. This person then told me that if my God didn’t want me to date him, then he didn’t want anything to do with my God.
You’ll find out pretty quickly what someone’s intentions are once you mention how sold out you are for Jesus—especially when your actions back it up. It is possible that you can invite someone you’re dating to church and they do genuinely accept Jesus and become a Christian, but that’s not a reason to purposely enter into a relationship with an unbeliever.
If you haven’t heard of the term “missionary dating,” let me spell it out for you. This is when a Christian girl purposely dates an unbeliever with the intention that he will convert to Christianity. She believes that if he likes her enough, he’ll come to church and find Jesus so that his life will change drastically for the better.
In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, I haven’t found a biblical reason to date without the intent of marriage. That being said, dating to “win over souls for Christ” isn’t something I’ve seen applauded in the Word, either. There are many things that can go wrong when you think you alone have the power to bring someone to Christ by becoming his girlfriend.
Here are a few reasons why missionary dating is not a good thing:
- It may start off great in the beginning, and the guy you like could be eager to accompany you to Bible study and attend Sunday service. However, is he doing this just to impress you? The thing about dating a guy and asking him to follow Christ with you is that you may never know if his intentions are pure, or if he will drop the act as soon as you say your relationship is over. He could say he’s falling in love with Jesus, only for you to find out later that he’s acting and living the same way he was before and is not bearing any Christ-like qualities.
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16)
- You’ve probably heard of the term “unequally yoked,” but that doesn’t only apply to saved versus unsaved. This also has to do with your spiritual maturity. Equally yoked Christians learn, grow and strive together in order to take their relationship with The Lord to a higher level. If the significant other in your life does indeed become a believer, he still will be many levels below you in his walk. This is a problem because most of your energy goes toward pouring into him and not getting spiritually fed in one of your most intimate relationships.
- “But I followed my heart and it led me to my boyfriend. I know he’s the one!” The world will throw around phrases to make you think feeding your flesh is the best thing you can do to get what you want out of life. According to the Word, that is simply not true. It is very dangerous to be led by your emotions. You may think God wants you in this guy’s life to save him because you have such a connection to him. I promise you if he isn’t in love with Christ, he is not the one. If he is, the Lord will allow you to cross paths again when you have a parallel relationship with God.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
- Accountability is something I think we may take for granted. It’s great to share our triumphs and our shortcomings, but at the end of the day, someone who’s not digging into their Bible will not be able to tell you when you need a spiritual checkup. Most likely, you will lose your moral compass and end up further away from God than you thought possible. Furthermore, if he doesn’t see you the way God sees you, it’s not likely that he will respect your virtue and strive to maintain your purity as a brother in Christ should.
- You do not have the power to convert anyone. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict and allow God’s love to penetrate someone’s heart. If you are taking it upon yourself, you are unfortunately deceived to think that by your works he will be saved.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Navigating the dating world is difficult, but I hope that by truly digesting this advice, it will help you to avoid some unnecessary trouble that comes with attaching yourself romantically to an unbeliever.
What are your opinions on missionary dating?
Kytia L’amour is a writer, performer, and photographer spreading God’s love in all art forms. Reaching out to young women and sharing her story is what keeps her heart beating for Christ.
Kytia lives in sunny Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.