WITNESSING AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
Have you ever wanted to change the world? I have! In fact, in my teens and early twenties, I really thought that I could convince anyone to change. I thought the power was within me to transform a person from thinking negative to thinking positive... from acting like a loser to acting like a winner... from living as a sinner to living as a saint. If only they would listen to me!
While I do believe that God has gifted me with the ability to influence others, I have also come to realize that I DO NOT have the ability to "change" anyone. Only God can transform a life, and even then, a human being must be willing to be changed by the power of the gospel, in order to receive the free gift of salvation. Indeed, when one becomes a born-again Child of the King, they are made a new person; old things are passed away and, behold, all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
While God "is" into changing people (taking them from glory to glory in their everyday life) He never expects us to take on the all-consuming burden of working wretchedly to change someone else. Clearly, we are instructed to spread the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, and with this passion certainly does come a deep desire to see people changed; changed from a life of sin and darkness to a life of freedom. Still, we need to keep our witnessing in perspective.
I believe that as we truly begin to understand how the Kingdom of God operates, we free ourselves from our own exhausting plans of trying to convince others to change; we are freed from the wearisome assignment of being responsible for someone else's actions. Only God can cause someone to desire to choose the best path for their life. We are simply called to be messengers and example setters, leaving the care of other's souls in the hands of an All-Knowing, All-Caring God who is more than able to bring that person to Himself.
Once we understand some basic principles of how His Kingdom operates, where: one person plants the seed (of how awesome a new life in Christ really is); another person waters that seed (by sharing more about the Lord); and, still another person reaps the harvest (they have the privilege of leading them to Christ)... responsibility is then shifted from being "our burden" to being that of a team effort - God's team!
Even so, there still continues to be numerous well-meaning Christians who will, inevitably, get caught in the trap of unhealthy opposite sex relationships, in which, someone is compelled to "date" an individual with the subconscious intent of saving them. Another more familiar term often used to describe this type of behavior might be referred to as a "co-dependant" dating relationship, where one person in the relationship is obsessed with the idea of "changing", or, at least, "influencing the other one to change."
This is never a healthy way to start out a dating relationship with the opposite sex. God never intended for us to be paired up with someone who continually drains us - ultimately, distracting us - from our own personal relationship with Him. He never intended for us to be hindered in our God-given potential, due to dating someone who repeatedly causes us to: run to their rescue, defend, or excuse their behavior... over and over and over... time and time, again.
It is so important for singles to realize how dating someone is actually a preliminary relationship to the marriage vow. Think about it. Eventually, most everyone will end up marrying someone that they are currently dating. Since dating is a progressive step toward marriage, it is imperative that God's Word, God's Will, and God's Voice be considered before going out with anyone of the opposite sex.
Unfortunately - and all to often, Christians will choose to "settle" for a broken love relationship: perhaps out of fear; perhaps because of loneliness; or maybe even, because of an all-out conscious choice to "help God out." The Lord has never instructed us to date and, especially, to marry ministry projects. Instead, He has told us to "wait" on His perfect will.
You see my friend, once married to someone, we are then joined together with them for life. At that point, God's Will is to stay married... even in the course of difficult situations. So, if you choose to date someone who is not in the same boat (so to speak) as you are concerning the things of God, you are only setting yourself up for a potential long life of heartache and pain, as you spend days, months, or even years praying and believing for the salvation of your mate... praying for them to CHANGE! Instead of your marriage taking flight from the day of your wedding vows - as God intends - it will poke along. You will be continually hindered in the things that God has called you to do - both individually and as a couple.
"And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
On the other hand, when two people who are sold out to Jesus begin to date, their relationship has great potential. It could even turn out to be a match made in heaven! As two people grow to love one another with one common goal of living for Christ in all of their ways, they will have a head start on life, as, together, they aim to reach goals, dream dreams, and build upon the solid foundation of God's Word. There is no limit as to the things that the two of them can accomplish in their life-time.
Divorce is not even an option. Two become one. Children. Grandchildren. Great grand-children. This is God's plan. This is God's best.
Remember, dating someone that you have no intentions of marrying is only wasting valuable time. It's risky - in that, you are taking the chance of falling in love with someone who is not in God's Will for your life.
The Lord does not need for us to date people so that we can lead them to Himself. So be choosy. Train your heart to separate godly compassion and empathy from true vibes of interest before dating. Dating is a preliminary to marriage, so always ask yourself, "Is this someone that I might consider marrying?",, before saying "yes" to that first date.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: "
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women