Dating and Such
Here’s a list of five truths:
John 6:44 – No one comes to Christ in us unless the Father draws them.
Ephesians 5:11 - To the unsaved we should be lights.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 - To the saved we should be edifying.
1 Corinthians 7:32 - The advantage of being single is freedom from distraction.
Genesis 2:18 - The advantage of marriage is companionship, a kindred soul.
Now to pull it all together:
Everyone you know either needs to be saved or needs to be edified. The person you marry should be a kindred soul who can work alongside you in this business of shining and edifying. Marriage to the unsaved is automatically out because light can't fellowship with darkness (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14). Romantic dating as a way to meet the person you’re going to marry doesn't make sense either, because it undermines the one advantage of being single. How can you remain undistracted in your shining and edifying if you're romantically committed, or if you're too busy playing the field (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35)? Treating each other as physical and/or emotional objects in some fantasy of your own creation is also out of the question. You simply can't afford to objectify the other person because there's too much shining, too much edifying, to be done. Nor can you afford to put up too many emotional barriers, because shining and edifying both require you to be as available and approachable as Christ Himself. You should guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23), but not so jealously that no one ever gets close enough to be fundamentally changed by the experience. The Father draws all kinds of people, male and female, to the Son in us. They may not realize what's drawing them, but we know it's the Father's intention for them to be changed by the experience, and we have to let them in close enough for the Spirit to reach out and grab hold of their lives.
Jonathan and David didn't become kindred souls until after David slew Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. They must have known each other before that, though, because in chapter 16:21-23 we read of David serving in the court of Jonathan's father Saul. Yet it wasn't until after David slew Goliath that the "soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David" and they became closer than brothers (18:1). What was it about the "David and Goliath" incident that made Jonathan and David bond like that? Remember that the first time we meet Jonathan back in chapter 14 we find him taking on an entire garrison of Philistines by himself. He says to his armor bearer in 14:6, "Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few." The two of them step out in faith and God shows them that their faith is well-founded by causing the enemy to melt away before them. In chapter 17 we hear strikingly similar words from David. As he's about to face Goliath he says in 17:26, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" David steps out in faith and slays the giant, and the entire Philistine army flees when they realize that their champion is dead. David, just like Jonathan, finds his faith to be well-placed; "the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few."
Imagine the sense of bonding Jonathan must have felt with David when he realized that there was actually someone else out there who had experienced a level of walking with God to which few attain! I mean, it's unusual enough to scale the heights of taking God at His word and proving Him faithful, but when you find someone else who has been to the summit too it's a rare find indeed. We tend to gravitate towards those who share our experience of knowing God in a real and paradigm-shifting way, and whenever we find a kindred soul, we hold on to them because there just aren't that many out there. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:27-28, “‘Behold, I have discovered this,’ says the Preacher, ‘adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one [kindred soul] among a thousand....’”
Not everyone needs to be married; some people have a gift from God that enables them to make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:7). But if anyone who is not gifted in that way dares to live in light of the above five truths, I firmly believe that God will bring a kindred soul along when the time is right, someone who is suited to work alongside them in the business of shining and edifying. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it...’” (Isaiah 30:21), and you will know who you are to marry. It will be like when Isaac, preoccupied with his meditations, looked up and saw Rebekah (Genesis 24:63-67). Until then, we should each remain undistracted in our devotion to Him, shining and edifying, relating to “the older men as fathers, the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Stephen T. Kia
December 2, 2001