When considering a relationship with someone it is important to consider that person’s spiritual beliefs as well as the way they view life and how they treat others. Authors Lee and Leslie Strobe say the following questions are important to consider before you being a dating relationship.
1. Can he describe a specific time or era during which he received Christ’s gift of eternal life? If he can’t pinpoint the time of his conversion, or at least the time frame in which it occurred, then it might not have ever happened. Listen carefully when he talks about his faith. Is he counting on his good deeds, religious rituals, and winning smile to get to heaven, or does he describe coming to the point of recognizing his sinfulness, turning from his own path in life, and receiving Christ as his forgiver and leader? He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy, says Titus 3:5.
2. When he talks about the future, is there room for God? Or does he envision a future of his own making? Does he talk about seeking God’s direction for his life? Does he have plans to serve God and the church in some way? Is he focused on the achievement of temporal success or eternal significance? Does he want to make a difference in the world for Christ? “But one thing I do,” said the apostle Paul. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
3. Is he willing to postpone immediate gratification so that greater satisfaction can come in the future? Does he live out the biblical teaching that sacrifice and struggle often are necessary to achieve greater long-term goals? Or does he relentlessly pursue short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term consequences? “Healthy religion calls for us to forsake self-indulgent, self-centred living and to commit instead to purity, love, giving, unselfishness, discipline, and sometimes uncomfortable lifestyles,” Collins said. “This is not intended to steal away our joy and make life miserable. In contrast, a life of devotion brings inner peace, fulfilment, and the promise of better things to come in the future.”
4. What is his attitude toward other people? Does he use others merely as tools to get what he wants, or does he genuinely care about other people? Is he polite because his parents taught him good manners, or because he sincerely respects others? How does he treat the less fortunate in our society? Does he care about the needy? Does he have a sense of social justice that makes him want to see conditions for the poor improved, or is he uncaring or even cynical about those who have less than he does? He who mocks the poor, says Proverbs 17:5, shows contempt for their Maker.
5. Does he exhibit the traits of Jesus? Does he forgive those who hurt him or does he enjoy nursing a grudge and plotting revenge? Is he generous toward others? Does he stand up for what’s right? Does he care about the poor and the downtrodden? My friend Gary Collins, a Christian psychologist, put it this way: “The Bible knows nothing of true Christians who are miserly, spiteful, habitually unforgiving, self-righteous, or arrogant. Nobody is perfect and we are all tempted to sin, but the true Christ-follower shows signs of becoming more like the master.”
6. Who does he spend his time with? Birds of a feather do tend to flock together. You can learn a lot about his discernment and what he values by looking at who he shares his time with. Is he constantly pulled toward the “in-crowd” whose main activities would be anything but pleasing to God, or does he seek relationships with Christians who can encourage him to grow in his faith and lovingly hold him accountable?
Do not be misled, says 1 Corinthians 15:33, Bad company corrupts good character.