Flirt to Convert: Dating People Who Don’t Look at God Like You Do
By now you must be thinking “this guy has the most ridiculous titles.” It’s true. You see, I am in a church of mostly twenty somethings and I like to describe it as a Lord of the Flies type church. Only because we are run solely by rather young people and God has left us here to deal with the struggles of human nature, the battles of the common good and the complexities of order. Being in an environment like this which is now thriving solely because of God, I have seen a lot of things, one of which is our need for companionship. Regardless of where we get it from, even if it hurts us. We don’t want to be alone.
Because of this we search for love in places that don’t compliment our spiritual lives and find ourselves in relationships that don’t benefit the calling that God placed before us. This is a problem because dating someone who doesn’t see God in the same way you do will not be able to partake in the fullness of your life. We like to think we can fix them or change them but no one needs to be fixed or changed by another person. Imagine having an incredible time in prayer or at a service and not being able to tell the person you love most about it because they just won’t understand? Or they might judge you? If you can’t imagine then let me demonstrate:
Put an Ultimatum on Them
It always starts innocently enough. A simple conversation, someone makes a move and you’re out at dinner or getting a drink or my personal favorite
“It was only coffee!”. Eventually you are texting and booking faces (Facebook messaging) all day, they message you while at service and the gravity of the situation hits you…They don’t go to church. So you are forced to put a stop to this. Or…you should…Instead you say listen, either you get your behind to church or that’s all folks. In other words:
“The person you are right now, is not the person I want to be with. You are not enough for me. You have to fix yourself in order to be with me.”
Sell them on the Fantasy
Reluctantly they accept the premise of “church”. And you begin to sell them on the idea that stepping into a building once a week will fix your perception of them. You sell them on the idea with cool Christian songs and try and introduce them to your more swagged out believer friends in hopes that they will start to see the light for themselves. Some prayers will be made and some texts will be sent to the church mommas to pray for these lovable people. Promises of a near perfect relationship and an amazing life will be made maybe, once we get the hang of this Jesus thing.
Sometimes they are eager to take a swing at the proverbial fence of eternal life, saying things like “I need to start going to church again.” and the classic: “I’m really religious, I go to mass all the time, I’ll definitely go with you.”. This is all super admirable and a best case senario. So buckle up for the ride, Sunday is a couple of days away.
Most don’t make it past this point. Some spend eternity at the spiritual salesperson phase, trying to pitch Sunday service to their significant other. The reason is because salvation is individual, and although some can catch a glimpse of God and shift their perspective completely, some will spend a long time fighting with their own mentalities and pre-dispositions of who God is. Mostly because it wasn’t their leap of faith that brought them to the feet of Jesus. It was the manipulation of another person. This in itself will take a healing process once this person makes it out the other side. But lets assume they get through this. What’s next?
Jesus the Manipulator?
Wow! It’s working! They love the church!
They are encountering the Jesus we so desperately wanted them to and guess what? They are broken! (As we all are) So much stuff God is dealing with starts coming out and we start to do one of two things. We wonder if we really want to stick around because of all this baggage, or we try and solve all their problems.
They just poured out all of their problems to us and we begin trying to fix them, over and over again, making them dependent on us. This is manipulation. Becoming a spiritual superhero is a form of manipulation because it feels good and instead of teaching them the word, teaching them how to pray, teaching them how to worship we teach them how to make us their god. We teach them how to rely on us instead of God. Once again, many get stuck here, but you made it out of this.
Watch them Grow in Faith
They are overcoming, they are being set free from their bondages, they are diving into worship! And all you want to do is encourage them to grow! They are learning about the true Jesus and all he has done for us. How he is unconditional love and they are learning to be a light in the world. All of this is too good to be true! Right?! Right.
I am feeling like this is such a cynical article, but the gravity of these situations, over and over again do not seem to let me regress from my severity. Of course this is not a one size fits all format, however I’m sure everyone who’s seen or gone through something like this can find a bunch of relatable things in here.
But as they are growing something begins to happen. It is just not quick enough. You become critical, overly analytical, you push for more and more as they fight their spiritual battle yet they continue. Some can’t make it through this point, some give up because they can’t handle leading two lives. The wold beckons their Friday nights and The Lord calls their Sunday mornings. It is a duality too large for the human heart. However there are the few, the the diligent that make it through.
Growth at this point is inevitable but the past rears it’s ugly head. It’s not because they don’t want to change, but because the change wasn’t organic. It was microwave spirituality, led on by their boyfriend or girlfriend to supplement a new relationship. This reaches a breaking point where enough is enough and church is just church. The God of the universe in all his infinite love will always be sufficient however, if they have never tasted and truly seen for themselves how good he is, there is bound to be no steadfastness. It was just somebody holding their hand dragging them down the narrow road until they tripped and busted their head on the corner stone and went running back to broadway. We can’t blame them, we only have ourselves to blame, for holding them to a godly standard that they have never been able to meet.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
You see, it is not without hope that Jesus can save anyone. He is the light, the bright side to every situation. He can heal every hurt that has ever been had by any of the circumstances discussed. Jesus should always be your hearts response to heartbreak. But to date with the strict incentive of bringing someone to the feet of Jesus is like dating a person who is out of shape with the ulterior motive of motivating them to go to the gym. If they don’t want it, it’s not happening. I know this from personal experience, one because it’s how I met God and two because I hate the gym. There are the times that people do change and these relationships work out. These are the exceptions and not the rule. In the case of marriage, that is a whole nother story, marriage is a covenant that is for life, I just thought I would specify.
God is without limits, without bounds but we have to be wise in not manipulating peoples emotions and tricking them into meeting Him. If I invite some one to church, they should go because they want to or see something different in me, not because they are romantically or sexually attracted to me. It’s a door you are opening. That is deliberately using the enemy to our benefit to grow the kingdom. And although that can sound super charismatically cool and radical; you know what happens when you mess with fire right?