I recently got out of a brief relationship with the most wonderful guy. We're in college and work as resident assistants on campus, but he's a Christian, devoted to his walk with God. I really respect that about him; however, I am not so devoted in my walk with God.
I grew up in a religious home; he did not. It amazes me that someone as young as he is, who did not grow up in a religious home, could have so much fervor for God. Growing up, the majority of the youth I knew were devoted not because of our intense love for God, but because of our parents.
We ended our relationship because it posed too many temptations for him to stray away from his walk with Christ. I respect that, but I really like him. I think he really likes me, but he's hesitant because we are in two different places spiritually.
I know the Bible warns us about being "unevenly yoked," so I respect his wisdom and decision in this situation. But now part of me wonders how I can attract someone like him into my life. Ideally, it would be him, but I realize he isn't mine to have and that only God knows who is meant to be his bride.
It's beginning to dawn on me: When I compare him to an ex of mine who was not a Christian, I see that this guy is a good man and that I lost out on him because of my relationship — or lack thereof — with God.
I'm confused. I shouldn't want to draw closer to God because of an attraction to a man, right? Shouldn't I draw closer to God simply because I want to, not because a relationship with a godly man has made me want to?
If I do move closer to God, I want it to be pure and genuine, not because of another person. But part of me thinks that maybe that's why I was given this experience with this Christian man.
Friend, I am so glad you've written! What a wonderful "problem" you have: A man you're attracted to is pointing you to Christ. And so I say with wholehearted enthusiasm, go to God for God, not a guy. But go thanking Him all the way that He used this man to point you to Him. His obedience to God is worth celebrating, especially insofar as it has opened your eyes to your own situation. Thank God for a man who is faithful to Christ!
If you are aware of your sin, your separation from God, your need for salvation — if you are now aware that the faith of your childhood was not truly your own, but allegiance to your parents' convictions — this is the Holy Spirit at work in you. Rejoice! And repent. Believe. Trust in Christ.
Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 11:27-30,
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Your desire to grow in faith, to "move closer to God," is a gift. Embrace it. Pursue Christ. Repent and believe. God told us He would use people to spread the good news of His grace, of the forgiveness of sins, of the free gift of eternal life (Matthew 28:19).
Romans 10:13-17 says,
For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?' So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
The call to share the good news of the Gospel isn't limited to pastors. They have a unique call and responsibility to exposit the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:2, 5:17; Titus 1:7), but all believers everywhere are called to tell others about Jesus and the way He alone has made a way for us to be reconciled to God. It is a glorious thing to behold when people come to faith because believers are obeying that call. It sounds like this is what may be happening in your life.
Isaiah 52:7 says, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'"
Acts 2 recounts the reaction of the Jews who observed Pentecost. Scripture says they all were amazed, and some mocked, to which Peter preached the good news of the Gospel. It says,
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself' (38-39).
There is no time to waste. The enemy, the devil, is like a lion on the prowl, doing all he can to trip you up and keep you from coming to Christ. There is urgency to the call of faith. And so I, with Paul, join your friend, this godly young man, and say,
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,
'In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.'
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2).
To attract a genuine, God-fearing, Christ-following man will require that you be a genuine, God-fearing, Christ-following woman. And such is a good and glorious goal. But if you draw near to God only to attract this man, then what you're doing isn't really drawing near to God. If you draw near to God because you love God and because you are aware of your need to trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then that is reason for the angels in heaven to rejoice (Luke 15:1-10).
If you do move closer to God, it will be because He is drawing you. You will never be able to pursue Him in a way that is "pure and genuine" because no person but Christ is pure or genuine. We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none good, no, not one (Matthew 19:17, Romans 3:12). When we come to Christ, we bring righteousness that is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
God uses all manner of circumstances to draw people to Him: wars, natural disasters, illness, financial woes, troubles at work, and yes, romantic heartache. But we know this for certain, regardless of the circumstances He uses to get our attention, it is the Father who draws us to the Son (John 6:44), and it is the Son who reveals the Father to us (Matthew 11:27). And it is always the Word of God preached that the Spirit uses to bring us to saving faith (Romans 10:13-17).
If you have inklings of faith, don't get distracted trying to figure out if they're "pure and genuine," run to God! Repent, believe, be saved. Today is the day of salvation! I pray this in the Name of the only One who saves, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Copyright 2014 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.