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How can I lead a woman who is more spiritually mature than me?

How can I lead someone who is much more mature in her Christian walk?


I’m a single guy looking at dating. I’m a fairly new Christian, and therefore, my depth of knowledge of Scripture and biblical living are somewhat small. I understand that a man is to lead in the family, and I realize that I should be the one to initiate in a relationship.

My question is about a situation where the girl in the situation is much more grounded (or taught) in Scripture and biblical living. I’m thinking of ladies that have grown up under the careful watch and care of Christian parents.

How can I or how does it look for me to lead someone who is much more mature in their Christian walk? Can I even lead someone who knows and practices the Gospel with greater knowledge and depth than I? What about from her point of view? Can she truly submit herself to someone whose knowledge of Scripture is less than her own?

I understand that grace from the Lord is sufficient for all things, but I find this situation an interesting one as I consider dating. As I am most commonly attracted or drawn to women who are very established in their faith and who are mature Christians, many times more so than I.

Thank you for your input.


As Providence would have it, I just had lunch with a young man who finds himself in the same situation. I’ll tell you the same few of things I told him.

First, don’t do this to get girls; do it because God desires it. I’m glad God used girls as a way to get your attention, but this is for Him. Do it for Him, and the girl issue will resolve itself.

Second, you must understand that leadership doesn’t exclusively mean “leading in knowledge of Scripture.” People can know an enormous amount of facts about the Bible and still live lives not worth following.

So what we first want with leadership is leading in love and passion for God. Yes, Bible study plays an important part in nurturing a passion for God, and I’ll get to that in a moment, but realize that leading by modeling love for and devotion to Christ is true Christian leadership. It’s about having a heart full of love, not a head full of facts.

God is a Person with whom we experience life through His Spirit; He is not a set of facts that we store away for use in a Bible trivia game some day. If, for instance, you wanted to lead your girlfriend in loving some relative, you wouldn’t do it by merely memorizing more information than your girlfriend does about that relative; you’d actually spend time with that relative, nurturing a love relationship.

It’s the same with God. You lead in loving Him by turning your heart toward Him throughout the day, whether in prayer, reading or studying your Bible, or walking to class or eating a pizza. He is with you and ready to fellowship with you every moment. Talk to Him. Ask Him questions. Listen for His answers. Just as you would any friend you wanted to know better.

Third, at least one component of growing in love for God is discipleship. Remember, discipleship isn’t a race to see who can learn more Bible facts the quickest or who attends church the most. Discipleship is a training to run the race of life and love to which He has called us, to know Him for His glory and our good.

It’s time to stop wishing you were as mature as other believers and start pursuing it with a discipleship plan.

Find a man who is the kind of Christ-follower you want to be and ask him to help you get where he is and where he is going. Or find out what your church or campus ministry offers in discipleship training and sign up and go for it. Or immerse yourself in a summer discipleship program and sit on the front row every day. Learn to pray. Learn to read the Bible with the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Count everything a loss for the sake of knowing Christ. You get the point: Put some action to your desire.

Let me give you a jumping off point. Is what you desire worth 30 minutes of your day? Then do this: Start every day reading a chapter from Proverbs (matching the chapter with the day of the month if you’d like) or read a Psalm or read at least a chapter out of the book of John. Ask God to illuminate by His Spirit what you’re reading. Spend time reflecting on what you read. Pray about specific things you know the day holds for you and give the day to God, and keep the conversation going with Him throughout the day. Get in the habit of doing this every day, and you’ll be amazed at how differently life begins to look.

Like you, I didn’t grow up with the benefit of a Christian home, but God had us where He had us, and He turns it all for good. You can’t do anything about the past and whether you had or have Christian parents.

But you can start now doing something about where you go from here. You’ll be surprised how quickly the Holy Spirit can make up for lost time if you’ll commit to making and following a plan for pursuing God with passion. Once He captures your heart you’ll have no worries about being able to lead anyone. As you follow Him, others will follow you.



Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.


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