God sent me onto Tinder to date an un-believer…
This article is primarily describing a leap of faith, and as such if you’re reading this, you also might need to take a leap of faith and go with me on the strange journey God has sent me on. First and foremost I believe in obedience to the Word of God (scripture) as well as the Spirit of God, which is why this has been a challenging journey of discerning God’s intentions towards me through both sources. I would never advise someone to become purely legalistic, nor would I ever advise someone to rely solely on their inner feelings. I believe that God speaks to us through both the intellect/rational ability to reason (Isaiah 1:18) as well as being led by the Spirit and walking in faith while living in earthly bodies.
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (NKJV)
What we do in the body affects our relationship with God, and with one-another. This is why we have two commandments to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength as well as to love our neighbours as we would love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). We are also commanded to guard both our hearts and minds through regular prayer and trust in the character of God.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
We also know that God does not ever ask us to break his commandments, or send us temptation to break his commandments. However, that doesn’t me that we are under the law as such. Discerning right from wrong, and discerning the will of God for our lives always comes back to the laws of love.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – James 1:12-17 (NKJV)
If we love God we will keep his commandments (John 14:15) which means meditating on the word of God to discern his will in our life and also going where he sends us and doing what he asks us to do, even if it seems strange, foolish, or dangerous. That’s the walk of faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him… By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. – Hebrews 11:6,8 (NIV)
So this is a testimony of walking by faith, not by sight.
What has God called me to do?
For more than a year I believed that God was calling me to a life of singleness, which I found to be a relief after divorce from a physically and emotionally abusive man. I needed time to heal and build my relationship with God before I could even think about dating ever again. The very idea was off-putting back then and I cringed at the thought of getting re-married.
God was patient with me. He knew that I wasn’t receptive to a romantic relationship so he never forced the issue. Instead God walked me through the gospel and his scriptures, revealing spiritual truths through ordinary physical realities. As I learned more about what it means to follow Christ, the subject of marriage kept appearing as a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and the Church.
God was softening my heart which I had built a wall around to protect myself from further harm. It says in Proverbs 4:23
“Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Guarding is very different from walling-off. Guarding implies discernment about who has permission to enter and who should be denied access. Walling-off is like living in a high tower removed from everyone in isolation. God doesn’t want any of us to be lonely or distant with others. As God said in Genesis 2:18, it isn’t healthy for people to be alone because we all need a suitable companion to help us in life. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 it also says that two are better than one because if one is struggling, the other can lift them up.
People are designed to be inter-dependent on one another and to live is social groups, family groups, and pair-bonds. We don’t thrive in isolation as research often discovers when it comes to the life-expectancy of married couples compared to single and divorced people.
To break down my walls, God needed to show me true isolation and how utterly alone it is possible to be.
A month before Christmas 2021 I had to move house. I had been living in a share-house and I would be moving into another share-house but the owners had yet to find tenants to occupy the other rooms, so I was alone (with my pets) in a very large house for almost two months. The landlords kept trying to find tenants and either people were not interested, or the landlords didn’t find them suitable, or someone said they would take a room and then drop out at the last minute.
Meanwhile, with the holiday season closing a lot of activities I was normally involved in, my family all in other states where I couldn’t visit due to restrictions, and friends going away or spending time with family, I was more cut-off than I had ever been before in my life.
I kept praying for housemates. Not only was it incredibly isolating for me, but I was also worried about my landlords not being able to pay their mortgage and potentially having to move house again. All I could do was turn to God for assistance with the internal distress.
I kept occupying my time with studying the scriptures and learning more about God’s definition of love and how different it was from my own experience. I began to wonder if it would be possible to find such a relationship and how would someone go about looking for it? Was I healed enough to even try dating? I had no idea.
God’s instruction to me was so unexpected that I instantly dismissed it as my own imagination. In my mind there was no way God would ask me to go onto a dating app, let alone the dating app I associated with hook-up culture: Tinder. However, within a week of receiving the message to put myself out there, I had two different Christian sources of confirmation pop up on social media. One of them encouraged dating apps generally as a means of Christian dating, and the other also recommended them for Christians but specifically named Tinder as their app of choice.
I began to understand Gideon a bit better when he asked for more than one sign of God’s will when God asked him to do something he found confronting. I was not very willing to use Tinder, partly because I had fears around dating in general, but I also found out that I had an area of pride which was prejudicing me against that specific app.
God was asking me to simultaneously trust him, and humble myself in the process by doing something which I had previously looked down on.
He does stuff like that.
At first I wondered what his purpose might be in getting me to explore dating through this particular medium. I was skeptical that God meant for me to meet anyone, especially a non-believer, since I knew what it said in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians…
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? – 2nd Corinthians 6:14-15 (NKJV)
I was pretty sure that I understood this principal well enough, but all too frequently I looked around at people professing to be Christian and saw an absence of good fruit, and sometimes evidence of rotten fruit. It seemed like assuming that an equal relationship could be found at church was not the whole picture, and possibly a dangerous assumption to make. I saw so many testimonies of people unequally yoked to other “Christians” and devastated when their church backed the abuser and told them to be more gracious and loving to an overt child of Satan.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” – John 8:42-47 (NKJV)
The religious leaders of the people of God at that time had hardened their hearts against God and refused to listen to the admonishing of Jesus. Rather than submitting to God’s wisdom, they had added onto the original Torah laws extra strict adherences which had nothing to do with loving God or listening to his voice. They sought to justify themselves through hypocritical piety rather than trusting God to justify them when they demonstrated their faith in him.
So what does the future hold? At this point I have no idea: only time and God can reveal such things. At the moment we’re still in the dating phase of getting to know each other, but what I know so far is that he is thoughtful, has self-control, treats me with care and respect, is interested in getting to know me and the relationship I have with God, is willing to be transparent with me about his life, and has never caused me to feel anxious or insecure about the relationship.
God will Raise up a New Church
What was the purpose of Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan? On one level it was to clarify what he meant by loving your neighbour as yourself:
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So the lawyer answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But the lawyer, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:25-37 (NKJV)
On another level, the parable of the good Samaritan was also a shot fired at the religious leaders of the day who had failed to exemplify or demonstrate God’s love towards others and what it truly means to live a righteous life.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21 (NKJV)
There may be many people claiming the label of “Christian” who are disqualified from eternal life because of their behaviour and choices, while others will be granted permission to enter because they feared God through their actions and not just with words.
He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. – 1 John 2:4-5 (NKJV)
Who God told me to date through Tinder did not seem to line up with what I had been taught at church about being unequally yoked to an unbeliever. I was attempting to be obedient to God through a form of legalism, but God had something in mind which I was not aware of at that time and which is still something of a mystery to me. I was looking at the situation from a human perspective, which is very limited. However, God knows each person’s heart, and is not distracted or fooled by the outward appearance (1st Samuel 16:7).
“…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Obedience according to the church would mean never dating outside of church and branding anyone who isn’t conformed to their image of what a Christian should look like as an “unbeliever” – but is that always true or accurate? Does simply being in church mean that people are doing the will of the Father?
God chose the prostitute, Rahab, from among the Canaanite people to be an ancestor of Jesus Christ himself. He did not choose a woman from among his own people; instead choosing Rahab because of the faithfulness and trust demonstrated by risking her own life to save others and believing that God would redeem her. Likewise, God chose Ruth to be another ancestor of Jesus, calling her out of the Moab nation to become one of his chosen people because she also demonstrated faithfulness and obedience. Neither of those women were Israelites.
I once said in a video I made about relationships that there are plenty of goats in church, and plenty of sheep that are lost (Matthew 25:31-46). Too many professing Christians believe they will be exempt from judgement before God, however we know from scripture that judgement starts at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). And as I previously quoted in this article:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. – 2nd Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)
Many people have experienced rampant hypocrisy in church and toxic cultures of hidden abuse where leadership has endless amounts of “grace” for unrepentant abusers and utterly fail to protect the flock. If the church remains unrepentant, God can (and will) raise up new children to take their place just as he did with faithless Israel.
But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’
“For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these very stones.”
And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” – Matthew 3:7-12 (NKJV)
If the people who call themselves children of God cease to bear fruit worthy of repentance, and if they live in habitual and pervasive sin, they are slaves of sin and a slave does not abide in the house forever: only children live in the house of God forever (John 8:34-36). No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and the temporary, fleshly world of greed and exploitation (Matthew 6:24).
The church must choose who its master is: God or mammon? Self-service, or self-sacrifice?
“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)