Are Christian dating sites okay? Shouldn’t we wait for God’s timing to bring us a spouse?

 Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SHORT ANSWER: Christian dating sites can be okay and they can be not okay. It all depends on your desires and motives in using one.

LONG ANSWER: The Christian life is a balance of allowing God to do the stuff that only He can do and taking the responsibility to do the stuff that only we can do. Here are three ways this plays out.

1. There are some things that only God can do and we have nothing to do with it. 
God is the only person who can truly give us love, forgiveness, and significance. If we EVER try to do ANYTHING to get/earn/force these from God or from someone else, we will fail.

IN DATING: A lot of people really want a boyfriend or girlfriend because deep down they desperately want to be loved. When they do this, it always ends in an unhealthy relationship. The reason it never works out is because they’re trying to take something that the other person isn’t able to give. God, as our Creator and Sustainer, is the only one who can give us the unconditional love that our hearts long for.

2. Sometimes we partner with God, each doing different things.
A great example of this is evangelism. On one hand, we know that only God can touch a person’s heart, but He still commands us to preach (Romans 10:14-15) and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Paul sums up the idea: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

IN DATING: One of my favorite pieces of dating advice is: Rather than spending all your time finding Mr./Mrs. Right, work on becoming Mr./Mrs. Right. We should focus primarily on growing in our own faith. Then, we can let God do his part in planning our future.

3. Sometimes, we work with God, doing the same thing.
Growing in our faith is something that we do with God, as Paul described in Philippians 2:12-13: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God is the one who ultimately “works in [us]”, but we still have to “work out our faith”.

IN DATING: Let’s say you really want to develop strong friendships, so you pray every day that God brings new friends into life. But you stay home alone, never going outside, answering the door, or using your phone. Would you blame God for not answering your prayer? No, that would be ridiculous. You can’t pray for something and then never give God an opportunity to answer your prayer. In the same way, we have to “get out there” and do our part in developing deep friendships with other people. (Notice I didn't say “find a boyfriend/girlfriend”. There’s a big difference.)

THE DANGER
So, we have our part and God has His part. It starts getting dangerous when we go to the extreme on one side or the other. On one hand, we would sit back, do nothing, and completely “wait on the Lord” to bring us a spouse. On the hand, we could take it entirely into our hands and completely ignore God in the process.

IN DATING: If you’re using dating sites because you really want to be dating, that’s probably a good sign that you’re in there for the wrong reason. But if you are prayerfully considering prospective dates (or even whether to date) and working on your own spiritual growth in the process, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with a Christian dating site.

CONCLUSION
Like many things in the Christian life, the condition of your heart – your reasons, motives, and desires – is far more important than any particular decision, activity, or dating service.