This is for my fellow Christian teenagers and adolescents, who are waiting or already dating. I write this letter to you, not because I know so much or I have been in a relationship (I haven’t been in any relationship), but because I am blessed enough that I was saved from a lot of heartbreaks. I praise God also for the godly people who have been with me since I became a Christian, specifically my parents who strictly forbade me to get into any relationship while studying.

So, why would you want to take any advice from me? Because not only am I blessed with wise people by my side, but I’ve learned also from close friends who experienced too much pain and wasted too much time because of their past actions. I’ll give you three of many issues that needed to be tackled as Christians.

Clarity before Intimacy

I know a lot of people who’ve gone into relationships or are still in with them under vague labels, such as MU, “Waiting for each other”, “Taken” or whatever title you use for relationships. Most, if not all, the friends I know with those kinds of relationships didn’t last. Some even couldn’t remain as friends, because it caused too much distraction and destruction, emotionally, on both sides.

Why? Why don’t these relationships workout? Simply because these relationships were established with blurred boundaries, unclear motives, etc. Even if the intentions were clear on both sides and a list of limitations set, it wouldn’t just work. It was never made clear what the relationship is and became too close or intimate to handle. Relationships in this gray area between romantic relationships and friendships would just make one side or both sides false hopes and expectations. This would just then result to breaking each other hearts.

Just to make it clear, liking or admiring someone isn’t a sin. It’s just that when a guy or a girl becomes too emotionally invested, it would easily break the person’s heart with a small mistake. As Christians we should know where to set our boundaries. Guy and girl can know each other without dating them. A guy and a girl can’t go over the limits of a typical friendship, if they are truly friends. There are just a few labels I know that are accepted as Christians and you are fall in one of these two: you are either friends or you are in the courting/dating stage.

Does your relationship fall under friends or more than friends? What season in your life are you in right now? Do you have other priorities other than dating that you should be thinking first before going into a relationship?

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a season for everything: a time to study or work, a time to just enjoy your season, a time to prepare yourself and a time to move on to your next season, and a time to wait and a time to start looking for your partner.

Identity in Christ! Not identity in guys (or girls).

In our generation right now, one mistake teenagers we make is we tend to place our identity in our friends, idols, relationships, and other people. This is something common that even us Christians fail to fix within ourselves. More so with non-Christians, men never stayed put with one woman and try to look for temporary satisfaction.

“I’m nothing without him!”
“She is the only thing I got.”
“Being with him/her is the only thing I want in this world.”

These lines are what we usually we hear from TV soaps, radio stations, movies, etc. We sometimes disregard the fact the people nowadays treat themselves that way, as if they have no value. Being in a relationship is the only thing in their mind and in their lives. That’s why people who have this kind of perspective feel so sad, lost, and even depressed when they get left by their boyfriends or girlfriends.

We will never find our completeness in any of our relationships, not even our future partner. We have been made complete at the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and he is the head over all rule and authority.” As sinners who were redeemed by God’s grace, we are not perfect but all a work in progress. Our relationship with Him as the only relationship that can satisfy our emptiness and brokenness.

A Christian vs. A Good Non-Christian

One of the most controversial issues of being in a romantic relationship as a Christian is dating or courting a non-Christian. Evange-ligaw, disciple-chicks, and other ways Christians use to make their moves on someone they like, are a no-no in the ministry, most especially with non-Christians. Others may say, “This is friendship evangelism.” It’s okay if you truly are befriending them, but just don’t—never ever—give people wrong motives to go to church. Don’t make your ministry a way of making moves on someone. Never. Just no. It’s true that the church is a place where you can find your potential future life partner, but what I want to remind everyone is to always check our hearts.

So, why should we not date a non-christian? What is it with courting a non-christian? Dating is a step closer to marriage. One may argue, “But I am not going to marry him/her.” What is the purpose of investing too much time, emotions, and even money on someone you have an uncertain future? Brothers and sisters, learn how to wait. Don’t put your standards down just because you don’t see anyone in your Christian circles reach your standards. We remove the “born-again Christian” on the list of our non-negotiables for someone to actually qualify, because we’re too focused on looking for our “right one”. Marriage is a sacred union given to us by our Creator. John Piper says, “Marriage is meant by God to put that gospel reality on display in the world. That is why we are married. That is why all married people are married, even when they don’t know and embrace this gospel.” How can you help each other grow and learn more about God if your companion doesn’t have the same opinions and beliefs as you do?

“I’m sharing to him the gospel.”
“I invited her to our church a lot of times already.”
“She’s not like other non-Christians. She’s open to being a Christian.”

These are some of the lines we hear are fellow believers saying. What if I am already in a relationship with a non-Christian? Should I just break-up with them? As I’ve said, I know people who had relationships with them and are still in a relationship with them. There are some Christian married couples I know who started out first only one of them was a believer and now have become fruitful in their ministries, just like other Christian couples. If you are in a relationship with someone of a different faith, breaking up with them may not be the answer. You need to pray and seek God’s will in your relationship with your partner. However, you have to face the consequences of going through this path. It will require you more patience to make them understand about our beliefs as a Christian. It will also require you a lot of persistence and prayer to win them over. I am not saying these to discourage you, but to remind you and also warn those are not in a relationship about the consequences of these actions.

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” Paul reminds us through this verse to be models of our faith through our actions, speech, and conduct. That may also include our relationships, whether romantically or not. If our actions discount us to be an example to others, we should think twice and evaluate if we are living like Christ. Do our actions reveal the love of God? Do I show or strive to have a Christ-like character?

Writer’s Bio: Joshua Agoncillo is a music lover, athlete, and a youth leader. Sufficed by grace, he lives by faith and serves only the One true Master.