When considering a relationship with someone it is important to consider that person’s spiritual beliefs as well as the way they view life and how they treat others.
Authors Lee and Leslie Strobel say the following questions are important to consider before you being a dating relationship.
1. When he talks about the future, is there room for God? Or does he envision a future of his own making? Does he talk about seeking God’s direction for his life? Does he have plans to serve God and the church in some way? Is he focused on the achievement of temporal success or eternal significance? Does he want to make a difference in the world of Christ? “But one thing I do,” said apostle Paul. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2. What is his attitude toward other people? Does he use others merely as tools to get what he wants, or does he genuinely care about other people? Is he polite because his parents taught him good manners, or because he sincerely respects others? How does he treat the less fortunate in our society? Does he care for the needy? Does he have a sense of social justice that makes him want to see conditions for the poor improved, or is he uncaring or even cynical about those who have less than he does? He who mocks the poor, says Proverbs 17:5, shows contempt for their Maker.
3. Does he exhibit the traits of Jesus? Does he forgive those who hurt him or does he enjoy nursing a grudge and plotting revenge? Is he generous toward others? Does he stand up for what’s right? Does he care about the poor and the downtrodden? My friend Gary Collins, a Christian psychologist, put it this way: “The Bible knows nothing of true Christians who are miserly, spiteful, habitually unforgiving, self-righteous, or arrogant. Nobody is perfect and we are all tempted to sin, but the true Christ-follower shows signs of becoming more like the master.”
4. Who does he spend his time with? Birds of a feather do tend to flock together. You can learn a lot about his discernment and what he values by looking at who he shares his time with. Is he constantly pulled toward the “in-crowd” whose main activities would be anything but pleasing to God, or does he seek relationships with Christians who can encourage him to grow in his faith and lovingly hold him accountable? Do not be misled, says 1 Corinthians 15:33, Bad company corrupts good character.
5. Is he honest about the little things in life? Integrity means there’s a consistency between a person’s beliefs and behavior or between his character and creed. Does he have a reputation for being trustworthy, or is he known for trying to cleverly cut ethical corners? One woman said her boyfriend’s character was revealed when a waiter accidentally gave them the bill for another table.
6. Through what lenses does he see the world? We all view life through one kind of lens or another. “The term worldview may sound abstract or philosophical … but actually a person’s worldview is intensely practical,” said Charles Colson. “It is simply the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the ‘big picture’ that directs our daily decisions and actions… Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality.” Does this individual see an artificial separation between his spiritual life and the rest of his existence, or is his faith integrated into all areas of living? Does he recognize and apply the Bible as the foundation for his whole life?
7. Does he take responsibility for his actions? Is he quick to candidly admit when he has made a mistake or does he try to justify his actions even when they were clearly wrong? Does he gloss over his own sinfulness or blame others for things he did? “Healthy believers don’t try to pass the buck, pin the blame on somebody else, or refuse to acknowledge our actions,” Collins said. Instead, they “admit errors and sinfulness, seek forgiveness from God and from others who might have been harmed, make restitution when possible, and go on – determined not to let a similar situation happen again.”
8. Is he honest about the little things in life? Integrity means there’s a consistency between a person’s beliefs and behavior or between his character and creed. Does he have a reputation for being trustworthy, or is he known for trying to cleverly cut ethical corners? One woman said her boyfriend’s character was revealed when a waiter accidentally gave them the bill for another table.
9. Does he possess humility? Jesus spoke out forcefully against pride, and Micah 6:8 says that true spirituality involves walking humbly with God. Does this individual always have to be right? Does he hog credit or generously praise the contributions of others? Does he constantly put himself first and think he knows better than everyone else? “[Humility] is not a false piety that denies the strengths God has given,” Collins said.
This checklist isn’t intended to be rigidly applied. While all Christians are continually growing to become more like Jesus, this is a process that varies in pace from individual to individual and will never be completed this side of heaven. Perhaps these questions have even raised concerns about some areas of your own life that you need to address before God.