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And how, precisely, does one go about conversing with someone not physically present? At the Christian university where I teach, chapel speakers promote everything from praying directly from Scripture to "just being quiet and listening." Orthodox speakers recommend the "Jesus Prayer": "Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me, a sinner." Other speakers say prayer is simply a conversation with God, and I think, My measly prayers typically amount to internal gasps of Help!in a crisis or middle-of-the-night anxieties I call "pray-worrying." Occasionally I add a perfunctory—and usually long overdue—remembrance of someone else's problems. " in recognition of some dazzling evidence of God's creativity.

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Instead of getting the qualified perspective and direction we desperately need from people around us, we walk away eating a candy bar for dinner, again, and washing it down with Dr. Real friendship, with real life-on-life accountability, may not offer the same amount of information or advice, and you will not always like what it has to say, but it will bring one new critical dimension to your dating relationships: it knows — your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and failures, your unique needs.These people know you as a sinner, and sinners who are never being confronted or frustrated by inconvenient truths are sinners drifting further from God, not towards him.The truth is that we all need a third wheel — in life and in dating — people who truly know us and love us, and who want what’s best for us, even when it’s not what we want in the moment.Dating often isolates us from other Christians in our lives.He captures our into his goal and plan for our life: to make disciples who love him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Will we trust him, even when we want something else for ourselves?

If our heart is not there — if our soul is not already safe through faith, if our mind is distracted and focused on other, lesser things, if our best strength is being spent on the things of this world — jobs, sports, shopping, entertainment, relationships, and on God — we simply will not date well. Listen to Jesus, and “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Seek him first (Matthew ), and dating will be added according to his perfect plan and timing. It’s not the first rule, but I have found that it is a “golden rule” that most often makes the difference between healthy and unhealthy Christian dating relationships.The first rule in dating is the first rule in all of life: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark ).You will not truly love anyone else if you do not love God first and most.But after embracing and applying the first and greatest commandment, I have found that the . If you’re not a Christian — if you haven’t dealt with God before trying to date — you don’t have a chance of having a truly healthy Christian relationship with someone else.But even if you are a Christian, there are still a thousand more ways to subtly or blatantly reject God’s wisdom and fall into sin.We won’t have trouble finding an answer (or a dozen answers) to any of our questions in relationships.