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Should I Date an Unbeliever?

You like them. They like you. There is obvious chemistry. Your personalities click. You love being around one another. But…they’re not really all about following Jesus Christ. Do you pursue them and hope they come to believe down the road? Do you deny what feels like magic?

Listen very carefully to this Bible passage:

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:14–16, NLT)

God said you should not date anyone who isn’t a serious follower of Jesus. In case that didn’t register, here it is again: God says you are to pursue a relationship ONLY with a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. You can’t date an unbeliever. This is not an option, it is a command from God.

Some reading this may say to themselves, “But, if we get closer I can help the person know God, so why shouldn’t we date?” You can’t throw a cup of crystal clear water into a large mud puddle and expect the mud puddle to become clean. The mud puddle will instead swallow up the “good” water. That’s what the Bible teaches in principle about dating unbelievers. There is no guarantee they will ever change, and on your own you can’t change people. It’s impossible! Only God can truly change someone’s heart. But bad can pollute good.

People can pull you away from God. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Did you notice how that passage started? “Do not be deceived.” Many Christians admit it may not be the best, but they think it’s okay to date people who aren’t head-over-heels for Jesus. Don’t be tricked. Who you hang with is who you’ll become. It’s far easier to pull someone down a ladder than to pull someone up.

“You don’t think dating an unbeliever will pull you away from God? It already has. The choice to date an unbeliever is an act of rebellion. God has commanded us not to date unbelievers, but if you say it’s okay—you’ve already stepped away from God!”

It’s heartbreaking to see, but people who profess to love the Lord can turn away from God. Among the top reasons is that they date someone who isn’t following Jesus. Unsaved people will drag you away from the Lord. It’s a fact; there is no arguing about it. Toward the end of King Solomon’s life he turned away from the Lord. Why? He gave his heart to unbelievers (1 Kings 11:1–8). You don’t think dating an unbeliever will pull you away from God? It already has. The choice to date an unbeliever is an act of rebellion. God has commanded us not to date unbelievers, but if you say it’s okay; you’ve already stepped away from God! When God says something, listen, salute,…and obey. He’s always right.

Do you realize when you’re dating an unbeliever you are training yourself to marry the wrong person? Sooner or later the person you date will become the person you marry. You may not know exactly who the “right one” is, but you do know that an unbeliever could not be that one. Do not pray about it. Don’t insult God. God has already spoken on the matter; He’s not going to change His mind. Dating an unbeliever is dating the “wrong one.”

“Dating an unbeliever is dating the ‘wrong one.’”

Don’t point to a happily married Christian couple who started off as a lukewarm believer and an uninterested unbeliever to justify your relational craving. While it’s wonderful that God brought beauty out of such ashes, for every one story like that there are a thousand war stories of utter tragedy. In the end, there is no justification we could ever find that will make what’s wrong right. We need to honor God and with humility follow His instructions for living.

If God is number one in your life, the greatest craving you will have in a relationship is to be with someone who is on-fire for Christ. You will hunger for someone you can discuss the Bible with, praise God with for daily victories, and enter His heavenly throne room with in earnest prayer. The fact that you can overlook their lack of love for God, and are open to entertaining the thought of starting a relationship anyway, shows a great deal about where you are spiritually at the moment. You are not in a healthy place. As a Christian, your first duty is to focus your life back on deepening your own relationship with the Lord, focusing on “your first love” (Revelation 2:4), until a longing for Christ is the very first thing you look for in a person, not the last.

“If God is number one in your life, the greatest craving you will have in a relationship is to be with someone who is on-fire for Christ.”

Seriously, before you do anything else you need to chisel deep into the stone of your soul that you will never, never date someone who isn’t a serious follower of Jesus Christ. As soon as you take your eyes off Him, you’ve begun missing the purpose of your life and made that person into your new god.

Allen Atzbi

Allen Atzbi is the General Manager at Living Waters as well as the Director of the Ambassadors’ Academy. He holds a Master of Theology degree from International Seminary and served as a youth pastor for a decade. Allen has trained churches in evangelism and led weekly street witnessing teams for years. He has written four books. His parents are both Jewish: one from Israel and one from the other holy land, Brooklyn.

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