When it comes to dating, Christian girls have many voices speaking into their lives. Parents, youth pastors, friends and magazine covers all offer advice on how to choose the right guy. Sometimes the opinions are in conflict. Sometimes we don’t like what our parents and pastors tell us when the world’s standards seem more appealing. How can Christian girls set real, lasting standards for dating amid such confusion?
There is no “Dating” section of the Bible, so it’s easy for Christian girls to think God doesn’t speak to it at all. But God does speak to the principles needed in order to have a godly, lasting relationship. He gives us real standards to hold guys accountable for in our search for a man after His own heart. One of the best places to find these principles is in Psalm 112.
Psalm 112 describes a man who “fears the Lord.” It goes on to illustrate how he honors God with his life. By looking at each verse, we can come away with scriptural standards to use as our measure for a mate. Below are 10 principles outlined in this psalm that Christian girls can hold guys accountable for.
1. He should have reverence for God (Psalm 112:1).
This psalm uses the term “fear the Lord,” but what it means is that this man recognizes that everything he has is because of God’s grace. He has reverence for God. His life is evidence that he worships God and cultivates a consistent relationship with Him. This is the foundation for all the good things growing out of this man’s life. Reverence for God is the first step to a thriving relationship with Jesus and with others—including the girl he dates. In order to love you the way God designed, he must first understand God’s definition of love. The man who “fears the Lord” will understand this love and bring it to any dating relationship he is in.
2. He should spend time studying God’s Word (Psalm 112:1).
The psalmist actually said this man “takes delight” in God’s Word, which is much more than just studying it, memorizing facts and going through the motions. It means this man enjoys God’s Word and sees it as a necessary part of his life. The Bible provides us with all the wisdom we need to make wise decisions in life. A man who loves God’s Word will be guided by that wisdom in his relationships.
3. He should pursue wisdom (Psalm 112:2-3).
Queuing off the point above, a man who loves God’s Word will actively pursue wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is knowledge applied. This man doesn’t just quote Bible verses and attend church; he actually lives out what he believes. This is essential for a long-term relationship, both with God and with other people.
4. He should be gracious and compassionate (Psalm 112:4).
Because this man knows God, his character should reflect God’s heart. God is a gracious and compassionate God. He gives second chances, shows mercy and loves us in spite of our sins. These character traits won’t be perfectly applied in the life of an imperfect man, but as he grows in his knowledge and love for God, they will be increasingly noticeable.
5. He should be righteous (Psalm 112:4).
God is perfectly righteous, which means He cannot sin. No person on earth can achieve that, and we shouldn’t expect it! No guy you date will be perfect, but he should be actively pursuing righteousness because this pleases and honors God. Righteousness requires saying “no” to many things the world finds acceptable. It means being set apart, taking a stand and refusing to follow any standard but the one God sets.
6. He should be generous (Psalm 112:5).
The Psalm 112 man is not greedy with his time, energy or resources. He is willing to give of himself just as God gave of Himself when He sent Jesus to earth. The generosity he shows to those around him are evidence of his dedication to God.
7. He should be steadfast (Psalm 112:6).
To be “steadfast” means to stand firm. It means to be “immovable.” Just as God is unchanging, a godly man will stand by what he believes with unwavering faith. A guy like this will be trustworthy in a relationship because he can be depended upon no matter what happens.
8. He should have faith in God’s will and timing (Psalm 112:7).
The worst relationship decisions are made out of a false sense of urgency, or desperation. But a man—or woman!—who trusts God will not be anxious about anything. He (or she) will have faith in God’s will and timing. When we trust God, we don’t settle for anything less than His best for us.
9. He should be fearless (Psalm 112:8).
Trust in God also defeats fear. Because this man reveres God, he has no fear of the future. He knows God has everything in His hands. In a dating relationship this kind of boldness leads the couple closer to God rather than further from Him.
10. He should be mindful of the needs of others (Psalm 112:9).
Finally, because the Psalm 112 man is continuously exposed to the love of God, he is able to love others with that God-defined love. He puts the needs of others before himself and is willing to sacrifice his own desires in order to honor others—just as God did for us through Jesus.
These may sound like very high standards, and they are! God has outlined His expectations for those who call on His name, and girls can use these standards as their own guidelines as they cultivate relationships with the guys in their lives. Of course, we girls must also meet God’s standards! But the beautiful thing about God-designed relationships is that as we seek Him, He introduces us to like-minded people who love Him as much as we do. God empowers us—both men and women—to live lives that honor Him in every way. That’s something we can help the guys in our lives achieve, and it’s something we can seek for ourselves.