We can all attest that we live in an age of lies. Not everything is as it appears. You would be a fool to walk around believing everything you hear or see. Imposters, for example (who we will discuss broadly in this article), are people who lie about their true identities. They can do this both through words and actions. So how are we to perceive people and situations as Christians in this age? This becomes even more sensitive when one is trusting God for a life partner. In such scenarios, how can one avoid finding themselves in the hands of an imposter?
Walking in fear and suspicion is not an option for us (Isaiah 41:10; Philippians 4:6-7). Some will ask, How do I know for sure that he/she is a Christian? Or still, How do I know that he/she is not doing things just to please me now? Cases of people changing, or rather showing their true character, once they are married are not new to us.Marriages are today marred by numerous uncertainties. Many wonder if the person they are dating is the best for them. Will they be a patient and kind spouse or parent? In light of these anxieties, we need a trustworthy and authentic source of reference. We need a voice more potent than our doubts, hence the Word of God. We must find out what the Bible, our ultimate authority, counsels concerning this matter. How careful does an unmarried Christian need to be before getting into a relationship? How can they indeed beware of the imposter?
From what I can remember, from my days as a single Christian, I was always so tempted to visualize my wedding whenever a new guy approached me with a smile on his face. I would imagine myself in a white gown walking down the aisle towards him in a straight three-piece black suit, even before he said hi.As crazy/funny as that might sound, this was risky behaviour. This meant that I was already sold out to this guy that I did not even know. I would then do everything in my power to get this guy to ask me out—which mostly worked. However, such relationships (or rather, flings) were bound to end badly for many reasons. A major and consistent one was the disappointment I’d be met with upon learning the other party’s true personality.
In order to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation, you must be patient in your pursuit of a mate. You will be lucky if you rush and the other party shows you their true character. But, unfortunately, cases abound of those who have fallen for a facade well kept until they couldn’t turn back; until they had gotten married. I pray you do not fall victim to such.
In your taking time, you must be intentional in knowing your mate on an objective platform, namely genuine friendship. Here alone can a mate be known best. In such a set-up, there is free interaction and honest reactions to circumstances. This allows each of you to be exposed to the true nature of the other. You even interact with each other’s friends, another crucial source of information to observe with caution. Otherwise, if you date quickly, you may only end up trying all you can to impress each other, putting your best foot forward and hiding weaknesses. Imposters thrive nowhere better.
Below are a few boxes you might want to check before committing to a relationship.
Pursuance of Christlike Character
In the same way that the Bible instructs us to recognize false prophets, so must we also discern in relationships: we judge by fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). If a man or woman claims to be a Christian, it is their Christlike character or lack thereof that we must judge them by, and nothing else. Not that you seek perfection; just a genuine pursuit for Christlikeness which will be displayed through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The presence of these or lack thereof will best come out during friendship. Friends generally have an easier time being genuine with each other as opposed to dating partners. This may not always be the case, but it is advisable.
Desire to Grow in the Knowledge of God
Every genuine Christian’s longing should be to possess a heart that is after God’s own heart. Colossians 3:2 instructs us, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God”. This is a direct command to those redeemed of Christ not to be distracted by the things of earth but to remain focused on the things that matter to God. The one who heeds to this bidding will show a mature interest in godly materials, conversations and such. Every day will be a learning experience, and this person will not just be bent on amassing knowledge but also on living out the truths they learn. Such an individual will, therefore, not just be a verbal theologian but a working theologian as well.
Tending Towards Loving God More Than They’d Ever Love You
This was one of those rarely mentioned truths that I am thankful God helped me know. As I trusted God for a life partner, their unmatched love for God became a non-negotiable for me. I never minded a man who loved me deeply; in fact, I really desired that. But greater love he had to have for God! I had learned that the only way a man could genuinely love me was if he had his eyes fixed on pleasing God. A man who is obedient to God will love you (as his wife) like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Is there a greater love than this? A love that Christ displayed through dying? Find you a partner who understands the gospel, and you will grow and glorify God in your marriage as you follow Christ together.
Trust in the Lord
When all is said and done, we can never really say we know these things fully well. We do not have the power to see what the future holds, hence the reason God, in his word, calls us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We may not know much, but we know we can trust in the one who knows it all. With this attitude, we look to the Lord to bring us to one of his sheep and then trust him to hold not only our relationship/marriage fast but also our faith in him as we sojourn on this side of eternity.