It is one of Satan’s most sinister traps. The trap is laid so surreptitiously, and the bait almost always seems innocuous. As a Christian, you’re supposed to be friendly – you’re supposed to be kind to those in need. You’re supposed to build relationships – won’t it help you get them out to a meeting? She seems different than other girls at school … there’s something more wholesome about her. He doesn’t seem like someone who would try to take advantage of a girl. They actually seem to respect you for your faith – they’re certainly not trying to take it away from you. When they asked for help with their homework, it was a genuine request. It’s just a relief to have one person in the class that you click with. You were feeling a little lonely, and having a … friend – that’s all of course, you’re “just friends” – gave you something to look forward to every day. Very quickly, through all of these means, feelings inexorably become wrapped around someone who does not share your love for the Lord. Yet, the Lord is the real possessor of your heart, right? Isn’t He?
The devil has plenty of experience setting this trap. Do not be deceived. He has watched many a young Christian step into it, innocently enough at first, and then sink in deeper, and then struggle to get free, only to realize they have reached a point where it is easier to just stay in the trap. So, another voice for Christ is quieted, another light has been snuffed out, another young Christian is tripped up, discouraged, and away from the Lord. Right now, there are good young Christian men and women who are circling this very trap. Maybe you are one of them. You know it doesn’t look quite right. You know that others have fallen and been unable to escape. But you think maybe you will be different. You feel that your circumstances are harder and more tempting – or you’re (falsely) confident in your own ability to keep circling the trap, tasting just a little of the bait, and pulling back when you need to. If your emotions are the least bit entangled around someone who doesn’t share your desire for God, you are already in grave danger. The ground may already be slipping away from beneath your feet, pulling you closer to the trap. Listen to God: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2Tim 2:22).
Far too many have chosen not to flee. They have hung around the trap, appreciating the attention, the flattery, the friendship, the company, and the excitement. A few escape with their lives intact. It is true that the grace of God is abundant, but many, many more have lost their usefulness for the Lord. They once sang passionately with other young Christians about Jesus being their all in all, and of their desire to follow Him and never turn back. Then they allowed an innocent relationship to become not so innocent, and soon they felt they just couldn’t escape. Don’t make their mistake of blatant disobedience to the Word of God.
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2Cor 6:14, ESV), does not refer immediately to marriage in its context. But it does establish a principle that is applicable to marriage. There is no closer human partnership than marriage. And “what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? … What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2Cor 6:14-15, ESV). No dating or romantic relationship should be commenced that doesn’t have marriage as the objective. And 1 Corinthians 7:39 is explicitly related to marriage. It says that the marriage should be “in the Lord.” The Scriptures that teach us who we may marry are implicit guidelines, therefore, on who we may allow ourselves to fall for in the first place. The growing attraction that you might feel towards an unbeliever is Satan’s sinister trap for you. Don’t take another step. Don’t sniff the bait. Don’t circle the trap. Flee. Run for your life. If you’ve already got one foot in the trap, break it off immediately. It will soon hold you more tightly if you don’t. Be firm, be clear, be wise. Get out before it’s too late.
If this article sounds a bit intense, it is because the drama is all too real. These words aren’t exaggerated for effect. They reflect frightening and heart breaking observations. You need to be convicted of how wrong the relationship is. The fact that you know of some for whom it seemed to work out isn’t relevant. The ends don’t justify the means, and you cannot presume upon God’s mercy. You need to be convicted that, if it is the Lord’s will for you to marry, He will provide you a true partner – someone who shares your desires for the Lord. Then take those convictions to the throne of grace, leaning all your weight upon the Lord, trusting Him to preserve you and provide for you in His will.
While the wicked one has plenty of experience in setting this trap, take courage. Millions of young Christians have avoided its grasp, and so can you. The fellowship of fellow Christians is vital – “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness… WITH THEM that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2Tim 2:22). The pressures are not so great that you have no choice but to give in. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Cor 10:13). You are not a helpless victim of your emotions and physical desires: “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4). “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psa 37:4).