Craig Groeschel - 5 Signs You're Dating the Wrong Person
Statistically speaking, most of you will get married at some point in life. That's what the studies show us. Unfortunately, statistically speaking, many of those marriages will not make it. And statistically speaking, of those that don't make it, a lot of people will look back and say there were actually warning signs that they saw early on that this may not be the wisest thing to do, but they ignored the warning signs. Because you know this, when you're dating somebody, you tend to want things to work out. You wanna fall in love, you wanna have all the songs on the radio make sense. You want the relationship to move forward. When you're dating, you wanna be in love. And if you see something in the other person that doesn't seem right, your mind says, "Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention". But your heart says, "Love will make it all work out".
What I wanna do today is I wanna tell you to be wise and to pay attention, because there may be some warning signs or what we might say, some red flags, when you're actually going out with someone. And we wanna talk about those red flags today. I'm gonna call this message Five Signs You're Dating the Wrong Person. Let's all pray.
Father, we thank You so much that You are the God of relationships and we ask that Your Holy Spirit would guide us to love people well and to choose wisdom in all of our relationships, that all of our relationships would honor You. We pray this in Jesus' name and everybody said. Amen. Amen.
Let's start with a word today from Proverbs 27:12. And this proverb actually contrasts two different types of people. It shows someone who is sensible, and the proverb says, "The sensible person does two things". Then the proverb shows someone who is unwise or unthinking, and they do two things. Here's what Scripture says. "Sensible people will see trouble coming and" what do they do? "They avoid it, but an unthinking person," will do two things. "They will walk right into it and they will regret it later". Let's look at it up on the back wall, because I wanna let this sink in. This is God's Word. And which one do you wanna be? What do we see? We see there's sensible people, and there are unthinking people. Or sometimes we might be sensible in one area of life, but we're unthinking in another area of life. And those who are sensible do two things. They see trouble coming and they avoid it, but the unthinking or the unwise person instead, walks into trouble and regrets it later.
Let's all say these things aloud, because we wanna put God's Word into our heart. A sensible person does what? They do two things, they see trouble coming and they avoid it. An unthinking person does what? They walk into trouble and they regret it later. One more time. Sensible people, they see trouble coming and avoid it. An unthinking person walks into trouble and regrets it later. Some of you who are married, there was a time when you actually were dating somebody and you saw some red flags, and you might have ignored those red flags. And now here you are years later, and you're saying to everybody else, you should listen to this message. You should listen to this message, because I was unthinking and avoided the signs and I actually regret it later. I'm gonna tell you going into this message that what we're gonna talk about is gonna seem very, very extreme to a lot of you. And the reason it's gonna seem extreme, is because it's extreme. What I'm doing is I'm talking to those of you who want to faithfully follow Jesus.
And so, if you're not committed to Jesus yet, this is a great place to be as you're exploring your next steps that are spiritual. But if you're not committed to following Jesus, what I'm gonna talk about is gonna seem really, really odd and really, really different. And I wanna acknowledge that and I'm all for it, because what's normal today is broken hearts. What's normal today is divorce. What's normal today is regrets, and I actually want something different. So we're gonna talk about some things that may feel a little bit extreme. We're gonna look at five signs that you may be dating the wrong person. And we'll start with the first red flag. Number one is this. You might be dating the wrong person, when they're not consistently pursuing Jesus. It might be a red flag if you're developing a relationship with someone and they're not consistently pursuing Jesus. And I use those words very intentionally, consistently pursuing Jesus. It's not that they're perfect or you're perfect, but you're on a journey to get to know Jesus and be conformed to His image.
And I say that because you may meet someone and you're like, "What do you believe spiritually"? And like, "Well, you know, I mean like, I mean, I guess I'm a Christian, 'cause I was born in America and I'm not a Buddhist or a Muslim or something like that, you know". And I know people around the world, you might have a different way of saying it, but a lot of people here are kind of cultural Christians and just because someone says, "Yeah, I guess I'm a Christian, and I go to church on Christmas and Easter," doesn't mean that they're a committed follower of Jesus. So, I'm gonna say something that again that is very extreme and it wouldn't be true in every case, but this would be true in most cases.
If you meet someone and you're getting to know them and you spend some time in intimate conversation with them, if you don't hear about Jesus, or you don't hear about their faith, or you don't hear about God, or you don't hear about their involvement in the church, or you don't hear about their ministry within the first hour of talking to them, I would suggest to you that is actually a red flag. And that seems incredibly extreme and it is extreme. But you have to remember that people talk about first what they value most. And any type of conversation people tend to talk about first the things that they value most. If they love their career, they're talking about their career. If they love their car, "Have you seen my car"? If they love their shoes or love your shoes, "Like, dude, have you seen my kicks? Look at these kicks". Then they'll talk about their travel or their hobbies. They may talk about their ex, which is an entirely different red flag if they're talking about their ex. But you tend to talk about first or early on in the conversation, the things that you value most.
And so, if you have to ask, "Hey, what are your spiritual beliefs? Are you a Christian? Do you ever attend church anywhere"? If you have to ask that after an extended conversation, chances are this person is not a committed follower of Jesus. Scripture gives us a very, very clear warning, when the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:14. He said, "Do not be yolked together," in other words, don't be joined, don't be united "with unbelievers". If you're a Christian, don't try to build a marriage with someone who doesn't have the same spiritual beliefs. "For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Or what does a believer have in common with unbeliever"? This isn't criticizing an unbelieving person. There are amazing people that are not followers of Jesus.
What you're saying is there's a different spiritual foundation that's almost impossible to build a rich and God honoring life on when there's different spiritual values. "But I love him"! You say, "He's so cute"! "She's so fine, and we have so much fun together. God is limiting my options. God is making it so difficult. I can't find a good godly person, so I'll just find a person. God's just limiting my options". I would remind you, God is not limiting you. He's loving you, He's protecting you. He wants you to share your most treasured gift with someone else who believes that Jesus is their most treasured gift. In fact, in the Old Testament there's a powerful verse in Amos 3:3, where the prophet asks the question, "Can two walk together unless they've agreed? Can two move in the same direction? Can two build a life on unequal values, on incredibly spiritual differences"? Because I promise you, what you believe spiritually will impact every area of your life more than anything else about your life. Your spiritual foundation will influence how you parent.
Would you like to parent with totally different values? It'll influence what you think about money and material things and your generosity strategy. And if you go to church or don't go to church. And if you go to church, do you serve in the church and are you in a life group? And what shows do you watch together, or what shows do you not watch together? And do you go to parties? And if you go to parties, what kind of parties and what do you do at those parties? And who are your friends and how do you treat people and how do you forgive those who hurt you? And what do you do with temptation? And is divorce an option in your relationship, or is that off the table, because you have a different spiritual foundation? What do you stand for? What do you stand against? What is your divine purpose in life? Why do you exist?
If you have a different spiritual foundation, how can you walk in the same direction when you have different values? In fact, I would say it this way, not in a critical way, but in a sincere way. If he or she is not passionate about God, it's gonna be so much more difficult for him or her to love you in the way that God intended. God is the one that moves our hearts. And so, I would just say to those of you that are committed followers of Jesus, my suggestion would be, don't give them your heart, if God doesn't have theirs. Don't compromise and try to build a life with someone that has a different worldview. Because what you believe about Scripture, about God, about eternity, matters more than you could imagine.
Now, there are some red flags that the wise will see trouble and avoid it. One is when they're not consistently pursuing Jesus. Number two would be this. It might be a warning sign when those you love, don't love who you're dating. When you have have a very strong community around you, especially if they're spiritually grounded, and they don't like the person that you're dating, it could be a real warning sign. And we see this all the time, because you meet someone who's cute and you have fun together and you like the way she smells, you like the way he walks and you have chemistry together and you get all the tinglies when you're with them.
And then you talk to your best friend, and your best friend who's a Christian who said, "I don't really like him, or I don't really like her". And then your other best friend says the same thing, "I don't really think this person's good for you". And then your mom who loves you and has your best interest at heart says, "I don't really think this person is good for you". And your dad, who's a strong believer says, "I don't think this person's good for you". And your sister doesn't like him and your brother doesn't like him. And your dog who likes everyone, doesn't like this person. And when those around you that you really trust who have a good spiritual foundation and have your best interest at heart, when they don't like the person you're with and all of 'em don't like the person you're with, listen, Proverbs 27:9 says this, "The heartfelt council of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense".
You wanna listen to those who love you, if they're saying there's something you should pay attention to. And I want you to be open to what they see, because they may see something that you don't see. And they may say very lovingly, because they care about you, "He's really not honoring you," and you wanna listen to that. Or they might say, "She's really too into herself and her brand and her image". Or they might say, "I've seen it, and he's pushing you sexually. He's pushing you to do something that are outside your spiritual values". Or they might say, "She's way too controlling. She's not blessing you to have a life or an identity of your own". And so, you wanna listen to those that are around you. And what's gonna happen is you're gonna want them to be wrong, 'cause you like this person. "Oh, but you don't know him like I know him. He's got so much potential". Okay? "Or she's, I know, I know she's got those things, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but". Proverb 12:15 tells us this, "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice". What we wanna do, is we wanna be wise. If we see trouble early, we wanna walk away from it, because the unwise see trouble and walk straight into it.
Some red flags that we wanna pay attention to. The first thing is that they may not be consistently pursuing Jesus. Another red flag would be that those that you love, don't love the person that you're dating. Number three issue that you wanna look for is this. Number three is when you don't experience healthy conflict. When you don't experience healthy conflict. And this is not saying that you won't fight, you will fight with the person you're dating, and you'll fight with the person that you're married to, you will fight. It's not if you fight, but it's how you fight that really, really matters. Because healthy couples tend to fight fair, unhealthy couples fight dirty. We could say that healthy couples fight for resolution, we want things to work out, and unhealthy couples fight for victory. I wanna win, I wanna be right and you're wrong.
For example, Amy and I have learned to work to toward resolution. In fact, the other day we got in a big fight, massive fight and she came to me afterwards crawling on her hands and knees and she said to me, "Get out from under that bed, you coward and fight like a man". Okay, so, that didn't really happen, but we do fight about the dumbest things. What's dumb about our fights is we fight about dumb things. Most people are smart enough to fight about big things. We fight about little things like we, anytime we try to drive somewhere where we don't know where we're going, it's almost like the devil hops into me and he's like, is this crazy? And so what we've learned to do, is we've learned to work on our relationship during non-conflict times. And very practically, I like to be on time or early.
Amy is more creative in her expression of arrival. And so when it comes to going to church, we take two separate cars. What we've done is we've learned to work through a lot of issues, even small issues and love each other as we work through them. I tend to do well at keeping things calm. Where believe it or not, sweet Amy can let things elevate. I also tend to avoid conflict, when sweet elevated Amy won't let it go. And she's really, really good about holding us accountable and say, "We're gonna continue working on this". The Bible says, "Don't go to bed when you're angry". There have been times we didn't sleep till Thursday, but we worked through it and together we've learned to fight fair. So, a couple of extremes.
Number one is if you're always, always fighting, if your pattern is fight, break up, makeup, fight, break up, makeup, fight, break up, makeup, and you've done that eight times since last Thursday, that is a problem. The moment you start to think, "Well, if we get married, that's gonna solve our problems". Don't believe that lie. It's akin to those who are married that are fighting all the time that say, "If we have a baby, it's gonna make our marriage easier". Some of you know that's not true either. If you're fighting all the time, all the time, always break it up, that's actually an issue. On the other extreme, if you never, ever, ever fight at all, then you might have two people that are conflict avoidant and you've got underlying issues that you don't know how to work through. What we're looking for is we're looking for a reasonable amount of conflict and the maturity, the spiritual maturity to love each other well through conflict, so that we can move the relationship forward.
My favorite conflict verse of all is James 1:19 and 20, that says this. Here's your advice, you wanna be good at conflict, everyone should be what? Say it with me. "You should be quick to listen". Type that in the chat. I'm quick to listen. Somebody type it in there, type it in there. I'm quick to listen and what else am I? "I am slow to speak". Type that in a comment section. "I'm slow to speak and I am slow to become angry". Those of you, especially online, type that in, because somebody online needs to become slow to become angry for the glory of God and the sake of all mankind. "Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires". There are some red flags, and one would be when the person you're dating is not consistently pursuing Jesus. Another would be when those that you love don't love the person that you're dating. Another would be when you don't have healthy conflict. And a fourth would be when you find it difficult to trust the one you're with.
When you find it difficult to trust the one you're with, that might be a little bit of a challenge. What does Paul tell us some of the qualities of love are in 1 Corinthians 13:7? He says, "Love always" does what? "Love always protects, it always trusts, it always hopes, and it always perseveres". I wanna highlight the trust, love always trusts. Now, that doesn't mean that you won't have some moments of insecurity, like, is this relationship working? Do you really care about me? Are we really moving forward? Those things are natural, but when you're consistently worried that you can't trust someone, that is indeed a red flag.
And I wanna unpack this a little bit, because in some cases the reason you can't trust them is because they're actually untrustworthy. Meaning you say, I can't trust them as far as you can throw 'em, because you can't trust them as far as you can throw them. Maybe he's always sliding up into girls' DMs, or she's always snapping old boyfriends, or he's liking every bikini pick of everybody that's not you all the way in there. Or he's looking at the waitresses whenever he goes to a place and there may be a reason. And if there's a reason, you need to pay attention to that, that is a red flag. Or, and let me say this gently, but let me say it. It could be that you're the problem. It could be that you're overly possessive or too insecure, and you're looking for reasons to trust when they're not really there. It could be that the problem isn't that they're not trustworthy. The problem is that you're not trusting. And either way, it's actually a red flag, even if the red flag is you.
So if you find yourself always wondering, you know, what's he looking at on his phone? Where was she? Why didn't he call? Pay attention to what that says about the relationship. If you always say, "Well she's amazing, but I don't really trust her," or "I really like him, but I don't really trust him". Why would you stay with someone that you don't trust? It's a red flag worth paying attention to, because the wise, the thinking, the sensible people see trouble coming and they tend to avoid it. The fifth and final thing that we're gonna talk about is probably, in my opinion, the most important. And I would say that it is a red flag, it's a warning when the person you're dating is leading you away from Jesus instead of closer to Jesus. It's a red flag when you're spending time with someone and spiritually, you're not as vibrant as you were before you started spending time with that person.
And so a good question to ask yourself at checkpoints during the relationship, a month in, two months in, three months in, you know, 12 months in, are we growing closer to Jesus? Am I spiritually stronger today than I was before? And in fact, it was Jesus who said this very clearly in Matthew 24:4. He said, "See to it that no one," and that would include the person entertaining. "See to it that no one leads you astray". Let's just get practical. If you start dating and stop going to church, that'd be a red flag. If you start dating and you drift away from Christian community, that may not be a deal breaker, but it's something to pause and ask yourself, "Is this what we really want, is this wise"? If you start dating and you start compromising sexually over and over and over again and you wake up and you realize, we're rationalizing sin together, that would be a red flag.
And again, this feels very, very extreme and it is, but we have to remember, the Scripture is very clear that the gift of sexual intimacy is reserved for the covenant of marriage. Now, that doesn't mean that you're not gonna be tempted. That doesn't mean you're gonna be on some date and you're close to someone and all of a sudden all the tinglings start happening. That doesn't mean that you're not gonna be tempted. In fact, chances are pretty good. You will be tempted at some point to grab, squeeze, hug, tug, whatever it is. I can't believe I just said that at church. But you know, if you're alive that that's the case. You will be tempted. If you are not tempted, I've got an entirely different sermon to you to deal with a different problem, because God wired us to desire spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy with our spouse under the covenant of marriage.
Here's the challenge about when you start engaging in sex, especially when you're dating. Proverbs 5 says that sex is intoxicating. Look it up. It's in your Bible. I'm not making it up. It's intoxicating. Now, I don't know if you wanna admit this in church, but you can. How many of you've ever been drunk before? Raise your hands. Some of you are like, "I'm not raising my hands in church". Online, you got in that anonymity online. Just type it in online. I've been drunk before. Before I was a Christian, I've been drunk many times. What happens when you're drunk? Several things. You get better looking, other people get better looking. You go, "Ah, look in the mirror. Hey, you're looking good there, right there. You look so good. You look so good. Hey, everybody here looks good," right? What it does is it blurs your vision, it lowers your standards and it clouds your judgment.
Here's the problem. Some of you, you're getting it going and you're intoxicated. You are with somebody distinctly below your standards, because your vision is clouded. Your standards are lowered and you're sitting there going, "This person's gonna work and we could make it work and we could make it work," 'cause you're drunk. It's time to sober up some of you. It's time, it's time to sober up. And when you sober up, you might say, "Oh wow, now that I'm sober I realize, this person's not really following Jesus. And those people that I love don't love the person that I'm dating. And we actually don't have healthy conflict, and we don't really trust each other. And after all this time together, we're really not closer to Jesus than we were in the beginning".
And here's what Scripture says. I wanna look at it one more time. I want this to sink in. The sensible, what do they do? Say it with me. The sensible, they what? They see trouble coming and they avoid it. And the unthinking, what do they do? They walk into trouble and they regret it later. And that's why I don't say this in a harsh way, but some people that are in relationships that are not God's best, probably need to break up. And if you need a Bible verse, there's one in Psalm 119:115. If you're dating someone that's far from God and leading you away from God and is destructive to you, the Bible says, "Get out of my life, for I intend to obey the commands of my God". It's kind of a joke, don't use that verse, but it's actually in the Bible. Don't use that verse, that would be mean. But the principle is, if we're not growing closer to Jesus, then we should separate ourselves, because I intend to obey the commands of my God, and I want to treat you in such a way that you have that same opportunity as well.
What's gonna happen? You're gonna spend a lot of time with someone and at some point you may be a little intoxicated and you're gonna try to make things work. And then you're gonna sober up and you're gonna realize, this isn't God honoring. And the most loving thing you can do, is to create separation, to break it off. And you're not gonna want to because you've got so much invested. And we've been together for six months, or we've been together for two years. And I wanna encourage you, if it's not right, to have the courage to make a change. Sometimes the change is necessary for God to do a work in the other person. Sometimes the change is necessary for God to do a work in you, 'cause you can't marry the right person if you're dating the wrong one.
And so, when you do break up, just a little free advice that's sitting in the Bible that it should be, break up in person. Don't send a text. Don't send a text. Break up in person and then don't go running back three days later and say, "I heard our song on the radio. Do you still wanna talk? And do you want go to Justin Bieber concert next Thursday"? Don't do that. Okay, don't do that. Have the courage to love someone enough to break it off, so you can connect with God and give them the opportunity. And you may say, "Dang, Craig, why you being so serious about this"? Because if you ignore the warning signs, the pain on the other side of a broken marriage is incredibly difficult. And I would never ever wanna shame anyone who's experienced the pain of a broken marriage, but they would tell you, that to try to create a life together with kids and coming together and to walk away from that, one of my friends called it a nuclear explosion of pain. The heartbreak, the disappointment, and the challenges. Those are the red flags.
And there is another side which is very, very special, and those are the green flags, the flip side. And what do you see that you like, that leads you to know that God may be blessing this? And the first one is when the person that you're dating is consistently pursuing Jesus. And when the person you're spending time with, that those that you love, love the person, and think that you're really good together. And when you do have conflict in such a way that the Holy Spirit leads you through that conflict, it's a really good sign. And when you're growing in trust and have a peace about God's hand upon this, and you wake up and realize, we're actually both growing closer to Jesus, because we're spending time together, that's when it gets profoundly special.
When you recognize, this isn't just a dating relationship, but this could become a God honoring covenant of marriage. That what God joins together, no man would ever separate. And you could have the blessings that I've known as God has been leading us through 31 years of marriage, and that is a spiritual legacy that would impact generations to come. A heart to please God in all that you do. And the work of God in you and through you to make a difference in this world. That is different, that is weird, that is extreme, that is God honoring and that is possible when you're sensible, when you're wise, when you see danger and you avoid it, and you see God's blessings and you walk toward it.
So, wherever you are, single and loving Jesus, dating and loving Jesus, married and loving Jesus, let's make sure the loving Jesus is a part of what we're doing. The sensible, see danger and walk away, they avoid it. But the unwise, walk straight into it and regret it. You are far too smart and God is far too good for you to step off the good path and onto the wrong one. Let's stay on the path that leads to life.
So Father, we thank You for your work today. We ask You that Your Holy Spirit would move within us, that we could honor You in all that we do.
No matter where you're watching from today, and no matter where you are in life, you might not be married, not dating anybody, and you wanna honor Jesus. You might be dating someone and you wanna honor Jesus. You might be married and your marriage might be great, or your marriage might be struggling, but you recognize you really do want to honor Jesus. If you wanna grow closer to Jesus in all your relationships, and I hope that this would be every follow of Christ, would you take a moment and just let this be your prayer. Just lift up your hands and say, "Yes, I wanna be closer to Jesus". Just lift up your hands. Online, you can just type that in the chat. I wanna be closer to Jesus. Put it in your own words, in all my relationships or in every way, whatever it would be. I wanna be closer to Jesus.
And God, help us in that way according to Scripture, to seek You first, to seek You first in all that we do. To seek You first in our relationships, in our ministry, in our careers and our finances, our friendships to seek You first. And then God, we believe You'll add everything that matters to us. God, help us to honor You. If we're not dating anybody, we've got the gift of not being married and to be fully devoted to You without the distractions, according to Your Word. If we are dating, God, give us the wisdom, the courage, the power to honor You. And if there are warning signs, we know they may or may not be deal breakers, but let's pay attention to them and let's work through them. Let's be honest about them. And God, especially for those that are married, especially for those that are hurting, would Your Holy Spirit do a healing work? God, help us to put You first in every way, to honor you. Bless our relationships that they would reflect Your love and Your grace.
As you keep praying today, some of you may recognize, oh, you know, in all my life, I'm really not putting Jesus first. You may even say, "You know, I believe in God and all that stuff, but all you're talking about is pretty weird, but it sounds like a good weird". And I wanna tell you, it is weird and it is a good weird. To follow Jesus means we're very different from this world. The Bible tells us not to be conformed. Don't be like the rest of the world, but be changed. Be different by the renewing of your mind. And for some of you, it may take a renewing, a reset to change your life. If you find yourself far from God, maybe you feel unworthy. Let me tell you right now, you're not as far from Him as you think, because He's reaching out to you. The moment you turn to Him, the moment you draw near to Him, Scripture says, "He draws near to you".
If you're being, if you're feeling drawn to God today, it's because He loves you and He is drawing you today. What do you do? You recognize and just call it what it is, that you're not walking with Him. You're not in a relationship with Him. Our sinfulness, our brokenness separates us from a holy God. The amazing thing is He loved us so much, He didn't leave us dead in our sins, but He sent His Son Jesus, who was perfect and without sin, to give His life on a cross so our sins could be forgiven and we could be made brand new. No matter how broken your life is, no matter how far God feels, He's drawing you today and you're one step, one prayer away from forgiveness and new life in Christ.
If you know you need that, what do you do? Very simply, just step away from your old life. We're stepping away from our sinfulness, we're stepping into the grace of Jesus and we're saying, "Take my life". When you do, when you give your life to Jesus, God forgives your sins. He makes you brand new. The old is gone and all is new. Wherever you're watching from today, those who say, "I need that, I want His grace. I want His forgiveness". By faith today, I give my life to Him. I surrender Jesus, take my life. I give my life to You. That's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now. All over the place and say, "Yes, Jesus, I surrender to You". Man, praise God for you guys, say yes to Him online. Just type it in a comment section. I'm giving my life to Jesus. Just type that in a comment section. I'm giving my life to Jesus. And all over the world, would you just pray aloud together, pray.
Heavenly Father, take my life. Forgive my sins. Save me, and make me new. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so I could follow You. My life is not my own, I give it all to You. Thank You for new life, now You have mine. In Jesus name I pray!