While in high school, I worked as a cashier in a coffee shop. One of the first things I learned was how to identify a counterfeit $50 bill. This was challenging because at first glance, the bill would appear to be authentic. However, once I understood how to examine the bills closely – like feeling for texture and holding it up to the light – I was better able to detect a counterfeit.
Last summer, I met someone. He was charming, attractive and had a successful career. He came from a good family, we had many things in common and he made me laugh. He seemed to have everything I was looking for. He was not a Christian, so I would avoid speaking about my faith as I thought it would make him uncomfortable. I began to question certain convictions I had long held. I was in a constant state of confusion because I never knew what his intentions were or where we stood. As time went by, I began to see that things were not as they seemed. I spoke to my closest friends honestly about the situation and they cautioned me against continuing to see him. Through prayer, God opened my eyes to all the red flags and by His grace I walked away unscathed.
You see, being able to identify a counterfeit does not only pertain to money. The enemy is crafty and he will bring counterfeits to tempt and distract us from our purpose and ultimately separate us from God. As Christian singles who desire a Godly relationship, we need to hold the person we are getting to know up to the light of Christ. We are warned in 1 John 4:1, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether or not they are from God.” Here are a few ways I have learned from my experience:
- Personal Relationship with God
Ephesians 5: 25-26 says husbands are to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word.” The right person will have a personal relationship with God and study the word. He will get on his knees in prayer before he decides to pursue you. He will understand that love is sacrificial and will possess the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He will pray over you and with you. We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” – this is for our protection. Your faith should be one of the most important things that connects you to a person. If someone is pulling you away from God and not closer to Him, that is a clear sign of a counterfeit.
- Be Alert
Pay close attention to the person you are dating. The Bible tells us we are to be “alert and of sober mind” (1 Peter 5:8). Do their actions line up with their words? How do they treat their family? Are they truly following Jesus? Do they speak to you with love and kindness? Are you free to be yourself around them? Do they spend time with you? Are their intentions clear? As Jesus says, “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). If you start noticing red flags, do not ignore them. Be in constant prayer and God will reveal what you should do.
It is important to set boundaries in dating especially where it relates to physical intimacy. Ephesians 5:27 states that husbands are to present their wives as a “radiant church, without stain, or wrinkle or blemish, but holy and blameless”. The right person will strive to maintain purity during dating so that when you do get married you will be holy and blameless at the altar before God. If you are dating someone who does not share the same convictions as you or does not respect your boundaries, he may not be the one.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Proverbs 12:15). When you are in a situation, it is hard to see the whole picture. This is why it is vital to have one or two people you can trust and can be honest with. They can keep you accountable, pray with you and you can count on them to give you honest feedback and Godly advice. This could be a friend, family member or pastor. The people closest to us love us and want the best for us. If they are not in support of the relationship, this could be a sign the person is not right for you.
Truth is I should have ended things once he told me he was not a believer. However, I thank God for my experience as I have learned to set a Godly standard for myself. Now moving forward, I will not settle for anything less than God’s best.
What are some ways you have been able to tell if a person is from God? Share in the comments below!