Brother Donald Pinnock: Today, I’m talking to Jessil, a young entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada. Like many people his age, he’s looking for dating advice, specifically, Christian dating advice. Yes, Jessil is not your typical guy in his 20s. He wants to stay true to his faith and values as a Christian. According to Pew Research, 70% of millennials believe that dating now is much more difficult than it was for previous generations.
In today’s world, there are so many different dating trends, casual dating, and, according to recent studies, almost 40% of couples now meet online. Many Christians are looking for a meaningful long term relationship leading to, as a goal, a lifetime of commitment together, something that Jessil hopes to have one day as well.
But how do you start? How do you overcome challenges when it comes to dating or courting as a Christian? What do you need to know about Christian courtship and marriage? Join us in our conversation, and let’s look for the solution together.
Jessil, welcome to the program. Do you mind if I call you, Jesse? Is that okay with you?
Jessil Serna: Yeah, my friends call me that.
Brother Donald: Great, so please consider me as your friend.
Jessil: Of course.
Brother Donald: Why don’t you tell the viewers a little bit about yourself.
Jessil: So I’ve been with the Church for about a year now. And I came to Canada in 2012.
Brother Donald: You came by yourself?
Jessil: I came with my family, my parents, and I got three more brothers. I’m the eldest. My parents are divorced, my mom remarried now.
Brother Donald: How long ago did your parents separate?
Jessil: I think they got separated back in 2013.
Brother Donald: Here in Canada?
Jessil: Yeah, here in Canada. Growing up, I never really stayed with my family. I was a seminarian for four years.
Brother Donald: That’s interesting. So when did you enter the seminary?
Jessil: I entered back in 2012, really early on. First year high school, right, then went out for a year, went back in for three more years after that. It was very different.
Brother Donald: After that, how was life for you? What was your experience?
Jessil: After that, I became more and more independent, never asked for a penny from my parents.
Brother Donald: How about relationships?
Jessil: I’ve had a lot. A lot. Yeah.
Brother Donald: Were they lasting relationships or they were just fleeting?
Jessil: They’re like come and go, the longest one’s probably a year.
Brother Donald: And you said you got baptized, became a baptized member of the Church Of Christ in what year?
Jessil: 2018. The 50th. 50 years in the West.
Brother Donald: So, why are you here for our program today? What dilemma or situation are you looking for an answer?
Brother Donald: When it comes to, as others call Christian dating; however, inside the Church, we don’t call it dating per se, but rather it is Christian courting. Because when it comes to dating it denotes the answer you’re going to go for a date, a dinner date, you’re going to go out, you’re going to meet somebody and virtually just have a good time. So when it comes to the courting process, what is the teaching of the Bible? In II Timothy 2:22:
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.
[II Timothy 2:22 King James Version]
Brother Donald: The Bible clearly teaches here that we should flee youthful lust. So many young people, we can see that what happens, they go on dates. They get to know each other, and when I say get to know each other, even physically to the point that they’re going to violate the teachings of the Lord, our God. So, meaning to say there is a noble intent that, God be willing, the person they’re finding interest in eventually it’s going to lead to becoming married.
Jessil: So the relationships that I’ve had, they’re just crazy.
Brother Donald: Crazy in what way?
Jessil: Crazy in a way that I wasn’t planning on staying in those relationships at all.
Brother Donald: Well, that’s the common trend nowadays when it comes to casual dating, and when it comes to even open relationships, even have what’s called micro cheating nowadays where there’s some flirting on the side.
Sometimes, one they deem it innocence but other times it may lead into having illicit relationships. But again we’re talking about what should be done when one becomes a member of the Church Of Christ, and now they are courting, it’s not just dating per se, it’s really courting, looking for somebody who you love, and they in turn will love you, but all been done within the confines of the teachings of God.
So because of this let’s read another citation. Ecclesiastes 11:9:
Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.
[Ecclesiastes 11:9 New Living Translation]
Brother Donald: So we can see here, this is the admonition of our Father in heaven. He knows everything. He knows that when it comes to how He created man, as we grow up, we are keen to explore, want to taste different aspects of our life. In ways there’s a bit of a parallelism when it comes to the life you lived before you became a member of the Church and myself. We both tasted what life was like before we became members. We enjoyed that we pursued we just like what other people pursue. But when we became members of the Church, and I have to ask you, we don’t have to go into details, okay so no need to be nervous brother Jess. But before you became a member of the Church, of course you experienced life as a young man. You can say that in ways you kind of look back, and now you can see some of the mistakes that were made.
Jessil: A lot. I could say to the point where now that I know what’s right and wrong, I’m not curious anymore because I’m not missing anything. I’ve done it, now that I know it’s wrong, I don’t care if I don’t do it anymore. It’s very different, because now I’m conscious. I’m afraid. I’m afraid to do it, go back. I feel like if I, if I go into a relationship at this point right now, I feel like I’ll just go back to who I was.
Brother Donald: Well, you know, Jesse, when it comes to what you’re mentioning, especially just now, I think it’s important that we read this citation. We can read here in I Corinthians 7:8-9:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay married, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
[I Corinthians 7:8-9 New International Version]
Brother Donald: So, you’re a young man, you’re inside the Church, you’re saying you don’t want to go back to that lifestyle, and you shouldn’t be going back into that lifestyle. But if you still have those passions, you still have that compulsion, then you should really think about getting married in order to have the relationship wherein it comes to those passions, they’re going to be satisfied, but within the realms of the teachings of the Lord. Well, that is why… well go ahead…
Jessil: Should I just do it for that reason though?
Brother Donald: It should be because of love. But how are you going to find Mrs. Right? We’re not going to base it on analytics per se, when it comes to all of those dating websites that we can utilize, so how can we find Mrs. Right? Here in Proverbs 19:14:
A man can inherit a house and money from his parents, but only the Lord can give him a sensible wife.
[Proverbs 19:14 Good News Translation]
Brother Donald: So, when it comes to finding who is compatible, who is right for you, we should trust God to grant unto us that sensible or prudent spouse. But how can we prove our hope and trust in God? One way is through prayer. And again, within the instructions of God. We’re not just going to have a relationship like we used to do, almost hit and run we can say. Now inside the Church we’re going to be looking for somebody who you want to spend the rest of your life with because we adhere to what the Bible teaches. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and so there’s a lot of aspects of an individual now that we have to look at. It’s not just the physical, Brother Jesse, it’s not just the appearance. You know how about when it comes to her level of faith? How about when it comes to her conviction in God? How about when it comes to how she’s living her life? And she’ll be looking for the same or very similar qualities from you. How about your level of faith?
So when it comes to finding or having a spouse within the confines of God’s teachings, it’s a good thing. And why is it a good thing, we can read the answer here. Proverbs 18:22:
Find a wife and you find a good thing; it shows that the Lord is good to you.
[Proverbs 18:22 Good News Translation]
Brother Donald: So, when we find a wife, or for the sisters, when they find the husband, it is a good thing. It shows that God is showing His favor, or He’s blessing them. It is a blessing to be able to have a spouse within the confines of God’s teachings inside the Church. So, that’s why we’re admonishing you, brother Jess, just a prayer. It’s not as if you’re looking for an instant wife or somebody whom you could marry. Just to include in your prayer that, in God’s appointed time, you will meet somebody who’s just right for you. So, when it comes to what we’ve discussed today, did you find it of any help at all?
Jessil: Very. I’ve learned a lot. Stuff that are new to me. At the end of the day, I want to know and now that I’ve heard it, how to do it right.
Brother Donald: So, you know how to do it right, we leave behind how it was done in the past. We will face the future with optimism, knowing full well that God called you inside the Church, God called you for a reason. Number one to serve Him, but God is also prepared to pour out so many blessings to you in every aspect of your life, including when it comes to finding, and we use the terminology “soulmate” very loosely, but one who is really akin to you and your likes and your aspirations in life.
Brother Donald: Thank you so very much.
Jessil: Thank you.
Brother Donald: It was a pleasure having you on the program, brother Jessil.