Doing What’s Difficult: Episode 299

Doing What’s Difficult: Episode 299

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Listen to this week's show!

Roundtable: On a Mission

A while back we heard the powerful testimonies of women who were dating non-Christians before God convicted them to break off the relationships for His glory and their good. This week it’s the guys’ turn. According to our panel, men have different motivations for getting in unequally-yoked relationships, but the ramifications are no less serious. Listen in and learn from their experience. 

Culture: Pick Up Your Cross

Pastor Matt Chandler is known for straightforward, Gospel-centered preaching, so it’s no surprise that his latest book To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain packs a powerful punch of biblical truth. But the real challenge comes in his willingness to confront the comfortable Christianity that plagues our generation. Using the book of Philippians as a guide, Matt paints a picture of a mature Christian and the discipline, humility — even suffering — that go into the making of a true follower of Christ. 

Inbox: The Mother Test

Men who want a family want a wife who will be a godly mother. But how does one go about finding good candidates? Is there a test for pinpointing a woman who will train, disciple and love her children well? Candice shares some thoughts. 

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  • --Although I can agree that working towards living an honorable righteous life according to biblical stardards is ideal and that one should strive toward the mark of the high calling, i have to object to the thought that one is not saved if they choose not to do so. It creates the idea that salvation is earned and puts us into the mindset of #1 judging peoples salvation and #2 becoming a slae to condemnation when we do not live up to the standard. Yes it is far better to live a life of obedience but obedience doesn't buy salvation. Salvation is a FREE gift, and any gift that comes with stipulations is no longer a gift because I am paying for it in one form or another. The only requirement of salvation is acceptance of the gift and to imply that one could loose salvation over misbehavior is false teaching. When the prodigal son left home to do evil he was not disowned, his place in the family remained, even in his absence. Would he have had a better life had he lived in accordance to his fathers will? Yes. He lost everything he owned as a consequence for turning his back on his father, but he NEVER lost his place in the family.  

    Ephesians 2: 1-9 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRANSGRESSIONS— IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Romans 5:15-20 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

    18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

    20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Paul goes on to explain that because of salvation we are no longer slaves to sin, that sin has no HOLD on us and that we SHOULD submit ourselve to obedience. However he doesn't say that failure to do so results in removal from the kingdom.

    Sorry for the long read it just bothers me because I spent years striving towards the mark and still feeling condemed and fearing the rejection of God because of ministers who taught me that the gift of salvation was dependant on the good workings of me. And I will never be good enough to justify the releasing of such a wonderful gift.

  • --Never underestimate the power of loneliness and self doubt in a man's motivations for dating a non-Christian woman. After my high school girlfriend broke up with me, I headed to college where I struggled to meet Christian friends. The stress of a ridiculously heavy school schedule and not being able to find Christian friends added to the fact that I was still struggling through the feeling of being left by the only girl who had ever liked me did not result in good decision making.

    I always knew going into these relationships that they would never last, but my mindset was that beggars couldn't be choosers. If a nice young lady liked me, I'd be a fool to let her go. Over the course of the relationship though, the guilt would eat away at me until I eventually broke things off. I'd feel so free and be happier than I had been in months, but then a new one would come along, and I'd start dating her.

    Ever since really committing to not dating a non-Christian ever again, I've been single though. It's a real struggle to stick to my commitments when an attractive, intelligent, funny woman comes around offering everything I want except for the one thing I need.

  • --greneebrown...

    May I suggest that you are at risk of using scripture to contradict scripture?

    Working to better ourselves is not the way to "purchase" salvation, that is true, but scripture also drops some pretty broad hints that it is one of the RESULTS of salvation, one of the TESTS of a genuine conversion and regenerated heart.

    "For is God who WORKS IN YOU to will and to DO according to His good purpose".

    "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience......"

    "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling..."

    "By their fruit, you shall know them."

    Scripture does not say that we will be sinless after we are saved, but it does say that we are not to just keep on sinning in the same old way. How can we claim to love God if we do not do (or try to) what He says? How can we call Jesus "Lord", if we do not obey Him. (Or try to.)

    The fallacy in your logic is that you are mis-attributing causation. Works do not cause us to be Saved.... but being Saved will cause us to work....

  • --#GrinAndBarrett

    "Ever since really committing to not dating a non-Christian ever again, I've been single though. It's a real struggle to stick to my commitments when an attractive, intelligent, funny woman comes around offering everything I want except for the one thing I need."

    That sucks! Have just prayed you meet an attractive, funny, intelligent Christian woman v soon. You sound pretty well-balanced, and ready for a real-life relationship. I'm surprised it's been such a struggle for you to meet single Christian women. I have loads of women friends of all ages who are awesome and long-term single. I'm sure it's the same in the States, judging from this message board. Well, it should encourage the women to see that not all the normal men are already taken!

  • --I've not listened to the podcast yet, but from reading the comments, I would say I agree with Peter.

    And, grenee, you posted Romans 5.  That chapter should be kept in context with the rest of the book of Romans (and the rest of scripture for that matter).  Romans chapters 6 through 8 especially show that, if we are believers, we are not to walk in sin any longer.

    Romans 6:1-2  "What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"

    Then, consider how we, who were once, "slaves to sin" are now called by Paul, "slaves to righteousness".

    It is a matter of obedience as the apostle Paul clearly states throughout Romans chapter 6, etc.

    Also, the entire book of I John is a great place to reference.  After all, in chapter 5, John writes that he's written these things so that [the recipients] might know they have eternal life.  Chapter 3 of that book clearly delineates the differences between the children born of God and the children of the devil.  Again, it's a matter of whom we obey.

  • --@Mary, Thank you. That really does mean a lot to me.

  • --GrinAndBarrett,

    I can relate how you feel man.  Years ago I was setup on a date with this beautiful, wonderful gal.  We had commonalities in hobbies, could "talk shop" being in similar professions, and even impressed her with some knowledge of her native language.

    Sadly, when I asked her, "So, what church do you go to?" she quickly responded, "Oh, I don't go to church".  I also found out she was a different religion than I was but like many was not a practicing one.  I held it together through the remainder of the date, but the elation was already beginning to deflate.  That was our only date.  I never saw her again.

    What I find frustrating are those stores of people who DO end up marrying an unbeliever, and then everything "works out" for them.  The non-Believer is converted, and they live a happy life with a fulfilling marriage and children.  It makes we want to wonder sometimes, "Why am I doing this if other people can get away with it".

    You have to remember though that it doesn't always "work out".  The Believer could abandon his/her faith much like Solomon did, or the non-Believer never converts and there is always tension in the marriage.  Just because a situation happens to turn out well does not negate the sin of the Believer.

  • --@MikeTime, I think this is where online dating would be an advantage. I'm living in a pretty small town for the next year or so, so I'm not sure how well it would work for me unless I was willing to do some driving, but you can knock the basics off your list with only a little bit of time and energy.

  • --My eyes are rolling right now.... Bloke writing in asks a sensible question, and the immediate feminine response is to try and analyse the questioner from the very small evidence of the "tone" of his letter. Does anyone really think that if the writer was a perfect communicator,  that he'd even need to write the letter?

    Not that the subsequent advice is bad, but do you have to start by jump[ing to a bunch of disrespectful assumptions? Give the boy some grace and answer the question straight off.

  • --GrinAndBarrett,

    If you've read my prior posts, I think you know my feelings towards online dating...

    In case you haven't as a summary, it can work for some, but often doesn't work out for most.  Reason being unless you are generally "above average looking" most people won't click on your profile to find out if your character pluses.  When scanning hundreds of profile photos and you don't have the time to read each one (even with filters in place) you're going to gravitate towards the beautiful ones.

    Combine this with the fact that if you think that there is someone "perfect" out there for you among the millions of people, and everyone else is thinking the same thing very few people proportionally speaking will get many views much less contacts, much much less actual dates.

  • --And before the "But I've know such and such who got married via online dating" realize you are using you individual experiences, not the general population. I've known people who have hit it big on jackpots at casinos.  Does that mean most people have/will as well?

  • --Miketime:  I would say I'm an average looking person.  Maybe even less than, because among other things I've never been one to "do myself up" as some women tend to.  And I met my husband online...and just from the female perspective, I absolutely read profiles and considered those things when talking to people online.    

    It may be true that "most people" don't meet online and despite my successful story, I always urge people to use caution when attempting online dating.  But most people do eventually get married and online is one avenue to meet people you otherwise would not meet.  

  • --For men considering online dating, you might want to think about the results of a study OKCupid did a couple years ago. They asked their members to rate the profiles of the opposite sex. I believe it was to rate them on how attractive they were. The men rated the women and the results pretty much took the form of a normal distribution. The women rated the men and 80% of them were rated as below average and undesirable. They only had interest for the hottest/most attractive 20%. Of course, it is OKCupid, so your mileage may vary.

  • --@Greg, I'm still pretty sure I'd have a better chance of meeting a Christian woman online than in a club or bar. Church would of course be preferable, but who am I to say that's the only way?

  • --Geez, Candice responds so defensively at first to the guy who asked about how to evaluate a woman.  What if the genders were reversed?  I doubt she would respond so defensively.  "He needs to be a leader, he needs to be a godly man, etc."

    And what's wrong with the word "evaluate"?  Boundless's own "A Girl's Guide to Marrying Well" talks about "evaluating" men.

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