Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Dating Jesus

Are You “Dating” Jesus?

 

Yes, dating Jesus.

Dating relationships today seem to be more complicated than ever before. And it’s almost impossible for me to understand the terms used to describe dating situations without detailed explanations. But the more I learn, the more I can see how these same terms can also describe how some people treat Jesus Christ:

 

Pocketing

As I noted in a past post, pocketing occurs when the relationship seems as if it’s progressing, but your partner has not introduced you to family or long-term friends. They’re enjoying the fun relationship, but they don’t see a future with you. In the words of the owner of a matchmaking service, “Why get friends and family involved?”

I’ve seen some people “pocket” Jesus. They say they are Christians, but they keep Jesus in a separate compartment in their life. Separate from work, school, or their neighborhood. They might attend church—even weekly—but don’t discuss it outside their church community.

 

Cookie-jarring

Cookie-jarring occurs when the person you’re dating keeps you as a back-up while they pursue a serious relationship with someone else. They consider their relationship with you to be a practical back-up plan “just in case.” Sort of like keeping the cookie jar full in case you experience unexpected dinner guests and hadn’t planned for dessert.

I’ve seen people “cookie-jar” Jesus, too. They might have walked an aisle at church, or “said a prayer,” thinking this kept them safe in case they died unexpectedly. But nothing changes in their life. Professing faith in Jesus becomes the equivalent of a fire insurance policy kept in a file cabinet, just in case it’s needed someday.

 

Ghosting

Ghosting is also known as Simmering or Icing. It occurs when the person you’re dating suddenly ends all communication with you, but without explanation. Everything is going along fine, then . . . silence. Crickets. They don’t answer when you call. No text responses. Nothing. It’s as if they’ve dropped off the face of the earth. But they haven’t and you know it, because they’re still interacting with other people you know.

Some professing Christians will “ghost” Jesus if they feel He has let them down. Maybe God didn’t answer a prayer request the way they wanted. Or perhaps a crisis occurred that they thought God should have averted. Whatever the reason, they’re no longer talking to God.

 

Stashing

Stashing is similar to pocketing. It describes a dating relationship in which one person intentionally hides the other person from important people in their life—their intimate circle of family and longtime friends, both in person and on social media. While a good reason might exist, such as a poor relationship with family members, stashing can often indicate they are uncomfortable with drawing the other person into their private world.

For a Christian, stashing Jesus could occur when we hold back certain parts of our life from submission to Him as Lord. Those areas might include sources of entertainment or habits we’re reluctant to give up. But as missionary Hudson Taylor noted, “Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all.”

 

Breadcrumbing

Breadcrumbing occurs when one person in the relationship strings along the other person by tossing them small amounts of affection, attention, or information. But they never commit to the relationship beyond tossing these “breadcrumbs.”

For some who profess to be Christians, the equivalent of breadcrumbing Jesus could include actions such as checking the “Christian” box on a form for identification without living out this identification. Or perhaps limiting church attendance to Christmas and Easter, and nothing more.

 

A true relationship with Jesus Christ is not casual dating. It’s intentional. The apostle Paul called it a betrothal: a commitment to enter into a covenantal marriage relationship. One that begins now and extends into forever!

 

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10 Comments

  1. Nancy E. Head

    What great analysis you provide here, Ava!

  2. Marie Pinkham

    Great food for thought, Ava. Gave me pause to consider. Thanks.

  3. Ellen Snyder

    Wow! Thank you so much for this posting for a number of reasons. So insightful and beneficial, as well as thought-provoking. It gives us all the opportunity to check our spiritual thermostats on a regular basis.

  4. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. A true relationship with Jesus is intentional. This is a great message.

  5. Jessica Brodie

    This is so good! I don’t want to casually date Jesus… I’m ALL IN. 🙂 Forevermore!

  6. Yvonne Morgan

    Thanks. I did not know about some of those terms. I want Jesus to be my all in all so none of those crazy relationship issues.

  7. Melinda Viergever Inman

    When I first prayed to receive Christ at age 13 in 1972, I was all in, UNTIL I was harmed deeply and personally by someone I loved within a couple of weeks of my salvation. These actions destroyed myself esteem, my trust of the Lord, and my view of God. I stepped away. But the Lord sought me, and brought me back to Himself. The next time a tragedy befell me and my family in 1994, I sought the Lord by strengthening my understanding of solid doctrine. A neighbor invited me to this study, unaware of how desperately I needed it. The Lord brought me back to Himself through this study, and I am still faithful to Him.

  8. Linda Samaritoni

    I love the comparisons here! Very relatable for today’s society.

  9. Karen Friday

    Ava, this is so interesting. I’m only familiar with “Ghosting” which shows how long I’ve been away from the dating world myself or had a need to know these terms. You give such a great analogy with how we can treat Jesus in some of these same un-biblical and careless relationship ways if we really claim to know and love Him.

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