The #1 Question in Dating: WHO?

Some people call it “Illuminati Tinder.”

It’s a dating app called Raya that is fairly secret. It caters to an exclusive clientele who work in the “creative industries” aka celebrities. It’s Tinder for famous people. Amy Schumer met her boyfriend on Raya and he was the only person she ever talked to on the app.

The application process is intense and very exclusive. Us commoners need not apply. Just to apply, you have to give the app full access to all of your contacts and all passwords to your social media accounts so they can see who you follow but more importantly, who follows you. You really need a few existing Raya users to vouch for you and if you get denied, you can never apply again.

If you stumble across someone famous and you think you might want to screenshot their profile, think again. Raya automatically boots you off the app forever for a single screenshot.

Raya’s message is simple: there is a certain category of people that are acceptable for its followers to date but many more people who don’t make the cut.

Jesus followers should date like Raya followers, just with a lot less elitism.

Many people want to know the HOW of dating. I frequently hear questions like these:

  • How do I ask a girl out in the age of dating apps?
  • How soon should we be exclusive?
  • How do I know if a guy is actually interested in me?
  • How can I tell someone I want an actual date instead of just “hanging out”? (that’s a sermon for another day)

The HOW questions are important, and we’ll tackle some of them next week. But the most important question in dating is not HOW but WHO?

As a Christ follower, as important as it is to be wise and discerning about who to LOOK FOR, your primary concern in dating should always be to make sure YOU’RE meeting those same standards as well. Far too often, we hold others to a higher level than we are willing to extend to ourselves.

Ask yourself this question: Are you the kind of person that the person you’re looking for is looking for?

This article is an abbreviated version of a sermon in the series, “Wating, Dating, & Mating” from The Table Austin. The Table exists to be a Christ-centered, outward-focused, community of friends. Those three core values help frame who you should look for in a dating relationship as well as who you should be.

1.) Christ-centered

The first rule of dating is really the first rule of life: Jesus calls it the greatest commandment.


I regularly get questions from Christ-followers about dating people who don’t follow Jesus. Some have called this “missionary dating.” The thought process goes something like this: my replies are in italics

  • “Well, they don’t believe yet..but they’re asking good questions!” – still not a follower, yet.
  • “Maybe God put me in his/her life to help lead them to Christ.” – God’s big enough to save people without needing you to sin in order to do so. 
  • This is the most common one: “But they are a Christian. They prayed a prayer when they were eight but have just been wandering since then. They don’t really go to church but they’re definitely spiritual.”

Now, with that last one, imagine we used the same criteria that was used to affirm their love for Jesus as the criteria used to affirm his/her love for you. It would go something like this.

  • “Yeah, my boyfriend is awesome! He just doesn’t talk to me very much, Actually, he never does. We actually don’t ever spend any time together either. But he talked to me once when he was eight! He even told me he loved me then. But that was the only time. And now, he actually spends all of his time with other girls. But yeah…he’s awesome.”

The person you’re looking for to date…they need to be more than cultural Christians who attend church.

We’re talking about living Christ-centered lives, not just attending a few church services a month.

  • Your person should be able to explain the Gospel to you. Briefly, in less than a minute…out loud…with words…without having to Google anything.
  • Your person should be able to articulate what God is doing in their life.
  • Your person should have other people (plural) speak about their passion for the Lord.


Is it sinning to date a non-Christian? YES 

  • 1 Cor. 7:39 – “marry only in the Lord”
  • 2 Cor. 6:14 –  “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
  • Genesis 1-2 – Garden of Eden (before sin entered the world) – How did God originally intend life to be lived? 
    • 1 man and 1 woman loving God and each other for life.

Now, if you follow up and say, “Well, Steven, listen if I’m honest Jesus isn’t the most important thing in my life right now, either.” Well then you’re not being Christ-centered (and we can work on that, certainly – I’ve been there) but if you’re not living a Christ-centered life you’re not living up to the standard by which you can date and still honor God.


2. Outward-focused

You care for others. They should care for more than themselves. A lot of times folks have a hard time dating or getting serious in a relationship getting past that 3-6 month mark because all of a sudden you have someone real in your life to take care of and someone else’s opinions and preferences to consider. You wake up and realize you don’t get to always and instinctively do whatever you want.

Guys, if your idea of a date is inviting a girl over to watch you watch video games, it’s gonna be a rough time.

Ladies, if your idea of a date is having a guy to tote around to all your functions and events and everything that you want to do and never consider what he might want, it’s gonna be rough.

If you’re pursuing someone who’s never concerned for others, why would you think they’ll ever be consistently concerned for you? If you’re dating someone who’s never concerned for others, what would make you think they’ll be a good parent?

What does an outward-focused life look like? (this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive – just a start)

  • Someone who knows that money isn’t everything
  • Someone who mentors someone or gives back to the community
  • Someone who cares about their family
  • Someone who’s willing to be there for a roommate
  • Willing to listen to someone older than them.
    • In his book Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler talks about how dangerous a group of 24-year old guys talking about life and thinking they have it all figured out can be. But, he says, if one of those 24 year-old guys will also start connecting with a 38-year old married guy, that’s a sign of maturity. Humility.


3. Community of Friends

a) Accountable

  • maybe that word smacks of legalism or something that’s outdated or antiquated, but to be accountable simply means that you’re someone who is fully open, fully honest, and fully authentic with a small group of people.
  • Everybody doesn’t need to know everything about your life but a few people need to know everything about you.
  • Galatians 6:2 – truly bear one another’s burdens 

 b) Authentic

Don’t try and be a version of you you think someone else will like. Be the you God made you to be. Be like Jesus! – conform to HIS likeness but don’t try and be someone you’re not.


If you’d like more recommended resources on singleness, dating, and marriage or watch any of the sermons in our Waiting, Dating, & Mating series, click here. 

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