In 2002 ABC began producing the dating and relationship “reality” TV program known as The Bachelor. In that first season a newspaper article reported, “The show … premiered last month with 25 women vying for the affections of a 31-year-old San Francisco management consultant … For fans of the series, the show plays like a real-life soap opera–following the escapades of handsome Harvard and Stanford graduate Alex Michel as he loves up, then winnows down, his adoring harem to a select few. Viewers are privy to the intimate conversations, cat fights,…and miserable rejections … in Thursday’s finale, Michel … selects his Mrs. Right.
Although this is intended for entertainment, the many seasons of this show and its spin offs convey implicit values to millions of viewers. Here’s an obvious case in which we are not to be conformed to this world system, but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). The way these young women clamor after the bachelor, it appears that many singles feel radically incomplete. People are desperate to get their perceived needs met. However, the Exchanged Life involves seeing every aspect of life from God’s perspective. Thankfully, believers in Jesus are never incomplete: “You are complete in Him [Christ], who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).
Cindy Galdal-Reperto is a writer and leader of Oasis Christian singles ministry in New York City. She testifies of how our ultimate needs can be met in Christ:
“When I was a little girl our family was the only one I knew that had been torn apart by divorce. Every summer we would leave our home in Brooklyn to visit my cousins in the suburbs. The perks of having a daddy were made very clear to me. My uncle provided a large home in the country for his family. My cousins had every toy known to mankind. My aunt lived a charmed life as a stay-at-home mom in contrast to my mom who had no choice but to work. Throughout my childhood, and for many years of my adulthood, I felt inferior without ever realizing it. Then the Holy Spirit began to show me the false beliefs I had been living under. The Enemy had begun deceiving me at a very early age. As a child I believed I was incomplete because I didn’t have a dad.
“Then as an adult I felt the same way because I didn’t have a husband. Deep within my being I thought that the only way to be happy was to be married and live in the suburbs. I was convinced that I couldn’t enjoy life until I attained those things. Slowly, the Lord began to reveal the truth to me. It wasn’t the daddy, the husband, the house, or the country that I truly longed for. I wanted what they represented to me. That included a sense of security, self-worth, acceptance, and love. Now I know that these needs, my deepest needs, are all met in Christ. I am also able to look back and appreciate the wonderful childhood my mother worked so hard to give us.
“Christianity is so much more than mere religion. Intimacy with God brings fulfillment and satisfaction that cannot be experienced apart from Him. I am amazed at how God continually works to bring deeper healing into my life.” 
Have you ever reflected on your identity as part of the “Bride of Christ”? Believers are so blessed to be considered espoused to Him. You recall how John the Baptist described the Lord Jesus as the bridegroom (John 3:29).
Christ Himself used this metaphor when He compared His return to heaven to prepare a place for His people with the way a Jewish bridegroom would go to his father’s property and prepare a home for his future wife (John 14:1-6). Marriage in Bible times was initiated by a formal covenant of engagement (“betrothal”). This symbolizes the New Covenant that Christ established at Calvary (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:15). After a number of months, the bridegroom would suddenly return, and the marriage ceremony would take place. Then the couple would unite, and all their family and friends would enjoy a feast of celebration. The Second Coming is compared to this imminent return of the bridegroom (Matt. 22:1-14; 25:1), and the glorious fellowship of Christ and His church that follows in heaven is described as the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).
The gracious love of our Bridegroom is totally different than “The Bachelor” program! Reality TV’s bachelor courts a group of glamorous women, promises them a future, uses them, and rejects all but perhaps one. His criteria is only what will be appealing to his desires.
- The Bridegroom laid down His life to betroth a bride that was unlovely, and unqualified (Rom. 5:8).
- Instead of rejecting us, He has chosen us (Eph. 1:4-6).
- This marriage is not just for His benefit, but for our eternal well being (Eph. 2:11-18).
- This courtship is not just to for a spectator’s entertainment, but to invite all to receive God’s eternal, sacrificial love (Eph. 5:25).
- The matchmaker/producer is not a mere Hollywood executive; He is the Holy Spirit who delights in magnifying the Bridegroom and rescuing the lost (1 Cor. 12:3).
In his book on courtship, The Power of Passion, Rob Eagar emphasizes the need for appreciating God’s personal love in Christ:
“Some singles, though, doubt their worth to Jesus. As they walk in and out of church by themselves, they question whether anyone cares about them. Some churches further alienate singles by making married adults and families a priority. Many times, singles are segregated from the rest of the congregation or ignored altogether…
“Jesus never regards you as just another face or number. He is specifically attracted to you and loves you as a unique person. He stated this fact when speaking to his disciples: ‘What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows’ (Luke 12:6-7 NLT).
“Jesus was expressing His intimate knowledge of you. He knows every detail about you–including how many hairs on your head and even whether your hair color is natural! You are His valuable creation. Therefore, He is attracted to you as a unique and special person.
“Jesus Christ, Ruler of the universe, knows and loves you as a distinct individual. You may feel lost in the crowd, but you always stand out in the eyes of Jesus. He takes joy in your unique personality, your interests, your strengths, and even your weaknesses. Furthermore, He doesn’t demand that you imitate other Christians to secure His approval. His love is unconditional, and He wants you to be yourself. So real passion not only involves the imitation of Christ’s love but also incorporates the truth that you are a unique individual who brings Him joy.” 
So, as a believer, give thanks for your redemption. Rejoice that you are espoused to the King of kings as your “bridegroom” (2 Cor. 11:2). Let’s send out the wedding invitations:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
 Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, “‘Bachelor’: A Little Sweet, a Little Bitter,” April 22, 2002, The Los Angeles Times. (Producers said that the bachelor was under no contractual obligation to make a marriage proposal.)
 Cindy Galdal-Ruperto, “From the Heart of the City,” March 2002. Reproduced by permission of The Christian Life-Times. Visit CompleteinChrist.com
 Rob Eagar, The Power of Passion: Applying the Love of Christ to Dating Relationships, (Grace Press, 2002), 23-25.
Copyright 2002 by John Woodward. 2nd edition. Permission is granted to reprint this article when credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com. Scripture quotations, unless indicated otherwise, are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (copyrighted by Thomas Nelson).
Author and conference speaker, Frank Viola, has an online course on “How to Live by the Indwelling Life of Christ.” The first session’s audio message on “Rethinking Discipleship”is free: https://frankviola.info/2013/07/15/course1info/