I fellow blogging friend of mine posted this on his blog today, and I just had to share it. I agree wholeheartedly with everything he talks about, and I hope you will enjoy reading this.
Well, tomorrow is Valentines day. The day that everybody is to think on the love that they share in relationships.
There is also a trend that I have come across which calls the day, “singles awareness day.” The point being that we become aware of all those who are without a relationship to focus on. And it becomes a day of mourning for those without a relationship.
And if that is the definition of “singles awareness day”, as a single, I want no part of it.
Instead let me throw down some of my thoughts on singleness. These are some of the things that I had learn through the years as a single person. This is by no mean a comprehensive list but hopefully it hits some basic elements.
- Singleness is not a curse.
- There can be the temptation to see singleness as a punishment from God. Though this might be something that some chuckle at, it is a real problem. I have had to struggle with it from time to time. The idea is that there is some sin or sins that I have which are keeping me from marriage. God is looking down on me with displeasure because of it and He is keeping someone from me until I become almost perfect. I wanted to say, “God, come on…do I have to be perfect until I find someone?” Of course the Spirit would quickly rebuke me for such thinking. Singleness is not a strike from God because I am not living perfectly. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). And singleness is not excluded from the “no.” You and I will never be perfect and the person we marry will never be perfect. And both her and I are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. So this is not a punishment from my Father in anyway.
- That being said, however, I would tell someone that there are problems which can keep us from being marry-able. For instance, one cannot hold a job to provide for a family. Maybe one has no relational skills and thus cannot hold conversation with anyone. These are things that can keep us from having the quality that one needs to be married to someone. Remember, we are to relate to one another in the manner of Christ who, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8 . Thus, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4). If you will be a burden to a spouse and not an aid you don’t need to look into marriage. Doing so is selfish!
- Singleness can be painful.
- This is real life. Singles are not always the envisioned, “happily devoted to serving God because I do not have the responsibility of a spouse.” There are many who want that responsibility, yet have not been granted it. A wife (or husband) is a good thing (Pro 18:22) and the pursuit of one should not be looked down upon. And many people have pursued again and again and some have waited to be pursued again and again and they have turned up empty handed. This is no matter for any caring member of a local church to cast aside. Some singles have had broken relationships again and again. This starts to quench any future desire to pursue because the desire seems unattainable. Why pursue again since it is probably going to result in failure again? And so the desire for marriage seems completely unattainable. There is real pain with failed relationships and singles need to be directed to the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our afflictions (2 Cor 1:3-4a). I know, I have been there many times. Just broadly blasting out “you need to get married” is of little help in such cases. Yes, there is the adult-child that needs to grow up and attain the character one needs to marry. But many singles would be married at a drop of a hat if they could. So what is the church to do about this?
- Singles need to be pointed to Christ and the inheritance found in Him, not the future “one”.
- The answer to these pain is not, “wait for the best one that will be coming around anytime now.” But instead, the answer is to direct them to rely not on [them]selves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Cor 1:9b). Every person who is single needs to have their hope set in Jesus Christ and the awaiting future kingdom that He has promised them. God knows their pain but their struggle now is not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18b). There is the sustaining joy of knowing that the one who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all (Rom 8:32a) works everything for our good. But what is the good that He is working? “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29). That is the goal to which God is bring us, conformity to Jesus. And faith looks to that truth and believes that it is better than marriage.
- A life of holiness and love for Christ is more fulfilling than having another person to hold, cuddle, and become intimate with. And you know what, our heaven Father knows that He is keeping such pleasures from some of His children. And you know what He promises those children? A future inheritance that will reward them for faithfulness without those pleasures! The pleasures which this inheritance will give in the first minute will make up for the missed pleasures of sexual intimacy with a spouse one would have had in a life time! Nothing is worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us!
- In loving words every single needs to be told the words from Lloyd-Jones, “stop looking at yourself and begin to enjoy Him.” (Spiritual Depression, pp. 88 . Look to the One who chose you before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless. Who predestined you in love to be adopted as His very own child so that He could lavish all His grace upon you for all of eternity. Who washed all your filthiness and vileness away by His sacrificial atonement. Putting upon Himself the very wrath that you deserved. And raised you up with Himself as He conquer the grave by His resurrection. So that you are now dead to sin and alive to holiness. And the One who keeps you His very own by His strength and not your own! Every single’s eyes are to be directed to this One for all their joy and hope.
These are some of the things that the Lord has taught me while pilgriming this journey of singleness. Has it been (and still is) difficult? Yes. There are constant heart tearings and failing dreams in this one area of my life. But is it pointless? NO! I am owned by a God who is bringing upon me these storms because there is something better that I should attain. And He is here to carry me through each and every storm. I know myself! I would have given up long ago by being drowned in a sea of despair. But no, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24). Having looked back upon my singleness I can say this, it has not been easy; But because of it I have come to know Him so much better. Not because I am so great. But because He has used the trials to bring me closer to Himself.
So thank you Jesus for my singleness! Keep leading and guiding me on this path till it is your will to make it change. Just give me the strength to endure each and every trial. Because it is by this valley I get to know you better! And let me love and serve my married brothers and sisters so that your church may be built up in love and holiness. Amen!
Please be sure to check out his blog!