Ever had to sit through a whole series or a preach about relationships and marriage, where at the start, the speaker will address and clap for the single people and tell them to “stay strong, we love you”, like as if they have some kind of illness that they’re struggling with? Well, I hope this blog will give all my fellow singletons some reassurance, but ultimately, motivate you to push on and be content where you are now.
I understand the speakers do this as they don’t want to exclude anyone. And, most of the time, the teaching is great as it will give you knowledge on what to do, or what not to do when the season comes where you have a partner. However, there is an exclusion, and the reason why I’m writing this blog, that happens when no one follows up the next week or series about how to be single and how it’s actually a gift.
I seriously believe that if there wasn’t such an emphasis on relationships in church, we might actually have single people being less consumed about the thought that everything will be okay once they find a partner.
– Disclaimer and Proclaimer –
Now, I just want to put it out there that I don’t have an agenda with relationships, or marriage. Heck, I can’t wait until the day I meet the girl who sweeps me off my feet. I can’t wait for the day I get married. I can’t wait until I see a child of mine walking their first steps and catching their first waves.
However, I don’t want to spend all of my time being consumed, waiting for something that I don’t have yet, when I could be missing out on what I have already. I don’t want to miss out on what God already wants me to do, here and now – not some other day.
Also, this isn’t a blog where I’m giving you a hook to go around like a fishy fisherman or woman and lead people on (plenty more puns in the sea to come). If you find yourself doing that, or find that you’re the person being led on – end it. Talk to someone you trust, and talk to the other person, no matter how uncomfortable it gets. It’s not healthy for anyone and it gets messy quick.
One of the biggest consequences of our actions are the effects they have on another persons well-being. Especially when it comes to faith. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the reason why a person steps away from their faith. Neither should you.
– The Context –
Life itself is a gift – your single life as well as your married life. It’s not an unhealthy desire that you want to be married, God wants that for you. God has given us these desires, but the enemy can also turn them into sin and temptations. So there is a burning desire that Paul talks about, in 1 Corinthians 7, that if it isn’t contained in the right environment, it could lead you to ‘burn with passion’.
I truly believe this burning desire is one of the reasons why we see such high divorce rates (45% in 2014, ONS), and, why some Christians get flaky and thirsty when they’re actively looking for a partner. One of the most devastating stories you’ll hear in almost every church is about the ones who ‘were on fire for Jesus’ but started slipping away as soon as they got in a relationship or marriage with someone who wasn’t similarly yoked as them.
What I love about the way Paul teaches is that it comes from a place of empathy and not sympathy. If you ever need motivation on how to be successful and single – look at his life. He wrote most of the New Testament. Do you think he ever thought “God will give me a purpose when I have a partner. All of my problems will be gone because she will complete me, and I will complete her”. Nope. Instead, he teaches the opposite of that and actually encourages and commissions the church to stay single.
– The Action –
One of the biggest downfalls in our faith is that we forget one of the most fundamental things about being a Christian – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Can you imagine a world where Christians actually followed this scripture? – Maybe, we all might actually start to see things how God does; maybe we won’t have people ‘burning with passion’ as their faith starts to doubt; maybe our posture might be of one that non-believers look at and think that there’s something completely different about us.
Being single, lets be honest here, means complete and utter freedom and flexibility. It’s one of the best circumstances you can be in that will enable mission work through your life. In my experience, I’ve been able to get up and go on mission trips all across the UK, Mauritius, Belgium, Netherlands, and India without having to worry if a partner would approve of it, or worry if it would have an implications on a relationship. And when I mean ‘get up and go’, I mean with less than a weeks notice for some of those trips.
I try to embed an ethos of ‘the need is the call’ in my ministry and I believe this is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:7 “I wish everyone were single, just as I am”. One moment you could be serving here, the next, you could be halfway around the world. The best part of being a Christian is that God has a purpose and can use you exactly as you are now. I’ll never lose my gratitude that God can still use a broken man like me.
Now, I don’t want to make it sound like relationships and marriage are a ball and chain. I’m not saying you can’t do mission work as a couple (in fact, spreading the Gospel around the world with a wifey is the dream). Paul addresses this as he continues verse 7 “But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that”. The underlining message here, like I addressed already, is that your single and married life are both gifts that God will use to serve different types of ministries.
– Conclusion –
I hope these points taken from various preaches and my own notes will proactively help any of you who have heard your mother say “The Lord will give you a wife/husband” all your life but you’re yet to see the fruits of it. And ultimately, I hope this will help to keep your focus on God:
- Occupy your street (Lentz) – serve God and the church first. Sooner or later, there will be someone serving alongside you that also has God as the only part of their life.
- Don’t settle (Lentz) – as you’re waiting, don’t settle and lower your standards from “someone who is passionate about the cross, to someone who has a tattoo of a cross”.
- Source > Surface – it’s great to find a man who’s 6 foot 5 and has a 6 pack, but it’s even greater to find a man who will stand firm against the giants in your life. It’s great to find the most beautiful girl the world, but it’s even greater to find someone that will stick by you when life gets ugly. It’s great to find someone with an endless amount of money, but it’s even greater to find someone who has an endless amount of faith when something happens in your life that no amount of money can fix.
- Find your worth – you are worth the blood of Christ. Don’t end up with someone who doesn’t value you the same way.
– Sources and Useful Tools –
The Bible – Not even being sarcastic. Know The Word. Understand The Word. Do The Word.