APPRECIATING THE GIFT OF SINGLEHOOD
Today, I would like to share on the topic of singlehood and what it means to us as children of God. When I think of the word “singlehood” what comes to my mind is the state of not being in a romantic relationship.
To some, singlehood may mean “ready to mingle”. To others, singlehood may mean the freedom to flirt and play around with people’s hearts. It is true to say that in our generation, singlehood is viewed as more of a burden or punishment than a gift (correct me if I’m wrong). This is because of the casual relationships that most people seem to be involved in especially in our campuses.
Come to think of it, before I got born again, I was of the school of thought that I couldn’t stay without being in a romantic relationship. So, I was either in a relationship or I had a crush on someone (thank God He saved me in time).
When I look back, I realize that this is because of what I had allowed to inform my perspective on relationships. Since I got born again, I have come to view singlehood from a biblical perspective and it is from this perspective that I would like to share.
I am sorry if you expect to hear about the latest episode of The Trend but I would like to share on the trend in our current generation. Society has taught us that if something is good, we should seek to enjoy it immediately. Sadly, we have adopted the mentality of “immediate gratification”.
This can be clearly seen in acquiring materialistic things like phones, new clothes, cars, shoes, and even services. Once you spot a new phone, let’s say Samsung galaxy S7 Edge, you want it here and now. It’s not like you don’t have a good phone but just because there is something new in the market, you want it instantly. Just because something is trending, you want it.
We have now become slaves to the current trend. It doesn’t matter whether a certain clothe is good or even decent, as long as it is trending, we must have it. This mentality has not spared us when it comes to services. How did you respond the last time you had to wait in line for something? Did you patiently wait your turn, or did you tap your toe to rush the experience?
This “do it all now” mentality has tremendously affected the timing of today’s relationships. Let me remind you, dear child of God, that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and the way to know a disciple of Jesus is by the fruit they bear. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23:)”
THE WORLD’S ATTITUDE
I have decided to share on singlehood because many believers who are young (myself included) are at this season in their lives and it is a very critical stage. To many single believers, it is a season marked with a lot of discontentment and impatience. This can be attributed to the adoption of the immediate gratification mentality that has gripped our generation.
The world has taught us that if you are single you are not complete; that there is a missing part of the puzzle. The world has taught us that bae has to be somewhere in the background for our lives to have meaning.
There is also the deception that life really starts when one is in a relationship; that one has to be in a relationship to be happy. All these are forms of deception propagated by the devil through media. The devil is the master of deception and Subtlety is his strongest points (Gen 3:1). We don’t need to go very far to see this. From the adverts we see on television every day… to the billboards glaring at us and even to magazines.
Let us not forget that as children of God, we are commanded not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). The renewal of the mind involves adopting the right attitude toward the period in our lives when we are not ready for marriage but we know it will come in the near future.
EMBRACING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Joshua Harris has written that: most of us won’t remain single for our entire lives, and I think that we should view our singleness as a season of our lives, a gift from God. God gives an outline for the proper attitude towards singleness in 1 Corinthians 7:32. The Message translation (Christian magazine) reads:
I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.
Paul doesn’t say this to put marriage down, he says it to encourage us to view singleness as a gift. God doesn’t use our singleness to punish us. He created this season as an unparalleled opportunity for growth and service that we shouldn’t take for granted or allow to slip by.
One person rightly stated, “Don’t do something about your singlehood- do something with it!” Stop for just a minute and evaluate whether you’re using God’s gift of singleness as He desires. Ask yourself these questions: “Am I concentrating on ‘simply pleasing the master’? Am I using this season of my life to become a ‘whole and holy’ instrument for God? Could I be possibly throwing away the gift of singleness? Am I complicating my life with needless complications and worries about dating? Any season of singleness, whether you’re sixteen or twenty-six, is a gift. You just might do God a disservice by wasting its potential on a lifestyle of short-term dating.
Author John Fischer, speaking as a single young adult said, “God has called me to live now, not four years from now. He wants me to realize my full potential as a man right now, to be thankful for that, and to enjoy it to the fullest. I have a feeling that a single person who is always wishing he were married will probably get married, discover all that is involved, and wish he were single again. He will ask himself, ‘why didn’t I use that time, when I didn’t have so many other obligations, to serve the Lord? Why didn’t I give myself totally to Him then?”
Joshua Harris goes on to say that: “Instead of rushing foolishly into a marriage because of impatience or one day reviewing our season of singleness with regret, let’s commit to using our singleness to its fullest potential. Singleness is a gift. Let’s rejoice in it and enjoy its opportunities today. Let’s practice trusting God by pursuing His kingdom and His righteousness with all our hearts and by leaving the planning to Him.”
I couldn’t agree more with what Joshua Harris has written. He has dedicated a whole book to the single believer, and a sequel for those in romantic relationships. He is now a married man so it’s not just theory. It is in Christ alone that we are made complete.
IN CHRIST ALONE
We need to get rid of this mentality that unless we are in a relationship we are not complete. In Christ alone are we made complete and we will be fully made complete and whole at his second coming and not when we get married, contrary to what the world has taught us.
“And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10 (NKJV).
The first step to being whole is accepting Jesus into your life as Lord and savior. The reason why there are so many people who are broken-hearted is because they have put their happiness in a human being. No human being is perfect. Only Jesus Christ is perfect. If we put our hope and determine our happiness by a person, they are going to fail us and the end result is a broken heart.
You can be single all your life and yet perfectly whole. The best example we have is from the Bible. The apostle Paul was single all his life yet he wrote most of the New Testament. No one here on earth will ever complete you; even when you get married. The one who makes us complete is Jesus Christ and Him alone.
To the ladies: if some gent out there has been telling you that “you complete me” and what not, it’s all a lie. Come to Jesus and you will be made complete. You don’t need a boyfriend or a girlfriend to make you complete.
To the guys: never again use this pick-up line on a chick, especially if she is born-again. I am not liable for the reply you get. Jesus already made you complete by dying on the cross for you; you only need to accept his Lordship over your life and enjoy this wholeness He is offering freely. Like all other seasons in life, being single is a season too!
THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPAL OF SEASONS
Most times we don’t acknowledge singlehood as a season. We tend to crowd it with pursuing romantic relationships and being emotionally tied to people of the opposite sex. It is very possible to be outwardly single yet in your heart you are not. This is because deep down you wish you were in a relationship. It is very possible to be completely single and free from emotional ties.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 we learn of the biblical principle of seasons, scripture tells us that there is a time for everything. We have heard this said many times but that does not make it any less true. Every season in our lives is a gift from God and singlehood is no less a gift.
Each season God has given us has its own unique beauty. There are lessons we can only learn when single. I will share more on some of these lessons in the next blog. We can thus deduce from the principle of seasons that we are in this season for a period of time. This translates to there being another season ahead of us. God will feed you what you need for the season you are in. Therefore, each season builds on the one before it.
For those like me who are in this season of singlehood, this means we need to prepare for the next season of our lives according to God’s will. I will share more on preparing for the next season in the next post. Watch out for it. We need to trust God to bring the right person at the right time.
When it’s all been said and done, it all boils down to an issue of trust. We can gain contentment only when we trust in God’s strength. We must learn that we don’t arrive at contentment as a destination as much as we develop contentment as a state of mind. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
When it comes to waiting on God for the right time to pursue romance, it means acknowledging that He is sovereign. Trusting God means not being in a relationship even when other people think you should. When God knows you’re ready for the responsibility of commitment, He’ll reveal the right person under the right circumstances. Only when we acknowledge the sovereignty of Christ will we trust that He is in control and learn to hold on to His promises.
Impatience and discontentment in this season of singleness only reveals our lack of trust in God’s perfect timing. We always say that God’s timing is the best but when it comes to this area of our lives we start developing second thoughts. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11a “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Maybe sometimes you have felt attracted to someone of the opposite sex and you feel like if God doesn’t do something, he/she will go or be snatched away. A reminder is love waits but lust can’t. God asks us to wait. This idea might not be bold or daring or very impressive but it is obedient and our obedience impresses God. Waiting for God’s timing requires trust in God’s goodness. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us good things in the present because He has something good for us in the future. Our obedience impresses God more than anything else.
In 1 Samuel 15 we read the story of King Saul who was told to attack the Amalekites. He was commanded to destroy all the Amalekites and even their cattle and to spare nothing. King Saul spared the fat rams and the king of the Amalekites. Prophet Samuel is sent to him and this is what he tells him: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.” (Emphasis my own).
You may have the fear that God wants to keep you single forever or He’ll match you up with someone to whom you don’t feel attracted. These kinds of fears are not based on the nature of our Father in heaven, who is not malicious but wants the best for us. It is written in Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Emphasis my own).
In Psalm 84:11 it is written that “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” We can see that it is not God’s business to withhold good things from us; whose walk is blameless. God will not deny you good things if we pursue a close relationship with Him.
AREAS YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR AS A SINGLE
In waiting on God’s perfect timing to pursue romance, we cannot just sit back and be lax for the devil is very ambitious. It is written in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Our viewership plays a very big role in whether we will be able to be patient and trust in God’s timing. What you watch, read, and listen to will either encourage or conflict with your commitment to wait on God’s timing. As Christians we need to avoid ALL forms of entertainment that do not glorify God. From the movies we watch, to the video games, to the music, it all informs our thoughts. Watching soap operas, romantic movies and reading romantic novels will arouse longings in you that you cannot satisfy. In Song of Songs 8: 4 we are told not to awaken love until it so desires.
- Bad company
You should be aware of how your friends affect your thoughts. Ask yourself these questions: are these people negatively affecting me? How can I be a positive influence on them without compromising my convictions? The circle of friends we keep can either make us or break us. The friends we are close to speak to our lives and can either make it easier or harder to wait on God. If we have friends who are obsessed with the dating scene, their company could easily dilute our resolutions, convictions and values. Ask God to bring people in your life who will provide support for your standards and beliefs. It is written in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
- Emotional entanglement
Emotional entanglement is when two people of the opposite sex are “more than friends” and they are not making it clear. We should not allow emotional entanglement to rob us of the gift of friendship and singlehood. We should therefore guard our hearts above all else, for they are the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). We need to be careful how we relate with the opposite sex during this season of singlehood. It is written in 1 Timothy 5:2 that we should treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. The same also applies to the ladies: treat older men as fathers and younger men as brothers, with absolute purity.
- Thought life
I cannot overemphasize the importance of having the right thoughts in this stage of singlehood. Hebrews 3:1 says: “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” We are what we constantly think of. We need to closely watch our thought life because sin has its genesis in the mind. The mind is where the desire to sin starts and we need to discipline ourselves to deal with sin at the desire stage. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is discipline (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, we have a provision to control our thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
I realize that I may not have comprehensively covered this subject of singlehood. There are entire books that have been written that cover this topic. One of those books that has really helped me is I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I guess that is clearly evident from the many references to that book in my blog. Therefore, I urge you, dear reader, to grab a copy of this insightful book to learn more. Look out for the next blog where I intend to share what to do while you wait on God’s perfect timing to pursue romance. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question on the comments section below.