Brothers and sisters, let me start by saying that you are loved with the fierce love of a Father who laid down His perfect spotless son as a sacrifice for you to enter into a holy union with Him and be reconciled unto Him. With nothing to bring to the table but your brokenness, He chose you.

Over the past couple years I’ve watched as many of my friends have gotten married, floated in and out of relationships, ventured into the world of online dating and tinder where the potential of a relationship is as simple as swiping left or right. I’ve watched as many relationships have fallen through and failed, hearts have broken, people have been disappointed in the actions of their significant other, and when it’s over it shakes them down to the core of who they are. Or, at times, I’ve watched as friends have entered into sanctity of marriage with unrealistic ideas of what their marriage should look like and are disappointed when they realize that their spouse is just as imperfect and in desperate need of the gospel as they are. Their identity, security, and worth is found in the broken pieces of rejection, the distorted view that somehow being single makes you less than, or it’s found in the marriage that they’ve entered into and their spouse. In the midst of this I’m constantly reminded that a person’s worth is not defined by their relationship status. The presence of a significant other will not complete, fulfill, or sustain you. So as we seek His counsel in pursuing a spouse or pursuing singleness, let our hearts and our identities not waiver because we’ve placed our hope in the brokenness of this fallen world and the people that inhabit it, rather let us place our identities in the creator who will never falter or fail.

My heart hurts as I listen to my single brothers and sisters talk about their experience with singleness or as I think about my own journey with it. I listen as they talk about the difficulty in watching their friends get married as they desire to be married. I listen as they describe their relationships and the hurt that comes when they end. I hurt with them as they’re left wondering if they could have done something better or different to prevent the end that it comes to and as it causes them to wrestle with rejection and question their worth. I hurt with them as someone in their life insinuates that their life will be easier, better, or somehow complete if they were to get married or that they are somehow less than because of their singleness.

As I’ve walked this journey and continue to walk it, there are a few things that Lord has taught me about this season of singleness I’m in:

  1. A  person’s worth is not defined by their relationship status. A significant other will not complete, fulfill, or sustain you.
    • Looking to others to complete, fulfill, or sustain you will leave you empty. Christ is the only one who sustains and breathes new life into us.
      • Romans 5:17-21 “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    • It’s not wrong to desire to be married. It’s not wrong to ask the Lord to hear the desires of your heart, but at the same time we have to ask if we are content in the fullness of Christ if it doesn’t happen. The goodness of Christ is not determined by whether or not he grants us the desires of our heart, because Christianity at it’s core is everything working for our good and His glory. God’s first aim is his own glory. It would be counter to the sovereignty and character of God if it were anything else. In that, His glory is our good, and sometimes that means God says no or not right now to what we think is best for our life.
      • Proverbs 16:1 “The plans of the heart belong to the man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord”
      • Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
      • Proverbs 16:3 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  2. Don’t write yourself off because of your relationship status. Know your worth and where it’s found.
    • Your worth is not diminished or enhanced by your relationship status. Just as a single person’s worth is not diminished by their singleness, a married person’s worth is not enhanced by their marriage. Your relationship status may shape the way you see and relate to the world around you, but it does not define you. Both were created to serve the purpose of furthering the kingdom of God and reflecting the glory of God. Christ created marriage to be a beautiful metaphor for the gospel and Christ and his church. It’s a revealing of sin, a dying to self, and the sanctifying work of the cross. Paul describes singleness as a gift, yet somehow we have turned that gift into a burden and a stumbling block. A time like this is to truly concentrate on investing in those around you and spurring your brothers and sisters, both married and single, towards the things of Christ with an attention and focus that is undivided. For everything there is a time and season, the gift of singleness for some is momentary and for others it is lifelong, what matters is how you choose to spend it. If you are seeking someone to share your life with, don’t just look for someone to cure your loneliness because you will be left sorely disappointed. Instead, seek someone who in their own insufficiency will push you towards the things of Christ as you are both being sanctified.
    • “Paul says it means that both being married and not being married are good conditions to be in. We should be neither overly elated by getting married nor overly disappointed by not being so—because Christ is the only spouse that can truly fulfill us and God’s family the only family that will truly embrace and satisfy us.” -Tim Keller The Meaning of Marriage
    • In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller talks also about how the idolatry of marriage, the devastating sense that as a single person you are somehow unfilled and unformed, will eventually distort your view of married life when you find a partner. Thinking that you will be made complete or fulfilled when you get married will leave you devastated when you find out that that person is just as broken and in desperate need for Christ as everyone else.
    • As a Christian, our worth and identity can only be found in the personhood and redemptive, sanctifying work of Christ alone.
  3. The body of Christ is created of many members with different gifts and purposes working together in unity to further the kingdom of God.
    • Friends of singles, speak life into the singles around you, encourage them to embrace the gift and season they’ve been given whether momentary or lifelong. Singles, you have the ability to speak life into the married couples around you and are uniquely positioned to blaze the trails for the glory of the kingdom of God with a laser-like focus.
  4. Grow in Godliness and battle for holiness

The thirst is real amongst our generation. Let us choose to drink from the well of eternal life. My prayer for you if you’re my brother or sister is that, regardless of your relationship status or life stage, the Lord will direct your hearts to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ.

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