In the last two weeks we talked about dealing with Disappointment in our singleness (as a form of self-rejection) and about marriage and sex not being the Holy Grails our youth leaders have told us await us if we are diligently chaste until marriage (until is the betraying word). Now that we’ve waded through and processed those concepts and are ready to make peace/accept our single state, it is time to turn our attention to that which is positive and life-giving as Christian singles. Today, we will look at enjoying the fullness of Christ in our singleness.
Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 5:16 to “make the most of your time, for the days are evil.”
When all of our emotional and mental energy is focused on finding a spouse, we are robbing the kingdom of heaven of a very precious resource–our heart and strength. As Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” When we focus our have nots, we are detracting from the greatest command. Thus the word “repent” has a direct bearing here. Repent means “change the way you think.” As followers of Christ, in our singleness, we are to partner with Jesus to excel in living for the kingdom of heaven. That means making the most of our time as a single for kingdom related things. I will propose 3 things that we can do as singles to enjoy the fullness of Christ that married Christians are restricted from due to their familial obligations.
Foster Deeper Prayer–Relationship with Jesus
The angst of many singles Christians is centered on whether/who they will marry. That then clouds our prayer time/focus. But what if we approached our prayer time with the sole motive of drawing closer to God? What if we pursued a line of thinking and emotional energy finding a complete satisfaction in Jesus? These internal motives can propel us to an intimacy with the Father that many never attain to.
In my singles, I embraced this aspect of my life. I found the freedom to pray and meditate on God to be an exhilirating experience. I could easly get lost for an hour in prayer and worship. (Note: Prayer is more than simply petitioning God for stuff). I often found myself in pure adoration of God for large chunks of time. I began to hear his voice more clearly, as I practiced listening prayer. I’ve had my heart swell in the presence of God to a point where I didn’t want to step away from it.
How did I get to these experiences? I allocated plenty of time to immerse myself in God’s presence. In marriage, that time is often cut short due to household demands, needing to prepare dinner for the family, attending to our children (who require a ton of attention). Not to mention all the mental energy that goes into the above, even when we’re not actually doing them at the moment. Overall, I was more free as a single mentally, emotionally, and physically to really invest in being in the presence of God.
This is a season I may never get back (at least not for a few decades). When my singleness did come to an end, it was a real sacrifice to limit all the above. I fully embraced my singleness, and was willing and able to continue in it. I have no regrets about where I am now. However, those times with the Lord were precious and powerful for me.–They were a present characteristic in my life for 20 years, before marriage was even on the table as an option. I will always treasure those experiences.
Bringing Value to our Churches with our Time and Talents
As singles, we have way more discretionary time and income. Both of which can be used to greatly enhance/bring value to our local body of worship. Whether you are part of a large church (for me that is 500 or more), a small church (<500), or a house church, you are called by God to be contributing factor to that community. That means, if He has called you there, you have gifts, talents, and abilities that will bring value to your community, foster godly relationships, and grow you in your skills and abilities as you serve your body.
Every gift can be used in a local body of believers. Even people with admin gifts can be of great value. Admins go a long way in creating a smooth flowing environment where relationships can flourish. People with gifts of prayer and prophecy contribute greatly in interceding for and hearing God’s heart for the body. Any gift and talent you have or skill you have developed can be of use. A body with dynamic leaders/elders will be able to help identify what you bring to the body and find a place for you to flourish both personally and communally. Make yourself available to your leaders/body and see how you grow as you make the most of your time.
As a gifted and skilled teacher, I have been able to bring forth great treasures from my storehouse of knowledge and intimacy with the Father. As a single, I was able to devote entire days to pouring over God’s Word, the works of other saints, and godly scholars to bring forth fresh ways of looking at God’s Word. I was able to use my skills and training as a communcator to help bring a depth to people’s faith through a God-presence soaked perspective. In the last 10 years, I have grown immensely in my ability to pull from the depths of my prayer and study and communicate that to those in my body of worship.
Enjoy the Freedom we Have as Singles
You’ve probably heard of the adage, “Work Hard; Play Hard.” That is something very relevant to walking out our faith as singles. To the degree that singles have the ability to really press into a life of prayer, bring immense value to their church, and grow in their talents and abilities is the same degree they have for self-care/relaxation. Singles have more discretionary time to meet with, pray for, and help others. That means they will also need good recovery times to keep themselves mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Singles can take extremely fun vacation at very affordable prices, since they’re only paying for one.
In terms of vacations, I mention it because it is a great way to get away from the normal routines of life and experience something new. I went abroad several times, both for vacations and for ministry. It provided a wonderful opportunity for me to see the world with a broader perspective. Talking faith and practice in Peru helped me see that Christianity is applied differently in South America to meet needs that are different from ours in the US. Even my travels to Central Europe were an eye opening experience. Having a conversation with Czech Christians about the concept of gun control in America showed me that not Christian sees owning a gun the same way (though you can see some of that here in the states).
I was able to see different perspectives in faith and culture just by looking at these two examples. I took my freedom for self-care and to enjoy myself as an opportunity for seeing the world from a different perspective, for understanding Christianity has a broader application beyond the evangelical framework of the United States of white people. In a way, I used my white privilege to enhance my understanding of the broader world of the Gospel. I took opportunities to grow as a person, in my faith, and learned to see things from other perspectives.–In the long run, I doubt my presence in Europe and South America has significantly affected the lives of those I interacted with (no immediate results). However, it showed me better ways of relating to people who view the world differently than I do-which in turn affects the way I do ministry today.
So bundled up together is: as a single, I took the most of every opportunity to grow in my faith and understanding. I treated myself to some significant self-care and came away with a broader perspective of how the works of Jesus is impacting the larger world, one that is beyond the limits of my Evangelical Americanisms.
So, at the end of the day, I want to encourage you to seize opportunities to mature in Christ and bring value to your houses of worship. Take advantage of your singleness and do something for the kingdom of heaven. Don’t wait around on your guff waiting for Mr. or Miss spouse to come find you. Go out into the world and make an impact for the kingdom. You are in a unique position to do some amazing things for the kingdom of heaven–See what you can do to hear those sweet anticipated words in the throne room, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
What are your thoughts about this post? How did it impact the way you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading the TM Williams Author blog. Here it is my goal to expand your mind through the power of words.