“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20: 24)
“The heart of the matter”- basically, the root issue or core problem. I would like to try and express to you, reader, something that the Lord once dealt with me before in my life. Something which burdened my own soul, and which I believe still holds its grasp around most single Christian young girls today- the desire for marriage.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. It is something I think any girl would naturally desire. It is perfectly normal and even good. To be a wife and a mother is a high and godly calling and one we should actually be preparing ourselves for. To want marriage, to anticipate and hope for it, to prepare yourself for it, is both a righteous and pure thing. God made marriage. He designed it. In fact, He created us for it. He made Eve for Adam. She was to be his “helpmeet”. That was her calling. So, before I give the wrong impression, I’d like to say that I am not in any way against marriage. I desire to be married someday just like the next girl. I have little hopes and dreams of my wedding day too. But, I would like to address the slump most Christian girls find themselves in when their hopes for getting married are not met.
I’m always hearing young women talk about their struggle with being single, as if it were the greatest possible trial in life. Or girls who complain about the strange in between of girlhood and marriage as a frustrating time to just “bear through”. They seem to view this “stage” of life as a great sorrow to patiently endure until hopefully “Prince Charming” arrives on the scene. Such girls seem to be discontent, impatient, idle, and frivolous or even desperate. They then view marriage as their rescue from a boring, miserable existence and marriage becomes the answer to their current problems and their entire focus and purpose for living altogether. This shouldn’t be.
Each season of life is precious and has something very special to offer. The past can be remembered and the future can be hoped for, but it is the present that we live now. You cannot go back in time and open the birthday presents you once received on your 4th birthday. And you might say, well, obviously. That is silly. But in the exact same way, you cannot go forward in time and open the presents you might receive (by the grace of God!) on your 80th birthday! And again, you might be thinking, how silly. But isn’t this honestly what girls do? They jump ahead in the years of their life, maybe not to their 80th birthday, but instead to the day that they might open their wedding presents. Living in the “imagination of tomorrow”, is the same thing. You are throwing away the present in exchange for something that isn’t even real. That’s scary. We cannot wait to do the things that take up our life on a daily basis. For example, we can’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I’ll just live Tuesday tomorrow, instead of today”. It doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. We aren’t holding our breath. But then why do girls do this when it comes to waiting for marriage? We do not wait for a time, which we are never actually guaranteed, in order to live for the Lord. At least, I hope you wouldn’t! You give Him your present, because that is all you have. Jesus talks about how no man knows what the future holds. We are only given today. He says to “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)
Proverbs 27:1 says- “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
And in James 4:14-15 it says- “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
“For what is your life?” Good question. And He gives a very sobering answer. “A vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” When we choose to wait in order to live our life to the fullest that God intended it to be lived, whether that is for some reason, something, or more specifically, someone, we are choosing not to live our life altogether. We are only given today, to live unto the Lord. Why waste it dreaming of what you intend to do tomorrow? That is foolishness. Marriage isn’t our goal. Christ should be our goal. He is our reason for living. He should be the reason and driving force behind all that we do. Each season of life is a gift from God. Whether that is your childhood, your single years, or your married years. It is a special time that He not only knows about, but actually planned for, and that He wants to use in some special way. To waste that time, because it isn’t what you would have necessarily chosen for yourself, is actually being a bad steward of what the Master has given us.
“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.”
Here we see how this lord was certainly fair. He didn’t give to any of these three servants what they weren’t able to do, but according to their ability. He didn’t expect the servant which only had 2 talents, to do exactly what the servant with 5 talents was able to do. But he did expect them to utilize what they were each given.
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.” (Matthew 25:15-28)
This servant was rebuked for being slothful and hiding away what he was entrusted with to utilize and gain from. And while this parable is speaking of talents, I believe it can also apply to our time. Our single years could be compared in the same sort of way. God knows what we are each able to handle. Some young women are entrusted with more years in their singlehood than others. Like the servant who was given 5 talents as opposed to the servant who was only given 1. He is a fair and faithful Master, and doesn’t expect something that He doesn’t also give us the ability to do. But, I think many Christian young girls are guilty of the same fault that this lord found in his servant. Maybe not so much out of fear, but certainly from neglect, we waste our talent (time) that we have been entrusted with, that our Master seeks to use. Maybe that problem for some is that they are comparing themselves to another one of our Lord’s servants? If I was only like “so and so” or was able to do “such and such”, I would be more content and joyful or useful with my time as a single person. This is a dangerous attitude to have. Where is our trust in what the Master has specifically chosen for you to do?
Our single years can be years filled with amazing opportunities that may never come again, if we would only accept them as such and be good stewards with what our Lord has entrusted us with.
Secondly, it is not our right to demand anything of the Lord.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 says- “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Who do we really belong to? “Ye are not your own”. We have been bought with a price. We belong to Christ. And while we are called God’s sons, we are also called His servants. In I Corinthians 7:22-23 it says, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
He is LORD. He is our Master. He is the one who made you. And He has the right to demand whatsoever He will. Matthew 10:24 says how “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”
If Christians would not only understand this truth, but actually apply it to their daily lives, how different their testimony would be! I think we have fallen short, way short, of what Christians are really called to. Romans 12 says how it is only our “reasonable service” to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him.
Marriage is something that Jesus may, or may not, choose to give us. It is a gift and gifts have to be given. Otherwise, it is then no longer a real gift. Marriage isn’t something we have a right to demand for ourselves or to take for ourselves. Jesus has the right to say no and we must accept that.
I heard it said recently, that you are either devising your own way or God is ordering your steps. This is very true. There is no middle road. We are either living for Christ or we are living for ourselves. We either desire to please Him with all that we do, or we are seeking our own selfish pleasure. He is leading the way, or I am running off on my own fancy. Do we care to see His desires fulfilled in us? Or just ours? What is His will for me? What are His thoughts on a given subject? Are you willing to let Him keep your heart completely for Him? Or is that same heart given out in several different directions? And we all know this to be true. This isn’t something we haven’t heard before. But which one are you?
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
Just as we have no right to demand for ourselves, marriage, we also have no right to demand our own forms of happiness and pleasure in this life altogether. Not if our lives are truly God’s.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4)
Romans 15:3 says, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
If the Son of God came not to please Himself, who do we think we are to demand our own pleasures and happiness? To think that we are here to fulfill our own little dreams is almost absurd. Christ submitted Himself to the Father. His words were the Father’s words. And His works were the Father’s works. He came to do the Father’s will. How much more should we?
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (I John 2:6)
To Be Continued…