Singleness

Below are some thoughts that a dear friend of mine wrote on her struggle as a single woman. She remained single until her early thirties (please read “A Love Story”). These thoughts were such a blessing to me I had to share them with you!

I will speak about some of the things that God showed me in my struggle as a single woman;

Was it worth it? Yes!! Why? Because I learned about a God that I had not known before! And it was for Him that it was worth it! Did the struggles make me perfect…NOPE. 🙂 But it taught of a God who IS perfect and still loves me… In fact, in Psalms 37:23, 24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. THOUGH HE FALL, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with this hand”

Loneliness-

LONELINESS IS OKAY – But do not let it make you bitter or draw you away from God but rather TO Him…

While being alone is different from loneliness… it is something that God has used throughout history and is common to all mankind! It works at the core of man to find fellowship in God…He is a jealous God and wants us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him.

While attending a study in which an elderly lady gave her testimony, my heart was instantly struck by her godly testimony. She had remained single for 39 years before God gave her a husband with whom she only had the privilege of being with for 10 years, at which point he died, and then she spent the rest of her days alone raising her children. This is a very short version of the many details that filled in the space but the essence of her testimony was the grace and joy with which she told it. To my curious and troubled soul at the present time, I was convinced that she would have had to experience some loneliness in her lifetime and so after the study had ended, I approached her and inquired regarding this matter. Her answer will remain in my heart until the end of time, “No. I can honestly say I have never experienced loneliness.” Rather in shock, I hardly knew what to ask next and she graciously continued saying, “I was saved young and I knew that God was with me.”

My heart was challenged and I thought to myself that if she can know that God is with her and have such contented peace regarding His presence with her, than I too can have such an understanding. If God is God, than surely this must be true!

Shortly after this, I was brought to attention to Elisabeth Elliot’s definition of loneliness. She astutely defines loneliness as something experienced when one desires something that one doesn’t have or when one has something they do not desire.

Bearing “Singleness”

There are FEW people in the world OR the church that can handle people being single…BUT Christ can…He was single Himself. Yet…he was without the camp…despised… and so singleness is despised in some essence….

  • You appear ‘forsaken’ to some degree…undesirable, etc.

  • All the music is geared towards lovers, or breakups…couples….etc. To be alone is a frightening thing for most people

  • You can see by the world and the church that there is GREAT desire for relationship and for everyone to have this…is this wrong? – NO… because this is the desire that God put IN US to be drawn into union with HIM!! He desires that relationship and He is a jealous God… Will we give Him ourselves first?

  • So singleness is not really a threat but it is when you do not KNOW HIM… and so we begin to make plans, and use language that denotes marriage is the ‘only answer’ … i.e. “You will make a good wife”….”That baby looks good on you”… etc. No. The language should be such…”You must have such a sweet relationship with the LORD”… “God must be keeping you as a gem in His crown”… etc…

Run from temptations

DO NOT give it heed…it will suck you in….we are NOT strong enough to stand against them when we have already entertained the thought of them…or giving our heart to them… God knows we are ‘but flesh’ but do you?

In my particular experience there was not necessarily a shortage of ‘men’ so to speak but it was having the courage to realize that God was not in them and to say “No” even though it seemed in the looming horizons that there was never going to be the ‘perfect’ man of God for me.

TALKING ABOUT PROBLEMS

I realized that I need not talk about all my problems….that by doing so I was living the philosophy of humanism… saying, “I have a right to struggle and can you not see that I have more compassion than God…” and it gives permission for others to do the same…

Matthew 10:27: What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. There is a difference between speaking IN darkness and speaking IN the light…

It does say to confess your faults and to allow others to mourn with you when you mourn…etc…BUT find a lady…an older lady who will PRAY for you…and I mean REALLY pray for you and tell them!!

Keep a journal… not of your sorrows but of what you have learned of God!!! It will encourage your soul.

Living Daily Life

THE COMMON drudgery of daily life can be a Divine Calling. We often speak of a young man as “being called to the Ministry”; but it is as fitting to speak of a carpenter being called to the bench, the blacksmith to the forge, and the shoemaker to his last. “Brethren,” said the Apostle, “let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God.”

Remember that your life has been appointed by God’s wise providence. God as much sent Joseph to the drudgery and discipline of the prison as to the glory and responsibility of the palace. Nothing happens to us which is not included in His plan for us; and the incidents which seem most tiresome are often contrived to give us opportunities to become nobler, stronger characters.

We are called to be faithful in performing our assigned duties. Not brilliance, not success, not notoriety which attracts the world’s notice, but the regular, quiet, and careful performance of trivial and common duties; faithfulness in that which is least is as great an attainment in God’s sight as in the greatest.

Take up your work, then, you who seem to be the nobodies, the drudges, the maid-of-all-work, the clerk, or shop assistant. Do it with a brave heart, looking up to Him who for many “years toiled at the carpenter’s bench”. Amid the many scenes and actions of life, set the Lord always before your face. Do all as in His presence, and to win His smile; and be sure to cultivate a spirit of love to God and man. Look out for opportunities of cheering your fellow-workers. Do not murmur or grumble, but let your heart rise from your toil to God your Maker, Saviour, and Friend. So the lowliest service will glisten, as grass-blades do when sun and dewdrops garnish them.

A Summary

I have a very stubborn nature and it seems that God has had to take me around the same struggles many times to teach me, but one of the things that has been so invaluable was simply remaining in God’s school. Dying to self is never easy… and sometimes I felt like giving up because I would become so horrified at my “self” and then discouraged because I figured I would just never learn, but by and by repentance became a gift and not a shame. I learned to fall on my Saviour even in the darkest moments and thereby learned to have a very sweet union with Him as I learned to give Him my ‘self’ and surrender my life in a true sense (not just figuratively). These have been some of the most valuable lessons for our marriage. (And would have been even if I had remained single for other areas in life.)
Prepare for the every day… get dressed, be clean, make your bed, be obedient to your authorities, work, sing in the light and in the night, be a blessing to someone other than yourself…being single can produce much selfishness but seek someone out to be a blessing to…it is needful for the single person to take their eyes off of themselves!

Resting in His Time

timingI stepped into her new little home. It was small, but cozy. There were old family pictures on the wall and blankets folded up in a chest. She pointed out what once used to be her grandmother’s and that was now passed down for her own household. It was sweet. Here she was, newly married, pregnant, and getting ready to set out on an adventure of a lifetime. And in a small way, I envied her. I’ve always dreamed of doing some of those same things. Getting married, setting up your own little ‘home’, having babies, and starting off on the adventures of life along side your best friend. It was almost a melancholy feeling, even though I was really happy for my friend.

 Timing is something I’ve been pondering lately. It seems like God rarely ever does things how we expect Him to, if ever. Even things we feel like He’s told us about. His timing certainly isn’t ours and when the Bible says “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11), He really meant it. And honestly, that’s probably a very good thing. God gives us grace for the ‘here and now’, and not our tomorrows. If you could peak ahead and glance at what your life would be like in 5 years…would you? I would be tempted to. I’m a naturally curious person. But I know that I’d regret it if I had. Here I would have seen some things, possibly even really hard things, and I would have forfeited my 5 years of His grace in preparing me for that future time. Now that might seem rather silly to some. Obviously, you CAN’T see into your future, whether you would choose to or not. But, I think some girls are in danger of doing this in their hearts and even their imaginations. They ‘dream up’ what their futures will be. They have expectations. And when these expectations aren’t met, they fall into despair. Sometimes we even hold expectations as to timing. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be almost 23 and still single. My mom was married rather young and so were some of my sisters. It was just kind of an ‘expected’. But, here I am regardless. And I’m thankful. God hasn’t failed me, because I’m still unmarried. And God would still not have failed me  even if I NEVER got married. Why? Because my life is to be “hid with Christ in God”. I belong to Him. I was created for His purpose above any other. He has a reason for His timing, even though we can’t see it for ourselves. And in a way, it really is thrilling. He has a beautiful purpose for my life…even right now at this moment… and it is a purpose for good. For His glory, for our sanctification, and for others’ service. He obviously doesn’t have a need for me to be married just yet, or else I would be, and that’s okay. He knows exactly what He is doing and I can trust Him for it. He cares. I’m not forgotten in the shuffle.
As a single young woman, sometimes there are the “ups and downs” of being single. At least, there is for me. As much as maybe we’d even like to suppress it, we can’t deny that as a woman, we were created to compliment a man. There is no way around it. It is a natural God given desire and calling. We were created to nurture. Whether that be children, our husbands, our families, brothers and sisters, our communities, our pets, a garden, or even plants! It’s there. And sometimes, in being single, it can be a frustrating desire to deal with. It would be easier just to “throw in the towel” so to speak and say “who needs men! I’m getting an apartment and a dog!” But true peace and real purpose for my life lies in surrender. Laying down all our desires, natural, God given, or otherwise, and placing ourselves in His will for His divine purpose. Just as I wouldn’t seek marriage to complete or fulfill my life, I also wouldn’t swing in the other direction and embrace singleness to prove my independence. Embracing or denying a desire doesn’t make it go away. It must be given over to God. He can deal with it. He can give us the grace and strength to be content and courageous women for Him right where He’s placed us.

If you are still single, you can count on it, there is a divine reason for it. I’d like to encourage you to stay faithful to Him. He’s doing something special. He’s preparing your heart. He’s writing your story. Marriage is only a step in the journey. It isn’t the journey itself. So even in the ups and downs of being single, the happy times, the hard times. The times when it feels so easy, when you feel content and ready to serve Him alone. When your heart is soaring. And then the times too, when hope feels lost and desire seems forgotten. When your heart feels the squeeze of a hope deferred. Can we still trust Him? Yes. Can we rest in His timing for us? Yes. Knowing that He works “all things together for good”. (Romans 8) Knowing that “all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1)

Keeping our Hearts with Diligence, Part One

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)

I’ll be honest. This verse has always discouraged me. I’ve heard it my whole life growing up- “Keep your heart. Keep your heart. Keep your heart!” I’ve even told this to other girls younger than me. But what does it mean to “keep your heart” anyways? It always felt like a pretty good saying that was somewhat overused and completely unexplained. But it was Biblical, right? It was most commonly used in reference to boys. Not giving your heart away to some guy you “like” or have a “crush on” when you’re 14, that may after all, never be your husband.

It has also been commonly used as I’ve gotten older, during the years when you are officially “coming of age” and marriage is actually a very real possibility. If you ever show interest in a guy or he shows interest in you, it is one of the first things you hear. “Keep your heart.” It sounds good, I’d like to be able to do that, but how? What does it even mean? What does it look like, practically applied?

I’ve been told that if you don’t keep your heart, you will be giving away pieces of that heart, which can never again be recovered. That you will then, never have a “complete” heart to give someone else. I am honestly not sure this is strictly true, just speaking from experience, but I do know there is a difference between “liking someone” and literally “giving someone your heart”. Some girls think they are “in love” with a guy they’ve hardly even spoken three words to, when really, they are only in love with the idea of being in love. This is called “infatuation”. For those of you who might be worried that because you have liked someone, you’ve ruined any chance of giving yourself completely to your husband, I’d like to say that giving your heart, is actually a choice we make. Just like love is a choice. It is painful, vulnerable, and not something that “accidently happens” without our knowing it. Being attracted to someone isn’t “falling in love with that person”. Also, just because you are interested in a potential possibility, doesn’t mean you are “beyond the point of no return”.

That being said, however, I would also like to bring out the fact that our hearts are extremely weak and vulnerable. We can form dangerous “heart strings” very quickly. We can easily become unhealthily attached to someone. (For more on “heart stings”- please look up Toni’s previous post “HeartStrings”.) We do need to be careful. The Lord wouldn’t have commanded us to “keep our hearts with all diligence” if He also didn’t know that out of them are the “issues of life”! Our hearts are also very deceitful. The Lord describes them as such in Jeremiah 17:9- “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

We can’t even know our own hearts. They deceive us.

But guess who does?

“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

Job understood this truth. He says – “And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.” (Job 10:13)

Just because “giving our hearts away” is a choice, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful not to make that choice. And because our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful, we need to be cautious. Just the simple fact that God told us to “keep” them, actually means that they can be “given away”. So how do we keep our hearts?

Here is something I recently wrote in my diary-

“The heart seems unruly and impossible to keep. But then, why would He give the command to? He would be an unjust God to command something without giving the ability to actually do it. God doesn’t give commands that are unreasonable. Yet, He also tells us that without HIM, we can do nothing. He is involved in the heart’s keeping. He has to be. However, I think there are principles we can live by to help that along. Just like, we can ‘quench the Spirit’, we can quench His working in our hearts.”

Here are some principles which I believe enable us to keep our hearts with all diligence. All of them are taken from the four verses immediately following Proverbs 4:23, where He tells us to “keep our hearts with all diligence”.

 “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” (v.24)

Firstly, we have our mouths. James has a lot to say about the tongue.

“Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! …For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. … Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? …Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (James 3:4-5,7-8,10-11,13)

Where are our words continually dwelling? What are our lips speaking? What are we always talking about? Is it the typical “Who likes who”? Is it always about boys? And romance? Or maybe something even a little more subtle. “I can’t wait to do this or that for my wedding!”? Whatever it might be. Is it wrong to like someone? No. Is it evil to want to get married? Certainly not. Is it wicked to be excited about what you might or might not do for your wedding colors? No, it isn’t. But what we are usually talking about, what we are always dwelling on, says something about where our hearts are. We also need to remember that our mouths also affect our listener. We are not an island to ourselves. Remember how James just talked about a fountain either yielding bitter water or sweet? It is the exact same with our words. We can either be edifying our listener, or we can be corrupting their minds. It could be blessing or cursing. Why won’t we try to use our words to edify? Maybe the next time one of your girl friends wants to talk about the “latest with so and so”, you could casually change the topic. Why not share what’s on our hearts about Christ? He is an endless and beautiful subject matter. Or maybe, we don’t, simply because we wouldn’t have anything to share? I hope not. Or maybe you know someone who is discouraged about their singleness? You just might be able to encourage that heart to stay content in Jesus alone, simply by how you use yours words. A wise man will show forth his works in a good conversation.

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.”  (v.25)

Next, we have our eyes. We are told to let them look “right on” and to what is “straight before thee”. But in doing so, we have to honestly ask ourselves a few questions. What is before me? Where are my eyes looking? Who are they looking at?

Hebrews 12:2 says- Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

What we are focused on, is what we become. As we set our faces towards the Lord, we are changed into the same image. I wonder what our faces would look like in comparison to this standard. I wonder what we’d honestly see. It depends completely on what our hearts are truly seeking. What are we looking for? Romance? Marriage? Selfish desires? Fulfillment from our own dreams?

I hope it’s more.

Proverbs 23:5 warns us about where we set our eyes.

“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?”

If the Lord has told us “no”, then there is a good reason for it. To continue to set our eyes and hearts on something that is not the Lord’s will for us, is not only vain, but can be a hindrance in our walk with the Lord. We have to trust Him with our hearts’ desires. We have to rely on His wisdom.

He searches the same heart that so easily deceives us.

Proverbs 14:30 says- “A sound heart is the life of the flesh:  but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

What is a sound heart other than a strong confidence and contentment in the Lord? A heart that is set towards following Jesus Christ. Not having a heart that is envious. Not wanting something that doesn’t belong to you. That could also apply to things we just don’t have yet. Are our desires and the focus of our hearts encouraging “life”, or maybe, “rottenness” to our bones? Where we set our eyes bears a big part in how we keep our hearts with all diligence.

To be continued….

The Heart of the Matter Part Two

Please note, this is the continuation of my previous post, The Heart of the Matter Part One. (Please consider reading part one before reading on further.) Here, I would like to continue to address the struggle most Christian girls experience with their desire for marriage and the discontentment that can arise, when that desire is not met.

Thirdly, our desires and our affections should be set on Christ, not marriage.
Here is a quote by Hannah Whitall Smith that I would like to share with you. It is a little bit lengthy, but it was a help to me and I hope an  encouragement to you too.

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14) “By being ‘crucified to the world’ Paul meant that he was dead to it. …To be dead to a thing must mean that that thing has no power to attract. And this is what is meant in the Bible by ‘taking up the cross’. It is to become so dead to the world (that is, the lower plane of living) that its power to tempt is gone. It is to have our affections so set on things above, that merely earthly things have lost their charm.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

To have our ‘affections set’ on anything must mean that we love that thing; and if our affections are set on the will of God, we must love His will. It is impossible that God’s will should seem hard to a man whose affections are set on it. It may be accompanied with hard things, but in itself it must be a delight. Our Lord could say, ‘I delight to do thy will. O my God!’ because He was dead to everything that was contrary to His Father’s will. His affections were set on the will of God; and until our affections are similarly so set on the will of God as to delight in it, we have not ‘taken up the cross’ in the Scripture sense at all.”

(Hannah W. Smith, The Commonsense Teaching of the Bible p.115)

Our affections, our heart desires, our love, should be set on Christ. Does this mean that you never have any other desires? No. Does this mean it is somehow wicked to want to be married? Certainly not. But what we thought was so dear and precious and even important to us before, in the sight of Him, fades completely. He is more precious than that desire ever could be. And He is more lovely than its fulfillment in our lives.
I think many young girls can be in danger of believing that marriage will somehow make them happy and content, when otherwise, they weren’t. But this idea is false, not to mention rather covetousness.
What is covetousness? “To desire ardently (especially, something that another person has); crave; long for.”


I know many young girls who reek of covetousness, when it comes to this subject of marriage. Girls who literally hate weddings, because they themselves haven’t had their own. They are envious of what God has chosen to given someone else, and even bitter. Just because you don’t have a statue of Buddha sitting on your desk, doesn’t mean you aren’t guilty of idolatry. Not according to the Bible. Many girls’ innocent desire for marriage has become an idol in their heart. And although they might not even verbally say it, feel like God isn’t good unless He gives them their desire for marriage. This is scary.
Are you covetous? Longing for something that isn’t in your possession? Is your heart coveting something that isn’t yours? Or maybe even something that the Lord hasn’t seen fit to give you yet? (Like marriage.) Are you maybe even coveting someone that doesn’t belong to you? (Like a specific person you might admire or maybe just the desire for a husband in general.)
What do you usually talk about? 

Where does your mind oftentimes wonder? 

What seems to make you more excited than anything else? 

What (or who) are you always excited to talk or think about?
If we answer these questions honestly, I know it would reveal where our hearts truly are.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 


Why are we able to be content with “such things as ye have“? (Such as singleness) Because we have Him. He has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. He is that life-long companion most young women have both dreamed about and yearned for. He is that friend. He is the one who can hold your hand through the hardships of life. To comfort your pain. Who accepts and loves you just as you are. The one who adores you and seeks to capture your heart. The one who will be faithful to the end. The one who you can trust no matter what. “We can face anything, if we face it together.” This is Christ.
Fourthly, our heart motivation for wanting to get married shouldn’t be derived from selfishness, but actually from love.
And here is what I mean by that. A lot of girls have silly infatuations towards someone they admire and label it as “love”. Just because you “like someone” doesn’t mean you are “in love” with him. Love is so much deeper than this.
And in the same sort of way, some girls hold an infatuated idea of what marriage is. And their dreams and hopes and imaginations for what marriage will be for them, are usually, at the core, selfish.

Feelings like-

 Marriage will make me happier. 

Marriage is my romantic dream come true.

Marriage will make me feel loved, cherished, and accepted.

Marriage will make me feel secure. 

Or marriage will change my current unhappy circumstances.

Marriage will ____(this), or marriage will ____(that) for me.


Is marriage all about you? Are you hoping to get a husband, just for the happiness and fulfillment he may give you? This isn’t real love.
I would like to share another quote with you from Hannah Whitall Smith. This quote is on love. Real love.
We must remember, however, that a great deal of what is called love ought really to be spelled s-e-l-f-i-s-h-n-e-s-s. [selfishness] People love their own enjoyment of their friends more than they love the friends themselves, and consider their own welfare in their intercourse with those they profess to love, far more than the welfare of the so-called loved ones. It has been said that we never really love anyone until we can do without them for their good; and, measured by this test, how few there are who really love.

….

The law of love can never be a cherishing of self at the expense of the loved one, but must always be the cherishing of the loved one at the expense of self.” (The Commonsense Teaching of the Bible p.141)

True love, is Christ’s love. A love that doesn’t think about self at all. A love that is never motivated by selfish wants or needs. Marriage isn’t something to enter into selfishly for your own pleasure, although I think the majority of people do. The first motive for marriage, should be a love for Christ. A love that desires His will over our own. (Whether that will is marriage or not marriage.) Marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride. And when a marriage is derived from knowing His will and in His timing, it can be such a pure and beautiful testimony. The second motive for marriage, should be out of real love for that other person. Not a selfish desire to please your flesh, but from a desire to please that man and fulfill his needs. To be his helpmeet. To love him, to honour him, and to accept him as a gift from the Lord, and also as your “new ministry”.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

(Romans 13:8-10)

Girls can also be in danger of thinking that marriage will somehow magically change them for the better. But this simply isn’t true. Walking down the wedding aisle doesn’t suddenly warp you into Cinderella. Sorry girls! Haha J Marriage changes your circumstances and your position maybe, but it doesn’t necessarily change you. If you are discontent before you are married, you will be discontent after you are married. If you are selfish before you get married, you will still be selfish after you get married. Marriage is joining yourself to another fleshly human being. And through Christ, it can be wonderful. But, everyday life goes on after the honeymoon. And you are still you. The girls I have known that were discontent and unhappy in Christ while they were single have still been just as discontent and unhappy married. It is sad. Marriage doesn’t change the state of your heart. And instead, now I see a marriage that is struggling, and a husband that feels frustrated, because she is trying to take something from him, that he simply cannot give.

 Only Christ meets the deepest needs of our hearts. That is a place reserved only for Him. Girls have a strong need for love. This is how God made us. We naturally need and yearn for affection. But human love can only take you so far. And while human love is imperfect and selfish at best, Christ’s love is perfect and unselfish. He satisfies like no other, every time. He desires us. He draws us to Himself. He seeks our hearts. He is a friend that is closer than no other. And His love is forever.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” (Psalms 62:5)

And fifthly, the Lord knows what is best for each of us individually, what brings Him the most glory, and is the greatest furtherance to the gospel.  

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)

If we can honestly say that our whole desire is Christ and that His will is our delight, as David did, then surely we would be accepting of that will, whatever it might be. Even when that will crosses ours. What if marriage wasn’t His perfect will for you? What if He needed you single? Not many are even willing to consider that an option. I don’t think anyone believes I Corinthians 7, where Paul says it is better to be unmarried, in serving the Lord, than married.

“But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (I Corinthians 7:32-34)

This isn’t to say that marriage isn’t a godly calling, or that you cannot serve the Lord married, but we should be willing, if He asked.

Letting Jesus direct our lives, from the biggest decisions to the smallest details, is peace. It is sweet to trust Jesus, because He is trustworthy and because His love is towards us. His plans are good, not evil. If He chooses to withhold a desire from your heart, it is withheld in love. 

Psalms 84:11 says-“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Are we able to say, as Paul did, “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)

Shouldn’t this be, without question, the purpose and heart cry of every Christian? There shouldn’t even be anything to weigh that desire with. He is both worthy of our best and worth seeking after with all our hearts. He should be our goal. Our whole desire. To the point that we count nothing dear unto ourselves, but that we may win Him.

The Heart of the Matter Part One

Blog“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.

First off, Marriage should be considered a gift, not a goalblog 2

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.

blog 3In Matthew 25, we are given the parable of a lord testing his servants. He travelled to a far country and left his three servants delivered with his goods.

 “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.

blog 4I 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…