Leslie continues sharing on Christ-centered singleness in part two of answering the question: Is singleness really a gift? No matter how comfortable or compelling the mainstream lies of American Christianity sound, this encouragement to follow Christ’s pattern for long-lasting joy and fulfillment will help you apply the Gospel to singleness or any area of your life in which you may be struggling with discontentment, and cheer you on to embracing the cross that Christ has lovingly given as an instrument to bring Him the greatest glory.
Is singleness really a gift? It’s a question on a lot of our minds today as American Christianity promotes happiness over contentment and instant-gratification over self-denial. Maybe you have heard a few of the following lies being promoted in our culture today:
- Singleness isn’t a gift that God intended us to accept.
- It’s better to vent our frustration over singleness rather than pretending to be a happy and contented single.
- Singleness isn’t fun, and, of course, God wants us to be happy!
Sound familiar? Whenever we approach this – or any – area of our lives from the perspective of self-fulfillment over self-denial, we will evaluate everything on the basis of how it makes us feel, rather than what God has said in His Word. The reality is that there are many examples in Scripture of self-denial being the pattern that God calls us to, the best one being in Matthew 16:24 when Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Christ is not trying to trick us into denying ourselves, He was inviting us to the only way to experience ultimate fulfillment – in abandoning our own pursuits for His own. While the cross that Jesus calls us to may not be laced with instant gratification, we will experience the ultimate joy of being in the will of God.
It is dangerous to use our own happiness as a gauge for what we will or won’t accept from God. The result is always rebellion or resentment towards the One who laid down His very life for us. The supreme truth is that the only thing that will solve all of our problems is Jesus Christ! He truly is everything we need for happiness!
Even though others may tell us that it’s okay to place our desires above Christ’s, look to the example of Jesus when He walked this earth. Our loving God asked His only Son to endure the worst suffering this world has ever known. It wasn’t comfortable or easy for Jesus to give up His life; it certainly wasn’t delightful, fun, or pleasant. Rather, taking up His Cross caused Jesus more pain and misery than anyone can ever imagine. He even sweat drops of blood and cried out to His Father for another way (see Matthew 26:39).
What if Jesus had simply listened to His heart that night in the Garden of Gethsemane?
We can never profane the sacred sacrifice of our King by seeking the benefits of Christ without the Cross. Just as Jesus gave His life, we are called to lay down our own as well. When we do, we will discover that on the other side of sacrifice and surrender is the truest joy!
Remember that Jesus’ pattern is usually suffering first and then reward. (See 1 Peter 5:10, Hebrews 6:10.) When we lay everything on the altar – no matter how painful the process is – we can remain confident that there are unspeakable treasures of joy waiting for us on the other side. No sacrifice that Christ calls us to make ends in misery. God specializes in happily ever after. While it will look different for each of us, at the end, the stories that God writes are always tales of victory and joy!
Another challenge that today’s voices use against biblical, Christ-centered singleness is promoting sin under the banner of “just being honest.” These sources encourage women to stand up and publicly vent their discontent and frustration over being single (or whatever situation in life we are displeased about in general!). However, this kind of counterfeit honesty is not true honesty but a flaunting of the flesh.
If we are feeling unhappy, angry, resentful, or frustrated about something – singleness or otherwise – in our life, we need to confess it before God and call it by it’s true name – sin.
The bottom line is that singleness is a gift, opportunity, and blessing – and we should treat it as such. It doesn’t mean that the desire to be married is wrong or that we shouldn’t pray for our future spouses or for the blessing of marriage, but it does mean that we are not to spend our single years complaining about what God has given to us in this season.
The little known key to lasting contentment is to take our eyes off self and turn outward in moments of loneliness. This powerful secret has staid many single hearts upon the trustworthiness of their King! If you have given in to discontentment in any area of your life, a fresh start begins on the other side of seeking God’s forgiveness. His grace is ready and waiting to equip you to find His purpose for this season of your life. Truly there is no safer place for our desires to rest than in the loving hands of our faithful Father!
When you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God, you can be happy with or without a husband, secure in Christ alone.
Corrie ten Boom
- Matthew 16:24
- Hebrews 12:2
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Philippians 2:14
To take this subject deeper into your life, check out Leslie’s book Sacred Singleness available in our online store!