I find it really funny that only recently our church elders have met up with a few of our small group leaders to address the issue of the alarming growth of unmarried men and women in our church. Somehow, they felt the need to propel these singles to mingle and build godly relationships that would potentially lead to marriages. I am not against this. In fact, I am very much supportive of this and sincerely touched by such gesture.
I have been single long enough to know the pressure and sorrow that comes along with being the only single in the crowd. It has not always been the most comfortable place to be in – from being embarrassedly called out to catch the bouquet during weddings, explaining your marital status to your high school friends during class reunions, to being branded as old maid, picky or choosy by your relatives during family gatherings. So, if perhaps an outside force will have to be put in place in order to stir things up a bit and make these marriages happen, then I’d much welcome this with open arms. However, whilst I am excited to mingle with my equally single eligible bachelor friends, I would like to first apply an inner force and address the condition of every single (ready-to-mingle?) person’s heart.
A lot of single men and women in church desire and pray to get married but if you would ask them, “Do you know how to be single?” Some would either give you a stern look whilst some would stop for a moment and think really hard before finding some answers.
If you’re single and reading this, let me ask you, do you truly understand why God has got you in this season of your life? If not, let me share with you what I learned in my own journey. This is not a formula to help you find a lifetime partner, this is more about you finding joy, peace and contentment as you walk through this season of your life as a single man or woman.
1. Being single is more than your Marital status, it is your Spiritual status.
It’s amazing how even the laws of this world require that in order for a person to get married, you got to be single or unmarried first. In the Philippines, for instance, one of the legal requirements to apply for a marriage license is that each of the couple has to present a “Certificate of No Marriage” – meaning neither one of them is currently married to anyone and anywhere therefore this qualifies them to get hitched. Once they have satisfied this requirement then they can set the date and proceed with the wedding preparations.
That’s how it is legally speaking. But what about spiritually speaking? If God searches your heart right now, will He be in a position to give you a “Certificate of No Marriage”? Or will He still find names of your exes still etched around the deep corners of your heart?
How many of you are unmarried legally but are still spiritually married or bound to so many different partners from your past? Your soul is still tied to your first love in grade school or your first boyfriend/girlfriend in high school? You still sing that old song, “first love never dies,” right?
Well, I say, kill it! If it didn’t work out, then it failed. So kill it! This especially applies to all your past relationships that still haunt you like hell. If that relationship caused you to runaway from God, then it definitely had to die! Put a nail on the coffin and bury it to the ground to never be resurrected again. Only Jesus has the power to resurrect, if He wills it, He would raise it up again. But until then, you are to stay on the course with your eyes fixed on the Lord whilst you keep moving ahead.
2. Being single is about seeking freedom and finding wholeness in Christ – and Him alone.
I remember only a few months ago when I was dealing with severe depression, I sought counsel from one of my trusted church elders and we performed a healing and deliverance session. In the last part of the session, we did a spiritual breaking of soul ties. Here, I wrote down and called out all the names of my previous partners – men whom I have given my heart away and body to – then I released forgiveness, renounced spoken oaths and, in the name of Jesus, declared myself divorced (in spirit) from each one of them.
What a lot of single men and women don’t know is that, once you have given your heart away to another person and sealed this oath with a sexual act outside the boundaries of marriage, you have married this person in spirit illegally. The Bible says, “the two will become one flesh.” Hence, you have bound yourself to the other person, which is why you often wonder why even after so many years, you’d still find yourself at times longing for this particular person even if you knew that it wasn’t really the kind of relationship that pleases the Lord.
So my recommendation is this, unbound yourself, cast out your demons and find emotional healing. Seek help and advice from a trusted godly friend, your small group leader if you’re a part of one or a godly mentor who will walk with you through the process. This process could take shorter or longer, but it all depends on how much part of your heart you are willing to surrender to God. The more you allow God to work on your heart, the more freedom and success you will experience. No matter how painful it is, “you can be confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until Christ Jesus our Lord. (Philippians 1:6)” He is faithful to the end and He will never leave you nor forsake you in the process.
3. Being single is about understanding your real role as a man/woman of God.
A lot of Christian singles – women in particular, fall into the same cycle of heartaches simply because their minds have not yet been completely renewed. Their choices and ways in choosing a lifetime partner have not changed much since coming back to the Lord. Some still find themselves getting entangled into ungodly relationships time and time again leaving them on the same trail of a broken heart.
The ways of the world have somehow contributed much to this pain. Women were taught to be more proactive in finding a mate as a result, men have become more and more passive. That is why it has become even more difficult to build a lasting relationship much less create a godly and healthy one.
In the Garden of Eden where it all began, when Adam and Eve sinned, one of the consequences of the fall was the switch in the role of the man and the woman. In the area of dating, the woman has actually become the one stepping up in the game, laying down her heart, whilst the man sit around the sideline and wait for the woman to show him some interest before he even makes a move. This part, I am quite adamant. I do not get it with some men at times (I’m not saying all). Why not, instead of waiting for the girl to show interest, why not go to God directly, spend more time in prayers and ask God for more faith and courage to pursue. Rather than testing the waters whilst throwing hints here and there to different ‘potential’ women and waiting who among them would actually catch the bait. This I believe is not being godly at all. A real man of God will inquire of the Lord, he would know when it is time and because he is being led by the Spirit of God, he will have the faith and confidence to move forward in any relationship he decides to pursue.
A man whose faith is stronger than his fear of rejection, in my opinion, is the most attractive trait a man can have. And if a man cannot lead a woman in the spiritual aspect, I believe he is not yet in a position to pursue a woman. Unless, he understands this and knows how to act accordingly, he will just be another Adam who hides behind the bush afraid of being confronted by God and blames Eve for everything that have gone wrong.
For the single woman who has been relentlessly praying for the man of her dreams to come around, stay hidden in God. Hide those cleavage, be modest and keep those legs closed. There is no need for you to flash them around in order for Adam to notice you. If that is all that attracted him to you, then you are setting yourself up for another heartache. Stop chasing no man or you will have to keep chasing him for the rest of your life!
Instead, use this season to understand your role as a woman and your true identity as a daughter of God. Rest and cultivate the noble character of a woman. Be the woman who knows her worth. Instead of always trying to position yourself to be found by a man, why not try to position yourself in the center of God’s will? There you will find peace, joy, contentment, security and yes, even true love. The Bible says, “Seek ye first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)” It took me a long time to understand this, but after several twists and turns, I finally get it. Indeed, I don’t need to seek no man, but only one man I should seek and his name is Jesus. 🙂
(To be continued in Part 2: How to be Single)