Sacred Singleness | Part Two | The Pattern of True Christianity

January 19, 2015

If you read my last post First Love: Forsaking All, you've probably already gotten the jiff that there is a lengthy series about singleness on the way. Forsaking All was only the first, small, sweet taste of what is to come by exploring the meaning of singleness and pursuing the truth and purpose behind God's reasoning for this season in our lives. So-if you want to know what it means to forsake all and be happy at being single, then hop on board and come on the journey with me! I will be reading through the book "Sacred Singleness" by Leslie Ludy through the series and taking notes and quotes from her, as well as different authors to support the true Biblical perspective on singleness. What we'll discover will be breathtaking! With this series we'll discover that it's better to take a breath and wait on God (while being productive), instead of taking matters into our own hands only to have our hearts battered into hamburger bits in the end. 


Most dating books are ridiculous, especially the Christian ones. I remember about a year ago I was on a "dating book" kick. I was reading about every book on dating I could find to somehow help me understand the aspect of dating, how to "keep" the guy, to somehow give me pointers for "catching" the next guy, or even how to be content with just being single

I will tell you one thing. The more I read these books, the more discontent I found myself. Out of all the dating books I read, I found that the Christian ones made me feel the worst. Those secular books seemed more liberating with their talk about how "women don't need a man to be happy", while the Christian books downplayed singleness by actually placing pressure on the singles to "make" their happiness based primarily in earthly relationships. 

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There are some who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not go down. {Samuel Rutherford} 
God. Believe it or not, He's writing your love story. Unheard of! Ridiculous! That's the popular message these days in Modern American Christianity. Trust God with your love story. You've got to be joking. How can He "script" a love story that's going to be right for me? How can allowing Him to orchestrate a love story be beneficial for me? Anything far from manipulation is a ridiculous and naive concept. It's the modern message: if you wait on God, you'll be greatly disappointed. 

Leslie Ludy mentions in her book that a "slew" of Christian books have hit the market with a message for young singles stating that it's "healthy for them to be unhappy and discontent with singleness" (Ludy 24). This is so similar to the books I read. So similar to the lies I was led to believe. Many of these books would like you to believe that you need to forsake the idea that waiting on God is "essential for a true love story" is a bunch of bologna. They would like you to believe that those words are often regarded as being "misguided", and would rather encourage you to "take matters into [your] own hands to find a [spouse]" (Ludy 24; emphasis added). 


Truth be told, I'll admit that these books seem "spiritually sound". But at what cost? The cost of taking God's word completely out of context in order to allow "wiggle room" for selfish ambition to be fully acceptable? The cost of promoting lies rather than the truth? The cost of stripping God of His "rights" to bless us when the time is right? The modern voices of the church speak as though we shouldn't accept being single for more than a certain extended period of time. Why? Because after-all, God created marriage, and we should do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. Thus singleness is views as a curse and "not a purpose-filled opportunity from our loving Father" (Ludy 24).  



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In Leslie's book, she points out various singles who have not allowed the world's view of singleness get in the way of living out their purpose-driven life. Each of these persons have surrendered their lives to the Lord. Some were blessed with marriage, while others were blessed by life-long singleness. And unlike some of these dating books that mention it's perfectly fine to be discontent with being single, these people found a peace they never knew during their season of singleness. Some of these people include Elizabeth Elliot, Oswald Chambers, Reese/Elizabeth Howells, Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, John Hyde Corrie Ten Boon, and many others. Respectively, all laid down the possibility of marriage before God, willingly embracing a life of "undistracted service to Christ" (Ludy 29). 


In keeping with this "theme" I want to add something here that I think correlates well with the paths chosen by these single people. They chose their path based on the knowing in their hearts that all they needed to fulfill their needs was Jesus Christ. They were holding onto one of the most precious promises spoken of in Psalm 37:4.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
These people-each one-laid everything down at the altar before God. They allowed Him to do with their lives whatever He saw fit. And this is our cue to follow. When we surrender, we're not only giving a place in our hearts for God to reside on a "need-be" basis; but we're allowing Him to permanently establish residence in every area of our lives. According to Leslie, this is "where true Christianity begins" (Ludy 29).   

One of the hardest things ever in my state of singleness was to stop bargaining with God-my terms verses His. What I would do for Him if He gave me what I wanted-to be married. I found out the hard way that there is NO negotiating with God. Instead, God gives you His terms (not up for discussion; take it or leave it) by asking us to "lay everything down upon the altar, not expecting anything in return" (Ludy 30). God died, expecting NOTHING in return. The least we can do is follow willingly, surrender wholly, and ask for naught. 

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The matters of a woman's heart are not to be taken lightly. However, there is a certain point of view reaching a high level of popularity that places a huge importance on a person's heart: placing an emphasis on feelings, needs, uniqueness, and desire. But my question here is whether this is appropriate Christlike behavior to allow one's self to "build everything around our emotions and our wants"? (Ludy 31).

So many Christian dating books talk about how our hearts are good. It's a popular message that I have ran across countless times in these dating books. The basic message emphasizes living out the heart's desires and dreams, because it somehow brings glory to our Creator. Leslie Ludy disagrees with this statement, asking the question: "should our own feelings, dreams, desires, and emotions nurtured and coddled the way American Christianity prescribes?" (Ludy 31). I have often asked similar questions whilst reading these dating books and have found myself coming to a particular conclusion: our emotions and desires are God given and can be used by Him to help direct our lives; however, this can only happen when our emotions and desires are fully yielded to Him

Our emotions must be subservient to the Spirit of God-to ALL of Him (His will, agenda, purpose,and direction). And one thing I must point out that I have learned over my 22 years of living is that: the decisions we make should never be based off of what we feel like doing in the moment, "but on what our Lord is asking of us" (Ludy 32). 

Psalm 40:8 says this:
I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
And Elisabeth Elliot has this to say:
The difficulty is to keep a tight reign on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the place of the feelings, but of the will. In Scripture he heart is the will--the man himself, the spring of all action, the ruling power bestowed to him by his Creator, capable of choosing and acting.  
Here's the gist-what we essentially need to do to be a catalyst to what Ms. Elliot is writing about. We must (1) turn down the volume of our selfish, screaming emotions, (2) attune our ears to our King's gentle whisper, (3) yield to His strength rather than the power of our own desires, (4) choose to love, give, and pour out our lives for Him, asking nothing in return (Ludy 33).

This is the beauty of true surrender: to reciprocate the sacrificial love that God put on display for us upon the cross. That's what He asks us to do for Him. And this is why I am so passionate about embracing singleness. It's frustrating to think I allowed myself to be miserable for so long-selfish and emotional-unable to think positively about the direction I am headed in this season of singleness God's got me going through. But I want to let others know that if you're willing to drop everything-dreams, hopes, desires-God will fill you with the richness of His presence. There, in Him, you will be filled with living water! And never hunger. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. {James 1:17}
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. {Jeremiah 29:11}

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