Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My biological clock is ticking like THIS, and the way this case is going, I ain't never getting married!

How does your church treat the singles therein? Is singleness a disease that must quickly be cured through marriage? Is your singles ministry judged, not on lives changed to the glory of God, but on the percentage of singles married off.

Single people, what do you look for in a church? Hotties? Dudes whose last name you can claim?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to be married, but is it possible to miss the blessings of singleness due to a preoccupation with wanting that era to end? Is it possible that your singleness can be squandered in a desire for the "greener pastures" of married life? Is it possible that singles have prematurely married or married with insufficient knowledge and/or preparation due to some erroneous thoughts with regard to singleness and marriage?

Is Christ not enough? Are you a slacker as a Christian if you want to get married? Does that mean you're discontent with God and lacking faith? What does Paul mean that it's best to be like him? (1 Cor 7:8) Why? How does one know if he/she should get married or stay single? (1 Cor 7:8-9) What does Paul mean when he says that, "those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that." (1 Cor 7:28) What benefits are there, to the kingdom, of singleness? (1 Cor 7:32-34)

How does the church encourage erroneous thinking about singleness? Do they make singles feel like third-class citizens (second-class is reserved for those couples without kids yet)? Do they make them feel inadequate/incomplete by constantly trying to "help" by match-making?

What should a biblical view of singleness look like?

Pastor, what do you say to the singles in your church? Heed "the Pipe" on this one:
God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.
In this sermon John Piper has some great insights in this regard and heartily encourage you to read them, even if you're already "cured," so to speak.

To whet your appetite, I'll leave you with some of his concluding thoughts.
As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church
  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families;
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. And that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.
To him be glory in the Christ-exalting drama of marriage and the Christ-exalting drama of the single life. Amen



At 02 May, 2007 14:42, Blogger etoc said...

Amen! While "Focus on the Family" is the current Christian vogue, I seem to recall Jesus saying something more like "Focus on the Kingdom" (heresy is always more acceptable when held by a bigger crowd). Contrary to the vibe we send out, there is something radically right to those able to persevere in singleness (kudos to "the Pipe").

This is all fresh and raw as I spoke on Luke 9:51-10:1 Sunday (link and shameless self-promotion here ) noting that self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, self-interest, and self-concerns are all saboteurs to self-denial--the essence of a follower. It struck me that all three would-be followers (guys I would jump to take-on) are disqualified due to their family concerns.

Being married is great. But, it isn't everything, and it isn't for everyone.

At 02 May, 2007 15:00, Blogger GUNNY said...

Great point about FotF vs. FotK. I know you're no stranger to the idolatry of the family, but your fresh & raw words sound appealing and I will have to check it out, especially as we're going to be tackling Luke on Sunday nights in the very near future.

How often indeed are men disqualified due to their family concerns? A telling indicator is their absence at church services/functions because they have to take a kid to a game or campout or Cowboys game or change the oil or weedeat.

Family's important and necessarily so for married folks, but it is a means to an end and not an end in and of itself. The family unit is a sub-unit (for the Christian now, only for the Christian) of the larger unit, the local church (and even the larger unit than that, the Kingdom of God).

We who are parents are training up citizens for that kingdom, which is more important than they be financially successful or the best ball player or have a good self-esteem, etc.

We want to train up disciples who will make a positive impact on the world for Christ, not merely strive to have a family unit of shiny, happy people holding hands.

At 02 May, 2007 15:35, Anonymous Stephanie said...

Something I've been pondering: Beginning with this post going forward.. it's a series.

At 03 May, 2007 21:53, Blogger pdoane said...

Great blog. As a new father of twins, new homeowner, current student, the struggle of the balance gets to me. As it has already been stated, the first and foremost issue for my boys is to know Jesus as their savior and Lord and be a servant for the kingdom, to Gods glory.

At 04 May, 2007 16:04, Blogger Lance said...

That's a nice pic of you.

Glad to know that you even do dishes sporting a bow tie.

At 05 May, 2007 02:09, Blogger GUNNY said...

pdoane, the balance you speak to is not merely figurative, but quite literal as well ... a boy in each arm.

; )

Yeah, the older the kids get and the more of them you throw in the minivan, the more you realize all the directions one can be pulled.

We have to remember we're investing in their lives, which is a "ministry" in itself. But, I'd rather they grow up exposed to the Word and a father impacted by the Word and God's people than to live with the illusion that my kids will make millions of dollars playing pro sports.

I can only assume that's the motivation some parents have in their obsessive pursuit of kids' athletics (not to mention the coin folks drop on this stuff).

Ya know, Lance, I've been meaning to talk to you about that picture of yours. It's good, don't get me wrong. It's good, but to make it great ... well, perhaps a bow tie might make its way into your wardrobe?

As Kip would say, "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout." Of course, I will refrain from hitting you in the grill with a steak, though I could do so from over that mountain, over a quarter-mile away ... at least I could back in 1982.

At 05 May, 2007 23:41, Blogger brentjthomas said...

This is really an article about being a Christian, not merely about being a single Christian. A good lesson, and I'll share it with my wife. Gracias!


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