“Giving sacrificially: seeing a need and giving up something to meet it. Where can we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him?” –Jim Britt
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (cf Matt. 16:24)
Whether you are single for two months or ten years, the question remains the same. How do you view this season of singleness? Is it but a short stop, a holding bay (so to speak), for real life (aka marriage)? Is it a time to simply party? Or do you view this time as a unique opportunity to surrender your will to God and serve Him wholeheartedly?
1 : completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic <a wholehearted student of social problems>
2 : marked by complete earnest commitment : free from all reserve or hesitation <gave the proposal wholehearted approval>
Do you look on this season of your life (no matter the duration) with a devoted, earnest, enthusiastic desire to do the will of God? Another way to say it is.. Whose life is it, Yours or God’s? The ESV Study Bible makes some interesting comments of these passages in Luke and Matthew…
Comes after me means to become a disciple and requires that a disciple: (1) deny himself (not simply denying certain things buy denying personal control of one’s life); (2) take up his cross; make a commitment that will to rejection and possibly even death; and (3) follow me (following the example and teachings of Jesus).
Whoever would save his life. The person who rejects God’s will and instead pursues his own will for his life ultimately loses eternally every earthly good he is trying to protect.
As a single, I often ask “Why God? Have you forgotten me? Why am I STILL single?” And I think, like David in the Psalms, that God wants us to ask (but not in anger or bitterness). Asking is good. Bringing our requests to God is important, needful, and we’re commanded to. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to be married! But, dare I say it, there is something more important than getting married…following, having a relationship with, and obeying the Lover of your soul!
I think it is easy for me to compare myself (see post on envy) with others. “She was 18 and got married. But, she was pretty and skinny. Why God? Why not me? Is it my fault? Is there something wrong with me?” That is the wrong way to think!!! My singleness has NOTHING to do with my age, looks, abilities, quirks, or anything else. It has everything to do with the fact that for the foreseeable future, it is God’s plan for my life. “Susie’s” life is not superior to mine just because she’s getting married and I’m not. God has ordained a path for “Susie” and a path for me. He does not create identical paths for His children. Each is separate and distinct. Each is tailored to fit the temptations, weaknesses, strengths, and personality of His child. I love how C.S. Lewis illustrates this truth in The Horse and his Boy:
“Yes, sir. Please—“
“Ask on, my dear,” said Aslan.
“Will any more harm come to her by what I did?”
“Child,” said the Lion, “I am telling you your story not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
For the time being, my path is a path of singleness. God is sovereign and this is His good and loving choice for me. I say for the time being, because I cannot see the future. And while I try to focus on today and glorifying Him today, I have faith for the future. In His timing (which could be tomorrow or ten years from now, there is no way for me to know) Prince Charming will come. But, until then, what am I doing today?
That is where Luke 9 comes into play for me. I can kick and scream. I can become angry and bitter at God for not giving me what I want, a man. OR, I can focus on the MANY things He has blessed me with and choose to surrender my will and serve Him where He has placed me. I can deny myself (and my desires), take up my cross (singleness), and wholeheartedly follow my loving Father. I want to loose myself in my Father’s work. I have a unique opportunity to deny myself and serve others. I have the ability to exhaust my body serving my Savior’s bride. Giving sacrificially can be monetary, but it can also be giving of your talents, time, and abilities. My desire (which I often don’t do!) is to pour out my life into the dearest people on earth…my local church.
And as an aside, sacrificial serving as a single is great training. ‘Cause when you do get married, you’re gonna have even more opportunities to serve as you add your spouse and children to your list.
Singleness truly is a gift. It’s an opportunity to display the Savior’s love in a unique way. It’s an opportunity to lean on the Father and trust Him. It’s a daily walk of faith and trust. But, it is all done with His strength and grace. For He has promised to never leave us or forsake us!
Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation that you believe to be the will of God. -Jim Elliot
The Great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide… -Samuel Rutherford