A Single Christian, Not a Christian Single

walkI’ve noticed that practically everything, from our job to our citizenship to a thorn in the side, has an easier time sliding to the forefront of our minds than does our identity in Christ.

Take singleness. You’ll find no suggestion on this blog that singleness isn’t hard for some people. And you could ask ten singles why it’s hard and get ten different reasons. For some, it’s just the loneliness; for others, it’s marginalization by the church, missing out on invites, being seen only for your marital status and not for you. Though singleness is a productive season in God’s eyes, there’s no doubt it has its thorns.

Gradually, over the course of time, you might find that singleness is hanging over your soul. It’s become your identity. You honestly don’t think of much else.

No doubt singleness is influential. It filters into all the details of your life as surely as marriage does (it’s like sand – it gets everywhere), and that matters to God. But once it becomes a bigger deal than your identity in Christ, when the latter just doesn’t seem to matter as much, it is possible that we’ve left joy and truth behind? No season of our lives should usurp our identity in Christ.

It’s even better to be noticed by God than to be noticed by a human.

It’s even better to celebrate Christmas than to have people to spend it with.

It’s even better to be mature in the faith than to be doing the things church people consider “grown-up stuff.”

It’s even better to take God’s word to the nations alone than to raise a family without ever telling anyone about Jesus.

It’s even better to have your name in the Book of Life than in a wedding guestbook.

It’s even better to be given by God “a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one else knows” (Rev 2:17) than to change your last name.

It’s even better to get invites to the Lamb’s wedding feast than to get invites from other married couples because you have kids, too.

It’s even better to be made acceptable by Jesus’ blood than to be accepted by people – though rejection still hurts.

It’s even better to get God’s unbreakable promises than human vows that will be neglected weekly (such as “to honor and cherish”).

And when we sigh and struggle just to care about God’s delight in us, we find how long we’ve spent outside the influence of Christ’s identity for us.

I don’t mean to guilt. Let us find God’s grace. I believe he cares very much about our heart’s desires and, for many of us, is still turning the cranks on his plan to fulfill them.

But remember – it is only out of our identity in Christ that we can do our part to fulfill God’s plan anyway. It’s only out of our identity in Christ that we will catch the notice of a true disciple, become a good spouse and parent, or live out our other kingdom purposes in the meantime.

“Single” works better as an adjective. The cross and empty tomb are our nouns.

Take back your joy and your status as “more than a conqueror” in God’s love. While we wait for our human families of our own, let us celebrate being invited into God’s. For when we thank him for it, meditate upon it, and celebrate it, it will take a turn overshadowing all else.

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!

3 Tips for When You’re Misunderstood

Ipointt’s frustrating having your motives misunderstood.

Sometimes people will innocently misunderstand. Other times they’ll deliberately twist your motives because they dislike you. It’s a part of life; we all will face it sooner or later.

Sometimes – and I’ve seen this in the lives of friends recently – it is your excellence that will get people distorting your motives. Though they don’t realize it, they’re irritated because they see you working hard to do your best, and it makes them insecure.

Or it might be that you made a mistake, and people will try to decode why without having all the information (i.e. without asking you).

If that’s your situation today, you could be friends with David.

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Roadside Assistance: Speaking the Truth Out Loud

Jesus' perspective needed!Tooling along a forest highway in the middle of nowhere a couple years ago, headed to a job interview, my breath catches a little. My eyes have just spotted the engine temperature gauge pointing in an unpleasant direction. I pull over and open the hood. The coolant reservoir is hissing, bubbling and trembling like a Yellowstone geyser.

Perfect. Interview aborted. Hope I can limp the 50 miles back to my mechanic. (Welcome to Montana.)

I get back in and start waiting for the engine to cool down. After five minutes spent listening to the double blinkers (“uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh“), the sweltering heat forces me out of the car and into the shade of a nearby tree.

Standing there, one thought inexorably seeps in: my bank account is going to feel this. Again.

And an answering thought on the heels of the first – harder to put words to, because it’s one of those deep-soul thoughts, more feeling than word.

This is pitiful.

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You’re Not a Loser for Starting the New Year Single

Every once in a while I’ll get triggered by an Internet meme, and ’tis the season for this one…

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Or this one, along similar lines…

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You get the idea.

I don’t know how serious people are being here, but let’s break down the labels contained herein (I won’t use the three-letter F word, you heard it enough in junior high):

things

I could see how the first three are negatives in your eyes. 1) is a problem. I pray for people’s freedom there. 2) and 3) are worthy of change – perhaps not necessarily evil (James 1:9), but we do want to meet our bills and take care of our bodies. May 2017 be the Waterloo of these obstacles in our lives. (Though even if not, our worth in Christ remains untarnished. Far, far from Loserville.)

But…single? How does that fit into a set of negatives?

There is nothing wrong with singleness. There is nothing unhealthy, inferior, or inadequate about being single (though how you got there can still hurt). It’s a station in life. You’re probably at that station because you take relationships seriously and are holding out for someone you can go the distance with. Who wants to be jerking in and out of relationships like a 15-year-old learning a stick shift? Perish the thought.

I know, I know – “it was just a meme, Brandon. I posted it for a joke.”

But are you sure?

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Singles Training #3: How to View Yourself

103943824I am a child of the King.

Say it again.

I am a child of the King.

Keep saying it.

I am a child of the King.

Look up Zephaniah 3:17 while you do it.

I am a child of the King.

And Romans 8:31-39.

I am a child of the King.

And all of Luke 15.

I am a child of the King.

Dear longing single, you’ll need this knowledge. You’re going to need your identity in Christ embedded deep in your soul. The favor, the privilege, the delight you hold in God’s eyes. The bewilderingly good fortune that God chose to rescue us from the filth and consequence of sin. Learn it, marinate in it.

And you’ll need it for more than just finding the right mate. 

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6 Spouse-Related Reasons You Need Jesus More Than a Spouse

ringI’ve never been married. But I have been very interested in marriage.

The divorce of my parents led me to one of the most fervent prayers I’ve ever made – “God, don’t let me end up there.” It’s the kind of prayer God is eager to answer. His first lesson? Much of the answer takes place before any vows do.

And the greatest answer of all is…Jesus.

I know. I can hear you sigh. You’ve heard for years that you need Jesus more than a spouse. But he just seems so boring compared to romance and white picket fences and sex and babies. He honestly seems unrelated, other than saying “no” to your longing.

But indulge me for a second. The fall of my family prompted me to keep my eyes and ears open for “what it takes” for a thriving marriage. It got me watching older couples, gleaning from them, reading every book anyone gave me. It got me learning from couples my own age as they’ve reached that stage. God used the whole thing to grab my attention; he gave me the chance to scout out, in a way, the territory ahead of us singles.

And not only am I more convinced than ever that Jesus is the answer, but he’s been kind enough to give me some idea as to why.

It’s awkward to speak beyond my experience, and it forces me to mix in some generalities. But this really isn’t my words. It’s those of married couples. Perhaps we’d be wise to switch Tinder off for a minute and listen to them.

Six reasons we need Jesus more than a spouse…that have to do with the spouse.

1. You need Jesus to find that person.

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