Find a Savior Who Looks at You Like He’d Die For You

5661613189_65be533432_bLife has a way of breaking down your categories. You leave home and discover that Christians aren’t always decent people, nor atheists villains. You get a job and find out that some of the people out there with the foulest mouths and quickest tempers also have the very biggest hearts. You go through an election cycle. I’ll say no more about that. Whatever the case, our black-and-white definitions of things and people are constantly being broken down by life. It’s really a huge favor, if you think about it.

Same thing with marriage.

I’ve longed to be married for quite a while. I have many friends who can say the same. The world around me, too, seems convinced that this is the answer. You can tell by what they say, what they post, what they pursue. They just don’t talk about anything else. “Find a man who looks at you like…” Continue reading

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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Singles Training #2: How to View The Kingdom

running-man-sunset-fullframeA gal I used to mentor in high school got married this past spring.

I had the privilege to attend her wedding, even drove through a May snowstorm to reach it (and not for the first time. Montana, y’all).

It was one of those affairs you never forget, the pastor interrupted by great splats of melting snow hitting the pavilion roof (and splats of happiness hitting our hearts). The couple danced to “You Are Mine” by Secret Nation and wrote their own vows, the kind bursting with yearning and breathless delight. No offense to sober liturgies, but this one actually made marriage sound exciting.

But what got me really excited about these two was hearing the pastor talk of shared purpose. Here are two people who want to share each other’s callings and are well-crafted for it. A union of two disciples who know their role, who have delved deep into God and are discovering the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). As if it were plotted all along.

Maybe I’m just being a guy, but this side-by-side image of marriage, rather than face-by-face, sounds way better than any rom-com.

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Singles’ Training #1: How to View A Spouse

sparringAs we singles wait for God to bring us someone, we’re told enthusiastically by those around us, “This is the time for you to be preparing for marriage!” We’re told to grow in holiness, learn the Word, and hone our character as part of our preparation.

(We also get a hint that God might be waiting until we’re “trained” to marry us off. Never mind that God marries off plenty of people who aren’t even remotely ready, that nobody is exempt from learning to love, and that we’re training for a lot more than just marriage…but pull me back from the rabbit trail…)

Training. I love it. Something about those training montages in movies gets me pumped. Rocky. The Matrix. Any superhero origin film. The entire Harry Potter series. The hero doesn’t get kid gloves; he must adapt and learn, or he’ll be hosed. It’s a calling out, a strengthening and preparation for a mythic role. And he is usually guided by an old sage who cares enough about his welfare to show him the way, equip him for survival.

Honestly, if we learned to see our lives’ trials more like Shifu’s rigor towards Po, or de la Vega’s harshness towards Alejandro, we might start seeing God differently.

Singleness has its own training. We, too, love just reading about it (right?); it makes us feel like we’re “on the way”. God is our sage, showing us the ropes.

But to what great arena, what great mission, is God calling us singles?

Love.

No, not the fun romantic version. Love. Giving up, sacrificing, letting go, often with no visible prospect of reward.

True love is brutal, and so its training must be. Love isn’t cushy. It’s going to cost everything you have. For Jesus, it was a cross.

So why wait until marriage to start becoming the awesome spouse you’ve envisioned becoming? What if we could start…right now?

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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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You Can Control Whom You Fall in Love With

Only Jesus can truly bring you life in this area.You’re standing in what feels like rough pasture. Across the fence lies one that looks greener and smooth. You’re contemplating a choice, dear Christian.

You’ve met someone who makes you feel like you haven’t felt since…you can’t remember when. He’s meeting your emotional needs, just being himself. She “gets you” in a way nobody else does. When you imagine companionship with this person, you catch a glimpse of the life of which you once dreamed.

One problem: that person is off limits.

One of you is already married (or in a relationship that has not explicitly ended). S/he might be outside your age range. Or s/he might be unsuitable – mired in sin, or perhaps not a Christian.

Perhaps you started out with quite a compatible spouse, but you’ve long since lost that “peas in a pod” verve. Now you think you see it in someone else. Someone who’s dropped looks or hints that s/he’s thinking the same.

Being known, being appreciated, being fought for (instead of fought with) or finally triumphing over years of loneliness…

It feels like life.

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