Friday, January 8, 2016
"On Fire": Are You a 'Healthy Enough Single' to Be Someone's Wife?
"But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."---James 1:4(AMPC)
In reference to the quote up top, let's start this off with something I read an author state about why we should avoid unequally yoked relationships: "Who wants the devil for a spiritual father-in-law?" WHEW!
Tomorrow (Saturday, the Sabbath) will be my ninth year of abstinence and at 41, I've been watching more and more women get...let's say "antsy". Some are ignoring what God says as far as who are truly spiritually viable husband candidates (Matthew 19:1-12, I Corinthians 7:10-11), some are sexually compromising themselves (Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:16-10-Message) and/or some are talking themselves into starting a relationship or remaining in one that...isn't God's best for them. (Hint: If God's Word speaks against it, it's not God's best!)
When it comes to unequally yoked relationships specifically, I want to share how one author defines them to be, along with why we're told not to involve ourselves in one to begin with. Let's start off with the Scripture that addresses it, though. Here's how the New Living Translation puts it:
"Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
As God said: 'I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'"---I Corinthians 6:14-18(NLT)
And here's how the author expounded on this point:
A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.
Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is part of a larger discourse to the church at Corinth on the Christian life. He discouraged them from being in an unequal partnership with unbelievers because believers and unbelievers are opposites, just as light and darkness are opposites. They simply have nothing in common, just as Christ has nothing in common with “Belial,” a Hebrew word meaning “worthlessness” (verse 15). Here Paul uses it to refer to Satan. The idea is that the pagan, wicked, unbelieving world is governed by the principles of Satan and that Christians should be separate from that wicked world, just as Christ was separate from all the methods, purposes, and plans of Satan. He had no participation in them; He formed no union with them, and so it should be with the followers of the one in relation to the followers of the other. Attempting to live a Christian life with a non-Christian for our close friend and ally will only cause us go around in circles.
As my mother was just saying in our latest conversation, "Missionary dating isn't very wise." So true! *Especially for women* because as I've said before, although the Bible has several relationships that would pass as being "unequally yoked" (Moses and Zipporah and Boaz and Ruth immediately come to mind), *the man was the believer* and since the wife is to submit to her husband (Colossians 3:17), conversion tends to be a lot easier to do in those types of scenarios.
Besides, Exodus 20:3 tells us to put no gods before God and since the Word is clear that we aren't to intimately involve ourselves with people who are not believers, that already puts us in the position of saying that being with a guy is more important than serving the Lord; just another "spin" to "unequally yoked".
However, this post isn't so much about unequally yoked relationships so much as it is about women who are healthy enough in their singleness that they won't compromise God's Word or themselves just so they can be with someone.
And in walks a great read that I checked out a few days entitled "To the Parents Who Don't Push Their Daughters to Get Married". Click on the link to read all of it. For now, I'm going to share her bullet points. To me, she sounds like a *super healthy single woman* (although if you do choose to read all of the content, it was published on Tango, not Patheos (LOL):
I don’t date for the sake of dating.
Who I’m dating (or not dating) is never the most interesting thing happening in my life.
I don’t feel jealous or panic when my friends get engaged.
I’m not worried if he isn’t out there.
I never, EVER settle.
I really value the people I surround myself with.
If you can look at that list and you feel the exact opposite, that's a sign that 2016 really doesn't need to be about "finding a guy". It needs to be about *finding yourself*. It needs to be about discovering why God created you and why he has you single in this season. It needs to be about apply some of the following Scriptures to your life:
"Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes---God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves...Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift."---Ecclesiastes 7:9-10(Message)
"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."---Galatians 6:4-5(Message)
"Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound."---Proverbs 3:21-26(Message)
How are you seizing life?
Are you doing your "creative best" with your own life?
How much clear thinking and common sense are you applying?
You see, something that I've noticed that Satan is doing in a lot of people's lives is having them *so caught up* in "Why am I not in a relationship right now?" that they are missing the bigger picture---and more pertinent question: "Am I a healthy enough single to where I would even be ready to become someone's wife?" And the only really way *any of us* can come to that conclusion is if we're making the absolute most of our singleness:
"My desire is to have you free from all anxiety and distressing care. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord---how he may please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly matters---how he may please his wife---and he is drawn in diverging directions [his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God]. And the unmarried woman or girl is concerned and anxious about the matters of the Lord, how to be wholly separated and set apart in body and spirit; but the married woman has her cares [centered] in earthly affairs---how she may please her husband. Now I say this for your own welfare and profit, not to put [a halter of] restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly and in good order and to secure your undistracted and undivided devotion to the Lord."---I Corinthians 7:32-35(AMPC)
If you study up on the historical context of where the Apostle Paul was coming from, he was basically saying that since so many people are not "doing marriage right anyway", it would be better to remain single like him. I'm mentioning this because we know that GOD IS ALL FOR MARRIAGE because he was the one who said in Genesis 2:18 that it's *not good* for man to be alone and the Message Version of Matthew 19:11-12 translates Christ as saying this: "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone...But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” It's just that before getting married, if you're not ready to receive *all of the responsibilities* that come with it, yep...you *really are* better being alone (not lonely, but alone). You can read about some of the responsibilities, spiritually, here.
And a part of what comes with being *spiritually mature enough for marriage* (Hebrews 5:12-14) is to be the kind of single woman who is concerned about the matters of the Lord, who lives in a state of holiness (I Peter 1:16) when it comes to her body and spirit and who also does something that I heard via a podcast link that someone sent me just this morning (it's only like two minutes long): *not sin against their talents* by not using them. (You can listen to it by clicking on the link here.)
Satan is a thief (John 10:10) of so many different things, including one of our most precious commodities and that is time. If you consider yourself to be a "woman of faith" (2 Corinthians 5:7) then you have to believe that Ecclesiastes 3:11(NKJV) means what it says when it tells us that "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
If you just want to "be married", you can do that...sooner than you think you can (Satan relishes in giving people "quail"--Psalm 106:15). But if you want a *beautiful union*---a marriage that "possesses qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about", "delights the senses or mind", "excellent of its kind" and "wonderful"---start off by making sure that you can truly and honestly say that your life, as a single woman, is beautiful!
What in your life, right now, is bringing you great pleasure and satisfaction?
What goals have you set that will delight your senses and mind in this season?
How are you cultivating your spiritual gifts and talents so that they will be seen as being excellent?
What wonderful places are you going to go, do and see?
This is the year to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) over whether or not you're a healthy enough single to even be someone's wife!
If the answer that you and God come to is...
"Yes", TRUST GOD TO BRING YOU TO YOUR HUSBAND (Genesis 2:22). Soon.
If the answer that you and God come to is...
"No", work on being patient, whole and making your singleness beautiful!
The perfect foundation to build a godly marriage upon anyway!