Friday, October 26, 2012

SINGLENESS : A PEEK AT GOD's PERSPECTIVE

We see things in our life from a narrow perspective, and it is often difficult for us to understand all that God is allowing to happen. Someone standing 10 feet behind us can see a much bigger perspective than we can. They can see things we can't. They can also see some of our blindspots. God sees an even bigger and clearer perspective as He sees all of our past, present, and future all at once. God invites us to get a peek from His perspective.
God tells us that those who run into His strong tower are safe (Proverbs 18:10). God's tower not only provides safety but it elevates us above the problem at hand, and we are able to see it from a different perspective. From God's high tower we are able to get a peek from His perspective at the situation. Part of God's strong tower is the Bible. As we read, study and meditate upon it we begin to see life's situations from God's perspective. It is interesting to look at marriage and singleness from God's high tower, it gives us a bigger and clearer picture.

How marriage is temporary and is only a thing of this earth
 
An important thing that God shows us from His high tower is that marriage is only a thing of this earth and it is temporary. Marriage ends at the death of one of the marriage partners and does not continue in heaven. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:30 that "At the resurrection people will neither marry or be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."
Because marriage is only a thing of this earth it needs to be viewed much in the same way as other earthly possessions. Marriage is not something we can take with us when we die. Like any other earthly possession, marriage is not required for our present happiness or fulfillment. Marriage should not be one's ultimate goal in life or it becomes an idol.

How marriage and family can be idolatry
 
We see from God's high tower that marriage and the family can become idolatry. God tells us that whenever we put anything ahead of Him it is Idolatry (Idol worship). When either singles or married persons put the focus of their life on marriage and family ahead of Jesus it is wrong. There is a danger with the multitude of matchmaking web sites, the multitude of books on marriage and the family, programs such as Focus on the Family, and comments by friends and relatives implying one should get married, that we put too much emphasis on marriage rather than on Jesus.
What does all this about family idolatry have to do with singleness? It helps us put marriage in its proper perspective. As Christians we need to see the value of a person being single in the Kingdom of God.

People serving God in significant ways in the Bible who were single
 
From God's tower we see that there were a number of singles in the Bible who had a significant impact on the lives of God's people. There were probably more who were single but the Bible does not state their marital status.
Persons who were single:
  • Daniel
  • Jesus
  • Shadrach
  • Paul
  • Meshach
  • John the Baptist
  • Obednego
  • Philip's 4 daughters
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Jeremiah
Persons who were single until later in life:
  • Isaac -- 40 years old
  • Jacob -- 80+
  • Esau -- 40
  • Moses -- 40+
  • Anna -- She was a widow for 84 years. She served the Lord with fastings and prayer day and night.
Errors in singleness
 
From God's high tower we see some errors that can occur in singleness and avoid doing the same things.
One error is filling life with busyness that has no eternal reward:
"Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail" Eccl 4:7,8. True joy is found in serving others. When a single person's focus is only on themselves and they have no one that is receiving benefit from their life, it is vanity. When a person is married and has a family, there is their spouse and children whom they can benefit spiritually, emotionally, and financially. However, marriage is only one channel of benefiting others, and being married does not guarantee that one will benefit the life of another. This is especially true in a marriage damaged by divorce. There are many, many other channels available for a single person to bless the lives of others. This is especially true for a Christian who is single. Ask God to show you His purpose for your life. He will show you.
Another error is forbidding to marry. Over the years there have been a number of groups that have forbidden their people to marry. God says this is wrong. Note that God says that forbidding people to marry is a doctrine of Satan and is one of his lies: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
Another error that God says that singles can make is to be lazy, gossips, and prying into other people's business. Speaking about younger widows God says: "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (1 Timothy 5:13) An old sayings states that "Idleness is the devil's workshop." Our focus should not be on just being busy, or we become a workaholic. Rather our focus needs to be on carrying out the purpose God has for our lives, and the things He has called us to do.

How marriage is not God's plan for everyone
 
From God's tower, or His perspective, we see that there are reasons and advantages He gives for some people not to get married. For some it may mean delaying marriage. For others it may mean never marrying.
  1. It is better not to get married than to marry a contentious or angry spouse. Proverbs 21:9 "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." See also Pr.21:19; Pr. 19:13; 25:24; 27:15 There are many people who wished they had known and followed this advice rather get married and go through what they have.
  2. Jesus said that some will not get married for the kingdom of heaven's sake. Matthew 19:10-12 "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. (11) But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. (12) For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." These verses also apply to divorced persons not remarrying for the kingdom of heaven's sake because it is sin.
  3. In times of distress, or persecution, it is good not get married 1 Corinthians 7:26 "I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be."
  4. Because the time is short until Christ's return. 1 Corinthians 7:29 "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;"
  5. To give freedom to serve the Lord without distraction. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: (33) But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (34) There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (35) And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction."
  6. Because a widow will be happier unmarried. 1 Corinthians 7:40 "But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God."
  7.  
Blessings that singles receive from the Lord
 
God also promises singles blessings for serving Him:
  • The blessing of an everlasting name - they will have everlasting impact in God's Kingdom. Isaiah 54:1-5 "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. (2) Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; (3) For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. (4) Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. (5) For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
    An example of this is Daniel.
  • God will bless with more children than a married wife -The Lord is the husband. Is. 54:1-6 The promise of this blessing is repeated in the New Testament: "Rejoice thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou than travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband" Gal. 4:27
  • God promises those who have chosen not to be married for the kingdom of heaven's sake a greatly multiplied blessing, not just a substitute for marriage. Matthew 19:27-30 "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? (28) And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (29) And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (30) But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
From this peek at singleness from God's high tower, we see singleness in a different light than what the perspective of many of those around us is. We see that singleness has a purpose, multiplied blessings, and great value in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We also see that marriage is only a thing of this earth, and that there are reasons that God gives for some not to marry. So when you are feeling down, or need direction for your life, run into God's strong tower (get alone with Him and ask Him to show you some direction from the Bible) and get a bigger perspective of your life.

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