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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Stevens Jenkins

Living Single: Called to Live Completely and Fully!

I’m completing the Bible in One Year with Nicky Gumbel and part of the lesson the other day described the calling to singleness. Jesus spoke of three types of singleness in Matthew 19. First some ‘were born that way’ (v.12a) and ‘never give marriage a thought’ (MSG). Second, there is involuntary singleness (v.12b) – those who ‘never get asked or accepted’ (MSG). Third, there is voluntary singleness – those who ‘decide not to get married for kingdom reasons’ (v.12c, MSG). The lesson went on to say that singleness can be temporary or permanent, but it is never regarded as second best. Both marriage and singleness are high callings and, according to the New Testament, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I titled this “called” to singleness. Some may say it’s more like a “curse” than a calling. It’s all a matter of perspective. I was married for most of my adult life. I have been a widow since December of 2014 and this is my longest period of singleness. Some people may view something wrong with singleness, in other countries and here in the United States. Psychology Today stated that according to some surveys, millennials in America feel much more pressure to get married than in previous generations. So, even if a person found contentment in his or her singleness, some people around them may feel differently. In 2019 my Pastor, Aaron Cowart, introduced home discipleship groups to Live Oak Church. The group I facilitated was based on Dr. Tony Evans’ book ‘Kingdom Single, Living Complete and Fully Free.’ We learned that walking in the way of a kingdom single is refreshing and empowering. There is real spiritual freedom because God has a powerful purpose for every kingdom single. Before I continue, if you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or spiritually, please seek the help of your pastor, a Christian family counselor, a spiritual mentor or accountability partner. I wish I had the time, but it’s not possible to recap each chapter. This is the Main Point from Chapter 1, The Completeness of Singles: Kingdom singles are already complete and able to fully maximize that completeness by willingly placing themselves under the rule of God and living within His boundaries of freedom. Dr. Evans said, ‘living as a successful, satisfied single…comes in learning how to walk that tightrope of waiting for the future yet also fully embracing the present, or longing for more yet still delighting if more simply never arrives.’ From that initial chapter, we learned that as long as we’re looking for a romantic partner to complete us as kingdom singles, we don’t really understand what Jesus has already done. Relational problems start when the focus of either person or both shifts from God to one another as the deciding factor, influencer or even the source of completion. That’s what happed in the Garden of Eden and it led to the Fall. Finally, the group encouraged the members to become the culture-changing kingdom men and women we were meant to be. I share all of this because I want to let someone know there is a calling to singleness. For those who have chosen to remain single, this blog may not minister to you. Maybe you can offer encouragement to someone else. However, if you are single and you want to be married, I have a few questions: Is it because of pressure from others? Is it because you feel like you need a mate? What do YOU say about where you are and how do YOU feel about it? I have learned in these seven years that if I do not have contentment with where I am right now, I will find myself in a place of discontentment. Discontent Christians often become grumblers and complainers. God didn’t like hearing the children of Israel complain, and He doesn’t want to hear you and me complain either. In the New Testament, Paul speaks about being content in ‘whatever state I’m in.’ Is that always easy? No. Then, Proverbs says ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.’ So, since I’m not a “he,” I’m not the one who should be doing the finding. I’m supposed to be found, and if you read further in Dr. Evans’ book, you will learn that while waiting to be found, I can find contentment by staying focused on whatever God has called me to do—and live! If you are the “he” and you haven’t found your good thing yet, I suggest going to God, because He should be guiding and directing you, not your fleshly desires. We ALL need to go to God first and foremost, since He put that first marriage together. Marriage was designed by Him, He is able to design ours too if we are willing to follow His leadings and promptings. They are found in seeking God’s plan, seeking guidance of wise mentors, preparing for whatever God wants to do, and while waiting on Him, do everything possible to obey Matthew 28:18-20. According to AMPC, I need to “Go then and make disciples of all the nations…Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you…” Isn’t that enough to keep us all busy? Spreading the Gospel and making disciples. Being in a perpetual state of discontentment over my singleness would only cause unnecessary frustration. However, because I have chosen to occupy myself with business of the kingdom, I have a different mindset. God is in control and it’s not my job to worry about or try to figure out the when or how. I know that this may not be easy, but if we have a kingdom mindset, we will recognize that every day people around us are dying. If preoccupation with singleness is the only thing on my mind and I’m doing nothing to help the lost find salvation, I’m not making the most of my time. Society tells us to do what will make us happy. The kingdom single learns to do what will please God. I believe that if I’m doing God’s work and staying focused on Him, He is being glorified in my life. The key to our contentment lies in whether we’re wanting God’s will or ours to be done. If I think that God is moving too slow, I will be frustrated and anxious. If I believe I need to do all I can for God while I’m still single—or married, my focus and mindset will change. God knows the path that He has for every one of us. While waiting to find the right one or be found by the right one, I want to remind all of us to keep our eyes on God. If you’ve given God a list of the qualities you’re looking for, ask yourself if you are already exhibiting those same qualities. Am I marriage material? Am I physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially ready for marriage? If I AM ready, then I need to take my request to God and I need to follow His instructions one step at a time. Isn’t that what I do when I go to the physician? I’m looking for help. If I go to the doctor and tell him or her what’s wrong, I must hang around long enough for the doctor to give me a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. When I leave, I must follow the instructions. How much time do you spend in the Word and in prayer? How much time do you spend waiting to hear from Him? God can’t give us instructions if we don’t sit quietly long enough to hear from Him. How often are we walking in obedience? The more time we spend hearing from God, the more we obey, the more He can prepare us for what He has ahead. God is not going to give you someone who will take you out of alignment with Him. Valentine’s Day is coming up and there’s so much being marketed to couples. Celebrate yourself. Being alone doesn’t mean that you can’t be focused on the purposes and plans of God. God loves every one of us every single day. God loved us sacrificially and he loves us unconditionally. Trust Him. He could be preparing you for that mate and the mate for you. Time waiting on God is never time wasted. Feel free to reach out. DM me. Let’s communicate. My goal is to encourage, inspire, and motivate. I’m praying for you. For more,

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