Singleness is NOT Always the Recipe for Spiritual Growth
Good morning dearest Reader and welcome back to another installment of our Sunday Series!
This is well over our 12th installment, and I have no plans to slow down. The routine of dwelling on a single heart issue every week has been a real blessing in my life, and I've heard it's been a blessing in some of your lives as well!
I didn't plan on it, but our Tuesday Femininity Series on relationships landed during Valentines week, and again today we will be revisiting the topic of relationships! It is the week of love over here in the feminine Midwest, and I am a-OK with it.
Today I thought I would address a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit over the past few years: singleness and our faith.
I have often heard people parrot a seemingly wise statement along the lines of "oh you just need to be single to grow in your faith!" or "God can only work on you when it's just you and Him..."
And while this belief can be true in many cases, I think we are missing the point of WHY being single is effective in growing our faith: it's not about your relationship status-- it's about the quality of your relationship.
When is being single better?
If you are in a relationship with someone who is a hinderance to your faith, then being single will most definitely be a blessing to your spiritual life. However if you are in a relationship with a God-honoring person who encourages you in your faith, there is no need to be single in order to meet with God.
A person who actively prevents you from joining in community with other believers, or who discourages you from church, your devotions, or your prayer life is a hinderance to your faith. People who encourage you to sin, or who are ambivalent and indifferent to your faith are all people to avoid being in a relationship with if you want to grow spiritually.
On another note, if you find yourself more obsessed and worshipful towards your romantic relationship than towards God, then that TOO can be an enormous hinderance to your faith.
I have no doubts that exiting an unhealthy and bad match and entering into singleness will cause you feelings of true freedom, growth, and closeness with the Lord: but the beauty of being free of a bad relationship does not mean that being in a relationship is wrong altogether.
Singleness can be a blessing, but relationships can be a blessing as well. I am not here to discount either one: it is between you and the Lord to discover what is right for you and your life. Listen to his calls. It is good to be single when you know God has called you to singleness. This is a powerful and special calling from God that only you and Him can define.
Remember, we cannot assign spiritual superiority to the status of singleness: instead, we must see all versions of our walk, with or without a romantic partner, as a place where we can meet God. Do not join up with an unbeliever romantically, but also do not allow your relationship to take precedence over God. Listen to his call.
Can a relationship bring me closer to God?
I think it is true that God uses periods of singleness to help us to focus on our own growth, His light, and perhaps certain goals we must meet on our own. But I also believe that God uses relationships to grow us and transform our hearts as well.
As Scripture says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Pvb 27:17 While we can see this truth in friendships and mentoring relationships, we can also apply it to godly romantic relationships. Allow your partner to sharpen you!
We also find the truth, "The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD" Pvb 18:22. God views romantic relationships as BLESSINGS. He sees that masculinity and femininity can be used to bless, sharpen, and serve one another. These relationships can help us grow closer to God and into people of great character.
Again, if the person you are with is a hinderance to your faith, then you are better off being single. However if you have the opportunity to be romantically involved with a person who is an amplification of your faith, by all means, enter that relationship with God's blessing! You may be surprised and encouraged by all of the joyful blessings, growth, and beauty you will find in your romantic relationship through His blessings!
God created men and women to enter into marriage with joyful hearts, to raise families, explore pleasure, and discover true bond and unity with another human. Through these experiences we can discover the great love, blessings, and kindness of our God. Be cautious to not allow that person to take precedence over your faith, and always remember to put God first.
The benefits of being married truly show me the grace and mercy of God, but I also benefit from being in a relationship with someone who is different than me. I have found since beginning a relationship with Grant, that I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith, but also in my character. Being in a partnership with a person who plays the foil to our weak parts can actually cause us to grow.
Where I have struggled with insecurity, fear, weakness, greed, and laziness, my husband has displayed strength, confidence, faith, contentment, and discipline. His qualities give me a blueprint for life, and his presence allows me to have someone to bounce my problems off of.
As our relationship grows, we have grown as people, and towards God in a deeper and meaningful way. I always have someone to discuss faith, Scripture, our struggles, and our church with. Praying and doing devotions together as a married couple can be an extremely powerful experience. Meeting together with God AND our spouse is a beautiful thing.
Whether you are single or in a relationship with a believer, we will all fall prey to the temptation of sin. I am not here to say that we are free from sin when we are in one situation or the other. I am saying that for all the benefits of singleness to our Spiritual lives, there are also an equal amount of benefits that come with being in a godly romantic relationship.
God uses all of our situations in life to grow us. A romantic relationship can distract you from God, but it can also draw you closer to him. Likewise, the freedom of singleness can allow you to grow in the Lord, but it can also distract you. Focus on Him and His grace no matter what you have in your life.
Remember, we don't always have control over our relationship status, but we DO have control over our attitude towards it. If you are single, take the time to enjoy communing with God and discovering what he has laid out for you. If you are married, allow God to use that to grow you closer towards him.
As Paul states on this subject in 1 Corinthians 7:17, "Nevertheless, each person should live the kind of life that the Lord assigned when he called each one. This is what I teach in all the churches. "
So to all, do not place relationships ahead of singleness, or singleness ahead of relationships: rather, invite God to work in your life and see where He is calling you. Live with Him in the foremost place in your heart, and accept what gifts He has to offer.
God can use another person into your life to teach you things you could not learn on your own, but He also uses singleness to grow us as well. Allow him to use the circumstances in your life to grow you. Connect with him and discover what he has in store for you!
There you have it friends! Another Sunday Series under our belts. I hope you enjoyed and feel inspired today to draw closer to God and to continue seeking out the growth of your character.
If any of you have ideas on what you would like to see for an upcoming blog post, please let me know! Your ideas are welcome, as are your words of encouragement. Share my blog with anyone you might feel needs to read it, and follow me on all my social channels!