Being Christian and Single Can Be Very Fulfilling

Being Christian and Single Can Be Very Fulfilling
By Henry Harris

Is marriage a part of God's plan for everyone? By the way many married folks treat singles, it would appear the answer is "yes." I hear comments like, "What's a nice girl like you doing unmarried?" and, "What you need is a good wife!"

Parents say that; relatives say that (hey singles, don't you just love those family reunions?); seems like everyone wants to "help" their single friends get married and thus fulfill God's plan for their life.

All I've got to say about all this is, "Time out!" God certainly wants to give us a full and meaningful life, but that does not automatically include marriage. The Bible is filled with people who lead terrific lives without ever getting married. The Bible is very comfortable with singleness.

There are, of course, several kinds of singleness: there are those who have never been married, those who are widowed and those who are divorced. While God has instructions that apply to each of these kinds individually, He also has guidelines that apply to all singles:

Guideline No. 1: Seek God's total plan for your life. If you are single and happy with your lifestyle, great! Remember that God's plan includes every part of life, and whether you marry or not is just one part.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul says being single offers the Christian a great opportunity to serve the Lord without the distractions of being married. So whether your singleness is temporary or permanent, take advantage of the time to channel energy into positive, constructive ministry.

Guideline No. 2: Live a quality life now! It's easy to procrastinate when you are single, putting life on hold until you get married. Realize that singleness is not the time to be in a holding pattern; if you've put your life into neutral, shift gears!

Don't buy into the myth that says singleness equals incompleteness. Please realize that God has not put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket! Make up your mind to be content whether single or married, and live your life to the fullest.

Guideline No. 3: Cultivate deep, caring relationships. Regardless of whether you are married or single, you need quality relationships to stay healthy and happy. If you are single, cultivate a relationship with someone who will pray for you, who will correct you when you go in the wrong direction, who will encourage you when you are down, and who will counsel you when big decisions need be made. Find someone who will listen to your doubts, fears, questions and concerns as well as help you celebrate your victories and joys.

Guideline No. 4: Be very cautious about marrying. This is particularly true if you are disappointed, unhappy or frustrated with your present state. You will be vulnerable to making an unwise choice. Sometimes we become so obsessed with getting into a relationship that we ignore all sorts of warning signs. Let me just mention a few:

Warning sign No. 1: You are a Christian, but your potential mate is not. Many disastrous marriages have been made by a Christian thinking, "I'll change him (her) ... " Will you? Be sure the change happens before you get married.

Warning sign No. 2: You notice major differences between you and your potential mate in your philosophy of life, interests, values, etc., but you think "our love will overcome ... " Will it? For example, your boyfriend is a sports fanatic, but you think after getting married he will lose interest because he will have you. Sure he will ...

Warning sign No. 3: You find yourself in a relationship where you argue all the time, but you think that when you are married, the arguing will stop. Really? Ask some friends who are already married if that is true. Many people naively think that marriage will solve all their problems. It won't. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that you should not hastily enter into a marriage. Take time to become friends first.

Henry Harris is lead pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church in Hollister, CA.


Are You Sexually Pure?

Are You Sexually Pure?
By Bo Sanchez

May I disturb you?

Last Sunday, I disturbed the 6000+ people attending the Kerygma Conference.

Because that morning, God disturbed me too.

He woke me up and told me to totally change my talk. Just like that. I had barely a few minutes to prepare, so I didn’t even know everything I was going to say.

On stage, I opened the Bible to Matthew 11:28:“Come to me all of you who are weary and tired and I will give you rest…” That passage is so well known, you even see it in Hallmark cards. But very few read the hard-to-understand verse after that. Verse 29 says, “Take my yoke upon you…”

Which is a rather strange way of giving someone rest!

Just in case you didn’t know, a yoke is the heavy wooden beam that you put on cattle or oxen, so they could pull a plow or pull a wagon. Not very restful, I assure you. What in the world was Jesus talking about?

I told the 6000+ people listening to me that there were two kinds of tired people: Those tired because of their trials and those tired because of their sins. And it was the second group of people I wanted to speak to.

Are you tired because of the yoke of sin?

I believe no one on this planet ever walks without a yoke. No one! There are only two yokes available: You either carry the yoke of God or the yoke of sin. (Anyone who defines “freedom” as freedom away from God is carrying the heaviest yoke or burden of all.)

I then told my audience, “God woke me up this morning to tell me that today, we need to make a commitment—on our knees—to the yoke of purity.”

That day, I just felt a burden in my heart to preach about purity.

I said, “You either carry the yoke of purity or the yoke of impurity. Both are yokes. But one is a million times heavier than the other. And the word ‘million’ is a gross understatement.”

The crowd was silent. More silent than usual. I knew I was hitting a sore spot—a topic no one wanted to talk about.

“Friends, I know the yoke of impurity,” I said, “I was addicted to pornography for decades. Let me tell you—I liken porn to swallowing vomit. It sucked my life. It consumed so much of my time and energy, it almost destroyed my life and dreams. Until God came into my life and He asked me to give it up, in exchange for the beautiful and very light yoke of purity.”

A Word To Boyfriends And Girlfriends

I also talked to singles in relationships. “Stop playing around with this beautiful gift of purity. Don’t open this gift, toss it around, or smudge it. Preserve it and give it to each other on the day of your wedding.”

I asked them to set the bar high. “When my wife and I became boyfriend and girlfriend, we decided not to kiss each other on the lips. It was crazy. And believe me, it was difficult! The struggle was great. But we set the bar very high so that if ever we failed, the slippage won’t be deep. That decision kept our relationship pure. We explored each other’s minds, not each other’s bodies. On our wedding day, we were able to give ourselves the beautiful gift of purity.”

“I know that others put the bar so low,” I said. “As long as they don’t have sex, they think they can do whatever they want. But singles who do this find out sooner or later that they destroy the gift of purity.”

I also spoke to those who already lost their virginity. “Physical virginity is important. But spiritual virginity is more important. Even if you’ve done ‘it’ before, make a decision with your boyfriend or girlfriend to keep your relationship pure from this day forth. And God will give you spiritual virginity. This is the gift that you’ll give each other on your wedding day.”

Renounce Emotional Adultery

I then spoke to husbands and wives.

“Physical adultery is obviously sinful. But how many of you reject Emotional Adultery? When God invented marriage, He designed you to give 100% of your thoughts, your affections, your emotions, your attractions to one person and one person alone. When you do that, your marriage is dynamite. Powerful. Magnificent. Your marriage blooms because you invest all that you have to one person. But when you slice up your thoughts and affections and give one sliver to this other person and another sliver to this other person, you scatter your power. Don’t wonder why your marriage lacks depth and joy and love.”

That day, I led all 6000+ to kneel down.

First, the singles. Second, the couples.

All of us repented of our sins.

All of us received His forgiveness.

All of us gave up the yoke of impurity.

All of us took on the yoke of purity.

All of us made a solemn commitment to live a life of purity.

It was so powerful, so moving, you could see people in tears.

Many were set free that day.

Friends, I invite you to make the same commitment today.

Take the yoke of purity.

Jesus wants to set you free.

May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez