A Theology of Singleness

A Theology of singleness

What does the Bible have to say about the season of singleness? Whether you are single or not, I hope you will take time to make sure your point of view on this stage of life is Biblical, and not influenced by the culture around you. And remember, those of us who are married may again enter this season. We are not promised forever with our spouses, and any one of us might be widowed one day.

So let’s look at a few verses first that might not seem immediately to apply to singleness, but have direct implications.

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:27-28 

“And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common.” Acts 2:44

ALL THINGS IN COMMON
Unfortunately, we tend to categorize ourselves and others by our relational status. Looking around we subconsciously see those within our church walls in groups of singles, married people, married-with-kids, and so on. This type of division should not exist in the body of Christ. As the above verses state, there are no divisions for those who are clothed with Christ and all those who believe should have all things in common. This division of married and single is unnecessary and unhelpful to the unity in the body of Christ.

On top of that, the lie is often believed that those in the married category are automatically more mature than singles simply because they are married. Biblically, there is no precedent for singleness being a less-than state. There is also no Biblical pattern for married people being automatically more mature than single people. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, not with marriage. (Psalm 111:10, Prov 9:10)

Married people have often contributed to this problem of division as much if not more than singles. If you, as a married person, don’t find that you can be friends with or relate to a single person, then you have based too much of your own identity in your marriage and not in Christ.

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A Heart for Home: Part 1

A Heart for Home

In the last post, I discussed our role as influencers. Now I want to consider where the Bible calls us to have primary influence: the home.

Now, if you just rolled your eyes or felt a twinge of fear or anger at the thought of women being called to the home, listen up. Do not let your culture be the primary informer of your worldview. In our age of career-rules-all, urging women to give their best efforts toward the success of the home seems insulting. “Isn’t that like asking women to play second string? To be the understudy? A benchwarmer? To let men do all the really important things, while we clean up their messes and do their laundry and raise their kids?” 

Maybe that’s how you think of managing a home… something you do when you’ve got nothing better to do. Even those who agree that women should be the primary keepers of the home often have an attitude expressing the opposite. We’d much rather be doing vocational ministry, writing a blog, or [fill-in-the-blank] than the menial, every day humdrum of home life.

But do not fall for the lie that the home is unimportant. The home is the fundamental establishment of any society. Like the rudder of a ship, the condition of the homes will steer the direction of the nation. The home is where future world leaders are molded, where brilliant minds are nurtured, where world views are established. Any investment made in the home has ripple effects that last for generations. So when we talk of a woman overseeing the home, this is not to lessen her importance, but to elevate it. God has given us influence over the most important establishment in all of society.

WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE?
Let’s look at a few key passages of scripture on this topic. And instead of doing the work for you to unpack these passages, I’m asking you to take just a minute to pull out your Bible (or your Bible app) and read the passage yourself and answer the questions.

Take some time to read Titus 2:3-5 and answer the following question:

  • Of the 6 things older women are to teach younger women, how many are related to family/home life?
  • What does this communicate to us about our priorities?

Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and answer the following questions:

  • Who are the main beneficiaries of this woman’s efforts? (v. 11, 12, 15, 21, 23, 27)
  • Does this woman do things outside of her home? (v. 16, 20, 24)
  • Read verses 15, 21, 27 again. What do you notice about her intentionality toward those in her home? And what does this imply about her work outside her house?

Last but not least, let’s go back to God’s initial design of man and woman for some insight. Read Genesis 2:7-22.

  • Did God create Adam before or after He made the Garden of Eden?
  • Where was Adam created? Inside or outside the Garden?
  • Where was Eve created? Inside or outside the Garden?
  • What does this imply about men and women?

After studying the passages above, it is evident that God has created women to be uniquely influential within the context of the home. This does not mean she cannot earn an income for her family or devote her time to other ventures, as the Proverbs 31 passage portrays. But regardless of her other commitments, her primary responsibility and area of influence should be oriented toward the home, not away from it.

To drive this point home (no pun intended), consider one last verse from the book of Proverbs:

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1

A wise woman is investing in her home. She is putting effort into building it up, strengthening it, and supporting it. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, so a woman who fears the Lord will build up her house. This is exactly what we see the wife in Proverbs 31 doing.

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Women, We Are Influencers

Women Are Influencers

In the beginning, God created woman as a helper, a supporter and an aide (Gen 2:18,22). Though our culture would scoff at such a role in society, there is truly great honor in it. The only other person given the title of help (ezer in Hebrew) in the Old Testament is God! (Ps 121:1-2, 33:20, 115:9-11)

Is God inferior to us because He is our help? NO! Rather, it elevates God when we admit we need His help, that we can’t do it on our own. So why would we, as women, feel inferior by being created to help? By understanding that men cannot do it alone, that they need our help? We are no more inferior to man because we were created to help any more than God is inferior to us when He is a help to us. As God is a help to His people, so women are a help to men. (1 cor 11:9)

As helpers, we carry the innate ability to influence others. Influence is defined as “the capacity or power to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others.” This is a powerful thing for God to entrust to our gender. Just survey the women in the Bible and you’ll quickly see the effects. Many wielded this influence in sinful, self-centered, and manipulative ways (consider Delilah, Jezebel, and Herodias). But when used unto the glory of God, the strong influence of a woman can save a whole nation (consider Esther).

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Biblical Womanhood

Biblical Womanhood

Men and women are different. A seemingly obvious statement, yet one that is up for debate nowadays. Our world is fighting to convince us that, besides their reproductive systems, there are no significant differences between a man and a woman. The logic goes like this:

1. Men and women should be equal.

2. Equality means the same.

3. Therefore, for men and women to be truly equal, they must be the same.

But equality does not equal sameness. This concept is widely understood in many areas of life. Consider the cultures in the world. Asian, European and South American cultures are all very different. They connect differently, eat different foods, and celebrate differently. Is one culture greater than another? Should all the cultures of the world be exactly the same so they can be equal? Of course not. It is the differences within the world’s cultures that bring so much beauty and value to the human race.

Are men and women equal in intrinsic value and dignity? Yes. Should we fight for this? Of course! But let us not strip each gender of their unique beauty, purpose, and strength by forcing them to be the same. Men and women most certainly are equal, but they are not the same.

WHY DISCUSS BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD
I plan to take a couple weeks to post a series of articles on this topic of Biblical womanhood. Why is this topic important to me? For several reasons.

First, I am deeply loyal to the One who has spared my soul from its deserving end of eternal death, and therefore care deeply about what He has to say about my womanhood. Secondly, I believe that this same loving God was incredibly intentional about how and why He created man and woman and therefore what He has to say on the subject is my most trustworthy source. And lastly, I am a living example that “the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) My life is more full of joy, peace, purpose, and contentment as a result of the very truths I hope to share over these next weeks. So this topic is deeply personal to me as much as it is deeply theological.

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Valentine’s Day is Not About You

Valentines day

How did Valentine’s day become “I-need-someone-to-make-much-of-me day”?

The popular idea of love conjures up images of being served and doted on by others. So if you don’t have someone buying you flowers, sending you notes, and telling you you’re awesome on Valentine’s day, it then becomes an excuse to be angry and depressed.

Christian, your view of love should be markedly different than this. The way of love shown to us by Christ is self-sacrifice: considering the needs of others as more important than your own. For us, Valentine’s day should prompt acts of self-sacrifice not thoughts of who might puff us up with praise and compliments.

The Chick Flick Lie
If your ideas of love and romance have been primarily shaped by movies, then you are already at a disadvantage. Almost all romantic comedies portray love as worshiping, or making much of, another person. A man finds his true love, and she becomes the center of his universe as he spends all his energy seeking to make much of her. This is NOT love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. -1 John 4:10

Love is primarily realized in relationship with God, who though He alone deserves to be made much of, laid aside that right to die in our place and give us access to the Father. This is love.

If anything, for the Christian, a chick flick should prompt you to consider how to love other people. But unfortunately, the common response to these movies is 1. assuming we deserve the right to be treated this way (which we do not), and 2. to mope and complain when we don’t have this kind of fake love.

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Marriage Gone Wrong: when codependency highjacks a beautiful union

marriage gone wrong

After the series I recently wrote dealing with codependency in friendship, a few people presented a very natural follow up question: If codependency isn’t ok in friendships, then should it be ok in marriage?

NO.

Remember, I’m defining codependency as tying your emotional sense of well-being to another person. To say it another way, it is giving more weight and importance to a person than to God. Assuming this definition, then codependency is NEVER ok. Even in marriage.

Unfortunately, codependency in marriage is an assumed reality for many. The truth is, most of us struggle to believe God is enough for us, so we are continually looking to people to make us feel ok. Because of this, a marriage can become a place where we finally feel like being codependent is acceptable. We hope, like the movies have portrayed, that we can bank on this person to fill the deepest parts of our longings and be the one on whom our general sense of wellbeing rests.

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Closet Pharisee

“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” ~Jesus, Matthew 23: 32-33

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You’d think these words were said to a murderer, or a sexually perverted or promiscuous person, or a thief.  But no, Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of the day.

Wait, did you catch that… Jesus’s harshest words of judgment are to the religious leaders of the day.  This should cause the ears of this religious church girl to perk up and listen.  Why such harsh words?  And what did these religious people do to merit such severe judgment?  And how do I make sure I am truly following Jesus and not the path of these anti-Jesus religious people?  These are questions I should have asked in my early years of following Jesus.

Even though I fell in love with Jesus early in my life, there grew an inward bent of my soul, slowly and stealthily, that was hardly noticeable.  I’m not sure exactly how it started.  Maybe it was the subconscious joy I found in the acclaim of people in being such a “good Christian.”  Maybe I couldn’t help but notice how much “better” I was than my peers.  Somewhere along the way, I began to delight in my good works more than the work of Jesus.  My heart started to reflect that of a Pharisee more than Jesus.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

No matter how it started, a root of pride began to grow in my heart and for years it was watered with the praise of others and my own comparison to my peers.  I became really good at “being a Christian.” In the morning, I trusted my ability to have a good quiet time and memorize scripture.  In the evening, I found peace in my “maturity” to worship with hands raised.  I no longer needed Jesus as my savior.  My good deeds had become my functional savior.  I knew the right words to say, the right things to do to look like the best Jesus-follower out there.

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