Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:25-34

As of late, I think I've been pretty open with my viewpoints and standards in regards to relationships with the opposite sex. I've been working through a lot of thought and discussion and reading and whatnot lately in this arena, and one thing in particular has been met with some pretty vehement opposition.

I am not worried about finding a potential mate. It just doesn't concern me. If God should choose to bring one along, and make it clear to me that I should pursue such a relationship, I certainly would do so with vim. However, I trust that if such is His plan for my life, I do not have to aggressively seek it out - instead I believe that in providence could lead me to it through natural courses.

I think the opposition to this point of view has been along the general lines that to act this way is to be lazy with the resources God has given me. One particular person I spoke with recently used the terminology finding "all lawful means" to source a potential mate. The context was that marriage is a Godly duty to be pursued by those able and not otherwise called to celibacy. And while I could be stretched to admit that yes, perhaps it is a Christian duty to marry if able (and called!), I will not agree that the single Christian must be consumed with a singular motivation to find a mate.

When Christ said that we should "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness," He meant that our relationship with Him is that which should consume us and be our driving force. Everything else (yes, even a marriage partner) is simply added unto us as the blessings of having the right priority governing our hearts and minds.

Tommy Nelson, in his Song of Solomon series, used a wonderful illustration based on the New Testament metaphors of the Christian as a man running a race. Nelson explained that if we are focused on the goal, and running after it, we should not have to slow down or speed up to find a mate, but simply be able to glance to our side and notice someone running at about the same pace - and give them a little wave.

This is where I am at. I don't feel I need to run any harder, or in any other direction, if I am already running my hardest towards Christ. I'm not worried that He cannot fulfill these desires in my life should He so choose. I do not believe that He needs me to help him bring this to pass.

In no means should I hereby imply that I look down on single Christians who are in active pursuit of a potential mate. I certainly would think that God may give deeper desires for certain things to some people than He does to others, and there is no more a right or wrong than people's different tastes in music. I have many good friends who are single Christians, and do actively put themselves in the dating scene, and I am happy for them. It is simply not something I desire to do, and yet I am comfortable in the fact that God can find other means to provide a help meet.

I am convinced that, provided I am seeking His will with my whole heart, there is nothing I can do (or not do, for that matter) that could keep His plan from being worked out in my life. And I will rejoice, no matter what that plan may be.


Jenni said...

I found your post via the Christian Carnival. You seem to have a good perspective on singleness. Keep running the race towards Christ my brother and no telling what He will surprise you with!

Karen Marie said...

I also found you via the Carnival.

You do know that St. Paul had some very interesting things to say about singleness and marriage, yes? Mostly in Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. To give a summary of St. Paul:

Marriage is good, and wonderful, and blessed by God, and a true ikon of the relation of Christ and His Church. It's perfectly all right to get married. However, marriage makes the Christian life so very complicated. Instead of just worrying about pleasing God and taking care of one's own needs, like being single, one must be concerned about pleasing one's spouse and about the well-being of one's children. So much simpler, if one can do it without sinning, to stay single, like me [sez Paul]. But, if one can't manage singleness without sinning against chastity, by all means get married; better married than burning with passions. But it's still better to stay single.

And I'm utterly convinced St. Paul was right. Not just because he believed that the fullness of time was going to be day-after-tomorrow, like some people try to argue.....

karen marie

Paula said...

Good to know someone else who is familiar with Tommy Nelson. I bought his videotape series when I saw him here. Tried to get my church to use it for the Singles. Instead, they seem to want to push group studies that help you find the perfect-fit-person (or some such rot). Tommy was straight-on and a breath of fresh air. I've been by your 'house' before. Keep on bloggin'

~bradley james said...

We went through the Tommy Nelson series at my school. I loved it. That guy has such a knowledge and insight into Song of Solomon.