As a Christian woman, trained as a Home Economist, I never expected to be single past my mid-twenties. However, the Lord had a much different plan for me and has gently matured my attitude toward singleness, as well as the purpose of marriage. Rather than marriage simply providing a “permanent roommate” I know now that I should marry only if our united lives would be more effective for the Lord than either of us are in our single state.
As a single professional I established Home Economics-Family and Consumer Science Departments in three Christian colleges, and one seminary. Daily I have the joy of assisting women mature into useful instruments for our Master's Kingdom. Though I have no children of my own, I have spiritual children and grandchildren all over the world. My single status allows me to provide the nurturing that my students need without neglecting my own family. I consistently have the joy of experiencing what Paul described in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34!
THE SINGLE MINDSET
The Apostle Paul presents four keys in Philippians 3:12-14 that provides a biblical mindset for the twenty-first century single woman—a genuine restlessness (Philippians 3:12), a solitary longing (Philippians 3:13), a wholehearted purpose (Philippians 3:12, 14), and a definite goal (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Genuine restlessness. Paul’s genuine restlessness is a model for all single women. While he was satisfied with his Savior and his salvation, he was dissatisfied with his flesh. He was restless with his spiritual status because he was not all that he knew that he could or should be. The Christian life is to be exciting—and we should be excited about growing, regardless of our marital status or age. If one does not serve the Lord as a single when there is much more discretionary time it is highly unlikely that service will be a vital part of married life. Are you restless with your spiritual status?
Solitary Longing. Paul’s solitary longing helps us to eliminate the unnecessary from our lives. Our quest toward Christlikeness puts life into a single focus—Paul says, “this one thing I do." As single women we are to have only one goal—to serve God with our entire being (1 Corinthians 6:12). Our Lord Jesus serves as the ultimate role model for this solitary longing. “He did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work God gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.”(1) Are you focused on being solitary or a solitary longing to serve the Lord?
Wholehearted Purpose. Paul’s wholehearted purpose helped him to focus on his determination to keep moving toward the goal. We will not succeed if we do not have a strong determination, but its source must be executed in the strength of the Holy Spirit, not simply our sheer determination (Philippians 4:13). As single Christian women, are we mature enough to keep pursuing our “upward call” (Philippians 3:14) when it would be easier to quit?
Definite Goal. Paul had a definite goal, and he moved toward it with tenacity. Serving God with our entire being challenges us to refuse to dwell on what life might be in the future—whether it is a life of unrestricted service to our Lord or marriage. What we are today is what counts! Paul challenges us to refuse to drink from the cup of self-pity and to release past grudges and incidents of mistreatment—he forgot these and died climbing! Are you climbing the service mountain or choosing to languish at its base?
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF-EXAMINATION
As single Christian women let’s ask ourselves some probing questions as we seek to serve our heavenly Father. Do I . . .
- pursue excellence, remembering that Christians will be judged on the quality of their work (1Corinthians 3:13, 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12)?
- believe that I was fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139)?
- strive for quality (Colossians 3:17)?
- believe I was created to excel, designed to achieve, and reborn to climb higher (Hebrews 12:1-2)?
- keep focused that God is excellence personified and that as His daughter my behaviors should reflect Him (Psalm 8:1, Proverbs 31:10-31)?
- do I have a ministry (Psalm 100)?
- do I demonstrate a servant’s heart in my ministry by
- being responsible (Ephesians 6:5)?
- persevering when quitting appears to be the logical choice (Philippians 3:13)?
- consistently working hard work (Colossians 3:23; Galatians 6:2)?
- demonstrating loyalty (1 Corinthians 15:58)?
- projecting confidence (Philippians 4:13)?
- displaying graciousness (Proverbs 11:16)?
- rising above circumstances and choosing to manifest a joyful outlook toward life (John 10:10)?
- understanding that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7)?
THRIVING IN YOUR SINGLE STATE
“Overall, there are significantly more unmarried women than men: 89 single men for every 100 single women.”(2) This imbalance suggests that a percentage of Christian women will not marry. Paul addresses the practical advantages of singleness in 1 Corinthians. 7:7-9 and 7:25-40. A primary reason for remaining single, according to Paul, is the special freedom and independence afforded to the individual. A wise unmarried woman uses her days of singleness to concentrate on becoming complete in Christ. The spiritual maturity resulting from this focus prepares her for the future plan her heavenly Father has for her (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
A consistent encouragement to me is the report that Boaz had of Ruth in Ruth 3:11. He observed her behavior from a distance and formed conclusions about her character. That is the spontaneous report I want that others to give of me “. . . all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.”
The teachings of Jesus in Matthew 19:12 suggest that He believed singleness was a good thing. As we study the Scriptures we find a number of single individuals who positively impacted our Father’s kingdom, including the Apostle Paul, Lazarus, Mary, Martha and the Lord Jesus, Himself. If singleness was an acceptable state for the Son of God how can we reject it?
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)
Therefore, I may boldly say, “My job is to walk uprightly though I am crazy busy, and to know that if my heavenly Father withholds something, it is for my good.”
A GIFT FOR YOU!
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Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home
(1) Charles Hummel, Tyranny Of The Urgent, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1967), 15.
(2) Strong, Bryan, DeVault, Christine & Sayad, Barbara. 1998. The Marriage and Family Experience. New York: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 172.