Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
What makes someone righteous? Their attitude? Their beliefs? Their actions? The dictionary (or at least the online dictionary) defines righteousness as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.” God knows that we are not capable of being righteous on our own, so He sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us. Galatians 5:16 states “So I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” We can claim righteousness when we are humble enough to align ourselves with God’s expectations (not the expectations of this world) and follow Jesus.
One thing I’ve mentioned that I struggle with is pushing aside the expectations of what I should be to the world and listening to God’s truth. The expectations of finding a husband, having kids, and a house have always been there since I was a little girl. Nobody explicitly said to me as a young child “you need to get married and have babies in order to fulfill your purpose,” but the words always kind of hung there, unspoken, but immeasurably influential.
As single people, those expectations are still there (especially when you’re involved in the church). Other, Christians often find it difficult to see the purpose in a life that isn’t focused on a Godly marriage or raising Godly children. For those of us who may either not be in that stage yet, or who don’t feel called to the same lifestyle, it can put us in a weird position. These are the times when the enemy can slither in and feed us lies to draw us away from our church families and away from God. The lies that we don’t belong or are somehow not fulfilling our “true purpose.”
The important thing to remember is that we are called to fulfill God’s expectations, not those of society, our friends, or our parents. God knows that we are incapable of being righteous in our own strength, so Christ’s righteousness is credited to us when we put our faith in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” Because of our faith in the healing power and sacrifice of Jesus, we are credited with his righteousness and made new in God’s eyes. No matter what we may have done in our past.
It’s often difficult to see our singleness as anything other than a dreaded time in which we are called to wait patiently for our future spouse or make amends with our inevitable future as the crazy cat lady (or the crazy dog lady in my case). The thing is, our singleness could very well be an act of obedience to God’s expectations for this season or for our lifetime. If we try to go against God’s will for us to remain single for a time, we will likely find ourselves in an unpleasant relationship/ dating situation that God never intended for us to be a part of.
God doesn’t want our time in singleness to be spent wallowing in self pity or mindlessly dating because you’re too afraid of being alone. That would NOT bring Him any glory. God wants us to get out and spread the word of His love to others, serve, worship, and rejoice in His promises! Depend on God and humble yourself in this time of singleness and you will surely be following in His expectations. Paul (the singlehood champion of the bible) stated in 1 Corinthians 7:17 “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. ”
God WANTS us to follow Him, no matter what our relationship status. I can’t answer whether God has called you to be single for a year or a lifetime, but either way God calls us to follow Him. His greatest desire is for us to LOVE Him and love each other. And it’s difficult for us to do so without the righteousness that we gain from our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.
So, no matter what mistakes you may have made in your past, learn from them, repent and move on. When you’ve got Jesus by your side, God doesn’t see the stains of your bad choices in your old life, because He’s made you new through the healing blood of Jesus. Now put on the breastplate of Jesus’ righteousness and use it to guard your heart from the influences of the enemy and the expectations of the world!