Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Encouraging Quotes about Singleness - Part 2

My post titled "Encouraging Posts About Singleness", a compilation of thoughts about the single status from evangelical heavyweights, has been so popular I have decided to do it again.  Here's an entirely new batch of quotes.  I hope they are encouraging and edifying to you!  Blessings, singles!


“Resolve to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and he will add to you everything you need sexually. It may be a spouse. It may be the grace and freedom to be single and pure and content. That is up to God. Ours is to seek the kingdom. Or to put it another way, our all-consuming passion must be to glorify God in our bodies by keeping ourselves free from every enslavement but one: the joyful, fulfilling slavery to God.”

- John Piper

“If you are single, your singleness is not just where you happen to be right now. It’s where God has you right now, and there’s a world of difference between those two outlooks.”

- Tony Evans

“In spite of rumors to the contrary, I have never taken a solemn vow or heroic decision to remain single! On the contrary, during my twenties and thirties, like most people, I was expecting to marry one day. In fact, during this period I twice began to develop a relationship with a lady who I thought might be God’s choice of life partner for me. But when the time came to make a decision, I can best explain it by saying that I lacked an assurance from God that he meant me to go forward. So I drew back. And when that had happened twice, I naturally began to believe that God meant me to remain single. Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, I think I know why. I could never have traveled or written as extensively as I have done if I had had the responsibilities of a wife and family.”

- John Stott

"....for those who are not married. You too are being prepared to be the bride of Christ through the relationships and situations you experience with family, neighbors, coworkers, and church family. Though you may not have an earthly spouse, your life now is just as thorough a preparation for your marriage then as is true for your married counterparts. You too need a biblical identity, perspective and calling, and God is committed to helping you get them”

- Paul David Tripp

“Paul’s assessment in 1 Corinthians 7 is that singleness is a good condition blessed by God, and in many circumstances, it is actually better than marriage. As a result of this revolutionary attitude, the early church did not pressure people to marry (as we see in Paul’s letter) and institutionally supported poor widows so they did not have to remarry.

Single adult Christians were bearing testimony that God, not family, was their hope. God would guarantee their future, first by giving them their truest family – the church – so they never lacked for brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, in Christ. But ultimately, Christians’ inheritance is nothing less than the fullness of the kingdom of God in the new heavens and new earth.”

- Tim Keller

“Church becomes the place not only where individuals get together to share their experiences and express their piety, but where they become part of a cast in a plot of salvation history. It is no longer just ‘me and my personal relationship with Jesus,’ but a communion of saints to which we belong.

Single people have an important place in the body for sharing their gifts within the covenant family.”

- Michael Horton

“Recognize that, for now, God has chosen for you to live without sex. And, He has promised not to allow any temptation in your life that is too strong for you to handle (1 Cor. 10:13). Knowing that will help you say with Paul, ‘I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am’ (Phil 4:11).”

- John MacArthur

“If you’re single, I believe that God wants you to see that your story has begun. Life doesn’t start when you find a spouse. Marriage is wonderful, but it’s simply a new chapter in life. It’s just a new way to do what we’re all created to do – to live for and glorify our Creator.”

- Joshua Harris

"Biblical counseling guru, David Powelson said that most of the zillions of counseling appointments he handles could be divided into two major categories:

1) Single people/dating couples who wish to be married, but can’t be.

2) Married people who wish to be single but can’t be.

There is a lie that many people believe: that to be happy their circumstances need to change. If they are sad and single, they believe they will be happy when the nuptials are said. But you are the same person you were walking up they aisle as you are walking down it. If you are a discontent person, then you will soon transfer your discontent to your spouse. Discontent with a spouse quickly degenerates into malcontent. Then bitterness."

- Clint Archer, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church

“I want to say, singles, don’t waste your singleness! There are so many opportunities that your singleness provides that marriage will diminish. God may have you single for a season or for your whole life. You don’t know. Don’t live your life in a state of suspense thinking, 'Maybe this will be the year'. Assume it won’t be and enjoy this year to the fullest.

The church desperately needs the balance of Scripture. When we diminish each gift, we wish we had the other gift. So the singles whine, ‘If only I was married!’ Some married folks whine, ‘If only I wasn’t married!’ Both are expecting something that God never intended singleness or marriage to create in us – contentment. Marital status cannot provide it. It won’t. Paul said, ‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ (Philippians 3:8) When I make anything else ultimate to me, I suffer the pain of it. Idols make unhappy people.”

- Steve DeWitt, pastor of Bethel Church. Once known as “the bachelor pastor”. Married for the first time at age 44.

“I know many who seem to be enduring their singleness rather than enjoying it. Those desiring marriage can face great pressure, temptation, and dissatisfaction. I don’t want to make light of that. But amidst the struggle of singleness, some may come to reject the goodness afforded them. They run the risk of effectively saying, ‘God, you messed up with my life.’”

- Thabiti Anyabwile

“The question is how to deal with the longing….the very intense longing, even painful longing, of being single and wishing someday God would bring someone to marry. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom.” That was discipleship 101 in Acts 14:22. For some that’s pain in marriage and for some that’s pain out of marriage, but nobody escapes pain. So having a solid theology of loss, theology of disappointment, theology of suffering, theology of affliction is absolutely crucial. And part of that theology is,

1. God is absolutely sovereign
2. God is absolutely good
3. I’m His child through faith alone in Jesus
4. No good thing does He withhold from His children who walk uprightly

Which means that He will give you what you need to lead the life fully pleasing to Him and fully and deeply and eternally satisfying to yourself. If you sink into bitterness and anger at God, your life will be ruined, with or without a spouse.”

- John Piper

“The disappointments of singleness are a unique blessing. In other words, not to be able to have sexual relations is a huge challenge spiritually, for men and women. Not to be able to be hugged at night, to go home to an empty apartment, to have a holiday sneak up on you and nobody thinks to invite you over – that’s painful. And I’m saying that unique challenge is a unique blessing if you will let it be. Just like every other pain in life is a unique blessing if you let it be. God doesn’t want you to waste any of your pain. Married pain….and there will be; single pain….and there will be.”

- John Piper

“Romans 8:22-23….. ‘For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.’ So as you groan in the various trials and sufferings of life, particularly loneliness in singleness, let that longing for freedom from loneliness and that unfulfilled desire for marriage be a reminder to you of the truth that all is not right with the world right now. That this is not the way that it’s supposed to be and not the way that it’s going to be someday. And to remember that there is groaning in this life. We have to accept seasons of loneliness as part of living in a fallen world.

When we groan in loneliness let us remember what we’re actually groaning is birth pains. Something is coming and it is an eternal joy beyond your wildest comprehension……..Are we groaning for those spiritual realities or are we just groaning for earthly realities? Just the temporal, just the here-and-now?

This world is not our home which is why we're never going to experience a perfect relationship and perfect place on this fallen world. The problem is not that we're single, just that full redemption has not yet come."

- Karrie Hahn, Women Discipling Women 2010 conference

Are you anxious for marriage? Sometimes I find myself succumbing to the sin of anxiousness. Consider this quote:

"I am no longer anxious about anything for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient."

- Hudson Taylor

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

“It saddens me to see single people who live life as though waiting for something or someone to happen to them. They act as though they are in limbo, waiting to become capable of life when that magic day at the altar finally arrives.

Of course, singles who live in this constant state of disappointment often become such poor specimens of humanity that no one wants to marry them. More often they do get married only to discover that they haven’t received the key to life: the initiative and character they should have developed before marriage is exactly what they need in marriage. And they are still lonely and frustrated....

Our culture, especially our Christian culture, has stressed repeatedly that a good marriage takes work. It holds up for admiration those who have formed “a good marriage.” But I’ve seldom heard anyone emphasize the fact that a good single life also takes work. Singleness, as I see it, is not so much a state we’ve arrived at as an open door, a set of opportunities for us to follow up.”

- H. Norman Wright

“Trusting God’s goodness can be difficult. Surely if He knew me, we say, He would know I don’t want to stay single the rest of my life. If He were as loving and concerned as He says He is, He would guide us to the person we want to be with. . .

The issue of singleness and marriage is big enough to make or break our faith. We find it difficult to accept that we’re precious to God when He doesn’t give us what we think we need. We find that our will collides with God’s. But God has planned our lives carefully and intimately. Are we willing to surrender our will to His? Even though we wrestle, it’s possible to come to appreciate God’s will and presence in our lives, and to find that Abba knows best.”

- Skip McDonald

“Rather than being preoccupied with solving the dilemma of our singleness, God’s Word says that we should be consumed with loving, knowing, serving, and worshiping Jesus Christ. It may sound impossible to become excited and fulfilled in your singleness, but I guarantee that if you submit your mind, will, emotions, and desires to Christ, He will supernaturally enable you with the joy and peace you need in order to walk this narrow road.

I am not talking about an arrogant feministic “I don’t need a man in my life” kind of attitude. And I am not talking about losing all desire for marriage and family. I’m simply talking about a joyful yielding to Jesus Christ, trusting in His perfect timing, and building your life and focus around Him rather than the pursuit of marriage.”

- Leslie Ludy

Question posed to Erwin Lutzer on his website

Q: The part of the Bible I hate the most is when Paul says it’s better to marry than burn with passion.

I hope God gives us single people extra forgiveness when we fail in this area, especially when we have waited to get married for many years. I still have never heard a good sermon on conquering sexual sin.

Asked by: Paul, Wisconsin

A: Well Paul, I’m a little troubled by your question, actually, when you say that the part of the Bible that you hate the most has to do with sexual sin.

I hope that there’s no part of the Bible that you hate, because it’s all inspired by God—even the difficult parts. And it was not just written for God’s glory but for our benefit.

Also, you say you hope that God is lenient with single people regarding the business of sexual purity. This almost gives the impression that you think that maybe God should be as lenient and as sympathetic to your sin as you, yourself, might be. Well the answer is, He’s not, and He’s the God with whom we have to deal.

Now, thankfully, He’s a God of forgiveness—all of us have struggled with lust and all of us have failed many times. Thank God for His gracious forgiveness. But let’s not use His forgiveness as a license to sin, or let down our standards because He is gracious.

May I suggest to you, Paul, that you spend some time in God’s presence and deal with the issues that we’re talking about? I think you should make friends with singles who are going through the same kinds of struggles, and pray together and work together. The fact is that once you have crossed the line into immorality, the temptation to repeat your behavior is powerful and often seems unrelenting. Like one young woman told me, “I’m defiled now, so what difference do multiple relationships make?”

Then, and I know this is difficult, but Jesus taught we should separate ourselves from anything that causes us to stumble into sexual sin (Matthew 5:27-30). Whether it is pornography, sensual amusements, or the kind of people who lead us into sin, we must avoid these temptations. That’s a longer story than I can give in this brief answer but remember, we must through the Spirit slay this dragon of sexual sin that keeps our consciences sullied.

But realized that God doesn’t lower His standards simply because our sexual drives are powerful and unrelenting. At the end of the day, either we slay lust, or lust will slay us. That’s the stark reality, and there’s hope within the church with other believers. And there is hope as we practice the disciplines of the Christian life, because God will forgive us, but He’s not “extra lenient.” Keep that in mind, and I hope that you’ll live a pure life for the honor and the glory of God. Don’t give up the battle.

“It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what."

- Joni Eareckson Tada

“By His words and by His own unmarried life, Jesus showed that marriage was not an end in itself, nor was it essential to the 
wholeness or a person. As God's servant, a person might not be called to have a mate and children. 

Marriage will not answer all our problems. . . . We should not make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we all hunger . . . only God satisfies the hungry heart.”

-J.I. Packer

“We do not merely add Jesus Christ to our lives and continue in the same direction. Following Christ means we stop, turn around, and pursue Him.” 
― Steven J. Lawson

Great quote by Lawson and such a good reminder of what we as Christians…..single Christians included….should be pursuing. We must not fall into the trap of pursuing marriage at all costs with the plan of pursuing Christ after we have accomplished that goal...putting Christ on the back burner. We are to pursue Christ first and foremost. If our God believes that marriage is needed on our pursuit, I believe He will provide. This is commanded in Scripture:

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:31-33

I do not believe this is a promise that God will give us all we want but that He will give us what we need as we seek to please Him. This passage is telling us what our priorities should be. I find that when my priorities are out of order, I am much more anxious about marriage.

"If you’re single, use this time now to make the biggest impact you can for God’s Kingdom. Enjoy how God uses you as a single adult to show His love to others because you are in a unique place to minister to others where married adults could not!"

- Jack Graham

“Listen: I’m right there with you. I’ve known singleness, hurtful relationships and the frustration of just wanting and waiting to be cherished……you’ll be okay. As a believer, you are a gem of incomparable price. Live patiently before the Lord, submitting to the Spirit’s sanctifying work in your life, and let the right godly man give the right, godly chase. If he can’t, he’s probably not worth your time.

And your time here pales in comparison to the grand weight of the time eternal you’ll be spending with the grandest Pursuer there is, whether the earthly version comes or not.”

-Jasmine Baucham, daughter of Voddie Baucham

"God wants you to look to him, not to another person, to have your needs met. His presence within you can help you handle loneliness and depression, your need for intimacy and your search for fulfillment.

Remember that being single is not God’s second best. Although marriage can be wonderful, it is not for everyone! Some people find contentment in being married; others find contentment in singleness. God has a plan for your life. Your main concern should not be in whether you will be single or married, but in fulfilling God’s purpose."

- Adrian Rogers

“I couldn’t give you a count of the number of single women I have in our congregation that are serving in very significant ways in the community. Our desire is for them to live all of life to the glory of God whether God calls them to be a wife or a mother or not.”

- Ligon Duncan

“Jenny believed that the only way for her to be happy was to have a godly husband. She was married to a Christian man who attended church with her, but she wanted a husband who would pray regularly with her and who would have devotions with the family. I agreed with her that it would have been a blessing for him to be a more godly leader. I tried to encourage him to find other men who might help him grow.

As I got to know Jenny, I saw that her desire for a godly husband functioned like a god in her life. The thought ‘I must have a godly husband or I’ll die!’ ruled her. Sometimes she thought that if she was extra nice and made him the dinner that he liked, he would be obligated to do what she wanted. On other days she would give up in frustration and anger, withholding herself from him and pouting. Like Rachel, she was convinced that she could not find happiness unless her expectations were met. A day come when she told me that she was going to leave him. She left him and the church, and the last that I heard she was no longer following Christ. Like Rachel, her desire ended up destroying her.”

- Elyse Fitzpatrick
Excerpt from her book, “Idols of the Heart”

This quote from Elyse Fitzpatrick is quite chilling (building an argument from Rachel’s demand to Jacob in Genesis 30:1, “Give me children, or I shall die!”). On the surface, Jenny’s desire for a godly husband seemed good but soon her true motives were revealed: she did not care about her husband’s spiritual life, she wanted him to appear more godly to make her the envy of other women. Why else would she eventually leave the church?

We must be careful in our desires for marriage. Though the desire is good, Satan would love to use it to discourage and damage us.

"I’m not saying that every single needs to pack up and move overseas. I think that’d be great, but doesn’t necessarily have to happen. But how is your life here in this moment going to trust in the sovereignty of God, His plans, His grace, His mercy in your life, and ask God, 'How can my singleness, right now, as long as I’ve got the gift of singleness, God, how can it count for Your glory?' And this is a question worth asking. It’s a question that Gospel gives us the privilege of asking."

- David Platt

“….possibly you are single, and your friend excitedly introduces you to his or her ‘intended’. You find yourself thinking, ‘Oh God, this person seems tailor-made for ME, not for my friend! Why didn’t I get there first? Was this the one You meant for me?’

As a single person, have you run hither and yon, trying so hard to be at the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time so that you might cross paths with the mate of your dreams? Have you traveled from church to church, surveying the prospects, then absolutely panicked for fear you’re somehow going to miss God’s best?

Thoughts like these can unleash sheer mental torture. Live with these thoughts long enough, and your mind may become paralyzed, spinning you into depression and despair. Yet what you may not realize is that this is a missile from the enemy’s arsenal – a destructive tactic as old as the Garden of Eden. He will try to make you question God’s goodness. Question God’s timing. Question God’s care and concern for you. Question God’s control of life’s tiny, yet momentous details.

Run to the sovereignty of God, beloved! Rest in His loving control of every particular of your life.”

- Kay Arthur

“Trust whatever He has for you. It will be better than anything you can plan for yourself.” 

–Francis Chan

"People who are single often get off course because their focus becomes getting married rather than serving Christ. They spend their time comparing their lives to others. They watch as their friends fall in love and get married. Before they know it, they are wondering if they have missed God’s plan for their lives.

If we will seek the Lord above the things of this world, He will provide just what we need for every area of our lives (Matthew 6:33). God gives good things to His children, but His first desire is for us to know His love."

- Michael Youssef

“A slip of paper handed to me at a seminar had this question written on it: ‘What do you do when you feel you’ve come to a point that your singlehood appears to be an inadequate status for deep personal growth? How long do you hang on?’

Good thing I wasn’t on the platform when that question came. I might have chuckled. I toyed with the idea of giving a facetious answer: ‘Three more days, then go out and either ask somebody to marry you or hang yourself.’

But of course that was not what I said. The crux of the matter is that phrase ‘an inadequate status for deep personal growth.’ Is that what singleness is? Does that mean that marriage and only marriage is an adequate status for deep personal growth? How ever did Jesus manage, then, as a single man?

I’m afraid the snake has been talking to that person. He’s been sneaking up and whispering, ‘God is stingy. He dangles that beautiful fruit called marriage before your eyes and won’t let you have it. He refuses you the only thing you need for deep personal growth, the only thing in all the world that would solve all your problems and make you really happy.’”

- Elisabeth Elliot, “Passion and Purity”

That Elisabeth does have a way of putting things, doesn’t she? And she is so right here. I can personally testify that God has used my singleness to expose copious amounts of sin in my heart I didn’t even know was there, making me repent and cleanse myself from it…..and, in turn, become more and more like Christ. Marriage is definitely a sanctification vehicle, but so is singleness in the Lord. God can use anything to conform us to His Son.

"If someone asks, wouldn’t it be better to have both? The blessings of marriage and the blessings of heaven? There are two answers to that question. One is that you will find out someday, and better to learn it now, that the blessings of being with Christ in heaven, are so far superior to the blessings of being married and raising children and that asking this question will be like asking: Wouldn’t it be better to have the ocean and the thimble full? And the second answer is that marriage and singleness both present us with unique trials and unique opportunities for our sanctification. There will be unique rewards for each, and which is greater will not depend on whether you were married or single, but on how you responded to each."

- John Piper

“Your challenge is to accept what is real and acknowledge again that God oversees and has overseen every detail of your life (2 Timothy 1:9) – your singleness, your marriage, your family, your relationship, your job, your every situation and your every circumstance. This knowledge will help you to act on what is true and real today (Philippians 4:8)…rather than resent reality and idly wait for fantasies to magically materialize.”

“This same principle holds for singles…..God doesn’t ask single adults to look down through the corridors of time future and imagine that they will be single forever. He calls a single person to address what is real, and what is real is singleness today.

While waiting on God’s will regarding marriage, Jim Elliot wrote to his future wife, Elisabeth Howard, ‘Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.’ Commenting on this wisdom decades later, Mrs. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, ‘We accept and thank God for what is given not allowing the not-given to spoil it.’ God is adequate.”

- Elizabeth George

Oh how Elizabeth's words here convict and sting because I often find myself pining so much over marriage, craning my neck around God's shoulder to see if He has a spouse in my future, that I ignore all the wonderful, overflowing, and undeserved blessings He has given me today in my singleness....and I relinquish the responsibility I have to live a life pleasing and glorifying to God in my singleness.

Check out "Encouraging Quotes About Singleness - Part 3" for more uplifting messages!