Saturday, June 7, 2014

Encouraging Quotes about Singleness - Part 3

Feeling a little down about your single status today?  Let these inspiring quotes from various evangelical leaders and thinkers lift your spirits and give you a godly perspective.


"Which are you? Are you the single woman who is just barely getting by who will become an insignificant spinster one day? Or are you the kind that’s more dangerous, leading the lost further into their lostness? Or is your singleness fueled by the power of the Spirit so that you are one who uses it for good, leaving a legacy of lives changed?"

- Dannah Gresh

“There are some in the difficult position that one might call ‘single not by choice.’ This phrase refers to those who deeply desire marriage, take seriously Paul’s counsel that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor. 7:8-9), and yet have no marital prospects on the horizon. Here, contentment in one’s circumstances (2 Cor. 12:8-9; Phil. 4:12-13) and trust in God’s sovereignty are crucial. God’s grace is sufficient for the challenge of living a single life. Despite what American culture seems to assume, the Bible indicates that sexual expression is not the highest good of life nor a necessity for full joy and humanity. Jesus is sufficient proof against that.”

- John S. Hammett, “A Theology for the Church”

"Contentment, then, is the product of a heart resting in God. It is the soul’s enjoyment of that peace which passeth all understanding. It is the outcome of my will being brought into subjection to the Divine will. It is the blessed assurance that God doeth all things well, and is, even now, making all things work together for my ultimate good. This experience has to be "learned" by "proving what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Contentment is possible only as we cultivate and maintain that attitude of accepting everything which enters our lives as coming from the Hand of Him who is too wise to err, and too loving to cause one of His children a needless tear."

- A.W. Pink

"See your singleness as a way to bring God glory (1 Corinthians 7:25-35). I feel bad for singles when clods like us ask the infamous and very insensitive question, 'Why aren’t you married?' I like the perspective of one single who reframes this question by asking: 'What is God doing in and through my singleness?'"

- Brian J. Bill 
Sr. Pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church

“People say, ‘I don’t guess I’ll ever be happy because I’m not married.’ If your joy, peace, and happiness depended upon being married then somebody else is determining whether you will be happy or not. God satisfies the desires, the hungers, the thirsts, the yearnings of our heart wherever He places us in life. Millions and millions of young people who have not married think, ‘If I don’t have marriage, if I don’t have sex then there is something missing in life.' God knows how to satisfy every desire of your heart….because He changes your thinking.

Many people think if they don’t get married the world’s coming to an end. Let me tell you something: You marry the wrong person, the world WILL come to an end.”

- Charles Stanley

"In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul acknowledges that there are certain advantages to being single in the ministry. I was single when I was senior pastor of a church on the west coast of Canada, and there were all kinds of advantages to that. There were some disadvantages too. But there were some wonderful advantages in terms of the hours I put in, evening visitation, calls when I could get people at home. So there are advantages to being single in the ministry, and singleness should not be despised."

- D.A. Carson

"The fact that the Bible says singleness is good for widows–people once married but single again because of death–shows the extraordinarily high value placed on singleness. We presume that the blessings of marriage are so great that a person wouldn’t want go back to singleness in widowhood. But that’s not Paul’s perspective here."

- Thabiti Anyabwile

“We must realize that marriage is not the only way in which the unity and diversity in the Trinity can be reflected in our lives. It is also reflected in the union of believers in the fellowship of the church – and in genuine church fellowship, single persons (like Paul and Jesus) as well as those who are married can have interpersonal relationships that reflect the nature of the Trinity.”

- Wayne Grudem

“ ‘I’m all in’ is a contemporary picture of being a ‘living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.’ It’s the moment a Christian transfers control from him or herself to Jesus Christ. This transfer of trust called ‘surrender’ or Lordship ignites a life of faith. It turns your life completely around as you ask, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do in my singleness to fulfill Your will and purposes in and through me?’ A new adventure is launched as you seek to hear God’s voice, wrestle with idols, experience His presence, and begin to witness vivid answers to prayer.”

- Chip Ingram

“’There’s only one thing worse than being single. That is being married to Mr. Wrong ‘til death do you part.’ That statement is true. Yet in that statement there may be a false impression. You see, I used the word ‘worse’ alongside the word single. And sadly enough, too often in our society, the picture we have of the single saint is one who looks out the window of life with a long face. He’s so sad because he’s single, he’s so shamed-faced he doesn’t have a mate, and he’s so stagnant because he doesn’t know what to do. Unlike we married people who are all happy; who are all whole; who are all growing in God.”

[Audience erupts in laughter] 

“You respond with laughter. Why? We know this: It’s not a matter of the stage, or the status, or state of your life. It’s what you do with it. I know married people who are happy. I know married people who are sad. I know single people who are happy. I know single people who are sad. I know people with no kids who are sad because they wish they had kids. And I know people with kids…..”

[More laughter]

“What did we learn from that important truth? We learned that too many of us are looking at someone else’s life wishing we were…..wishing we were….”

- Bob Coy (I know he has recently stepped down from his pastor position in shame but this is still a great quote)

"Singles can play a vital and fruitful role in our churches, especially when everyone remembers that our primary identity is Christian, not whatever marital status we currently possess. We are all called to grow up in Christ, who is the head of the church (Ephesians 4:15). Being single does not exempt us from this sanctification process. It is just a different path toward that goal. (Yes, I understand that marriage puts a bright spotlight on selfishness and that many married people will testify to how their weddings put them on the fast-track of sanctification. But there’s a different form of long-simmer sanctification for single adults who have to continue to choose daily to be involved, confess sin, serve others, and not withdraw in the face of years of loneliness and lack of intimacy.) The Bible is clear that singleness is not a second-rate status in the church (1 Corinthians 7:8), and it provides several compelling portraits of singles (Paul, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Lydia, and possibly John the Baptist and even Timothy.)"

- Carolyn McCulley

“Men, women, your hormones do not control you. Your personal choice for purity submitted to the grace of God is what controls you. You can let your hormones control you; you can say, ‘I’ve got these urges, I’ve got these desires’ – and yet, nowhere in Scripture does it say those are more powerful than surrendering yourself by the grace of God, to the commands of God, to live in accordance to obedience to Him. Your sexual desires – which are God-given – is not an excuse for your sin. For those of you who are single, though those desires are there, though those desires in and of themselves are not bad, those desires are meant to be surrendered to God, to live by God’s grace, until that day if the Lord would allow you to get married. Purity is a conscious choice. And even the blessing of marriage is not a right, but a gift.”

- Tough but truthful words by my own pastor, standing here with Rick Holland

“Single woman, you have only one person to please: the Lord should be the object of your pursuit for beauty (1 Cor. 7:34). All your thoughts, motives, and actions related to beauty should be for the eyes of One and One only.”

- Carolyn Mahaney, wife of C.J. Mahaney, here with their 3 daughters

What a wonderful perspective for us single women! It reminded me of 1 Peter 3:4 which says “….let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God’s sight is very precious.” Isn’t it an awesome thought that we can cultivate qualities that God sees as precious?

“The Girl-Gone-Wise doesn’t lie in wait for a man, because she doesn’t need a man to fulfill her life’s purpose. Although marriage is a good and legitimate goal, her life is about so much more. She has a profound sense of mission. More than anything, she wants to know Christ and make Him known. She wants to display His greatness by doing the good works that He prepared in advance for her to do. ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). The Girl-Gone-Wise understands that regardless of whether she is single or married, her overriding purpose is to display Christ and to be busy with the kingdom work that He has for her in that season of her life.”

- Mary Kassian, author of “Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild”

"Everything is necessary that God sends our way. Nothing can be necessary that He withholds."

- John Newton

"Welcome to 'Joni and Friends' and thanks for spending these few minutes with me as I tell you about my friend who is single. Her name is Betsy and you’ve never met a more contented Christian than this woman, which is extraordinary when you learn how much Betsy loves children. She’s in her 60’s now, but I remember when she was in her late 30’s, maybe early 40’s. Betsy really struggled.

There were no prospects of any man on the horizon. No one was calling her up for a date on Friday night, or knocking on her door, but I was amazed at the way she handled that challenging time of being single. She went ahead and got her Master’s Degree (even at her late age); she got her degree in childhood counseling. Bless Betsy’s heart, she may have been single, but she was not going to let that discourage her. She has made the best of her single years by counseling troubled teens and children—hundreds of them—and many of them have come to Christ. It’s like Isaiah 54 says:

'More are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.' (Isaiash 54:1)

Well my friend Betsy is such an amazing example of that."

- Joni Eareckson Tad

“In spite of how blessed marriage can be, God wants you to know life can be just as rich whether you’re married or not.

God did declare at creation that ‘it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’ (Genesis 2:18). It is true that all people need companionship, but you can be single and not be alone. You can have friends, and God will bring people into your life to fulfill your need for companionship. Singleness before Him is a good, honorable, and excellent state.”

- John MacArthur

"We make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be."

- Sinclair Ferguson

“The cure for impatience with the fulfillment of God’s timetable is to believe His promises, obey His will, and leave the results to Him.” 

- Jerry Bridges, from his book "The Fruitful Life"

Recently, I have been feeling a lot of frustration over singleness....particularly on Sunday mornings when it's time to go to church. Not sure why it hits me at that time but it makes me not want to attend. But I have to keep coming back to this truth - God saved me, He purchased me with Christ's blood, I am His, and He has the right to do with my life what He wills. My response must be to believe Him, obey Him, and trust Him. There is no other way.

"While Scripture commends marriage as ordained of God and good, it also commends singleness as a life of extraordinary purpose and contribution, never speaking of any fundamental loss but only extolling the potential gain of the single life devoted to God. Since human marriage is the shadow of the reality of the union of Christ and the church, no believing single will miss out on the reality of marriage even if God calls him or her to live without the shadow."

-Bruce Ware

"A single woman's ultimate hope cannot be for marriage, but for the presence of Christ. God's seeming silence is not an indication of rejection, but a preparation of revelation, as single women commit to living their lives for the supremacy of Christ."

- Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

"To God, I am not 'still single', I'm single. Think about it....."

- me

"Deciding about marriage obviously is more difficult for the person who has strong sexual desires but who has no immediate prospect for a husband or wife. It is never God’s will for Christians to marry unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14), but neither is it right just to marry the first believer who will say yes. Though we may want very much to be married, we should be careful. Strong feelings of any sort tend to dull judgment and make one vulnerable and careless.

There are several things that Christians in this dilemma ought to do. First, they should not simply seek to be married, but should seek a person they can love, trust, and respect, letting marriage come as a response to that commitment of love. People who simply want to get married for the sake of getting married run a great risk of marrying the wrong person. Second, it is fine to be on the lookout for the “right person,” but the best way to find the right person is to be the right person. If believers are right with God and it is His will for them to be married He will send the right person—and never too late.

Third, until the right person is found, our energy should be redirected in ways that will be the most helpful in keeping our minds off the temptation. Two of the best ways are spiritual service and physical activity. We should avoid listening to, looking at, or being around anything that strengthens the temptation. We should program our minds to focus only on that which is good and helpful. We should take special care to follow Paul’s instruction in Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (4:8).

Fourth, we should realize that, until God gives us the right person, He will provide strength to resist temptation. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Finally, we should give thanks to the Lord for our situation and be content in it. Salvation brings the dawning of a new day, in which marriage “in the Lord” (v. 39) is an option."

- John MacArthur

“I went up to a place called Geneva College and I preached in a couple of churches and did a conference there about 14 years ago. The pastor took me out with one of the elderly women of the church and we went to one of the restaurants that she owned. She was delightful in her conversation, unbelievably witty. It was a very awkward time because she was a wit and I was only halfway there in the conversation. I just so enjoyed my time with her. Afterwards I said to her, ‘It’s pretty clear you are not hurting and you are a delightful lady in many ways. And yet you have been single your whole life. Have you ever thought about marriage or have you ever wanted to be married?’

She very kindly looked at me and said, ‘You’re not the first young man to ask me that question. I don’t think I was gifted to be single but God’s grace sustained me. There were many times that I wanted to be married and there was more than one occasion where I could have been married. But they were not God’s man for my life. And I realized to serve Jesus Christ it was better to be single and want to be married than to be married and want to be single.’

My, what maturity! She refused to have marriage something at all costs. She said, ‘If God does not provide the man, then God will provide the grace.’”

- Harry Reeder, Sr. Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church

“You will never be a happy married person, a content married person, if you are a discontent single person. Here’s the big lie you tell yourself: 'I’m so discontent! I wanna get married! I wanna get married! I wanna get married!' You get married, and then you’re not content. And by the way, if you’re saying, 'I wanna get married, I wanna get married, I wanna get married…..' who wants to marry you? The answer: Nobody. Because you want the state of marriage rather than the person – this real, live person that you love and care for and serve and give your life to. You don’t want to 'get married' you want to marry someone. Be content. If you’re not happy with God when you’re single, you’ll never be happy with God when you’re married.”

- Rick Holland

“There is no 'gift of singleness' if by gift we mean a supernatural outpouring accompanied by some kind of revelation that it is God’s hidden will that you remain single all your days. I would suggest that there are two proper ways to speak of this gift. First, if you are single, you have the gift of singleness. I currently am in year 29 of having this gift. I had it for 26 years until my wedding, and received it back at my wife’s passing. The 'gift' of which Paul speaks is the freedom that comes to us when we are not burdened with pleasing our spouse. Since Denise’s passing I have walked in heartache and lonesomeness for Denise. But I have not ever had to worry about meeting her needs, nor her desires.

During one of her last days my beloved tried to take one last opportunity to tend to and care for our home. She actually said to me, knowing she was likely soon to depart for a better country, 'When I am gone remember that you will need to replace the carpet upstairs. You will have to refinish the flooring on the back patio…' Before she could continue her list I smiled at her, took her hand and told her, 'I’m sorry dear, but those are precisely the things I won’t have to do. I’m content with how those things are.'

Second, I believe we can speak of the gift of singleness if by that we simply mean a lack of a current pressing need to marry. I too have this kind of the gift at present. I am sympathetic to men who are eager to marry, or in certain circumstances, to remarry. But I do not at present share that urgency. Indeed I honestly can’t imagine remarrying. I am savvy enough, however, to know that this could change in a moment. God’s Word gives me liberty. If the desire comes to marry I would be without sin to do so. I would not be turning up my nose as some kind of pseudo-charismatic 'gift' God had given me. I’d be giving thanks for the wife He would be giving me.

How can you know if you have the gift? If you are not married, and are at peace about it, you have the gift, even if you hope one day to marry. God does not allow us to peek into our own future. And Paul in this chapter, if he is encouraging anything, is encouraging us to embrace our liberty. Insofar as you are not breaking God’s law you may do as you wish. If you marry, give thanks for the gift of marriedness. If you are single, give thanks for the gift of singleness. Indeed in all things give thanks."

- R.C. Sproul Jr.

“Most idols in themselves are good things, good gifts from God – our spouse, our children, our hopes and dreams, our work, our success, our skill, our looks, our reputation. The trouble comes when we transform these into ultimate things.We end up depending on these things and these people to provide us with the meaning and purpose and freedom and security and significance that only Jesus can provide.”

- Tullian Tchividjian, from his book “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”

“Singles….must see the penultimate status of marriage. If single Christians don’t develop a deeply fulfilling love relationship with Jesus, they will put too much pressure on their dream of marriage, and that will create pathology in their lives.

However, if singles learn to rest in and rejoice in their marriage to Christ, that means they will be able to handle single life without a devastating sense of being unfulfilled and unformed. And they might as well tackle this spiritual project right away. Why? Because the same idolatry of marriage that is distorting their singles lives will eventually distort their married lives if they find a partner. So there’s no reason to wait. Demote marriage and family in your heart, put God first, and begin to enjoy the goodness of single life.”

- Timothy Keller, from his book “The Meaning of Marriage”

“Do we serve God only when He gives us blessings? Is God good only when life goes our way? How we respond to trials will answer those questions.

God does not have to give us marriage partners, healthy families, fine homes, and happy times. He has the right to give us children and take them; to keep us from sickness and to let us suffer.

Job reminds us that it is possible to worship God in the midst of unanswered questions. He did not have any warning for this trial; he received no revelation regarding its purposes. After hearing all the bad news, he received no memo providing a rationale for what happened. Nor did he receive assurance that all this would end with greater blessing.

As Job’s heart pounded with grief, he fell on his face and worshiped. He did not curse God, nor did he demand an explanation. He accepted God’s right to give and to take.

We all will have to wait until we get to heaven to find out the whys and the wherefores. And in the meantime, we can be grateful for those who have not abandoned their faith in spite of great suffering even as God’s purposes remain hidden.

God is with us in our successes and losses. We must trust Him at all times, no matter what happens.”

- Erwin Lutzer, from his book “Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know”

I find what Lutzer says here to be so true when it comes to unwanted singleness. Trying to figure out why I’m not married ……”Is God angry with me? Is He testing me? Did He forget me? Why is that woman married and not me? Is she more pleasing to God?”…….the endless questions and assumptions can drive you crazy. It’s far better to accept what God gives you each day and focus on using your unique situation to glorify God. Better questions: “How can I display God’s goodness through my singleness? What are the spiritual advantages of singleness? What can I teach people about Christ through my singleness?”

"Every woman has a 'house', an immediate sphere of influence. If you are married, if you have children, your family is your closest and most important circle of influence. Single women also have a 'house'; it encompasses those lives they touch within their extended family, their church, their workplace, and their community. A wise woman is actively involved in building her house on a daily basis, but the foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands."

- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, referring to Proverbs 14:1 in her book "Becoming God's True Woman"

“We know from 1 Corinthians 7 that Paul had a very high view of singleness. He didn't consider singles less complete in Christ. In fact, if because you are single and somehow incomplete in your relationship with God the Father because of that, then Jesus Christ was incomplete as well – He never married.

Paul will stress in other passages the special opportunities for Christian service by remaining single.

In other words, take full advantage of whatever state you find yourself – single or married – whatever it is – go for it – maximize it for the glory of God!”

- Stephen Davey, Wisdom for the Heart

“I frequently encounter single adults who fret about whether or not they will ever wed……Only God knows what will happen in the future or what turns our paths will take.

This is why I base my life on the compass of Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ You and I may not know what our futures hold, but our loving heavenly Father does. And there is no one who can lead us more tenderly, wisely, and effectively into tomorrow.”

- Charles Stanley, from his book “Emotions: Confront the Lies. Conquer with Truth”