Single Minded: Part 1 Party of One: Transcript
SINGLE MINDED SERIES
PARTY OF ONE – BEING CONTENT WITH BEING SINGLE
JULY 24, 1994
I hold in my hand this morning’s top ten list from the home office in Sioux City, Iowa, top ten things not to say to single adults. Number ten, before you find someone wonderful you have to be someone wonderful. Number nine, the minute you stop looking God will bring someone special into your life. Number eight, you are so lucky you are still single. Number seven, you’re not married yet, why not? Number six, God has someone special for you, you just need to wait on His timing. Number five, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Number four, it must be God’s will that you are not married yet. Number three, do you have a special someone in your life? Number two, your biological clock is ticking. And, number one, you are such a neat person, why aren’t you married?
Let’s face it, our society puts enormous pressure on single adults to get married. Let’s take, for an example, the typical American female. By the time she is a toddler she has already been dragged to a wedding, and after the wedding, well-meaning relatives come up and grab her cheeks with a vise grip-like pull and they say, “Honey, one day you will make a beautiful bride.” And the little typical American female toddles home. As she grows up she buys Barbie and Ken dolls, then well-meaning grandparents give her Barbie and Ken wedding outfits. Years roll by, she reads stories of handsome princes marrying beautiful maidens and they ride off in the sunset living happily ever after. When college hits, the pressure intensifies because the typical American female’s friend bolts into dorm rooms with her left hand extended showing the beautiful engagement ring and the not- so-excited-as-they-seem friends wonder down deep, am I next? And a subtle form of competition starts. Then the typical American female walks into a grocery store and as she ventures past the magazine racks those bridal magazines begin to sing, “What’s wrong with you, what’s wrong with you” (demonstrated to the tune of Here Comes the Bride) “your life won’t have any meaning, until you say, I do.”
You find yourself at wedding receptions jockeying for position like Michael Irvin catching a pass so you can catch that elusive bouquet. And then there are the terrible, rude comments that relatives make, and well-meaning friends make. And you put all this together and you’ve got some serious pressure to deal with. The Word of God, though, tells us some encouraging news, single adults, I’m talking about some great news, some life-changing news. It tells us how to be content with being single. Because God wants the best for your life and for my life. And if you are single, He wants the best for you in your single life. Forty-two percent of our church is single and over one half of the population of the metroplex is single, so I thought it was fitting to do a series on single adults. It is called Single Minded. For the next three weeks this series will run. Today we are going to talk about being content with being single. Next week, visions and values for dating and the final week, dealing with divorce.
I know what some of you married folks are thinking though. “Ha, ha, I picked the wrong Sunday and the wrong series to attend the Fellowship of Las Colinas. That gives me a free pass and I can go ahead and play golf for the next couple of weeks Sunday morning, yea.” Don’t make those tee times too quickly because, if you are a parent, you have the awesome responsibility of helping your children learn the decision making process. You will need to teach them how to date, and how to find the ulti-mate. So if you are a parent, this series is for you. If you are in the marketplace and you are married and you have to deal or relate with any single adults, guess what, this series is for you. If you know someone who is divorced, or maybe you are divorced, this series is for you. If you are not in one of those three categories, you can play golf, but I think all of us are in one of those three categories.
It is amazing, but our society gives those who are unmarried a lie, and we give them a marriage myth. We say, if you are married that will complete a life that is incomplete. If you are married it is like finding the missing ingredient in a recipe. And singles walk around feeling they are a bowl of Rick Krispies without that snap, crackle and pop. If I could only get married, that will do the job. And you believe that because of all the lies, all of the trash people give you.
Having said that, I want to stop and give you, right now, a relational pop test. I know school hasn’t started yet, but here is a relational pop test. Look in your bulletin and you will see a card, entitled Party of One, Being Content With Being Single, Relational Pop Test. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear those words pop test. So take out a pen, or pencil and this is the test. I want you to be honest, if you are married, take the test, if you are single, take the test. We are going to see how smart you are relationally. Put your name on your paper, Owen Goff, our assosiate pastor, will take the papers up and give you a grade, we’ll have the results next week and they will be posted in the lobby. (laughter)
Here is the first true or false question. You have got to fill the blank in to know if it is true or false. Here we go. When I get married (see it there) when I get married I will never be lonely again. True or false. When I get married I will never be lonely again. It is false. But so many single adults believe that. Do you believe that? You see some of the loneliest people I know are those people who are married. And the most miserable people I know are not unmarried people who wish they were married, they are married people who wish they were single because they married the wrong person. Loneliness is something that many unmarried folks and married folks deal with. Why? Listen to me very carefully because I am going to say some things that might be a little bit complicated, but stay with me and you will get the gist of it.
God has created us, He has made you, He has made me, He has wired us up for two types of relational yearnings. We have got to have two levels of companionship so to speak. The first level is something that most of us are conscious of. It is the level on which we yearn to have a deep friendship or a marriage or someone we are really close with. And that is something we are conscious of, that is why we have friends, that is why God said after he made Adam, it is not good for man to be alone. So He created other people so we can relate to them. God is a relational God, we are relational creatures. That is the first level. The second level though is deeper than the first. The second level is relational yearning we have that can only be satisfied with a personal encounter and a personal friendship with Jesus Christ. You see, we all have a hole in our heart that can only be satisfied by Him. You take level one yearning and level two yearning and you put them into a single’s life, you stir them up a little bit and, man, you have someone who is obsessed with finding Mr. or Ms. Right. They are on a spouse hunt and they will do anything just to get involved and to meet the right person, because they think it will cure their loneliness. “I am lonely now, if I marry this person, it will do it, I will never be lonely again.” So they meet this person, and the level one needs are getting satisfied and before they know it they are walking down the aisle saying, I will, I do. Off to the honeymoon, and after about six months they start looking at each other and they start saying, “Wait a minute. I am still lonely, I was lonely before the marriage, and now I am lonely.” And they start putting unrealistic expectations on their spouse because they think their spouse can meet these supernatural needs that only Jesus Christ can meet. And most unmarried people are unaware of this, they are unconscious of this second level, thus they are expecting a human being to meet those second level needs. And then they put stipulations on their spouse, demands on them, cutting them down. And then that relationship ends up in a train wreck and then they leap from that relationship like a giant frog, ribbit, ribbit, to another relationship.
Three weeks ago, as you know, my wife and I had twins. And during the three weeks I was off, I took care of the twins, of course along with Lisa. I was there assisting her, at her every call. And my two year old son, EJ, got a little bored a couple of times, he would try to hug them a little too tightly. So I ended up taking EJ down to a little pond close to our house at least thirty-four times in a matter of three weeks. And EJ wanted to see the frogs. Daddy, I want to see the frogs, the frogs, the frogs. And after we would see the frogs, we would go home. And as I was putting him to bed he would say, “Dad, tell me about it, tell me about the frogs.” Well these frogs are amazing, I have never seen frogs like this. I hate to get off on a Discovery Channel thing but the frogs have a yellow belly and a bright green top and they are monsters. They are hugh. Ribbit. (demonstration) Real deep like that, and they can jump like ten feet. When we get into a relationship, and level two needs aren’t being met but we don’t why, ribbit, we jump to another relationship and surely this person can meet the ultimate needs, this person can cure my loneliness. It doesn’t work, break that off, ribbit, into another one. Here is what Jesus says about that. Jesus says, look here on your outline John 14:27 “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you…”(if you are married). Is that what He says? NO, no, no, no, there are no stipulations here. There are no stipulations here. Jesus says, peace is what I leave with you, not your spouse, not your lover, I am the source of peace. Look at John 10:10. “I have come in order that you might have life – and have life in all of its fullness”. The word fullness in the Greek it means overflowing. Even if you are unmarried. Hebrews 13:5. Jesus said, talking to lonely people, “…I will never leave you; I will never (ever) abandon you”. You are not married and you are lonely and you think, a spouse will do it. What is the solution? Explore the depths of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Until he fills that hole in your heart, until he meets that level two, your life will never, ever come together. That is why there is so much divorce, that is why there is so much relational trouble, is because of this level two thing.
Let’s now look at the second question. True or false. Marriage will repair my brokenness. That’s right, if I get married it will repair my brokenness. A lot of people have a compound fracture of the heart. You come from broken homes, divorce, alcoholism, emotional abuse, and you think, boy, a spouse can do it. And you look at a spouse like a orthopedic surgeon. If I marry him, or her, she can put a giant cast around our relationship and she can heal me. Man, I know she can do it, I know he can do it. Some people call this the Humpty-dumpty syndrome. You remember that? Humpty-dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-dumpty had a great fall, all the king’s horses, all the king’s men could not put our man Humpty back together again. So you are asking a human being, single adults, to do what all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t even do in a nursery rhyme. It is not going to happen. A person cannot cure your loneliness, a person cannot heal your brokenness. And that is why our Lord said in Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” He does, the Lord, God does. So if you are broken, again it points to Jesus Christ. Matthew 9:12. “…Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…” You are spinning your wheels if you think a person can be the solution. So the second question, I hate to rain on your parade here, is false. It is false. So the application is, go to Jesus. Go to Jesus, go to Christ for your healing, period. Single adults, go to Jesus and let Him do what He wants to do. And one of the main things He will do when He sees you in His operating room, He’ll give you a pill and it is called the “relax pill”. He will say, “Take the pill and relax.” Put God at the top of the list, make Jesus Christ the Lord of your singleness because He will say, “I have you single for a specific reason. You can do things now because you are single that you could not do if you are married.” And He wants you to be content and to relax and to rejoice in whatever station of life you are in. Whether you have four children like me, or you are a single adult. And I highly recommend both. Whatever God calls you to do.
Let’s jump now to the third question. True or false. Once I get married I will live happily ever after. Once I get married I will live happily ever after, no more problems for me, no arguments, no difficulties, I will just live happily ever after. That’s right. That’s it. Well take, for example again, the best Christian marriage here. The best. If you are talking to this couple and they are honest with you, here is what they will say. If you are married you have got to say thousands of times, honey, I was wrong, will you forgive me? You have got to say thousands and thousands of times, I submit to you. Husband to wife, wife to husband. You also have to stay up many evenings until the wee hours of the morning getting something right. Take again the best Christian marriage here and look at the spiritual struggles. The wife, she wants to go to the Single Minded series. The husband says go, I can play golf this series. The husband isn’t really into tithing, the wife, though, wants to give ten percent of their income to the house of worship, which the Bible talks about. That is a spiritual struggle. How about a relational struggle? He wants to go out with his buddies, his college friends, she wants to go out with the cute couple she met down the street. How about sexual struggles? It is not that often that you both feel romantic at the same moment, at the same time. How about that? How about child rearing struggles? She wants to do the June Cleaver thing and kind of reason with the Beaver, while the husband wants to put the little one on restriction for life. Struggles. Marriage takes work, blood, sweat and tears, and most unmarried people underestimate this. I highly recommend marriage. And God calls most people to be married. However, the Bible specifically says He gives some the gift of singleness. And too many singles concentrate on what they don’t have instead of what they do have. And if you are not content with where you are now, you are not going to be content when you get married.
That is why, my final application point, Capitalize on your singleness. Look up I Corinthians 7. This is one of the most misinterpreted texts in the Bible.
I Corinthians 7. The apostle Paul is talking. I have heard people say, well Paul here is saying you should never get married. Paul here is really saying, marriage is not the deal. That is false. Let me give you the context of this text. Every time you read a verse or a chapter make sure you understand the background, the context. The recipients of this letter, I Corinthians 7, verses 18, 32 and 35, the recipients were really messing up. They were getting drunk during communion, they were involved in idol worship, and all this immorality, and Paul was saying to those guys and girls, hey, the last thing you need to worry about is getting married. You have all these problems, hey, put marriage on the back burner for awhile, get those straightened out. And here is what the apostle Paul tells them, and he would say the same thing to anyone here who is not married, and to those who are married. Listen to I Corinthians 7:28, you talk about a hilarious verse, a true verse, “…those who marry will face many troubles in this life…” Do you agree with that? Those who aren’t agreeing, you are not married. Those who are married will face many troubles and the Living Bible interprets this as extra problems. I will never forget the first two weeks in algebra class. Miss Kazoo taught me algebra and the first two weeks, no problem, I was cruising. But it became complicated when they started adding other things into the equation, other factors, and then I started making the C-s and D+s. That complicated the thing. You see if you are single, if you are not married, it is not as complicated as if you are married.
For example, when I was studying for this message this past week I knew even though I was on a roll, writing the message, oh, it is six o’clock. I had to be home, I had my responsibilities to my wife and to our four children. You see, extra problems. And they are problems I am called to meet and they are problems you are called to meet if you are married, but if you aren’t, think about the freedom. He goes on, Paul says in verse 32, “I would like for you to be free from concern.” And I Corinthians 7:35, “I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.” That’s why I say capitalize, single adults, capitalize on your singleness. “How? How do you do it, Ed? How do I capitalize on my singleness?” The first blank. Time. Write the word time. Capitalize on your time. Time is a gift from God. That is why the Bible says in Philippines 1:27, “Whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of Christ.” If we didn’t have singles here, our church could not function. You should have seen this place about four hours ago. Singles running around helping, the sound, the lighting, the technicians, the praise team , the praise band, the people running all this computer generated stuff. Single adults, giving up their time. If these folks were married, ha, ha, ha. It is a pipedream that this service would come off. And they are using their time for the glory of God. So, are you capitalizing, singles, on your time or are you just spinning your wheels saying, well, I’m just going to kind of veg out here until I meet the right person, then my life will really start happening, then I can use time, but right now I’ll just kind of waste time, kind of flounder around.
Number two. We need to capitalize on attitude. Look at Philippines 4:12. Attitude. The big attitude. Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” A friend of mine has said, paranoia will destroia. And there are singles I know who are paranoid about getting married. And because they are single, it is easy for them to become self-absorbed. That is why I encourage you to give of yourself, to thank God for your singleness, to ask Jesus Christ to work on your attitude.
The third thing that we have to capitalize on is ministry. See that, ministry. The Bible says in Romans 14:19, “So let us concentrate on the things that make for harmony and the growth of our fellowship together.” The growth of our fellowship together. And this is one of the main stumbling blocks I see in the singles community. The church I came from has the largest singles ministry in the world, of any church. And this church has one of the largest singles ministry in the metroplex. But here is what I have seen in single’s lives over the last twelve years. Here is what I see them do. I see them kind of coming in and they will hang out for a couple of months, check out everything, I am talking about the opposite sex, and then when they have kind of dated four or five, they will go to the next church. “Oh, all right man, have you seen her?” “Now here is another church, OK”, and do that. And what happens is, they miss out on God’s specific calling, His great church in the metroplex, great singles ministry. This church is not for every single. Find out where God is leading you. Join that church, single adults, stay there, plant your roots and say, “I’m going to be a part of this”. And as you let yourself grow in your relationship with the Lord, as you explore the depths of that thing, He will give you a specific ministry in that Body of Christ, and, if He has given you the desire to be married, at the right time He will bring someone into your life. But you need to get off this church hopping, shopping and bopping thing. You end up getting bits and pieces and never really settling down. So be like a Psalm 1 person, be like a tree firmly planted. And if God wants you to plant your membership here, great. If it is somewhere else, great. But make sure you find it. Please do that. Put God in control of finding a mate.
Finally, capitalize on your relationships, singles, on your relationships. Proverbs 18:24, “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” If you are single you can have many more deeper relationships that I can have, cause you’ve got more time. I can have maybe one or two, you could have ten. And the Bible talks about relationships that are closer than marriages in terms of communication. Are you building those relationships, singles, are you really doing that?
So again, I would tell you if you are not married, rejoice. Relax. Reverse all the energy you are using to try to find a mate, reverse that energy and give it to God and then you watch because people will step back and say, whoa there goes a Jesus-controlled, Holy Spirit filled man or woman of God. Wow, look what they are doing. And if God does lead you into marriage, great, but make sure you rejoice in your content with being single.