So, I’ve been solidly single for ten years.
Oh, sure, I’ve dated a few guys and been on a few dates here and there, but I am still solidly single. Such a prolonged single season has really rocked my faith in God and my sense of worth so that I’ve had to practice self-control.
Self-control is one of those concepts that I know is a fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, etc., etc. and SELF-CONTROL. But, I always thought of self-control as being more of a theory than a practical virtue to be practiced and maintained until I needed self-control in my singleness desperately. At some point in my late 20s, I realized my thoughts were being controlled by fear and disbelief instead of faith. My sense of worth was crippled because I thought I was less than because I wasn’t married, so that negative thought pattern determined my belief about myself. Here’s the thing: God doesn’t say that everyone is going to be married at 21, so it takes self-control to not surrender to disbelief, doubting that God has a plan during the period of waiting. And He does have a plan.
Self-control is mandatory if we are going to live lives that are pleasing to our God. Paul said in I Corinthians 9:24-27 that everyone who competes in athletic and spiritual competitions exercises SELF-CONTROL in ALL THINGS. The athletes he referenced were Greeks who trained their mind and bodyfor ten months to concentrate on winning their unique competition. He compares our individual, God-given destiny to running a race or boxing with aim, so that each punch, each stride, each step of your life is focused at a the target of God’s purpose. Paul disciplined his body so that he would not be disqualified because he relented to immorality, sensuality, anger, jealousy, strife, etc. I’ve almost been prey to letting the same “deeds of the flesh” disqualify ME from my God-ordained destiny, until I realized that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free” so I didn’t have to clothe myself daily in my old sins, habits, and thought patterns – I was and am free because of Jesus.
Sexual sin, lust, and negativity may be what our culture permits and even encourages in singleness, but we cannot live effective lives for the glory of God if we let our bodily passions and minds run the show.
Keep your mind strong in the power of God. Practice self-control. He has set a race before you that only you, in whatever relational season of life, can run with boldness and courage.
QUITE YOUR SOUL — Worship Song: “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser.
“I’m no longer a slave to fear – I am a child of God.”
BE ENCOURAGED — Read these Scriptures:
I Corinthians 9:24-27–“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Galtians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
DIG DEEPER — Life Evaluating Questions:
- Evaluate your mind. Do you control your thoughts or do they control you? What thought patterns have you allowed to dictate your worth?
- Identify areas in your life over which you need to control yourself. Pray over these weaknesses, allowing God to strengthen you in His power and truth
- Pray over yourself and for your God-given, unique purpose. What does God want YOU to accomplish with your talents and gifts for the kingdom of God, regardless of your relationship season?