I remember going to my first wedding. Mutual friends were present, speeches were given, promises of forever, and so much dancing. My eyes glazed with hope, thinking one day that would be me professing my love for someone, and ready to embark on a new adventure sharing it with the best partner I could ask for. I remember after the reception people would come to me saying “SO…. You got your eyes on anybody lately?” or the “Uhm….. Why aren’t you looking for anybody?” please let’s not talk about the “bro, you better get out there and find your good thing!” While I appreciate the encouragement to not be passive, I wondered why are men pushed, groomed, and encouraged to find their good thing as if that is the only gift that is worth getting from the Lord? Within the church we preach contentment to women because they shouldn’t pursue men but we don’t preach the same standard to single men. Honestly, I think it’s because every man seems to think he is going to be married and have a “good thing”. Okay, back to that night. I felt pressured. I felt like if I was not out here- eyes wide open, chasing women I would be alone. Stupid, I know, but think about it. In the majority of small groups men aren’t about being single, pure, and waiting on the Lord. They are about defining manhood, expository preaching, and managing our sexual desires. I wrote this hoping to provide some ways that you can help your brothers in the faith who are single.
Ways to help single brothers:
Encourage us to seek Christ in all things.
Stop pushing your single brothers to pursue every woman that comes around who meets the requirement. Although many may perceive this as a sign of encouragement, it isn’t always encouraging. Honestly, it opens the door for many things: discontentment and fantasy being just two of them. Constant reminders of our relationship status or consistent pushing to be in a relationship may cause us to be infected by these two viruses. In one instance it may just a big ole reminder that they you are alone. In another instance it may cause us to shift our eyes from God and toward everything else (relationships, companionship, & women). This produces the same secular habit of dating and it hinders us from being still and listening to the Lord so we will know what is next for us. Encouraging us to seek Christ is important because it is in Him that we find our worth. It is in Him that we know our Identity. So, point us to that constantly.
Encourage us to follow Christ in all things.
A man who is seeking Christ with his heart will follow him with his steps. Accountability is very important. Community is heavy here! Call us out when we are isolating ourselves from community; WE NEED IT! The Spirit guides us but God has graced us with community to sharpen us and challenge us. Following Christ is no easy task! Picking up a cross, carrying it daily, and dying to ourselves daily is no cheap thrill. Encourage us to stand firm on the Truth of the Bible. Following Christ means Seeking Christ constantly. The brothers who are always constantly pursuing a woman that “The Lord” led them to- please sit them down, tell them to be patient, and listen to God. Check them in love. There is nothing wrong with telling them how those actions affect their sisters in the faith. Especially if every six months you watching a different woman- stop acting like a fool and chill.
Encourage us to trust Christ in all things.
Trusting the Lord is one of the hardest things to do. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Have confidence in the God you serve who created beautiful things out of nothing. God knows what is best for you. Trusting Christ means following Him courageously and seeking Him earnestly. Trusting in Christ looks like following Him with a passion that is stoked by seeking Him fervently. If you are not seeking Him constantly in prayer/ worship etc., then it makes sense why you struggle with trusting Him. To trust God means looks like choosing trust over your emotions (to a certain extent). When God says “He will withhold no good thing from His children” We should trust that! Now that does not mean you will be getting married but that is a faithful promise that God knows what is best for us in this season and the next. Trust His time and Plan for your life!
To my single brothers:
It is okay to be single. It seems like everywhere you go it is a crime for you to single. People may ask you questions trying to figure out why are single. I know it sounds cliché but focus on what God would have to do now. What are some of your goals that you earnestly want to accomplish? This is the time to do just that. If you want to start a business, mentor youth, progress further in your professional endeavors. Use this time of freedom to accomplish those things. This is the time to handle your… stuff. Each of us have things that need to be put in the light or things that need to be worked through. This time is a gift. Use it to work through issues (anger, purity, self-esteem, and identity) so that you won’t bring it into your future relationship.
It is okay to check your friends. If your friends are constantly pointing out beautiful women for you to try to talk to lovingly check them and convey to them the negative effects of what they are doing. They probably don’t realize it. You could have been perfectly fine and then a friends makes a comment about your relationship status and now you are anxious about it. Let them know that their action could cause discontentment in Christ. It may cause you to fantasize about being in a relationship and cause you to make that an idol. If your married friends keep overemphasizing how great married sex is as a way to encourage you to find your wife…. Check them! If you don’t you’ll end up chasing after every chick who may have qualities that you are interested in and ending it because the intention behind it was not God. It may have been anxiety, fantasy, or loneliness but not God who was leading you to pursue this woman. Don’t be pressured! Stop allowing others to make you feel like you are doing something wrong, or you are behind the eight ball. You are right where God has you.
It is okay to desire companionship. It is normal for you to want to be married. It is fine that you want someone to share your meals with and someone you can share your life with. Those desires are not inherently sinful or wrong. I think due to everything around us we allow our desires to have more control over our actions than they should. Our desires should be drenched in prayer, under the advisement of WISE counsel, and kept in check by the Holy Spirit and community. God has given us tools that we sparely utilize because of our desire to be comfortable. Do not isolate yourself from community! Even though it seems easy to do so if people are vexing your soul. Do not run away from community. Be honest! Share your feelings (I know that nobody wants to do that!) with trusted members of your circle and pray! Holding everything in is toxic to mind and soul. Let it out and pray!
Lastly, Men let’s not abuse our position as pursuers by leading recklessly without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the accountability of community. Men, because we have been given the honor to lead and pursue a woman it should lead us toward prayer, discipleship, and fasting so that our hearts aren’t deceived or our minds tainted by fantasy. Fellas, let’s love our sisters enough to not endanger them with our reckless leadership. Let’s love ourselves enough to know our worth does not come from having a woman but that our worth comes from the Lord. Let’s love the Lord enough to trust Him knowing that what He has for you is far better than anything you can expect. Relinquish control over what you think you are ready for and what you want to do. Follow His lead. Trust His Will. Let Him Guide you, not your family, friends, church members, or even yourself.
- Ed Wright, A Single Brother