Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote a book a couple years ago entitled, Becoming. This autobiography was not about a destination, but a journey that continues even now on who she was, is, and will be.
As Christians, we are also “becoming” from the moment we accept Christ into our lives until the end of our life. Becoming more surrendered, more loving, more obedient, more kind, more like Him every day is the goal. Once you choose to accept Christ as your Savior and follow Him, you are declaring that you plan to be Christian before you are anything else. What do I mean by that?
Before I am a single, Black, female, social worker, entrepreneur, an Edwards, I am a Christian. That is now my primary identity. That means my response to everything should be as a follower of Christ first not as someone who is Black, or female, or an Edwards, or Floridian etc. When race issues come up, my response should be as a Christian first and a Black person second. When gender issues arise, my response should be as a Christian first and a woman second. If someone attacks the Edwards family, my response should be as a Christian first and an Edwards second. And when singleness issues arise, my response should be as a Christian first and a single second.
No compromise should be made in the life of a single person that negatively impacts their primary identity as a follower of Christ. And since true Christianity is practical, we are going to talk about how to be a godly single person. Now before anyone mistakes me to be talking about godliness within myself, let me disavow you of that notion. We know that we cannot be like God in our own strength. However, God has given us instructions on how we can become like Him, and that is by following the example Jesus left for us when He walked on this earth.
Being a follower of Christ is not a game nor a casual club. It is a serious commitment with eternal implications. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places. Since we are battling spiritual enemies, shouldn’t we use spiritual protection and spiritual weapons? We must be serious about this thing if we are going to be victorious in our daily, practical life. Referencing Ephesians 6:13-18, let’s talk about applying the armor of God to becoming a godly single in an ungodly world.
Belt of Truth
Paul starts his instruction with, “Gird your loins with truth”. The literal meaning for gird is to tighten with a belt or to encircle. This was a critical part of the armor of a Roman soldier because it protected the private area from being exposed to harm. The first thing I need to do in becoming a godly single is to put on and tighten the belt of truth. I need to encircle myself with truth to protect me from exposing my private areas to harm. The enemy will bring desirable deceptions that will encourage me to take risks with the sacred parts of my life and mind and body. If I keep on that belt of truth it will be the foundation upon which everything else is built.
What is truth? Jesus is Truth! Not religious doctrine; but GOD! Believing that, knowing that, and walking in that truth is what holds me up and makes my path as a Christian single much different from that of a single person that is an unbeliever. I know there is a God of love who died to save me. This Truth compels me to make different choices in my single life than those who are ignorant of, or disregard that Truth. Those choices shape who I become day by day. The more I act in accordance with Truth, the more I start becoming more godly than single.
Breastplate of Righteousness
Grace has no buts because grace is not a reflection of worth or deservedness. It is actually a reflection of unworthiness and undeservedness. Grace is only necessary when there is wrong or when expectations haven’t been met. I am learning that when there is a gap between what I expect and what I experience, if I fill that gap with grace then I allow people to experience from me what I experience from God and it opens them up to Him which is ultimately all that we are here to do. God had an expectation of obedience; He got disobedience; but He had grace waiting in the wings to bridge the gap.
Then we are to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protected the vital organs of the soldier, particularly the heart. Righteousness is right living. These are practical, daily choices that reflect the God that is my foundation. The bible says that right living protects our heart. We know of course that in a world of sin, there will be pain. But I can minimize the wounds to my heart as a single with right choices. How so? When I refrain from dating men or women who are outside of God’s will simply because my Father tells me so, this protects me from sacrificing my heart in relationships that cannot be whole. When I refrain from sexual immorality in my relationships, I protect my heart from the damage of becoming “one” with a person or people who turn out not to be “The One”. Although God forgives, there are painful consequences to those actions.
When I make right living my goal, even those who identify as Christian, but are not genuinely interested in God or righteousness, will fade away once they determine that they are not able to break me down. God wants to protect my heart and yours from the pain that inevitably is attached to wrong living, or sin. He instructs us to commit to right living to minimize the attacks on our heart as singles.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
Next, we are to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. What does that mean? The Roman soldiers wore shoes that had nails imbedded in the soles so that they could navigate difficult, slippery, or muddy terrain without falling. Once they were set, they were not easily moved. Shoes protect our feet when we are walking, they give us stability, and they help us walk in specific terrain more effectively.
The gospel of peace must come from the Prince of Peace. The gospel is my foundation. Knowing that allows me to navigate difficult, slippery, and challenging situations in my life as a single, because the gospel keeps me set, stable, and not easily moved. Believing and living like God IS and that He sent Jesus to die for me because of His love for me gives me peace. Real peace. I accept that I will still have trouble and tribulation, but I will have peace. I can be set and stable and not easily moved.
Eagles knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks. The eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. When I choose to make God and His gospel my foundation, I can have peace during the storm and can rise above it. This peace comes from knowing that even if I never marry and have the family I desire, I can rest in God and live in His divine purpose without bitterness, resentment, or jealousy. When I put on those gospel shoes, and leave them on, I am set and unmoving despite what comes or does not come.
Shield of Faith
Above all we need to take the shield of faith to give us protection from the fiery darts of the devil. Faith is living like God is telling me the truth. That means faith is not simply a mental exercise. I must do something or sometimes NOT do something to demonstrate my faith in God. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the first thing that satan tried to do was to get Jesus to doubt what God had said to him 40 days earlier about being His Son. He tried to get Jesus to think that He needed to take care of His own needs rather than waiting on God. Waiting was the act of faith needed then. God would provide food for Him in due time. It was a legitimate need that satan tempted Jesus to satisfy in an illegitimate way.
The enemy does not use new tactics. Two thousand years later he still tries to get me to doubt God and to think that God does not care about my singleness, loneliness, needs, or dreams. Then he tempts me to try to satisfy my singleness, loneliness, needs, and dreams in my own strength and my own methods.
The shield of faith blocks the doubts satan throws at me and reminds me that since He loved me enough to live with, suffer for, and die because of my sin, he definitely loves me enough to fill the lonely places, satisfy my needs, and fulfill my dreams.
Here is an additional thought. In Psalm 37:4, the Bible says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Now many people interpret this to simply mean that He will give you what you want. I do not believe this is the exhaustive meaning of the verse. The reason why is that my heart is evil and desperately wicked. Why would a good God give me what my heart desires? I believe the verse is layered. First, I think that it means that as I delight myself in God and His ways, He will give or show me WHAT to desire. An intimate relationship with Him changes the desires that would arise from an evil heart and transforms them into desires that He wants to honor and provide.
Once the type of things that I desire changes, the second layer is that He is then able to give me what I want and still be a good Father, because what I want now are the things that will glorify Him and bless me. Sometimes God’s answer to our desires, is to change them. Sometimes God’s answer to our desires is to fulfill them. He is faithful and good in both circumstances. Holding up the shield of faith to block satan’s missiles of doubt in God allows us to live like God is telling us the truth.
The Helmet of Salvation
The helmet of the soldier protected his head and most of the face from attack or injury. The helmet of salvation protects my mind from the attacks of satan. Salvation from God is about more than the event at Calvary. He saved me and is saving me from my sin. But He saved me and is saving me from the effects of sin and satan on my mind and thinking. Satan wants me to doubt my Father’s love for me as a single, His concern for me, and my status with Him. He will use family, friends, church members, television etc. to make me feel and believe that if I am not in a relationship, then I am less than those who are. Or he will have me believing that something is wrong with me and create insecurity that stalls me in my purpose.
Many singles, myself included, have experienced depression and bitterness at God because doubts and insecurities about our singleness took root in our minds. This creates a barrier to true worship of God. Others become desperate and find themselves serial dating, jumping from one person to the next person trying to fill a void that satan keeps spotlighting. Still others become bitter and hardened and misrepresent the character of God in their sphere of influence, killing any witness they had. Finally, others spend all their time castle building, daydreaming about a Cinderella or Prince Charming coming into their life. This could be a real person or a dream, but it distracts them from their divine mission.
Saturating my mind with the themes of salvation, the purpose of salvation, the God of salvation, and my personal walk with Christ, protects my mind by providing constant assurance of who I am in Christ. This helps me connect to the love of my Savior, gives me the focus to surrender to the sanctifying power of salvation, and gives me reason to praise Him continually. Where there is praise to God, satan cannot dwell. The helmet of salvation protects my mind from satan’s attacks.
The Sword of the Spirit
The sword is an offensive weapon used to attack the enemy. It was sharp and deadly when used by a skilled warrior. The Word of God is our sword revealed and interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit. It should be used to identify and attack the enemy of our souls and anyone He uses to destroy us and our walk with God. Just like Jesus in the wilderness, we need to use the Word of God to have victory over temptations that assail the single person. The Word tells us that there is always a way of escape.
1 Corinthians 10:13 promises that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Jesus was our example of using the promises and encouragement of the Bible to escape the devil. As a single, when satan comes and tells you that you have unmet needs and God is unfair for letting that be the case, attack him with Phillippians 4:9, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” When satan brings sexual temptation, your sword should attack with I Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” When the enemy tempts you to wallow in loneliness or feel envious of others, your sword should attack with Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He, Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The Word is sharper than any two-edged sword and it will allow you to successfully fight your battles against the enemy. Pick up the sword of the Spirit daily so that you are always ready to fight.
Prayer is not listed as one of the official weapons, but after teaching all of this Paul says pray. Prayer is the medium through which we can identify and activate the piece of armor necessary in every situation. Without prayer nothing else is effective.
God has given us a formula, a manual, for becoming godly singles. But we will not get there until we are willing to let Truth be our focus and not our single status. In every situation, we must respond as Christian before we respond as single. Until then, satan will win in at least one of these areas; the Truth will be compromised, right living will be sacrificed, peace will be undermined, our faith will be shaky, our mind will be distracted, or we will fall to temptation over and over. And the reality is that if he wins in one area, he wins in all.
Each of us needs to decide if we are going to be godly first or single first. Trust me, it will shape your acceptance and obedience to everything else God wants to share with you about His desire for you. But we cannot just wait for temptation to come so we can escape it. Soldiers in battle are always preparing and always prepared. We need to put on our armor now, so we are daily becoming the godly singles our Father called us to be.
Now that we are becoming, how do we start choosing. Make it your mission to come back next week for the answer to that question.
Let us help you create a life you love!