Whenever messages at church lean towards marriage and family, while I still try to listen and get much out of it as I can, it still can feel slightly uncomfortable. All the teaching and advice is very helpful but if you’re not at that stage of life and you don’t know if you ever will be, it feels like it’s not going to help you. And it hurts when you feel like the church has forgotten about people who are NOT married or with children. Sometimes you make the choice to be single and sometimes you don’t want to be in that state but either way it can feel like you’re overlooked in favor of those who are in a coupled relationship.
On Sunday, I knew that the teaching was going to be on Colossians 3:18-21. I’ve heard messages on this passage several times and while I wasn’t apathetic to it, I just wasn’t super excited because I didn’t think it’d apply to me right now in life. And then my pastor said this in his prayer to open up the message: “There may be a number here who are single but this is still very much for them. There is much here for all of us no matter what state we are in life.”
The passage from Colossians says this:
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
As my pastor explained, the world view of submission and spiritual authority is different from it actually means.
The definition he gave: “Submission is an inner quality of willing obedience that is a gift to the husband based on Christ’s example of willingly submitting to His Father that affirms the leadership of the husband within the limits of obedience to Christ.” But it does not mean that if he wants her to do something clearly wrong she has to do it.
The husband and wife are equal to one another as Christ is equal to his Father, but He still submits to the Father.
Spiritual leadership can be difficult because a lot of guys have no idea what that is or what they are supposed to do. “Spiritual leadership is servant leadership which is a husband’s gift to his wife based on Christ’s coming not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” He needs to submit to his wife meaning he will die for her and therefore she will submit to his spiritual leadership. A woman can have more Biblical knowledge than her husband but that doesn’t mean he should be intimidated. He just needs to see to it that her spiritual needs are being met and that the wife knows he is following the Lord and praying for her.
Couples shouldn’t use these verses as scriptural grenades at each other. The verses aren’t supposed to be used to attack each other, they are for A man who has to tell his wife that she needs to submit to her probably isn’t leading very well and a woman who has to tell her husband to love her more may not be submitting very well. Any time you have to tell someone what else they are supposed to be doing probably means YOU’RE not doing what YOU are supposed to be doing.
“Show me a man who is willing to die for his wife and I’ll show you a woman who is willing to submit to her husband.”
The takeaway is to never ever lose hope. Your hope is not in your spouse. Your hope is in the Lord. “The gospel leads us to an ultimate hope in Jesus, not in a spouse or any other human relationship.”
This entire message was SUPER good. And I’m really glad to have heard it.
It can also be a hard message to hear. When you keep hearing how a man should want to die for his wife because he loves her just as Christ died for us, it can hurt to hear that when you’re single. I have to fight the voices of doubt that creep in telling me I’m not good enough and that no one wants to die for me. That even though I have a ton of friends who do care about me, in reality I should just prepare to die because they are going to take care of their spouses first over me. These are lies that can poison me if I spend too much time listening to them.
I’ve written before how I feel like I need to wait.
The song “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons has been rather significant for me over the year. There’s a line in there that’s been my prayer to God for the past few months:
Bow my head
Keep my heart slow
I’ve been asking God to help me with my heart. To keep it where He wants it now. I have the tendency to lose my heart very fast which then results in getting hurt more than I should have. I get excited about things very easily. If I’m interested in ANYTHING, I want to dive in headfirst and am very enthusiastic right from the get go. It’s not that I burn out easily, it’s just I invest more than I probably should. Which leads to a lot of heartbreak and pain a lot of the time.
So instead right now, I’m asking God to help me slow down. To focus my heart on where and what HE wants me to focus on and not necessarily on what I want. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope of ever finding someone (or someone finding me) and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in a relationship or get married (again) but I’m not making it the most important thing in my life at the moment.
By keeping my heart slow, it means making wiser decisions. It means having clarity and discernment. It means spending less time worrying. It means letting go. It means really trusting on God. It means waiting. Every single thing God has told me over the past three years to do.
I still don’t know what God has planned in my life for me. All I know is that right now I know what I need to do.