This week, we had Ben Stuart from Passion City Church in DC with us! He shared some awesome truths about singleness, dating, and God’s plan for us in each stage of life.
He started off by telling a story about a man who was stuck out in the ocean on a raft. He used the few supplies he had with him to figure out what latitude and longitude he was on and to steer to the correct currents. He used his understanding of fixed realities in order to navigate successfully and survive. Ben related that to our own lives–we have to understand the fixed realities about the universe and God’s purposes for us. That’s the only way we can navigate relationships successfully. We must get a relationship with God right before we can get one with a guy or girl right.
We tend to look for what only God can give us in other people. When we miss these fixed realities, we become desperate and exploit others, trying to get the love we crave that only God can give us. But, we are called to love one another because love is from God. He is the source of love, and we have to go to Him first. If we have that source of love, then we can be one. Once we embrace Him and His love for us, we can extend that love to others.
When we embrace the love that God has for us, we won’t be searching for it desperately in others. We won’t walk into rooms worried about what people think of us. We can come into places and into relationships as a giver of life because we know we are loved. And we know we are loved because God sent his son. That act put a spotlight on His love for us. Jesus took on our shame and impending death. He is the love of God manifest.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
When we realize this, how much He truly loves us, it clarifies our life. The center of the universe, as Ben said, is a relationship, not a set of rules. Christ has made us His own, and our lives are about pursuing intimacy with Him. That’s what singleness is for. Singleness is a gift.
God designed singleness as a time for us to have an undistracted devotion to Him. He ordained singleness as a time for us to chase after the one who chases after us. He wants us to know Him, and in His mercy he gives us singleness to free us from anxieties. Dating is great, but it is distracting. Singleness is a time where we can pursue God with no distractions and with complete devotion.
We have the tendency to play up the positives of the stages we aren’t in and play up the negatives of the stages we are in. Ben encouraged us not to waste the time we have. He reminded us not to watch other people’s lives on a screen and forget to live our own. In singleness, and in every stage, get good at being close beside God. Be attentive to His Word and be a part of what He is doing.
Singleness is a gift, and one we should steward well, but a lot of us will end up dating and married at some point. Ben addressed dating briefly near the end of his talk and discussed how we should be looking for a significant other and what to look for in someone.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
Like Paul told Timothy, we should, first and foremost, be running after God. There will be people running in the same direction. Those are the people you should be looking for. Many people find those people and nosedive, or fall off the course they were following. They stop running after God. But dating is supposed to be a process you move through to find out if you’re meant to join hands with that person and run after God together. You need to find someone who is pursuing the same cause and the same God as you are so that you can run together. You need to find someone that will challenge you to love God and love others more.
In conclusion, Ben reminded us that whether we’re single or dating, no human will make us complete. Jesus loves us and He died for us. In the uncertain waters of our lives, we have a pilot and a Savior who will lead us safely home. We just have to admit that we need Him.