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The Gift of Undivided Devotion
Editor’s Note: Continuing our #ValentinesWeek series, I would like to introduce a guest writer, Jennifer Stoltzfus. I reached out to Jenn awhile ago to write a guest post for this series, and after some prodding, it’s finally here. Please read this, and reread it, because she is ridiculously on-point here. I want to reblog half of this stuff. You should too. Read it + Love it.
Editor’s Note #2: If you’re looking for the Monday Rundown, expect a special Valentine’s-related version tonight. I wanted to give Jenn’s post the much-coveted Monday morning slot. You can wait, trust me!
It is always a privilege for me to share my heart through words. Whether they are written or spoken, it is truly my deepest joy. What I usually don’t have the privilege of doing, however, is sharing my heart to an audience that primarily consists of men. Though I am admittedly out of my comfort zone, I am excited to join this journey and walk it with you. Please know that I come seeking only to encourage you with the Word of God… nothing more and nothing less. I hope that by His grace I will do so.
If given the platform to an audience of men, there is much I would have to say. I would tell you that women are not a game to be won, so don’t make them one. I would tell you that to evaluate every woman you meet as a potential spouse is bogus. I would tell you to fight for her heart and show her you are different. I would tell you to watch the words that you use because she will replay them in her mind for days, weeks, and even months to come. I would tell you to value her as your sister in Christ far before you think about anything else (and if she’s not your sister in Christ you’ve got a whole other issue to overcome).
But I couldn’t settle on any of these thoughts. The relationships between men and women our age are fragile. We’re caught between our regretted high school years and the start of life-as-we-know-it. Being a young, single, Christian is practically a death wish in our culture, and it ought not to be that way.
I’m sure you’ve heard at least your fair share of sermons on contentment and satisfaction in Christ. I’m sure you’ve had pastors tell you to just wait for God’s perfect timing and trust that He will provide. Please don’t misunderstand: I in no way mean to belittle those thoughts. What I mean to do is challenge you to reconsider your view on singleness.
Is singleness just a depressing term for that (hopefully) short period of life where everyone has a date to the wedding of every friend you’ve ever had (or so it seems)? Does contentment mean we stop wanting a spouse? Is finding true contentment a hopeless goal?
I think we would do ourselves well to stop wondering what is so wrong with us that we have been propelled into a state of singleness, and begin looking to the mighty Word of God for insight. Take a glance with me:
–1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Paul is not saying it is wrong to marry. He’s simply explaining the thought process behind his own singleness and his recommendation to others. Paul likely thought that the second coming of Christ would happen in his lifetime (vs. 29). He was urging the believers to not “waste time” on their own passions, but instead to make it their mission to spread the gospel. Clearly, Jesus did not return in Paul’s lifetime, yet his thoughts remain true for us.
I think marriage is a beautiful covenant and I hope that the Lord chooses to bless me in that way. Right now, he has blessed me with the ability to have “undivided devotion” to ministry. What a waste of my single years would it be to pout about loneliness! What a waste it would be to spend this time seeking out something that God has not promised me instead of pouring my heart out to serve him. Rather than simply wait, I want to make it my goal to further the name of Jesus. I want everyone that I encounter to know Christ better because of me. I want to live in a way that proclaims his faithfulness. It’s easy to get caught up in a desire for something you don’t have, but I challenge you to fight it.
Look at how The Message paraphrases 1 Corinthians 7:17:
Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.
God, not your marital status, defines your life.”
If you believe Psalm 84:11 to be true, you are believing that if “it” is good for you (whatever “it” may be) then “it” will be yours. Guaranteed. Set your heart on walking blamelessly before the Lord and then trust that whatever you have (or don’t have) is exactly what he wants for you at this moment.
Are you married? Devote every aspect of your marriage to the Lord.
Are you single? Do something productive with this blessed time of singleness. Life does not begin when you find a significant other. As we’ve seen, Paul says quite the opposite. Do something with your time! Invest in younger guys/girls, serve the homeless, travel to tell people about Jesus (you’ll sure have fun along the way!). Stop waiting for something else to come along. Stop wasting these precious years.
Yahweh cares more for you, His beloved, than to leave you wallowing without love unintentionally. Based on the promise of His Word I can say with confidence that if you are single in this moment it is not because you’re doing something wrong. It’s because He’s not finished with you as a single man or woman. Take heart in his promise and commit to making the most of the time you have.
I’m thankful for your time and I pray this over you:
Look for more writing from Jennifer Stoltzfus in the future on Quarterlife Man. In the meantime, God bless, and we’ll see you later tonight for more new #ValentinesWeek content!
About Jayson SchmidtFounder of the Quarterlife movement. Building an empire for the glory of God and living my dream to make the name of Jesus famous. Get at me on Twitter (@JaysonSchmidt).
Christian Shoddy is Still Shoddy
A tense cloud hovered above the desk that separated us....
- Posted 51 days ago
We Are Not Hoodlums.
I think we've all been there. You've scoured the Christian...
- Posted 53 days ago
Of Hobbits and Angels
After seeing the new Hobbit movie (in 3D nonetheless), and...
- Posted 62 days ago
Rags to Riches and Back to Rags Again
I love a good rags-to-riches story. Sam “Walmart” Walton sold...
- Posted 73 days ago
Are We There Yet?
A few months ago, my family and I moved from...
- Posted 81 days ago
Verse of the Week
––1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)