The Westminster Catechism, written in 1646, begins:
Q – What is the chief end of man?
A – Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Simple, straight to the point, and such a good reminder for us today. And if this is true (and I would argue it is, Psalm 86; Psalm 16:5-11) then this should affect everything about our lives. Including the way we walk through singleness and dating.
Singles, singleness is hard, I know. Couples dating, dating is hard, its messy. And they are both even harder when we make ourselves or our partner the focal point of our pursuit, of our thoughts, of our longings. Can I simply remind us, there is One who is the focal point of all of history, from eternity past to eternity future and it is not you, nor is it the one whom you are dating or hoping to date.
Our chief end isn’t to get the date we really want, it isn’t to marry the person of our dreams, it is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. Your singleness isn’t about you, it’s about Him. Your season of dating isn’t about you or them, it’s about Him. Your marriage isn’t about you and your family it’s about Him. Francis and Lisa Chan paint this picture beautifully in their latest book, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. Where they remind us that marriage is great but it’s not forever, you see in eternity we won’t be married. Yes, right now, singleness or a rough season of dating can seem like a huge obstacle, but in light of eternity it is simply a small spec.
There is a greater story going on all around us, and we aren’t the main character, from the beginning of time and that is of the Father drawing peoples to Himself and we have been invited into this. Let us not forget that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. For all eternity we will do this (see Revelation 21-22) and we have been invited into this story now, don’t delay. It is possible to walk through singleness and dating in a way that both glorifies God and enjoys Him, but He must be our focal point. We can’t enjoy Him when we are, to steal a quote from Chandler, “navel-gazing”. When our focus is on ourself and our circumstances we will never enjoy Him, and if we aren’t enjoying Him we will never glorify Him, they go hand in hand.
What does this look like? How do we glorify Him and enjoy Him, while walking through singleness and dating seasons? Some random thoughts:
- Singles: I recently heard a sermon from Ben Stuart in which he said, “Singleness is for devotion” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). Your season of singleness is a gift for you to devote yourself to the Lord. He has gifted us and equipped us as believers for the betterment of the Church, don’t waste this season not using your gifting and chasing your calling because you are so focused on yourself. Pour yourself our for the sake of Church and the Gospel. Live your life in your singleness in a way that glorifies God and shows the watching world that your joy is found in Him.
- Fellas: If there is a lady friend you are interested in, pursue her in righteousness. Seek to honor the Lord in your pursuit, in the way you talk to her, and in the way you think about her. Be clear with what your intentions are and don’t play games. All the while still running after the Lord and pursuing Him with all you got. Seek to run after the Lord hard and if you find someone running just as hard pursue, but don’t slow down to look. That is not glorifying God nor enjoying Him.
- Ladies: Don’t sit around waiting for someone to ask you out or to pursue you. Run after the Lord, pursue Him, pour yourself out for Him, His Name, and His Church. You do this and maybe some of the guys around you won’t ask you out, because they are intimidated by your pursuit, and this is good; it will cause them to grow up. Ladies, the Church and our cities need you, don’t neglect your gifting and calling sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, please I beg you. Use your season of singleness for devotion, seek to know the perfect Father, and to be used by Him for His Glory and your Joy.
- Dating Couples: Remember you don’t complete each other. In that same sermon Ben stated, “Dating is for evaluation,” his point being evaluating each other to see if marriage is a possibility. But while you are dating, don’t neglect your devotion to the Lord. Date in such a way that honors Him, and shows the watching world around you that your ultimate hope isn’t in each other but in Him. Date in such a way that glorifies Him and enjoys Him. Continue to run your races hard together, serve and pursue the Lord together. The Church and our cities need you.
Finally, remember this life isn’t about us, it is about so much more. It is all about Him.
Longing for someone to date, someone to marry is a good longing. But it can’t take place of what is to be our ultimate calling, to Glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever. There is coming a day when we will do this, lets not wait to begin.
Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol
~ Jimmy Needham, Clear The Stage
- Westminster Shorter Catechism: http://www.reformed.org/documents/wsc/index.html?_top=http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html
- Related Post: “Singleness and Serving“