Friday, May 16, 2008

Singling it out

My small group curriculum for this week continues to correlate to the Extreme Home Makeover series and is geared toward the single crowd. However, it has application for everyone - single or married. Check it out.

Big Idea:
The church tends to fall into a “one size fits all” mentality and marriage is often promoted as an essential and favored experience for Christians. However, God does not call us all to marriage, but He does call us all to an undivided devotion to Him.

Summary:
God has a specific purpose and plan for each of our lives and we are all expected to cooperate with Him. We are called to serve God, and our life decisions must all be based on His will. This is especially true when it comes to our marital status. For many, God’s perfect plan involves marriage and the raising of children. However, for others God’s perfect plan is best accomplished through a life of singleness. While marriage is a God-ordained institution, the Bible never insists that everyone be married. In fact, being single can actually provide increased access and ability to serve the purposes of God and His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul, for example, did not have to worry about the extra concerns that come with marriage and family. In fact, he admits that he would not have been such a useful messenger to all of us if he had been married.

Staying single so that you can serve the kingdom of God is a very noble motive. However, staying single for selfish reasons is almost always a twisted motive, because as Christians we are not called to live for ourselves, but for Christ. Our desires must be His desires. We must put aside all selfishness and vain conceit and align our lives with His will.

Remember, everyone’s priority must be to God, whether single or married. Being single gives us more time and energy to be devoted to the work of God. But, being married doesn’t give us an excuse to not be fully devoted to Him. If you are single, embrace your singleness as a gift and a unique opportunity to glorify God. Pour your life into your first-love: Jesus Christ. Stop asking, “Why am I alone”, and start asking, “God, why am I here?” God will show you and He will do things in you and through you beyond what you could ever imagine or hope for.

Discussion Questions: (read the Scripture & discuss)

Matthew 19:12
Does Jesus say that marriage is for everyone? What are some reasons people stay single?

1 Corinthians 7:7-9
How did Paul view his singleness? What is a clear indication that you should not stay single, but instead marry? Why is it better to marry in this case? How can we apply this truth of not placing ourselves in the middle of unnecessary temptation to other areas of our life?

1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Every one of us must be fully devoted to the Lord. Why might this be easier for a single person? If you are married, how can you make sure your undivided devotion is to the Lord?

Taking Action: Single or married, examine your life and see if it is fully devoted to God and His purposes. God must be #1. So, are there things in your life that need to be removed or demoted? Make a list and begin the renovation for the glory of God.

Ministry Time

Click here for PRINTER-FRIENDLY copy of the curriculum

2 comments:

Dennis said...

I could refute your post in every way, but that would be a long reply. I will address just one issue, one thing you said. You made the statement "Staying single so that you can serve the kingdom of God is a very noble motive." If this is so, then why is it that 90% of Churches today will not let singles do ministry, like work in children's ministry, lead a singles ministry even. That church groups like Act's 29 will not allow singles to plant churches, or be pastors in a church in their network. Why is it that most mission organization now will not take single missionaries only want married couples, this is now the rule not the exception. That churches require that you be married to do anything. I can take you to a long list of churches I know in my city that have none and will not allow singles to do any type of ministries what so ever. Why then are singles treated as the ugly redheaded step child in the church then if being single make you perfect to serve?

OK got to say one more thing, as to your line "not everyone is to be married". To be married is the rule not the exception as to God's purpose for man. A good test of this for ones self is this.

If you desire, hunger, need to be married, desire to be loved and love someone, have a high sex drive, you are to be married, have a burning desire to be a parent you are to be married and have children. That is God's barometer as to what you where created to be, if you desire to be you are to be.

God would not give you such desires and deny you a mate to have you live in frustration, loneliness, unhappiness and unfulfillment of those desires.

That is painting God as mean and cruel, setting you up to fail,to sin, through lust, fornication est. The bible says God does not temp man, therefore He would never set us up to fail by making us burn with passion for a mate, love and sex and deny us the fulfillment of it. This is why Paul said if you burn to, get married.

It is simple if you desire, burn with passion for love, marriage and sex, you are to marry, need to be married. If you don't, do not get married.

Eric Jones said...

Dennis,

I hear your passion. I am surprised that you feel that my post was anything but supportive of singles being in ministry. At my church, we do not use marriage as a litmus test for ministry. Apparently you have experienced something other than that. I am sorry.

I also feel that my post also supports your ideas about those burning with passion should be married so that they do not fall into sin. I think we are on the same page, but maybe I am missing something in your comments.