City – based churches and the increasing growing Single Christian population. Part 3 by Jacqueline Erasmus
Please note that this is the third consecutive blog article on the subject of Singleness. In order to obtain a more comprehensive view on the perspectives that I have provided so far on this subject, please read my two previous blog articles…..”Why Single Christians Struggle” Part 1 and “Do Pastors and Leaders have a role to play in the lives of Single Christians” Part 2. It is my sincere hope and prayer that you consider the perspectives that I share and hopefully these articles enriches your own journey and your walk with the Triune God – the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
City based churches:
I think it is important to notice that city – based churches contain more single people than for example churches that are based in the country side and churches that are based in suburban areas. I have spoken to a lot of people across the world and this fact seems to apply to many different countries. If you make a close observation, one notices that there are an almost equal amount of single people and married people in city-based churches. The reasons for this almost equal number of single people and married people in city-based churches are numerous… Cities seem to contain more single people and therefore it is no surprise that city-based churches contain a lot more single people.
I want to state my observations in order to once again develop a balanced view of why I personally think it is necessary that Pastors and Leaders address single Christians in their church congregations. I think it is vital that Pastors and Church Leaders know the composition of their church congregations.
I personally believe that there is a greater urgency and need amongst the Pastors of city-based churches across the world to address single people purely because of the current struggles and pitfalls that single Christians face in today’s world.
A failure to address single people in especially city-based churches has a lot of detrimental results for us, the Body of Christ. A lack of teaching and affirmation of single Christians in the Body of Christ has partially contributed to the fact that many single Christians have turned marriage into an idol.
Marriage can become an idol:
For the purpose of our discussion, let me provide a dictionary definition for the word idol:
“a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god “
As I have mentioned before….marriage is not the solution or the answer for a poor self-image, a lack of security or a lack of significance (please see in my initial blog article – Why Christian Singles struggle Part 1). Yet, a lot of single Christians are completely convinced that marriage is the answer to their problems. Some single Christians may not realise that this is in reality how they feel, but if they truly take time to ask themselves a few honest questions, many single Christians will realise that they view marriage as the potential key to their happiness.
I am not suggesting that if you are single and you want to get married that you are insecure and have a poor self-image. I am single and I can honestly say that I do not have a poor self-image. If you think I think very highly of myself, rest assure that I certainly do think highly of myself because I am after all made in the image of God. I am made in the image of God and so are you! So let us all rejoice and say “Amen” to a good and healthy self-image.
I have a desire to be married but I am confident and secure in who I am because I see myself as a whole person. I do not see myself as a “half “who has to meet my “other half” (i.e. my future husband) in order to feel “whole”. Marriage should be about two whole people getting together in marriage. Some people are in denial about their personal hurts and wounds and use marriage as a remedy for their wounds and hurts. I want to suggest to you today to consider whether you regard marriage as a remedy for the deep longings in your soul and spirit which only God can satisfy?
Marriage can easily become an idol in the lives of single Christians. Many single Christians become so desperate to get married that their lives become consumed with finding a spouse. The result is that many become so obsessed and consumed in their search of a husband or a wife that they even become oblivious to the fact that they live in a state of perpetual low-level depression. These single people feel constantly depressed because they are not married and sometimes their low-level depression results in periodic flare ups which we casually refer to as a “single crises”. Perhaps you may think that my reference to low-level depression is a bit exaggerated, but let me assure you that I have discovered that this is unfortunately the state of many Single Christians. A lot of people are in reality depressed because they are not married. I do not believe depression is the portion of any Christian.
Marriage amongst Christians:
It is a fact that there is not a huge difference between the divorce rates amongst Christians and non-Christians. I am not convinced that the figures are exactly 50 / 50, but we regularly hear about reports of marriage break-ups amongst Christians and even Christians who have public ministries.
Put it this way….the divorce rate amongst Christians is not exactly a low statistic.
I believe the devil does attack marriages. It is indeed true. The devil does not want to see anointed marriages to succeed because the devil knows that these types of marriages are powerful. When the lions and the lionesses in God’s Kingdom pair up through the union of marriage the devil quivers. It is a fact.
We have to however ask the question today whether all marriage break –ups are solely the result of demonic attacks?
There are lots of reasons why Christians get divorced. Some of the reasons are connected to hidden sin and unresolved issues. Some people just allow their careers to become everything and their marriages slip away because they never see each other. The reasons why marriages break up are endless. I will certainly not try to list all the reasons why people get divorced.
I want to propose another reason why I believe marriages break up amongst Christians and this reason directly relates to the current state of some single Christians in the Body of Christ.
I think a lot of single Christians rush into marriage because they think marriage will provide them with the security, significance and self-worth that they so desperately seek. Once people are married, they realise that marriage is not the answer to their deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. So, for many who longed for marriage and finally get married, marriage often turns out to be rather disappointing. Why? The answer is simple….people eventually realise that their spouse cannot satisfy their deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. Only God can satisfy and only God can heal the human soul.
I want to reiterate again at this point that I do love marriage and I believe in marriage. God created marriage and it is a gift that needs to be treasured. (Please see: Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 10:9, Hebrews 13:4)
I want to illustrate what I mean by telling you a real-life story. I have two very precious friends who got married at the age of 21. They are still married today and they also have children. I love my friends and I am really proud of the fact that they have remained committed to each other and God through the many trials and the tribulations that they have had to face in their marriage.
I remember the day when these friends of mine were very honest with me and I was quite surprised by both their honesty and vulnerability. They both said to me that they now realise that they got married too young even though they do love each other. They went on to say to me that if they could do it again, they would have waited a bit longer before they tied the knot. The same female friend of mine later said to me that she had to “find” herself whilst she was married to someone who was also trying to “find” himself. My friends are both committed Christians and they did not get divorced. They however realised that they got married to each other when both of them have not yet resolved issues around their own God-given identities. To put it another way…my friends realised that the individual hurts and wounds that they brought into their marriage, made their marriage extremely difficult.
My friends were brave enough to own up to the consequences of their decision to get married but they also realised that their issues around their own individual identities did not disappear because they were married. They had to not only work at their marriage…they also had to deal with their deep-seated individual hurts from the past.
I am telling this story because I sometimes think single Christians need to hear stories like these in order to have a reality check as it relates to marriage. Make sure that you do not regard marriage as a remedy for your own internal problems which are rooted in your deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. These deep longings can only be met through a relationship with Jesus Christ and through embarking on a healing journey with God.
I believe that single and anointed Christians have a better chance to build on marriages that will be formidable and anointed. These types of marriages cause the demons to tremble and is a source of blessing for many in the Kingdom of God.
Am I proposing that single Christians become PERFECT before they consider marriage. There is no such thing as being PERFECT for marriage. I, however want to suggest that single Christians across the globe become more honest with themselves as it relates to their reasons for wanting to be married. I want to encourage a “deeper look” amongst single Christians.
Marriage is a blessing and a gift from God. Just make sure you don’t use marriage as a plaster or a type of medication to cure your soul.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
28 For in Him we live and move and have our being