“Be holy, for I AM holy.” If you’ve met with the church at least for a little while, odds are, you’ve heard this passage before. Simple, right? God is holy, and we’re meant to be like Him. Then we run into a conundrum we call inherent sin. Since the fall of man, it’s been a part of our M.O. to screw things up and make things ugly, intentionally or not.
Dudes reading this–you probably feel the same way—I like to do the best I possibly can, then leave the rest to the Lord, although I don’t always pull it off so well because, again, inherent sin. Some part of me is and always will be (until we are taken to be with the Lord) positively selfish. We want what we want when we want it. Thankfully, God has given us a conscience we call the Holy Spirit. He’s our guide. When we do wrong, He lets us know and helps us to correct it. When we feel alone, He’s the one who lets us know we’re really not. “Holy” is a big deal to Him, and when we begin to follow Him, it becomes a big deal for us, too.
The story of a Christian usually starts out with a life of self-seeking and hurting others for personal gain. Telling this story, even merely acknowledging the story, can be painful, and oftentimes Satan leads us to question whether God loves us despite our sin. When we sin after we start to follow Him, we wonder if He will abandon us. It’s scary. I struggle and have struggled with this very much. I am very much a people pleaser, even more for God. I want to be holy. I don’t want to disappoint, but I also realize that my failures being rectified when I can’t do it myself was the point of the cross.
I’m a relatively young dude, and single. Being a people-pleaser and knowing the darkness that is in my past, I feel a significant bleed-through into the part of me that cares about being single. It’s not like being single is a flaw, and it’s not like it must be this way forever, but I must wonder, and wonder whether or not it’s my fault.
I’ve dated people who were passionate about themselves, and I’ve dated people who were passionate about the Lord. At different times, I myself have been on both sides of that fence. In either case, I’m still single now, and I often wonder if that’s my fault or not. I often question, in the shadow of my past failures in my own life and in dating people, if God really has someone for me. I mean, I know myself. I know what I’ve done, and it’s not that great.
We often run into this mind-trap that tells us we’re not good enough for a godly woman, and this poses a huge problem when we finally meet one. I know when I meet one, I either ask myself, “Is this, like, for real?” or say, “This can’t be for me,” which speaks volumes about my trust not only in the people I meet but in the God that sent them. (It’s even worse when I think such a person is flirting with me.) This is the first thing that needs to change for us, fellow perpetually-single dudes.
God’s will for our lives, dating-wise or otherwise, is always something good. Not everybody is meant to marry (see I Corinthians 7:1-7), but for those of us who are—I speak as though I know I am, though I confess I don’t—God has definitely planned that we should find someone who makes us better, whose priority is Christ first, who may not be perfect, but then neither are we. Regardless, to succeed, we must work at any relationship. I’m not saying that God’s good will equates to His will being easy, because that would be a lie. His plan for us has always been prosperity in some way. It’s not always monetary, and it’s not always in the ways we want, and it’s not always giving us the girlfriend/boyfriend we want when we want them, of which society would persuade you otherwise; but whatever God has planned for you, no matter how difficult it might [and probably will] be, it is always for your good when your priority is Christ and not yourself.
Our relationship with God was meant to behave a lot like a marriage, but can the reverse of that also be true? Should our relationship with God [in certain ways] not also be seen in our dating or marital relationships? If we walk with God in holiness, should we not have a similar walk with a spouse or someone who is on the way to becoming one?
The most difficult part, though, is understanding that, in a similar way to how Christ sees us, we shouldn’t focus on all the ways we can possibly be rejected. Shouldn’t we know better from the example of the Lord that love has nothing to do with how deserving we are of it but how real it is and how much we’re willing to humble ourselves and change to pursue it? After all, love’s best interest is not himself, yes? Love’s best interest is outside himself. No change is too small to take part in the best thing that may ever happen to you on this side of death.
I want that mentality to sink in and the old mentality of fear of my own failure to disintegrate. That doesn’t magically happen. Faith in the goodness of God is not a switch we flip. It’s a risky, crazy, strange thing to do. It’s not what we do best. It’s not what I do best. Trusting Jesus for the first time, for who He is and what He did for us by dying for our sins and defeating our deserved punishment, is gutsy enough. In a way, that becomes easier the more you do it, but in a way, it becomes more difficult because the stakes in this life often become higher; but regardless of the stakes, the promise is eternal life, freedom forever from failures on our part and on the part of others. That most basic part of His will, that gift, is good. It’s the best gift. If that love is the foundation on which our faith and relationship with Him is built, what does that say about the rest of His will for us? It’s good.
There may be tough things ahead due to man’s will colliding with His, but His will is good. That means for all you single dudes, man’s will may be to take, take, take, and to do what makes you feel alright; but our God is good, and He wants you to have real love that runs deep.
So if and when you find someone with whom God might augment your life, don’t say, “This can’t be for me. She’s too good for me. Things have never worked out before, so why should they this time? Is this real, or will I settle? Will I compromise my beliefs for the sake of my own momentary comfort?” Just say, “Help me, Lord. Be this Your will, or be it not, I surrender to You, for You are good, and Your love endures forever.”