It’s easy in the season of singleness or the “not-yet-married” season as author Marshall Segal calls it, to think we will wait until we’re married to live in a way that will glorify God. It is easy to put off doing good, living right until we have found the infamous “one”.
The truth is it does not work that way. We cannot put off living in holiness simply because of our own desires have not yet been met. We cannot say : “yes God, I will live a holy life for you…but first I need to find my mate.” In fact, as soon as we have received the gift of salvation, God calls us to put off the old self and all its evil practices and “put on the new self renewed in knowledge according to the image of [our] Creator” ( Colossians 3:9 -10).
Remember, the old self is always looking for opportunities to sin and making excuses for sin but God is a holy God and He demands that we too live holy as He is Holy. (1 Peter 1:16)
If you are like many that I know, you may have come to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus and now ask yourself this simple question “what now?”. What now? That is a very good question. What do we do now that we know the Lord? First, we must understand that God calls us to a much higher standard of life than the world offers. When we became part of God’s family, we came into a covenant relationship with Christ. A covenant is simply an engagement, a contract between two people that is binding forever. So when we talk about a covenant between the Lord and us, we speak of “an agreement which brings about a relationship of commitment between God and His people”(1) In this covenant, we have agreed to no longer live for ourselves but for Christ. This also means that we now agree to live based on a new set of standards. After all, whether we choose to admit it or not, we are always living under a set of standards whether they are standards we have erected for ourselves, standards defined by the world or someone else. We always choose a master to follow. As Christians, we choose to allow this master to be the most High and exalted God.
In choosing His Standards, we have chosen to live lives etched in holiness and anchored in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But what does that life look like?
A life of holiness is first of all a life devoted to the Lord, built on a love for God and love for our fellow men.
Choosing holiness also means that we must put off the old self, crucify it and let the “ new” self take over. We choose to live and walk by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh.
The flesh kills. The Spirit gives life.
The flesh seeks self-ambition, pride, and strife while the Spirit seeks peace, esteem of others more than esteem of self and living humbly at all times.
The flesh or “old self” is impatient, unloving and hates but the Spirit with the new self is patient, kind, gentle, and loves God and others.
The flesh loves to gamble, trusts in itself, is independent but the Spirit trusts in the Lord to provide, trusts in God alone, and is totally dependent on God and building up the body of Christ.
The flesh believes it can do everything on its own, is quick to slander with the tongue, gossips, takes pleasure in sexual immorality while the Spirit can do nothing apart from God, protects the reputation of others, and pursues sexual purity.
In essence, the flesh is self apart from God. It is unable to do anything that pleases the Lord or glorify Him. The new self which walks in the Spirit understands that only God can impart righteousness and help him to walk in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.
As we live in this season of singleness, however short or long, we should seek to live holy before the Lord and with the aide of the Spirit. Only then can we live in true holiness.
Holiness is not the goal of the believer with a spouse but the goal of the believer at all times and under all circumstances.
We do not seek to be holy hoping for God to reward us with a shorter season of singleness or with a spouse. Rather, we seek holiness because God requires it and it is pleasing to Him. There is great joy when we seek to live in ways that magnify the Lord and brings pleasure to Him. Every aspect in the believer’s life is to please the Lord. Can you only imagine? Can you imagine what it is like for God to delight in us as we delight in Him? This should always be the pursuit of our lives.
We live to show the world who He is, how excellent He is and how it pleases us to please Him. Therefore, while it can be tempting to wait on the next season before pursuing holiness, don’t delay. We do not seek to please a spouse but please God. Therefore, holiness begins today and now.
(1) Oxford dictionary of English