I’m often in conversations with friends and fellow coworkers about single guys and potential matchups. As a young female Christian in evangelical circles and working at a religious non-profit, I’ve often come home to roommates recapping conversations with boys they’ve had romantic interest in. These conversations would cover what to say next time the girl sees the guy and who might know him that could help another encounter happen.
Really, if you’re around single Christians at all, it won’t take too long to hear one of these phrases:
Do you know if he is dating someone?
Did you see his ring finger?
I wonder if he has a girlfriend or is interested in anyone.
Does anyone like anyone in the office?
Do you think he would like her?
Who do you think would be a good fit with so and so?
I’ve heard and spoken these questions myself. Sitting at church or at a gathering with other Christians, these phrases seem innocent and harmless because the intentions and desires appear good: to marry a godly man. And what better place than to be searching for my future husband that in my church, my workplace of Christians, or at school among Christians?
But when we’re not careful, these conversations are unhelpful at best. They can brew harmful desires inside our hearts. Rather than embracing God’s love, trusting God’s plan for their current stage of life, and serving the church selflessly, they make single people become more inward and selfish. When we think and speak like this, we may be revealing more about our hearts than we realize in the moment.
We reveal our distorted view of fellow believers.
If my thoughts at Christian gatherings revolve around who will be there, particularly single guys, and if so, how I can meet one, I’m making the body of Christ a marketplace. When I view fellow believers through this lens, I’m demeaning them by distorting God’s image bearers to commodities based on physical appearances, compatibility and dating status. Most of the time we blame men for this type of meat market mentality, but when women search for the rings on fellow believer’s fingers, we’re doing the same thing. We make our brothers products instead of people to love like Christ. When the church becomes a marketplace and the image bearers as something to trade and rate, it reveals our self-centered perspective of community.
We reveal our inclination to use the body of Christ for our gain.
Once I have belittled my brothers in Christ to commodities, I’m using my church community for selfish gain. Instead of loving my fellow believers by serving, encouraging, and stirring up one another in faith, I’ve made the church a place to meet my desires, to meet a husband. At the root of this heart’s desire is pure selfishness. Not because I shouldn’t desire a godly husband, I should and I do. But because instead of serving the church, my thoughts and actions revolve around how the church can serve me. I’m effectively distorting God’s purpose for fellowship and community.
These conversations can cultivate hearts set on ourselves, our wants and desires, ready to use the body of Christ on our own passions. It’s the very opposite of our greatest commandment, to love God with all our mind, soul, and heart. We’re not loving God when we objectify his sons and view them only for meeting our marriage desires.
How then should we approach fellow believers in Christ?
We should see them for who they are: God’s image bearers and fellow heirs in Christ.
Christian men and women alike are God’s children and should be treated as such. Each person reflects God’s character through his or her God-given gifts, talents and unique way God made him or her to serve the whole body. Before we are husband and wife, we have an eternal identity as sons and daughters of the Most-High King. We should sincerely view each other as brothers and sisters first.
We should love, honor and serve one another.
As single women in the church our focus should be to faithfully love our fellow brothers. We do this by honoring and building them up to be more like Christ, like any other person in the church. The one-another’s throughout the New Testament are not gender-reserved. God says to build up one another in love. This is brothers toward sisters and sisters toward brothers. It’s a non-negotiable. This means sisters can be as sisters should be. They should care for, teach, love, honor and serve their siblings within the body of Christ. We should honor one another, in thought, word and deed. And we demonstrate this by serving each other. Not serving one another to show off how awesome we would be as a wife but serving as Christ has served us—without expectation of anything in return. Our service should be to please Christ alone.
Repenting of Selfish Desires and Putting on Love
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (Rom 12:10).
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (Jn 15:12).
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:1-2).
If we truly believe the gospel, we must repent of selfish thoughts and desires towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to ponder God’s love and rethink how he calls us to reflect his love within his body. We need to pray for his help to view fellow believers as he designed us to and love them as they are, his people. If the Lord desires marriage for us, he will give it. We don’t need to manipulate the church to take it for ourselves. We need to be faithful and obey him.
And so, let’s pray and ask the Lord to help us be like Christ. To love without expectation, to serve without hope of someone noticing and to live a life worthy of what our God has called us to, even as single women.
Questions for Reflection:
Whats the purpose of a gathering of Christians?
How can you seek to love in those scenarios?
What are some practical ways you are actively serving both your brothers and sisters?
Do you go to church to seek a spouse or to seek God?
How are you encouraging your brothers and sisters towards Jesus as opposed to date one another?
This article was originally posted at Gospel Taboo.