The group’s responses to this week’s topic were instantaneous even though they were not unanimous. Singleness. Some tensed up, feeling negative emotions. Others checked out as they had left that stage years prior. But, the group leader still had to lead all members in discussion.
How do group leaders navigate conversations around life and love? In his new Bible study Life + Love: Navigating Singleness, Dating, Engagement, and Marriage, Ben Stuart from Passion City Church D.C. brings us through these four relational stages. His wisdom on singleness, partially excerpted below, can get you started on these vital conversations.
Though seasons of singleness vary in length, God has purposed that every human being on the planet experience this stage of life. So it’s fair to ask the question: Why? If we say the purpose of singleness is simply to find someone to marry, then we’re saying Jesus and the apostle Paul failed at singleness. I don’t know anyone who wants to say that. So let’s ask the fair question: What does God want our single season to be about?
We’re at our best when we function as we were designed. Freedom isn’t the absence of boundaries. It’s the ability to fulfill our created intent. Fish are most free when they swim, and birds when they fly. The same is true of human beings. We’re most alive when we fulfill our Creator’s intent for our lives.
If singleness existed just to lead us to marriage, Jesus was a failure.
Because of the freedom single people experience, they have more time to focus. However, most people use this season to focus on one of two interests:
1. CAREER. They’re working to get ahead or climb the ladder.
2. THEMSELVES. They say things like “I’m taking this time to focus on me.”
Neither of these pursuits is wrong, and yet neither focus will ultimately satisfy our hearts.
What pursuit, other than Jesus, are you tempted to focus on because of the freedom found in the phase of singleness?
Ben told the story of Jesus talking with the woman at the well in John 4:1-26. Jesus encountered a woman who had been married five times and was now living with a man. He told the woman her problem was that she was thirsty for something only the Lord could satisfy. We have to get our relationship with God right before we can ever hope to get a relationship with a guy or a girl right.
Have you seen this thirst in people who were looking to satisfy themselves with something only the Lord can satisfy? What does an unhealthy thirst look like in the context of a relationship?
In Greek the word devotion is made up of two words: good and beside, meaning we need to become good at being beside God, attentive to His Word and involved in His work. Ben gave some practical ways we can do this, from reading and writing out the Gospels to making extra money to sponsor a child.
What changes can you make in the way you structure your time in order to prioritize devotion to God? What do you need to uproot from your schedule and plant in your life so that you can focus on devotion to God?
What can you do this week to take advantage of your freedom as a single person that you won’t have as a married person?
If you’re not single, how might this discussion be helpful to single people you know?
Ask God to help the group treasure Him during the stage of singleness. Pray for patience when you’re tempted to rush through this stage and for help to center your lives in Him alone so that you can grow spiritually before joining your lives with someone else. Ask Him to help you find rest in Jesus.
Your learning doesn’t have to stop here. Find out more about Ben’s new resource at Lifeway.com/Life+Love.