“I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.”
Psalm 145: 1-8
I recently sat through a Singles discussion, and although every word spoken was good, right and Truth itself, I left feeling that somehow there was more to it all… that something was somehow missing. Singleness isn’t something I look at in horror – I’ve walked and lived the path since I gave my life to Jesus at 5 – and maybe I see the world differently to many people, but the discussion raised some interesting questions, as did a later conversation with a friend. She asked me how I see Jesus and my response seemed so strange to her that I had this bizarre realisation that I may not be quite as conventional as I’d always believed…
I don’t really remember a time in my life when Jesus wasn’t my best friend who I’d thank for the fluffy white clouds, my Mommy and Daddy, the trees, the air we breathe – everything that seemed important to a child. As I grew up, those prayers may have changed slightly, but the heart of our relationship pretty much remained: even at my most sullen teenage state, I was always aware of the Holy Spirit beside me and of Jesus’ constant interest in me. I saw and experienced Him everywhere – from the fluffy white clouds to the trees to the words in my Bible. Although there are times when I deliberately focus my prayers as intercession for others, most of my prayer life consists of a running dialogue with Jesus throughout my day. He’s just there. At times He is more real to me than the people I am sitting with; I thought that was how everybody experienced Him. Apparently not.
Please understand, I am not looking for special honour or setting myself up as this amazingly perfect example (I am so not that person..!), I just felt I have a perspective that needs to be shared.
Back to the Single discussion; the main point raised the benefits of being single – that as unmarried people, we can devote ourselves with pure devotion to God. Yes. This is true. I love that I can be absolutely indulgent with my times of devotion to God; that I can spend an entire day simply worshiping Him and ignoring the world. Its incredible. But I don’t do that because I am single; I do that because I love Jesus. I am completely, irrevocably, madly, crazily in love with Jesus. My Best Friend has become the Lover of my soul. That is not dependant on my marital status; that is dependent on the state of my heart. I have seen too many unmarried people not experience that intimacy or have any revelation of that aspect of Jesus’ love for us – just as I have seen married people live it daily. Regardless of our marital status, I believe God’s greatest call upon our lives is pure devotion to Him; that we may live in a constant state of delighted contentment for where we are and who we are in Him. If we are living with our hearts and souls sold out for Christ Jesus, and if He has the treasured place of our Everything, how will we not live lives that change the very environment we find ourselves?
Psalm 37:4 says “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had that scripture prayed over me or given as part of a prophecy. For years I struggled with the idea of delighting in God simply to gain my heart’s desire. It seemed so calculated and sinful. And then God took me on an incredible journey where He taught me about Delight and Living in that Place of Delight; of simply Resting and Revelling in Everything that is Him – to become so in tuned to His presence that I’d feel his arms tangibly around me, that in worship the gaze of his eyes would leave me breathless. And once again my heart and soul would fall ever deeper in love with him. How can you not fall in love with Him when He reveals Himself as King of all kings, speaking with both uncontested Authority and unfathomable Grace, that He is both Supremely Mighty and Intimately Gentle, both Everywhere and right Here? As He draws us to Himself in abandoned surrendered worship, how do we not willingly give up every desire of our heart for those of His? As we delight in Him, so we find ourselves choosing the things He desires because they’re far better than anything we could choose for ourselves. His heart towards us is always good, always protecting, always faithful.
The intimacy experienced in those moments cannot compare to anything felt in human relationships; its too pure, too holy and too precious. I don’t believe for a moment that I experience Jesus in such a way because I am single. I experience Him like that because my heart is captivated by Him alone – regardless of the other relationships in my life. I choose to place Him above it all and know that only He will ever satisfy the deepest part of my soul. And its because I trust Him with that deepest part of me, where my joys and sorrows are in their purest form and completely unexplainable to anyone but Him, I can walk, live, laugh, love and minister to others from a place of Grace and Goodness. And I hope, because my very soul is satisfied in Him alone, when I do get married, I won’t place those expectations or needs upon my poor, fragile human husband. Its not his role to fulfil; his role will always be to encourage and lead me deeper into Worship of my true Heavenly Husband. As it will be my role to help and inspire him to do the same.
So, regardless of being married or unmarried, my prayer for each person reading this, is that you may have that same revelation of who Jesus is as the Lover of your soul – that you may experience the intensity of His love for you and that you may be captivated by His very presence. I pray for lives to become so delighted in Jesus that pure devotion to all things Him will be a natural Overflow.