The gospel tells me that there is not only hope in my trials, but purpose to them- This is because the gospel teaches me that God’s great goal is not superficial, circumstantial happiness, but joyful holiness. So I can trust that He is using my trials and struggles to change and transform me, to grow my faith, and sanctify my heart. Trials are not the absence of His love, but a great display of His love. And because the gospel reminds me of this devastating love of God, I know that it is impossible for him to allow anything in my life that is not an aspect of His love. So I can pray for God to do the miraculous, but be absolutely at ease if he doesn’t, because I trust that His plan for my life is brought in love. Only the gospel allows me to go through difficulties and still be a rest in my soul.
Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.
Past - penalty paid for sin (Justification)
Present- power over sin (Sanctification)
Future- saved from the presence of sin (Glorification)
If you are not yet fully formed into the image of Jesus, your Redeemer is neither satisfied or done and neither should you be.
Preparing for Marriage during Sanctifying Singleness: Part 2
If you missed Part 1 here’s the link! http://jasminecrystal.tumblr.com/post/12867969937/preparing-for-marriage-during-sanctifying-singleness
As John Owen said, “Kill sin or it will be killing you.” As followers of Christ, we are supposed to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). We are not to justify our sin and are commanded to “put to death what is earthly in you.” (Colossians 3:5)
I’ve noticed that there are several sins common to singles (this is a generalization) and I wanted to address them.
The cycle typically goes like this:
Self pity for being single -> leads to complaining -> impatience (you want it now) ->leads to bitterness and resentment at God for “withholding” someone from you-> selfishness (due to independent tendencies)-> pride (you know better than God does and you want it now)
How to make war against sin?
1) Preach the gospel to yourself: You need to preach the gospel to yourself every day. Stop listening to yourself. Jesus died for your sin so that you might live (Galatians 2:20). He died for your self-pity, your comparative righteousness, your bitterness, your complaining heart. Don’t feed your sin. I know it’s really hard but you are never alone in this. Jesus was tempted in every way that we were. He had desires too but never succumbed to them (Hebrews 4:15).
“The gospel is the only remedy to our sins, and looking at the glory of God is the only way to obey him through Christ.”
Everything you need was bought by Jesus and He will fulfill every promise on your behalf. Phil 4:19 says that “God will supply all your needs.” God is for you and will take care of you we are his children. He will provide for us.
2) Pray: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God- Philippians 4:6
One of my favorite quotations is,“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes - many times - my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens - and it happens every day in some measure - I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.”- Piper
- Pray that the Lord will purify and transform your feelings. To sanctify them in the truth (John 17:17)
- Pray for a repentant heart. The Holy Spirit kills sin.
- Pray for grace to trust in God more
- Pray that you will love all your sisters and brothers in Christ in a selfless and humble way
- Pray that God will align your desires with His, your Will with His
- Pray for that He will give you patience and steadfastness during this time
- Pray to embrace your God given role
- Pray that God will grant you the courage and boldness to pursue her in a godly manner (men)
- Pray that He will give you discernment in finding a godly spouse
- Pray that You will grow and be able to be a servant leader (men)
- Pray to cultivate inner beauty (women)
- Pray for godly, older mentors
3) Strong accountability will help in your fight against sin. I suggest that you should have a close brother or sister in Christ (of the same gender) to keep you accountable. I think it’s a wonderful blessing to have both genders as friends. It’s great to fellowship, encourage, and spur one another on in love. However, when it comes to discipleship and accountability, you should be very careful in discerning what you should tell. [For example, a man cannot talk to a woman about his struggles with lust when she has struggles with her body image/acceptance. You need someone you can confess sin to and point you to Jesus. It would be different if you were both sharing what God has been teaching you or mutual struggles with sins like worrying (still be cautious). ] Also, an accountability partner will be able to rebuke you in love (Ephesians 4:15) and give you biblical advice. “Accountability isn’t primarily a finger pointing in the face but an arm around the shoulder.” -Burk Parsons
John Piper in his sermon ‘Be killing sin or sin will be killing you’ says that “You must live in such a way that God will be magnified, that God will get the glory. Live the life in the power that God supplies so that you’re not the centerpiece and God is the centerpiece when people are watching you.”
This world sees singleness as an opportunity to hook up with whoever you want and party around. It is a complete counter-cultural thing to use your singleness as a time to get involved in a church ministry, prepare for marriage, pray, and fight sin. readers The narrow path is always going to be very hard (Matthew 7:13).
On a personal side-note: I want to be open with my readers and I can empathize with you. As a college student living in Orange County where promiscuity is the norm, many people have given me a very hard time on being single. Most of them say things like, “Wow!!! You of all people?! I can’t believe you’ve been single since birth.” I know what it’s like to get backhanded comments, endless questions, and being the third wheel for the millionth time. [Every time I’m tempted to complain or feel resentment, I remind myself that I will not rush the Author and Perfecter of Time. Everything rests upon His Sovereign Timing.]The main reason is because not many guys are theologically mature or biblically sound to lead a woman. So to all of you men reading this: Read your Bible, know your doctrine, pray, grow in sanctification, get a job, and fight against sin. And keep doing this when you’re married.
It’s extremely rare to find someone who quietly rests in the goodness of God, waits on His timing, and glorifies Him throughout singleness. People do take notice of that and it leaves a lasting impression. Trying to live a life for the Lord, having a high view of marriage, and striving to stay pure speaks volumes to an unbelieving world. The darker it is outside, the brighter the light shines. As my friend said, “They will know that you’re taking it very seriously, which adds to the authenticity of your desire to glorify God in your singleness to exemplify the gospel in your marriage. “
Preparing for Marriage during Sanctifying Singleness: Part 1
I’ve been noticing that many people have been writing letters to their future spouses, praying for them, writing about being content in God’s grace (which are all amazing things). There are a lot of good books on singleness. However, I thought it might be interesting to write from a different perspective since I noticed that most of them are written by married people. I feel like God has been putting this on my heart to share with all of you. Also, He is calling me to write about how to use singleness as a means of sanctification and to use it to prepare yourself for marriage.
First of all I think there are some misconceptions about marriage. It is not bad to want a spouse since God created marriage. (1 Timothy 4:4-5) A godly spouse is a good gift from God and a blessing. ( Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is highly esteemed in the Bible:
- God’s will is for your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). If you are to be sanctified in your singleness, then you are going to be single. If He wants you to be sanctified in a godly relationship, then He will provide. [I saw a comment (the user didn’t have an ask box) and I think that there was a huge misunderstanding.To clarify this in context, I didn’t mean being single your whole life. Everyone is called to be single at some point of their lives for a season. I wanted to encourage you that God is giving you what’s best at each season in your life (Psalm 84:11)]
- God gives good gifts to His children. If you’re single, you’re getting the good thing that’s best for you right now. (vice versa) [Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:11-13, James 1:17]
- God is patient with you, so be patient with His timing. Psalm 37: 5 says “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act”
- For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly- Psalm 84:11
Remember that God is Sovereign and that His plan is better than your plan (Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:11, Ecclesiastes 3:11) If you can trust Him with a huge issue such as your salvation, you can be sure to trust Him with a far lesser need. We are His children and He gives good gifts to His children.
Marriage will not fufill you. It empties you of yourself. Marriage is an analogy of the gospel and it is putting the gospel on full display. Your marriage will have the ability to be able to save people. They’ll look at your marriage and see how Christ loves the church which is a wonderful opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
To all of you women: I think there is a misunderstanding about “waiting.” Yes, wait. But waiting does not mean wasting time and twiddling your thumbs while wistfully wishing for your husband to come. During this time actively pursue sanctification, listen to sermons, pray, read the Bible, serve in a ministry, read books, encourage others, and treat men as your brothers in Christ. If you want marriage then prepare for it. Don’t just write letters and daydream.
As women, we are to serve and submit to our husbands so that they can do a better job in suceeding in their workplace and to lessen the burden of the man’s ministry otuside of the home. This is is not a small or worthless task. The fact that the husband can trust his wife to accomplish her chores at home brings not only relief but true appreciation for her work and the Lord providing her. Looking at Titus 2:3-5, there are things that you can and should begin practicing in order to prepare yourself for marriage.These things would stand out to a godly man who is considering pursuing you. Proverbs 31 says that this wife does her husband good ALL the days of her life. Begin thinking of ways even now that you can serve and sacrifice for this man. Even if you haven’t met him, you can still do him good by trying to be a Proverbs 31 woman and praying for him (good habits to continue). You job is to help your husband live for God.
Ladies, if you cannot submit to a perfect God, how can you submit to an imperfect sinner? Obey God’s commands. God sees a submissive spirit as beautiful. The Lord is looking for full submission and is willing to match you up with a godly man.
To all of you men: In your marriage, your wife is going to come up to you in your marriage. She will be crying and telling you to give her advice. At that moment you have to be able to flip to God’s Word and show her verses for that particular situation. You have to be able to pray with her and for her. Would you be able you do that when she is sobbing and shaking? When she has suffered from a miscarriage or been in a car accident or the death of a parent, you have to be able to comfort her in that moment. I know on tumblr and in school, it’s easy to put things off and wait. You can do your research before you answer an anon’s question or you can ask your classmates and form a study group before a test. But in marriage, you can’t say, “Oops, wait a bit while I google some Bible verses and read some blogs that apply to that situation.” Also in order to lead, you must kill the battle of lust. The man’s job is to make his woman holy. Gentlemen, you have to care about your wife’s standing before God. Right now try to serve as many people was you can and give without expecting anything in return. Another key aspect is to organize your finances as God gives you the responsibility to take care of your household (1 Timothy 5:8). Start by saving up money, having a budget, and tithing. In the meantime, strive, by God’s grace, for the biblical qualifications of an overseer/deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13)
God is Sovereign but you do have to find her (Proverbs 18:22). Look for qualities in her such as being submissive, modest, and God fearing. You want this woman to be raising up godly children and modeling biblical womanhood to others. Also, please man up and ask her out on a real date. Too many times guys ask girls to “get coffee” and “hangout” or “watch a movie at my house.” This is very confusing and unhealthy if you are spending excessive amounts of alone time together if it’s not going anywhere. [I want to clarify that it’s okay to hangout and get coffee to catch up with a friend one on one, but it’s not wise to be do it often if you aren’t interested in her.] Be clear with your intentions.
Remember: The purpose of any relationship is that the two of you will glorify God more than you both would single. God is perfect & He has perfect plans. So I encourage all of you to run as fast as you can towards Jesus until someone else can keep up.
’You cannot take Christ for justification unless you take him for sanctification. Think of the sinner coming to Christ and saying, “I do not want to be holy;” “I do not want to be saved from sin;” “I would like to be saved in my sins;” “Do not sanctify me now, but justify me now.” What would be the answer? Could he be accepted by God? You can no more separate justification from sanctification than you can separate the circulation of the blood from the inhalation of the air. Breathing and circulation are two different things, but you cannot have the one without the other; they go together, and they constitute one life. So you have justification and sanctification; they go together, and they constitute one life. If there was ever one who attempted to receive Christ with justification and not with sanctification, he missed it, thank God! He was no more justified than he was sanctified.