Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Singleness: Burden or Blessing?, Part 7

Leslie Basham: Should a single woman actively pursue marriage? Here's Nancy DeMoss.

Nancy DeMoss: It's not up to me to decide what to do with my life. It's not up to me to decide whether I will be single or whether I will be married.

Leslie Basham: It's Friday, August 9; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss.

From an early age, we're told to choose the right friends, the right school and the right career. Then why wouldn't we choose whether or not we get married? Let's join Nancy as she teaches us to trust God even in singleness.

Nancy DeMoss: The past week or so we've been looking at 1 Corinthians 7 and talking about this whole matter of the gift of singleness--realizing that both marriage and singleness are a gift. If you are single, then you have the gift of singleness. If you are married, then you have the gift of marriage. We've been seeing that we are to embrace whatever calling God has given us, take it as a calling from the Lord, receive it with thanksgiving and then give it back to Him and make out of that gift something that is of eternal value.

We've kind of walked through the chapter of 1 Corinthians 7. But as we bring this series to a close, I want to back up to the paragraph that precedes 1 Corinthians 7, the last paragraph of chapter 6. And I want to read what I think is really the bottom-line, foundational principle behind everything we've been talking about as it relates to singleness or marriage.

The last two verses of 1 Corinthians 6, Paul says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?" Now to put this in context, I'm jumping in in the middle of another section where he's been talking about the whole matter of immorality and calling God's people to live lives that are morally pure--that their bodies belong to God. And he says in that context, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own" (v. 19).

Verse 20, "You were bought at a price. Therefore honor, " or some translations say, "glorify God with your body."

Now we've been talking as Paul does in chapter 7 about marriage and singleness, about serving the Lord, about moral purity, about some of these issues that touch us as married and single women. And I believe that this last paragraph of chapter 6 is the launching pad for all of chapter 7.

This is where we have to start and this is where it all comes back to realize several things. First of all, that God lives in me. If you are a child of God, what an incredible thought that your body is a house for God. Now whether you're married or single, that gives your life incredible significance. It means where you go is important. What you look at is important. What you do with your hands, where you go with your feet, what you do with that mind, how you love with that heart, what you give that heart to, is really important because your body is just a temple. A holy place for a Holy Spirit. God lives in me.

"God has bought me at a great price," Paul says, which has incredible implications that mean I don't belong to myself. It's not up to me to decide whether I will be single or whether I will be married, whether I will have children or whether I will not have children, where I will serve, where I will go, what I will do. Those decisions are not mine to make, because you see, I don't belong to myself. I'm under new management. I have a boss. His name is Jesus.

And I will just tell you after nearly forty years now of walking with the Lord and serving Him, there is no more wonderful Master and Lord that you could possibly have. His service is sweet. It is precious. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That doesn't mean there aren't any hard parts about it. But there's joy, there really is, in serving Christ.

But part of the implication of that means that I'm not my own. So every decision of my life, I need to be consulting with my Owner. He has the right to do with my life whatever He pleases. When I came to Him and trusted Him as my Savior and He received me into His family, I gave up those rights to Him. Now there's no more wonderful way to live.

It's scary on the front end when you're looking that direction. But once you've stepped over that line and trusted Christ as the Lord of your life, then you realize He really can be trusted to do what is right with your life.

So Paul says "Because all these things are true, because God lives in me, because He bought me, because He owns me, because I belong to Him, therefore, I am to glorify God." That's my purpose in life. That's why I live.

Revelation 4:11 tells us we were created for His pleasure to bring Him joy. So the question of life isn't what will bring me joy? What will make me happy? Now I'll tell you what will bring you joy is trust and obedience, surrender to Jesus as Lord. But that's not why I trust and obey. The goal isn't how can I be happy? The goal is how can I bring pleasure to Him? How can I glorify God? How can my life become a walking, living advertisement for Jesus? How can my life give the world a right opinion about God? Glorify Him with your body and with your spirit which belong to God.

So you and I, whether single or married, are called to live lives that are centered in God and centered in others, not centered in ourselves--called to live lives for His glory.

Now I want to tell you that I think one of the things that has most helped me really enjoy my years, even as a single woman, has been that when I was a young girl, a little girl, I came to the point where I made a conscious lifetime surrender to Jesus as Lord. Is that scary? Yes. But I'll tell you, it's foolish to try to run it myself because I really can't. We know how little control we really have over our own lives.

Some of you would very much like to be married and you're not single by choice. Some of you would like the gift of marriage and you realize you really don't have a lot of control over that matter. And so the key to joy I have found in my life is to surrender to Jesus as Lord and to say, "Lord, it's all Yours."

There's another passage in the New Testament that touches on this matter of a wholehearted surrender to Jesus as Lord. And it's in Romans chapter 12 beginning in verse 1.

Now I want to encourage you sometime to go back to read the few verses at the end of chapter 11 because that's the context here. Paul is talking about the wisdom and the sovereignty and the greatness of God. And in that context he says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship."

In light of what He has done for you, how could you think of living any other way? Put yourself on the altar and say, "God, here I am. All of me. Have me. Use me. Control me. Fill me. Do whatever You want to with my life."

Paul goes on to say in the second verse of Romans 12, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will."

Now you see, we want it the other way around. We want to test the will of God first, find out what it is, have God write out the contract and then we want to take a look at it and decide whether or not we want to sign it.

I can tell you, ladies, that I really do love the will of God. Now I don't always immediately love every point of the will of God. And I've had my share of kicking and screaming and resenting and resisting the will of God. But I look back at what God has shown me of His will and I say, "It is good!" God has been so good to me, even through the tears and the heartaches, God has been so faithful. I guess if I had any regret it's only that I haven't trusted Him more.

One of my heroes in the faith is a woman named Dr. Helen Rosevere who was for many years a missionary surgeon in what was then Belgian Congo. She's written a wonderful book. I think it's out of print now. It's called Living Sacrifice, and let me read to you a portion of what she writes in that book about what it means to live life as a living sacrifice.

She says, "We have no rights but to love and obey God, to be submissive to His will and utterly loyal to His leadership. To be a living sacrifice will involve all my time. God wants me to live every minute for Him in accordance with His will and purpose, sixty minutes of every hour, twenty-four hours of every day being available to Him. Whatever I am doing be it a routine salary job or housework at home, be it vacation time and free, or after work Christian activities, all should be undertaken for Him to reveal His indwelling presence to those around me.

"To be a living sacrifice will involve all of myself, my will and my emotions, my health, my thinking, my activities, all are to be available to God to be employed as He chooses, to reveal Himself to others. To be a living sacrifice will involve all my love. I relinquish the right to choose whom I will love and how, giving the Lord the right to choose for me. I must bring all the areas of my affections to the Lord for His control. For here above all else, I need to sacrifice my right to choose for myself. I need to be so utterly God's, that He can use me or hide me as He chooses. As an arrow in His hand or in His quiver, I will ask no questions. I relinquish all my rights to Him who desires my supreme good. He knows best."

And that's what it means to be a living sacrifice. And Paul says that's your reasonable act of worship in light of who God is and what He has done for us, anything less is foolishness.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy DeMoss with words of perspective for every single woman. She'll be right back to pray with us.

What have you thought of this week's series on the gift of singleness? Would you write Nancy and let her know how this affected your life.You can also send e-mail by visiting our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com.

And when you contact us, would you consider making a donation to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. We rely on the gifts of our listeners to meet the ongoing expenses of providing a daily radio program. When you make a donation of any size, we'll send you Nancy's booklet called Singled Out For Him as our way of saying thank you.

Write us or call us at 1-800-569-5959.

On Monday, Nancy begins a very practical series on setting priorities and making the best use of our time. We hope you can be back with us. And now, here's Nancy to close our time in prayer.

Nancy DeMoss: Oh, Father, how I pray that each one of us would make our lives that living sacrifice. And some of us have done that in the past, but we've kind of climbed off the altar. So I pray that even in this moment, we would make of ourselves a living sacrifice to You. Thank You, Lord, that as we do, we will discover that Your will is good and pleasing and to be desired above all other things in Heaven and on Earth. Accept, I pray, the sacrifice that we make of ourselves to You. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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