The Right Thing at the Wrong Time Is Still the Wrong Thing
- Joshua Harris Author and Speaker
- 2002 13 Feb
How to Keep Impatience from Robbing You of the Gift of Singleness
Chapter five of I Kissed Dating Goodbye shows that when we pursue romance is a major factor in determining whether or not dating is appropriate for us. And we can only determine the appropriate time to pursue romance when we understand God's purpose for singleness and trust His timing for relationships. Modern culture thrives on immediate gratification, but God's Word teaches that there are appointed seasons for everything in our lives, including relationships.
Three principles are given to help adjust wrong attitudes toward the timing of relationships:
- The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. A good thing taken out of its appropriate season can actually be destructive.
- We don't need to shop for something we can't afford. Before two people are ready for the responsibility of commitment, they should content themselves with friendship and wait for romance and intimacy.
- Any season of singleness is a gift from God. God has created this season as an unparalleled opportunity for growth and service. We shouldn't let it slip by.
Waiting for God's timing requires trust in God's goodness. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us good things in the present only because He has something better for us in the future. Waiting for God's timing also requires strength. This strength comes from God alone. His strength and grace will sustain us through any circumstance.
I read a plaque in a friend's home that captures the essence of chapter 5. It said, "Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have."
Contentment is not a destination. We don't arrive at it when we become a certain age, get married, achieve our goals, or reach a specific bank balance. Contentment is a state of gratefulness before God. Until we understand that, we'll waste our time attempting to "arrive" at a place of contentment only to discover it's just beyond our grasp-always "tomorrow."
Most of us can relate to the "contentment on our terms" mind-set. In the area of relationships, we're perfectly ready to be content as soon as God brings along our husband or wife. All God needs to do is tell us who this person is and when we'll meet him or her and we'll be happy. But that's not true contentment, is it? True contentment is being more aware of how much we already have and trusting that God will provide the grace we need to persevere, no matter how difficult our circumstances might be.
That was the apostle Paul's secret. In Philippians 4:11-13, he wrote, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
For Paul, the knowledge that God is sovereign and will sustain those who trust Him was the secret to contentment. Apply it to your situation. Are you content even if a relationship is something you have to wait months or years for? Do you believe that the "everything" God's strength will help you do includes waiting on His timing for romance? Do you believe that God's strength can meet you in your present circumstances and help you be obedient right where you are? If you can, then you've found the secret to contentment-something that no one can take from you.
So choose to be content. Choose to focus on all God has given you. Maybe it's not as much as someone else has, but that's not the point. Count your blessings. And if all you can think of is that He died for your sins and has given you an eternity with Him in heaven, that's enough to keep you rejoicing all your days.
For more information about Josh's ministry and the annual conference for college students he hosts, visit his website at: www.newattitude.org
Check out Joshua's new book Boy Meets Girl or other products by him here.