A Purpose and a Cause Worth Living for
- 2006 18 Oct
Single adults can easily get lost in their own frustration and loneliness, losing sight of the bigger picture.
Throughout the course of human history, various individuals have risen up from the masses to leave a mark on our lives: inventors, politicians, philosophers, artists, and religious leaders. All had at least one thing in common: they were visionaries who saw beyond themselves. They passionately dedicated their lives to causes greater than their own individual worlds. When people catch a glimpse of something much larger than themselves, something they deeply believe in, seemingly nothing is too difficult for them. They frequently are willing to give their lives for such a cause.
This is the true nature of our relationship with God. John Piper says it this way: "God is the most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."1 Have you ever truly been "satisfied in him" and him alone? The ultimate cause worth living for is falling in love with Christ, either for the first time or coming back to your "first love" all over again (Revelation 2:4). God deeply desires a genuine love relationship with you.
Perhaps you aren't even sure what that looks like. It's crucial to your becoming whole both personally and sexually. We'd like to give you some practical steps for cultivating intimacy with God. Many more ideas could be listed here, but this will at least get you started.
Cultivating a Love Relationship: Letters
Creating a more intimate and fulfilling relationship with God begins with learning about him. What does he care about? What pleases him? What saddens him? With a human lover, one way to express your thoughts and feelings is through love letters. You might write about big things, small things, and everything in between.
In much the same way, God has written many love letters to you in the form of Scripture. The Bible is filled with stories about how God feels on lots of things. It also contains letters of instruction, sharing God's heart about certain matters. There's also an entire section of poetry, much of which reveals God's character. Learning about God is vital to having a relationship with him. How can you have an intimate relationship with someone you don't know that well?
If you're new to studying Scripture, you might try visiting your local Christian bookstore and thumbing through different translations of the Bible for yourself. Dozens of good English translations are available today. The key is finding one you can easily understand. Consider one that includes study notes. While you shouldn't rely upon such notes to the degree you would trust God's inspired Word in Scripture itself, they can often help you better apply God's Word to your everyday life. Ask your minister or the bookstore's manager to help you with this decision. While you're at it, ask about Bible study material or other Christian literature that can also further your learning. Other ways to grow your love relationship with God might include attending a Bible class at a local church, subscribing to a daily devotional guide, and listening to sermons or praise music on the radio, television, or the Internet. Keeping a personal journal of how the Holy Spirit speaks to you during your study time is a great way to document God's personal activity in your life. Later on, when God seems either silent or difficult to understand, your journal may serves as a tangible reminder of how he has already spoken and worked through you.
Deepening Your Love Relationship: Conversations
Reading Scripture is God's primary way of talking with you; prayer is your primary way of talking with him. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God, much like you would have with another person. What should you talk about? Anything! Whatever is on your heart is a great place to start (see Philippians 4:6). Because of who God is, it's also appropriate to let him know how much he means to you and how much you love certain things about him.
You can thank God not only for who he is but also for the things he's done for you. If something is bothering you, share it with him. If you want to ask him for something, go ahead. If in his wisdom he knows it's a good thing for you, he will certainly provide it in his timing; if it's not, he won't (or he might even provide something better in the long run). After praying, watch to see what happens in your life, and don't forget to thank him for his answers when they come. God is like a loving father with his young child – there's nothing in your life he doesn't want to hear about. If it matters to you, it matters to him!
Sometimes a conversation with God doesn't even have to involve an exchange of words. I (Michael Todd( sometimes find my most meaningful times with God are spent in silence and solitude while watching nature from my screen patio. Still your heart and mind, allowing God's Spirit to commune with you in the quiet.
Sharing Your Love Relationship: A Mission
Once you have an understanding of the things God cares about, you can begin investing your time in those things. Service in a local church and other Christian ministries is one of the primary ways this happens. You could serve in many different ways, so you should find ways consistent with the gifts and talents God has given you. Take a "spiritual gifts inventory" or talk with a pastor about ways you might serve best. Or just try some things: play an instrument in the orchestra, work in a preschool Sunday school class, serve at a homeless shelter or clothes closet, participate in a visitation or evangelistic outreach, go on a mission trip overseas, or help with a summer youth camp. Whatever you do, remember you are building your love relationship with God as you serve others (Colossians 3:23). You'll be amazed at how reaching out beyond yourself gives you perspective and helps alleviate your loneliness and self-preoccupation.
1John Piper, "Desiring God" (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2003), 288.
Excerpted from "Soul Virgins Redefining Single Sexuality." Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2006. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.
Doug Rosenau is a licensed psychologist and Christian sex therapist with the Intimacy Counseling Center in Duluth, Georgia. A pioneer in Christian sex therapy, he is the author of the best-selling book, "A Celebration of Sex."
Michael Todd Wilson, a never-married single adult, is a licensed professional counselor and life coach with the Intimacy Counseling Center in Duluth, Georgia.