He Sets the Single in Families
I have been single since 1994 when my divorce was final. I was only married for 1 ½ years when after the loss of our baby my husband walked out on me. I didn’t believe in divorce so I didn’t respond not knowing what to do and the courts eventually decided. Devastated I blamed God. We were both Christians and believed it was God but then how could God mislead me. The truth was I was buying into the idea of “marriage” more than the covenant with the man I said yes to. I knew within the first month I had made a huge mistake but I honored my word “till death do us part” and what I believed was my future. I resolved I would not leave but I turned my heart to build a family. I was pregnant right away and miscarried the first baby after only a few months along. Then I got pregnant again right away. This baby I carried to term but in the labor (because we had no health insurance we were seeing a midwife) I lost the baby. It was a very traumatic experience. I longed to have children and to this day children are a focus of my life. I will forever live to see this generation walk in all God has for them. I pray every day for them.
For this reason, we also since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance. (Colossians 1:9-12)
I spent about several years in a downward spiral trying to build a business and then giving it up to work for a company, traveling about 3 out of every month. It was all I could do to ease the pain, drown myself in a career and come home to an empty heart. Thankfully the mercy of God met me and I had a supernatural encounter that lasted 3 days. I was never the same, coming to grips with my own choices not God’s. In a deep heart of repentance, I poured my life out at His feet and He led me home.
I returned to the body of Christ as a single woman. Jesus Christ was the head of my household and I was being place into the corporate family of God. As I stepped back into ministry I found myself working closely with men but I was different. Women change when they are married. Their life takes on a new nature, it is as if they are opened. Like a bloom when it buds, it becomes open. I think this happens to any woman when she enters a sexual relationship whether in marriage or in infidelity. We must face this fact as women and be guarded over it. Especially a single woman who is not covered by a husband. We were created to have a mate, to be married, God created us male and female. He set the order with Adam and Eve. However, because the sin nature of man is unregenerate there must be the knowledge of the truth to guide man until he is endowed with the Holy Spirit to teach him.
We have a responsibility to teach the truth regarding sexuality and the relationship of men and women. We can see our culture is devoid of truth. Same sex and the transgender identity is filling the hearts of those lacking knowledge and truth. We have an assignment as the body of Christ to rightly divide truth for this generation. I charge every youth pastor to quit compromising the message of the gospel for popularity. I am entirely upset with the view youth pastors have of this generation. They play at their position of leadership and the Lord will require of them accountability for their words and lifestyle. He will judge the Pastors for allowing hirelings to shepherd their youth.
Men have been given a gift in their leadership but if their souls are unrestrained they will find themselves consumed with lust instead of a gift to help win the opposite sex to leadership. In a marriage men are chosen to lead. God set that order. Leadership doesn’t mean ruling over it means leading much like a shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures and still waters. As the Shepherd of the home that leadership includes sexual intimacy. I believe men can lead their wives through love which is expressed in sexual intimacy. A woman can lead her life but God puts some of that leadership in man. In the same way He put some leadership in women. The two together express the leadership of Christ. We need each other both in marriage and in ministry. The gifts of God are poured out into the body and they help us build the family. Jesus distributes those as it pleases Him. He doesn’t put all the gifts in one person and as a family we are able to express the Father and His Kingdom. Although we are building a kingdom it is expressed in the body of Christ flowing together as One. We will forever be coming together, gathering more and more as One in the Spirit. I like to refer to this a Team Mobile because we can gather all around the world in the Spirit, not just in a physical building.
Once we understand the intimacy between man and woman and how those boundaries are set up with respect we can flow together in ministry. If you see a husband and wife unable to flow in ministry together it is because boundaries are not respected.
As a single woman, I am not nor will I ever be intimate with a man in a sexual manner. I must make that boundary very clear. I must work to make that message clear to any man. I have to do this in the spirit and in the natural. Often, I will do this in where I physically place myself or how I dress. I may have to live in a way that is inconvenient in order to make sure that message can be read by any man. When that boundary is crossed by someone who ignores or disregards that boundary I must take action. Always to the measure it is crossed. I take myself to the Lord first and ask for direction. I believe the more a woman ministers whether to men or with men (and women for that matter) she must work especially hard to communicate that she is married whether to the Lord or to a husband. This allows man not to rise to cover her in a certain way that would feel natural but is only applicable if he were married to her. These boundaries have not been taught in the body of Christ.
When a woman is in need whether in the natural or in the spirit it can arouse a man to care for her. He will want to provide either in the natural or in the spirit for her. He can in some cases and I will explain that but he can provide or cover her as a husband does. He may only know how to do that as a husband but not as a shepherd or as a brother. It is the nature of a caring man to rise up in leadership over the weaker ones but if his leadership is to rule over her he will find himself sexually stimulated. If his soul is not dealt with he will manifest attraction. If he is single and the woman is single he may find sexual attraction which will lead him astray. The Lord connects man and woman by the spirit first not by sexual attraction. The confusion is generated by a culture that wants to lead men and women by sexual attraction. This is the fallen nature of man. Sexual attraction is made for a specific purpose. I will explain that in a minute. Every man must work doubly hard to keep sexual appetite in its proper place. Unfortunately, we have flooded our culture with nudity and porn that stimulates men to have sex with themselves as they are maturing. That opening gives the enemy the opportunity to stimulate man at whim. When we don’t control or discipline our bodies and appetites we will indulge and cross the boundary God set for man in the garden of Eden. The enemy uses that appetite by feeding it continually with images and wanton people with no respect to drive a man to satisfy his own self-indulgence A person who continually fees the appetite and indulges will find that desire turns into lust. Lust is wanting something that has a boundary with the intent to cross the boundary to satisfy themselves. Men will desire to conquer the boundary. In one respect this is a part of his nature God gave him but in the context of marriage not in fornication.
Without proper discipline or restraint, we will find ourselves indulging wherever there is no boundary. The Holy Spirit in us can be our boundary. Often man will have broken barriers through abuse. Sexual abuse or any abuse for that matter breaks boundaries, continual abuse creates a weakness to say no in place of a boundary in the one being abused. Abuse comes when someone with the authority to protect does not protect and instead they indulge their appetite. We have been created to conquer but in the kindest, gentlest way. Jesus models this by washing the feet of His disciples. He gave them great power and authority but He charged them not to rule over men and force them to follow Him, but humble yourself and go low and win their heart. Every person needs to be placed before the Lord for Him to conquer them. We are never to take the Lord’s place. This can be hard because often the Lord will use us as His voice and leadership.
Even an unsaved person must be placed before the Lord, we can enter into the place of prayer for them but we can never rule over them. Often the Lord will give the authority but we must not abuse it or use it against them to gain what we want or need.
These principles can be seen in the context of ministry. God sets the single in families. Until a single person is married they are placed into a family. That family is charged with keeping them before the Lord. The family never takes Jesus’ place in their life. If we don’t understand Jesus’ leadership we may want to be Jesus to them and tell them what to do but this is violating a boundary. We can pray for them and say many things in prayer about what God is saying but ultimately we must leave the leadership to Jesus. We can model that leadership by shepherding them, leading them to His pasture of green grass and still waters but each person must choose their direction according the what the Lord is telling them. If they can’t hear we pray for them by taking authority over what evil influence may be working against them. We have authority to rule over powers principalities and demons but not over men. Authority is to lead but not to rule men. We rule over land, sea, and creatures, we rule in the spirit. When someone claims to have authority ask them what storm have you stopped, what natural destruction have you bound up and diverted? Really?! Can you command the seas to calm? That is the authority Jesus demonstrated to His disciples. He rebuked them when they couldn’t manifest His authority against the demons. We claim spiritual authority but really? Can you shut down the crime and human trafficking in your area? I daresay the church doesn’t really understand spiritual authority. They teach it so that people will submit to them not to Jesus Christ and His word.
The church errs in trying to the place of Jesus in the lives of believers. There will be judgment for pastors and leaders, men who claim to be prophets and apostles who tried to take Jesus’ place in the lives of believers.
In the marriage, a man will attempt to lead and trust is the main component in that relationship. Women are by nature untrusting. Most often this comes because along in her maturing she was opened sexually before her time. She was abused or someone crossed her boundaries too many times making her mistrust authority. She is the weaker one by creation. She needs leadership but not ruled over by force. She needs Jesus to lead her but until she surrenders to Him she will rise up and try to lead. That leadership can be very offensive because she will try to lead men or other women not serve them. She too must wash feet and serve, revealing Christ’s leadership. She is given charge to lead the children and the home but not to rule over it or them. Proverbs 31 details her leadership. She goes out to get wisdom.
In a marriage bed, a man displays his love which helps to win a woman’s trust in intimacy. A woman wants to be loved as do men and the marriage bed is an intimate place to display affection and discover pleasure. In this place trust is formed by not crossing boundaries. Our culture teaches that a woman must keep her man happy by giving him what he wants sexually even if it crossed her boundaries of comfort. This is wrong and can damage and lead to marital dysfunction. Again, we see the damage pornography has done to the marriage bed, teaching dysfunction as normal. No woman or man should violate boundaries in the marriage bed. Our love is expressed in respecting one another in all places. Trust comes when we respect boundaries.
These boundaries are expressed outwardly and we must be careful not to cross them in our relationships. This will help to lead us to wholeness. We can discuss and we can ask but we can’t force ourselves on anyone. When a person expresses they are uncomfortable that needs to be respected. They may physical move away or express it their face they are not comfortable, if we continue to press this we violate their boundary. If they say “no”, “stop it”, or “don’t”, then that should be respected! If we continue to press we are violating their boundary.Men who molest and rape don’t respect boundaries. Men who rape have hatred in their hearts which leads to murder.
This happens in the marriage bed, in families, in church, the workplace, all areas of society. We need to be aware of someone’s boundaries and respect them.
In the church God gave the family leadership. The expression of family helps us see how we can work together. As a single woman, I can labor alongside a family not just a man. If the man is single then he is my brother and I work alongside him as a younger or older sibling would and if he is married than I look to connect with his wife and family not just him. This order helps the single woman stay before the Lord and the man is not able to position himself as a man would with his wife. The wife stays between them should anything arise that is not ok, a boundary gets crossed the wife rises up to take her place the single woman is more or less moved away from a close proximity. The wife will keep relationships outside of the family circle. The family is in closest proximity and outside that circle others are connected. This preserves the wife and the husband and the children. If we put a single person in the family they may connect to each member of the family not just one person. This helps to keep the circle strong because other members of the family may pick up on boundaries being crossed and can step in for protection. Families connect to families and the same principle applies.
We have grace for one another and the Holy Spirit is kind and gentle in expressing the leadership of Jesus in us and through us. We hasten to protect one another from harm but the Lord is the One who ultimately protects us and we must never take His place. This can be challenging and difficult if we have not surrendered our life to Him or learned of His ways. We have many teachers but few Fathers. Fathers help us learn as children and they are given the great charge of leadership in the body but they must, as must every leader, lead us to Jesus.
I am thankful for the ability to give the gift of my life to Jesus. It is all I have to offer Him. I give to Him future. I will not marry again. I am married to the Lord. I give Him the gift of my fidelity, my future. I will serve Him the rest of my days as a single woman, forever His, this is my gift to My Beloved Bridegroom.
In this same context of spiritual authority God will use men and women to take places of authority in our lives. They may be the provision in our lives but their place doesn’t replace God’s authority in our life. A provider has the ability to lead in the area of ministry or work. Much like a company who pays us can expect a certain work from us so can those being used of the Lord in provision. However they can not take the leadership of Jesus they can give direction to our work. If we do not agree with that leadership then we can stop taking the provision or the provision can be removed, kind of like being fired or quitting. We are obligated in a certain measure to provide according to the agreement of the provision. If the provision was given believing there would be ministry given than that must be communicated at the acceptance of provision. If there were other agendas or expectations then they need to be communicated. The best provision comes when the expectation is the person will follow Christ as He leads. In ministry authority is given to administrate gifts and often pay is a consummation of that administration. The gifts benefit the ministry however the gifts belong to Jesus and He is the ultimate leader and administrator. He gives the gifts and we must give the gifts back to Him. When we give offering we don’t actually give the gift of the offering to the ministry we give it to the Lord and we expect the Lord to receive it and administer that gift as it pleases Him. If we give the gift expecting the gift to be given back to us than we aren’t giving it we are exchanging it for something. The ministry or the church is not a shopping center where we give money expecting to get a gift. We give gifts with the expectation of blessing the Lord. Today our offerings are like a shopping center where we purchase homes and cars and luxury lives for our “gifts” in exchange not really offered.
God gives the gifts and He doesn’t expect us to return them but we do because we worship Him. We give back to Him our gifts to allow Him to administer them. If we give them to man not to God and man administrates them this is a picture of the world. In the world, you can see man’s administration of the gifts in American Idol and Hollywood, the best gifts get the most air time and money. They are merchandized not loved, used and abused. Sometimes we want airtime so we can be seen as the best gift but we have to pay money for that.
God respects and honor man by trusting Him with His people to lead them to Him and keep them connected to His heart. The world uses gifts and sells them to the highest bidder and men and women become slaves. God’s gifts may stay hidden and unknown by the world but they are no less valuable because they are God’s gifts and expressions of His love for us to equip us and help us to know Him more. Everything needs to go back to God. We came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing except to love like God.