Is Jesus Enough?

When I was a much younger single person, I remember a lot of conversations with older folks (mostly married) in which I was challenged with the thought of, “Is Jesus enough?”  In other words, “You’re single right now so Jesus will have to be enough.”

Man that sounded holy to me (It also made me want to sing the Doobie Brothers version of Jesus Is Just Alright – still does actually).  That’s right dang it, Jesus is enough.  I don’t need someone else.  However this is only sort of true, depending on what question you are actually asking.

Part of the problem with the Church’s response (or lack of) to increasing singleness is that we say stuff that not only sets singles up to fail, but also in turn sets marriages up to fail. The reality is that we need a good theology of both marriage and singleness.  One will not work without the other.  We need a lot of help with both.

When we say to a single person that Jesus is enough that implies several things. First off, it could mean that Jesus needs to be enough for right now.  But this makes no sense.  Jesus is enough for now, but not for later?  If you get married, then Jesus won’t be enough?  This goes right along with what I’ve written before about the idea of singleness being a “season where you focus on the Lord.”  This idea is so rampant and so just flat bad.  There is no season where you should not be focussed on the Lord.  And again, if singleness means being closer to the Lord than marriage, no one should get married. Marriage is not a concession to not being tight enough with God.  Yikes!

Which leads to point two.  Marriage happened while Adam had a perfect, sinless relationship with God.  In other words it wasn’t a lack of God being enough that made Him create Eve and put them together.  God looked at Adam and said it was not good for man to be alone.  Wait!  You mean even when he was totally with God, Adam still needed someone else?  Whoops.

Finally there is the idea that gets floated that if Jesus is enough for you, that means you must be called to singleness.  Once again, Jesus wants us to be focussed on Him regardless.

The question in regards to the call of singleness is not a question of how much you are focussed on Jesus.  It is a question of calling to vocation – to what type of ministry you will do.  It’s the second vow, not the first vow.  The first vow we have to make is to Jesus.  We all have the same first vow.  WE HAVE TO GET THIS.

In addition, the Jesus is enough question can lead us to other bad places as a single. Mainly that we don’t find true community.  In other words, regardless of marital status, it is truly not good for “man to be alone.”  We need other people.  We were created relationally, by a relational God, for the purpose of relationship.  If we are told enough that Jesus is enough we can end up not only avoiding marriage based on personal holiness but avoiding true community as well.

At the end of the day Jesus is actually enough in a lot of ways that matter most.  Jesus is enough for salvation – in fact nothing else works for salvation.  Jesus is enough for full life, but when we follow Him, He usually helps us get that by leading us to others and speaks to us not just directly but through the Church (his people) and the Scriptures.  But the truth is that we are not guaranteed that.  In other words He doesn’t promise earthly community and in fact lots of people have followed Jesus without the Bible.  We certainly are not guaranteed a spouse.

But a married person doesn’t have any of those guarantees either.  I could get married this week, and my spouse could be taken away the week after.  Would Jesus be enough? Get what I’m saying?

I think a better question might be, what are you staking your life on?  Now our answer to that needs to be Jesus.  Because at the end of the day He is the one sure thing.  And that has absolutely nothing to do with marital status.

Are You Electable?

So a few years ago after I realized that I was the problem and that I had basically no understanding of how female attraction worked – and I was screwing it up ten other ways, I called a mentor friend of mine and said, “Hey I’ve got big problems here.”  He said, “Well fly out here and we’ll fix it.”  Now I’ll admit I was a little fearful of this trip but hey I was desperate and I knew I was lost, so I booked the flight.

Basically we had an all day counseling session.  I left with a lot of truths.  But here was the overall premise.  My friend said, “Look, you are a strong guy, and you’ve got a lot going for you.  You’d make a great husband, everyone agrees with that.  But you know what, there are a lot of people who would make a great President.  The problem is most of them can’t get elected.”

I laughed, and cringed.  It was an incredible insight.  I think this is a huge problem for many of us single folks who feel like we are called to marriage.  We want to be married.  We want to have the “Christian” marriage that everyone keeps talking about, even though we understand that it will take work and sacrifice – we still desire it and think we are made for it.  And the truth is many of us would make a great spouse – while of course always being a work in progress. The problem isn’t do we want to be married or would we be a good marriage partner.  The problem is we don’t know how to get married – we can’t get elected.

The church community, including us singles, needs to step up in this area. We can talk all day about marriage and all the things not to do as a single person.  And I want to re-emphasize that those things are indeed important.  But I’m not sure that we do a lot to actually help people get married.

One time a pastor at our church was giving the one sermon on singleness I’ve heard him preach (sorry can’t help it).  He actually was doing really well.  Then he dropped this line, “Now some of you are just awkward (read unelectable).  That’s ok, you just need to work on it.  If you don’t know where you’re awkward come find me and I’ll tell you.”  Now he actually had a great point that most pastors are afraid to say, but he wasn’t going to personally follow up with 1000 single people.

But in community we actually could work on this.  And as single people we need to have the humility and frankly the bravery to work on this.  We need to ask questions like, How do I come off to the opposite sex?, What type of people do I date and why?, Am I pursuable or do I have a huge wall up?, Am I afraid to commit?, What kind of first impression do I make?, Why am I so nervous to approach a girl I’m interested in?, and many more.  We need to evaluate ourselves as well as ask others and let them speak into this. This is not a beat ourselves up moment. It’s a real talk moment.

The thing is there are actually honest answers to these questions.  And the best part is you can change them.  You really can.  But if you don’t face them then you probably won’t.  By the way all of this goes way beyond dating.  The root answers to these questions come from our fears, sins, and woundedness, none of which come from God.  They are affecting our lives in all sorts of ways.  Jesus wants to grow and heal us from them, but we have to dive in with Him and His community.

So here is the question – Are you electable?