Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Single Christian Women—My Heroes

If I had the chance to stand up and praise the heroes in my life, I suppose it would take a while. And if I stood up today, perhaps I’d give the most time to a specific group of heroes—single Christian women. From Zagreb to Georgia, and Barbados to California, I admire and respect them deeply. They’re incredible.

While they have become the righteous and holy, new creation daughters of God, they nevertheless endure the faulty, measuring scrutiny of the world. Even from the church.

Even though the apostle Paul suggested we would all be better off single rather than married in our service to God (1 Cor 7), nowadays we don’t actually believe it’s true. Think of the single Christian women in your church and tell me they don’t endure endless prescriptions from well meaning, but Bible disbelieving people as to how they can “be healed” of their infirmity—singleness. Spoken or implied, we mostly think of them as incomplete or crippled, and shuttle them off to Children’s Ministry where they can at least partially fulfill their presumed destiny.

Single Christian women live with the not-so-subtle prejudice that there is something wrong with them, something that can only be cured by a ring on their finger and a man in their bed. Do you think my words are too strong? Then accept my challenge: ask them. Ask them if they believe they are seen and valued for who they are according to God, or if they are seen as something less, something different. Ask them if they feel revered because they remain single. And not just the nineteen year olds; ask the thirty-eight year old single Christian women. Ask them.

While I don’t recommend a curative prescription of giving single Christian women new places of prominence and authority as a way of proving our repentance, I do believe that we need to look anew at our saintly sisters. Do you see what God says is true of them? Do you believe that each is His chosen dwelling place, the modern-day Holy of Holies, made pure and faultless? They don’t need to be fixed-up in order to be useful and whole, they’ve been separated single unto God, at least for a season. How fantastic! For some, it will be a life-long marriage to the One we cannot see.

But can you see them anyway? Can you, by the eyes of faith, see them for who they are—the chosen, twice born, holy and blameless, radiant daughters of God? If you can, I’m certain you will see similar “invisible traits” emerging from the rest of the church too. The temporal shadows of this world—clothing, physical looks and abilities, status, etc.—hide the sons of God already, even from themselves. But you and I see according to The Truth, even when the suggested truth of this world says otherwise. The Truth directs our thoughts about God, and it directs our thoughts about each other. It must.

If we would approach each other according to the truth—let it begin with our single Christian women—then the revival many of us hope for would begin with us. We would thank them for the great example they are to us in their single-hearted, undivided devotion to the Lord. We would encourage the single Christian women to “go for it” with God, to run off at His leading, to be daring and adventurous in their godly situation, unencumbered by the challenges Paul says marriage brings. We would think of them as the royalty they are, instead of the royalty they could become . . . if only.

Knowing something of the struggle they face, we would be their cheerleaders—our team is on the field! Hooray! for single Christian women.

You’re my heroes.

(An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:34b-35)


  1. Rudi Taylor3:29 PM

    I'm not single, but I like what you wrote. ~smiles~

  2. Bart Breen3:31 PM

    Timely word Ralph. Culture is often sanctified and becomes the lens through which we see things, even when it's completely contrary to what Christ and scripture tells us.

    Christ tells us to take people one at a time and love them for who they are, not the labels we affix to them. You've identified one area where that clearly takes place. There are others too.

    blessings to you.

  3. Libby DeLangie3:32 PM

    Single, but not by choice....this touched my heart, Ralph♥ Thank you.

  4. Richard Naganuma3:32 PM

    So very true. Thanks for the reminder, brother!

  5. Sharon Fryer3:33 PM

    This is not a negative, BUT RATHER, A POSITIVE...I've been married for 48 years, and if GOD hadn't CONTINUALLY OVERWHELMED ME WITH HIS LOVE for me....Ahh Lord God....Your message has touched my heart...It is VERY IMPORTANT for all to know God's VERY PERSONL LOVE FOR THEM...But really, woman need to know...Yes, that we are NOT too much for the Lord, (whether single or married) when at times it seems we are just too much for a man..... And I'm smiling... :-) And thank God,He can handle the men too!!! PHEW..... :-) thanks again, Ralph...

  6. Terry Phillips3:34 PM

    Powerful words to some awesome folks. Thanks for saying it better than I could.

  7. Cindi Estep3:34 PM

    I once was a single Christian women and I can totally relate to the stereotyping of being only suitable for children's ministry or preparing food for yet another after service eating...The single women seem to outnumber the single men by 80 % in most places that I've attended, too....and yes they struggle but their True Husband will see them through and comfort them in all their afflictions....Sad that most persecution and judgment doesn't come from the "world" but by the hands of other "believers"....Thanks Ralph!!!! Have a blessed and glorious Thanksgiving ♥

  8. David Borum3:35 PM

    It's about time someone said this. And yes, I will pass this on. Thanks for sharing, Ralph.

  9. Mark Douglas Vilen3:35 PM

    Ralph, I don't disagree with one word of your blog, except to say that as a lifetime single (aged 49 and a believer since 5), I have faced many of the same prejudices and stereotypes as a single Christian male ... In the modern IC in America, the single male is very often viewed as a 2nd class citizen, and viewed as "defective" for being single ...

  10. ‎^ Mark--I was single until age 35. I had been a pastor, including Children's, Youth, Singles and Senior during that time, so I know well that this unbelieving scrutiny is directed at males, too. Maybe especially at a single male pastor. "What's wrong with him?" "I know just the girl for him. . ." "His standards are too high." I'm very glad for your comments, Mark. Thank you.

  11. Terry Phillips3:52 PM

    I'll never forget a cartoon I saw many years ago in a Christian magazine. It was Noah's Arc with all the animals going in 2 by 2 and a sign pointing to the back that said, "Singles Entrance". To painful to be funny."

  12. Catherine Sangalang4:12 PM

    Thanks for the tag Ralph! I love it! A lot of people in church take it upon themselves to cure others' "singleness" and by doing so have wreaked havoc in relationships, causing more harm than good.

    For me personally, I'm still young & super duper enjoy being able to do what I can with God & I know that when this season is over, I'll be ready for it. Right now, I love my freedom too much (=

  13. Julie Belshe6:22 PM

    When I was a brand new christain I went to church, I heard a word given to a woman that she would be single the rest of her life, that the Lord was her husband, Well being married at that time, I gasp! Oh how awful to not have hope of finding a husband again, as she was divorced. I could not see how she would she could truly be happy alone all her life.
    Now I am that woman, Now I see. How wonderful it is to be free and single, married to the Lord. I am happy single, I would rather be single than to be in a marrage that is not a perfect fit. Mostly I think it is a great testimony to the world who wonder why I am not out searching like other women in desperation for a man. I don't need a husband until the Lord says I do. And I know that if that does happen I will know it! Until that day I am happy and content being free and single. I really am so content just me and the Lord!
    Thanks Ralph.......