Articles singleness_is_a_gift

Published on January 5th, 2015 | by Keely Brazil

Singleness is a Gift, And That’s Biblical (in case you forgot)





In most conversations with single girls, their singleness comes up. She is nervous, she is convincing herself everything will be OK, she is making plans about her future because she “might as well.”

I’ve also noticed that in some Christian circles, a married woman is in a different class. Is she using her brain, her strength, her emotional and mental capacities to love the Lord? What are her spiritual gifts? It doesn’t really matter, because… Married.

And if she has a kid or two, then she is truly untouchable, because what else can you expect from women? (Whoops!) In this sense, married women are often neglected spiritually, reduced to their domestic roles.

I imagine guys face a similar struggle. If they aren’t married, it is assumed they are noncommittal or immature. If they are married, then they are the good guys, the Family Men. This does no justice to the incredible ways God is using single guys in His family.

Recently, a popular Roman Catholic pageboy hat-wearing blogger wrote a smug article about marriage that quickly made tracks in the Christian blogosphere.

This article essentially reprimanded the Peter Pans and Wendys of the 21st century and encouraged us to get our acts together and get married already because Marriage Is The Best Adventure Of Them All and being married young is a fruit of the Spirit.

The chapter that fell out of the Bible (apparently)

I would like to respectfully remind this blogger, and all of the people who couldn’t share his article fast enough, that 1 Corinthians 7 has not fallen out of our Bibles.

Singleness is not a form of embarrassed earthly purgatory. It is not a sign of God’s displeasure. It does not make you a different kind of Christian or require you to start your own separate Bible study with the other spiritual lepers.

We are actually in good company, those of us without joint bank accounts. Jesus, for example, would presumably be forced to join the singles study.

Don’t misunderstand me: Marriage is a gift. But it is a gift (Proverbs 19:14), meaning that it is God’s to give when He pleases. And it isn’t for everyone (singleness is also a gift).

We pay lip service to His sovereignty but collectively lose our minds when it comes to relationships. I read that 2 in 5 women suffer from a deep fear of being alone forever. But, I would like to gently remind you sweet sisters and brothers in Christ that fear isn’t OK — we are called to live fearlessly, boldly, trusting in the God who is good, who already gave His Son for us, and who will most certainly hold nothing we need back now (Romans 8:32).

Loneliness and uncertainty are not unique to singleness

On paper, singleness is the most uncertain period of life. But in reality all of life is uncertain. Your inability to be the boss is never going to abate. At no point are you going to be 100% positive about where you will be in five years or in five seconds.

Believing that singleness is the only period of life where you will battle loneliness or uncertainty or need to fight through the clamor in order to hear the voice of God and to follow His direction is truly setting yourself up for future discouragement.

Personally, I’m not “waiting” at all. This stage of life is not white noise or wasted space. It’s not the commercial break before the feature presentation. Every day is full of purpose and meaning, because this isn’t the intermission: this is my life.

To assume that everything is going to magically fall into place and you will find your purpose and fulfillment once you get married is wrong and in some cases a form of idolatry. As one of my Bible profs used to remind us, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29) — meaning they stay whether you are married or single.

Don’t wait around for an identity, you already have one

I think that when God brings that person into your life, he or she will be someone who helps you live out your gifts even more. And vice versa. It’s a mutual endeavor. It’s not looking at someone and saying, “Where have you been all my life? You complete me. You make me happy, you make me better.” No, it’s: “I love what God is doing in and through you. I want to be a part of that for the rest of my life. I want you to be used by God and I want to serve you so you can serve Him better.”

Husbands and wives are called to do this for each other (no, as a woman, you don’t “lose your identity” once you get married or some other mystical anti-gospel weirdness). And isn’t that more meaningful? To choose to join with someone when you are already a strong and secure person, already using your God-given gifts? You’re not clinging to someone out of desperation or fear or laziness. You’re not looking for an identity; you already have one. You are choosing to put your heart in their hands and to serve them selflessly and to worship God through joined lives of purpose.

Only boring people are bored, so start living

On a very basic level, I think the world is beautiful and fascinating. I love being around people who see this: that life is full of opportunities and joy and adrenaline and adventure. There is so much work to do, so many books to read, so many places to go, so many people who need to be loved on, so many stories to hear. So many opportunities for service and work and art and learning.

I firmly believe that only boring people are bored. I know plenty of guys and girls who are not only content in their singleness, but who have unstoppable joy. They trust in God courageously and take steps boldly and let nothing hold them back. They are excited for today and not just for tomorrow.

This isn’t the waiting room. I’m not biting my fingernails off and trying to figure out what to do “in the meantime.” There is no meantime. I have been bought with a price: this is God’s time. And so, I can rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross rather than looking for some external relationship (or anything else) to validate and affirm me and to give me meaning and an identity. That would mean putting a massive weight on some dude’s shoulders that he was never meant to carry.

So, brothers and sisters, THIS IS YOUR LIFE. As Mary Oliver said, it is a wild and precious thing. It is full of ups and downs and detours and traveling partners of various types but it is all one continuous road and ruling over it all is a God who is sovereign and who writes each story differently. And that is wonderful, because there is no greater adventure than the one God designed for you.


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 11 Comment(s)


Photo courtesy of Andy Logan and Flickr Creative Commons.


signup_for_email_updates_banner









Tags:


About the Author

has reported for multiple news organizations including The Washington Times in Washington, D.C. She is 23, lives in a Northern California rodeo town, and blogs at Sky Blue about life, faith, adventure, and inspiration. She loves to help young men and women rethink their identities, self worth, and purpose in life



  • Thanks, Keely!

    I have been saying the same thing, but on the front of teenage dating instead. I totally agree with you! These years as teens and young adulthood are a huge opportunity. As the Harris brothers put it “a launching pad” into the rest of our lives. If we don’t use our lives now, are we going to use it when we’re to tried to move from old age?

    Once again, thank you!
    – Trent

    • mimeforJesus

      Yes!!

      • I am 1/8 Cuban, 1/8 Mexican, Some Irish, Some American Indians, and who knows what else. :)

        • mimeforJesus

          I’ve got the American Indian but other than that I’m almost all German. Some French too I think.
          So… Being Cuban and Mexican, do you like Spanish?

          • Si Senõr

            Lol, other then that, really no comprendè español. :)

            Though, I do LOVE Mexican food.

          • mimeforJesus

            I love Spanish – probably going to go I to translating after graduation – so I wondered…
            And yes, I’m really a mime. Myself and a group of friends get together every week to practice mime skits then we perform around ten times in a school year. It’s fun :)

          • Awesome, man!

          • mimeforJesus

            Where are you from? There may be a team like mine around where you are. There are teams all over the US

          • I live in the South Eastern US. You?

          • mimeforJesus

            Maryland and Virginia have teams, but I don’t know of any further south. I’m near Maryland., whatever region you’d call that.

          • Okay cool. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Hey Trent, can you look at “Nine”s comment above? I tried to answer, but I don’t think my answer was really what he’s looking for.

          • You don’t need to worry. If he has any questions, he will very likely respond. Just continue praying that God will use your words for Him.

            God bless,
            – Trent

          • Nicole

            So what was the topic again? LOL! 😀

          • mimeforJesus

            Wasn’t it… ummm… about not using our smartphones so much?

          • Nicole

            Just checkin’ 😛
            Your ministry sounds pretty cool… I haven’t heard of a mime for Jesus before! LOL!

          • mimeforJesus

            If you’re in California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Delaware, I could get you in touch with a group :)

          • Stikki

            Hey,
            Thanks so much for the opportunity, but I am in Australia. :)
            Sorry, would have replied to you sooner, but I am in a very remote part of our country and our internet signal is a bit touch and go.

          • mimeforJesus

            No prob! Have you always lived in Australia?

          • Stikki

            Yes, I have and I love it! Australia is an amazing place. :)

          • Kate

            This is something I’ve always wondered: Do you (Australians) speak English? Or do you have your own language?

          • Stikki

            Hi Kate,

            Ummmmmm, yes, we speak English. 😛
            We have a lot of slang/lingo in our language, and a different pronunciation of some phonics, but it is still English.

            Some examples of our slang and their meanings:
            Big Smoke: a big city, especially Sydney or Melbourne
            Bloke: man, guy
            Bush: the hinterland, the Outback, anywhere that isn’t in town
            Cockie: farmer (Farmers were called cockies in the early days of European settlement because, like the birds of the same name, they made their homes on the edges of permanent waterholes)
            Flat out like a lizard drinking: flat out, busy
            Good onya: good for you, well done
            Mate: buddy, friend
            She’ll be right: it’ll be all right
            Ripper: great, fantastic
            Station: a big farm/grazing property
            Tucker: food

            Hope this clears things up for you. :)

          • Kate

            Thanks, i know it was sort of a weird question, but thanks! :-)

          • Riley H.

            I’m just curious, what does a mimeforJesus do?? Like I get that you mime, but is it just for fun or does it have a ministry purpose behind it? Also, Trent seems to think you’re a guy, but are you a guy or a girl? Do girls mime?

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, it’s a “ministry” -some folks think we’re best for outreach, but I think we’re best placed in churches, because it’s hard to communicate the Gospel wordlessly but for Christians they’re pushed to rethink the Sunday School stories they heard all their lives.
            And it’s lots of fun too 😉
            And girls can mime – the team I’m on has more girls than they have guys. I’m a girl but it doesn’t matter what you call me – “dude-but-you’re-a-girl” doesn’t sound right, you know?

          • Sadie Clements

            I believe they were once referred to as dudettes. In a stupid movie, somewhere. :) LOL or chica. Chica’s really fun to say.

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, but chica gets difficult because most people hear that and think “chick”, which has a different connotation. My dad says dudette, but I didn’t know if that’s widespread :)

          • Sadie Clements

            That’s hysterical! I’ve never heard anyone ever use.

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, I was actually in Spanish co-op one day, and the guy reading the paragraph was supposed to translate as he went so he said, “The football chick was supposed to be… Wait, did I just say that right?”

          • Sadie Clements

            Hahaha I would have loved to have been there at that moment. LOL

          • mimeforJesus

            One of my favorite memories from that class! Scratch that, that IS my favorite memory from that class :)

          • mimeforJesus

            If you search Youtube “Samuel Hughes Fight Inside” the top video should be Fight Inside (San Diego West Mime Team)” put up by Samuel Hughes. That’s not my team, but it’s one skit that’s on Youtube.

          • mimeforJesus

            If we’re not supposed to put up videos/how to get to them, let me know – still figuring out the site.

          • Riley H.

            Uh, I don’t really know either, but I think it’s okay as long a you’re not sharing any personal information, etc. Although I’m not really sure about posting videos.

          • Riley H.

            I give links to articles and stuff all the time though…I’m pretty sure that’s a-okay

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks :)

          • Riley H.

            Oh yeah! I think I know what it is now :). That’s actually really cool. Do you guys ever perform at Christian summer camps? I saw a skit really similar to that this year at the camp I was at.

          • mimeforJesus

            Yes, we’ve been at some camps, as have other teams… that’s one of our main venues in the summer. Who knows? It could have been my team!

          • Sadie Clements

            Sounds awesome. My dad’s always threatened to become a mime. LOL

          • mimeforJesus

            My dad’s never threatened to become one, but he has said that it’s the best teen ministry he’s heard of – he likes the silence :)

          • Sadie Clements

            :) Your dad sounds awesome. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, my dad is pretty awesome. He literally taught me everything I know about politics, business, theology, and the list goes on…

          • Sadie Clements

            :) Cool!

          • Rebekah

            Just curious. What’s your mime group’s name? :-)

          • mimeforJesus

            Sry, my parents don’t want me to tell people where I live, and if I told you the name of my mime team, someone could look us up and find out what town I live in. But there’s a similar team in Virginia, called Silent Lights.

          • Rebekah

            Okay, no problem. I understand. I am on Aim (aimsandiego.org). I saw you mention Samuel Hughes in another comment. He is the leader of Aim.
            So cool to see others actively involved in things like this. Keep it up! :-)

          • mimeforJesus

            You’re under SAMUEL HUGHES?!?!
            I’d love to see videos of a fellow Rebelutionary mime. Do you know of any vids you’re in that are public? Youtube, Facebook – I don’t know if Twitter even does videos, but I don’t have access to Twitter.

          • Yes. There are a lot of videos up on Samuel Hughes’s YouTube channel. I am in “Job”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XodrOKH5tc). I am Job’s wife. I love doing mime. It has stretched me a lot especially because it doesn’t come naturally for me.
            How long have you been a mime?
            It’s so cool to find fellow believers and Rebelutionaries who share some of the same interests. :-)

          • mimeforJesus

            So you got to be Satan in Fight Inside, right? I love that song, by the way. I want my team to do it this spring!
            I’ve been a mime since the start of the 2012-2013 session, although I joined the team the semester before. I moved to the area just after their training camp time, so my brother and I didn’t get to be in the songs for a semester. I think I learned a lot during that time — I saw some things and thought, “I will NEVER do that!” That way I knew what I liked to see, and what looked dumb/unprofessional. Now I’m on the Student Leadership team :)
            It’s really great to see another mime on here! I want to get my entire team on here, but that’s not probably happening soon.
            So, I have a mime-related question for you. The directors of my team are… let’s say, not very artistically-minded. For them it’s more important if we’re learning something from the drama, than if we’re doing the drama right. I want our team to be good, and we don’t see eye to eye on some things (e.g. variety in songs; casting based on ability more than “well, John doesn’t have a main role yet”; how important excellence is before/while we present, sign language in songs (I don’t think it belongs there – I prefer drama!)). I want to be respectful, but I also want to challenge their thinking, in an effort to make the whole team the best we can be. Any ideas/advice for me on how to handle this situation? Should I speak up, or should I just let them keep going the way they are? We’re getting less invitations to present than we did when I first joined, and I think it’s because these directors have been more personally involved in the drama portion of our team. I want to bring the team back to where we were, but I also want to honor all involved. Help!

          • No I actually was not Satan in Fight Inside. It would’ve been fun to be though. I am the tallest girl on the team. Maybe that will help you find me. Haha.
            That’s cool! I am also on leadership. It has been a cool experience.
            You are in a difficult situation. I do understand the fact the directors may want to give people main parts who don’t many (or any) at all. It seems “fair”. The thing is- is it fair for the team as a whole? Is it hurting the team? Etc. Anyways.. I understand what you are saying.
            How much mime technique has your team done? I was thinking maybe you could talk to your directors about doing a workshop. Maybe another team could come in and run it. We just did this for a couple teams here in California. The team could help you guys with technique and things. I don’t know if this would help you guys? And it may not come off as rude and offensive to your directors. The directors we worked with were happy to have us. Just an idea…..
            I am a very blunt, honest person. So, if I were you (and I’m not saying this is positively the best thing to do), I would talk to the directors. I wouldn’t let the tension build. Be honest but definitely respect their authority.
            On our team, we try to be godly examples. One of our goals is to leave the place we use/present at/practice at/etc. better than we found it. Striving to be above reproach and professional has been something we have tried to keep within the team. I think it is very important. If we are going to carry Christ’s message to others, the way we act on as well as off stage will say a lot. If we are messy and immature, what kind of testimony is that? If we are neat and respectful, it leaves a better message. And opens more doors to come back and present elsewhere.
            I don’t know if that helps at all….. If I didn’t fully answer your question or something, let me know. I’d love to try to help you. I just hope that helps (at least a little). And let me know if you would be interested in having a team come and help you guys. I could hook you up with some people who might be able to make that possible. :-)
            Blessings,
            Rebekah

          • mimeforJesus

            Oh wow, I never answered this! I’m really sorry, Rebekah – I bookmarked your comment, then I didn’t answer! :(
            Okay, so you were what’s-his-name’s wife?
            I think you’ve answered my questions pretty well, thanks :)
            So, what is your favorite mime song that your team has ever done?

          • It’s okay. :-)
            Yes, I was Job’s wife.
            Okay. Cool. You are moving though so you will not be on the team anymore? :-(
            I have to say Orphans by Avalon I think…. What about you?

          • GodsThespian

            I was actually still thinking of Fight Inside – are you “Main-Person-Who-Never-Has-A-Name”‘s wife? Or am I mistaken again?
            Yeah, I am moving… how did you know? I don’t think there are any mime teams near where I’m going :(
            I can’t find “Orphans” online… do you have a link to a Youtube video I could watch? I don’t know that song. Off the top of my head, I think I like “Go” and “Alive” best. (FYI, I really like how your team does “Go!”!)

          • Ohhh.. That’s my sister! If you are talking about the Fight Inside on Samuel’s channel. So, you were close.
            I knew you were moving because I follow you on disqus and happened to see a comment that said you were moving. Is your dad in the military or something?
            I actually do not have a link for that. I do have a video, but it isn’t on the internet. I’m sorry. :-/ I think because certain people don’t want their faces on the internet without face paint on I couldn’t give it to you. :-(
            I love Go! Alive is also good. Although we did that so many times and stuff, so it did get a little old. I love Orphans, but I also forgot about Everything!! Did you see our Everything video? I love that song so much. Lifehouse is amazing, and the choreography is wonderful. At least that’s my opinion.
            Oh and can you explain the confusing change in your username and Christopher taking MimeforJesus? Or if it really just that simple? I was confused… Haha.
            Thanks! :-)

          • GodsThespian

            Ohhh, I see now… So you weren’t in that song? How many sisters do you have in mime?
            No, my family just moves a lot. It’s weird, my dad doesn’t have to move, but we still move about every four years.
            I have videos like that, too! White face is awesome stuff, isn’t it?
            You did Alive for a lot longer than we did, then. My team did it for about ten weeks, then because of how we rotate songs (all new songs every session) we dropped it. And our main girl left the team mid-session, so that kinda goofed up Alive. How long were you doing it?

            Okay, so I changed my name because I’m moving, and I won’t be a mime anymore. Well, Christopher decided that he liked my username, and he “borrowed” my screen name and picture. Basically, you understood what was going on. Now he’s back to being Christopher :)

            Have you ever done a joint presentation with CIA?

          • At the moment, I am the only one on the team. I am not even presenting this session.
            White face = awesomeness. Although, I personally hate the way it feels.. Haha.
            Ohhhhh…. We did it for maybe a session or two. I don’t really remember. Sorry. :-(
            Okay. Haha. Makes sense!
            No, we haven’t. Have you ever had a joint presentation with another team?

          • GodsThespian

            Wow, the team has shrunken! That’s really sad! :-(
            I actually like the way white face feels, except for when we’re presenting somewhere hot… that’s the worst feeling ever! Euggh… Now, the hair is a different question entirely. It’s so hard for me to do!
            I was in a joint presentation with a couple of teams. CIA and a younger (like, 8- to 15-year-olds) team. It was interesting to see how this team changed some of the choreography to be easier for them.

          • alana

            And yet you don’t speak Spanish! Although I shouldn’t say anything because I’m taking Rosseta Stone. It doesn’t teach you how use it in real life. I just know few phrases, like Hola, Gracias, and No le entendí.

          • I also know “Little Boy”, “Little Girl”, “Woman”, ” Crazy White Man”, “Handsome”, ” Manly “, a Spanish threat, and a few Spanish names. But then my Spanish vocabulary suddenly dies: a short drop and a sudden stop. :)

          • mimeforJesus

            What is “Crazy White Man”? I have a friend who would love to know that phrase. Do I want to know the Spanish threat? I could always say that to my teacher when she assigns a lot of homework 😉

          • “locos gringos” (Low-co GringGo) is “Crazy White Man”

            And I don’t know how to type the other one, only pronounce it. :/

          • Josh A

            This is soooo pertinent to the singleness article 😉

          • mimeforJesus

            Totally, right?

          • Yeah. I guess you’re right. Lol

          • Riley H.

            Lol =D

          • Riley H.

            I saw this comment at random, and at first I was confused…are they talking about songs? These song titles don’t come off as what Trent Blake would listen to (haha)….Then I realized you were discussing Spanish…you guys make me laugh :) Lol. But really, “Crazy White Man”?? I’m sure it’s a song…:)

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, those aren’t songs I would choose to listen to either. But I do hear those at work :(

          • Louis Gervais

            Oh man, this is hilarious. Hey… I personally think Trent would listen to ‘Manly’ sung by Spanish Threat =vD

          • Riley H.

            Omigoodness…I’m literally laughing out loud at this :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, it sounds like a good one… and I’m also literally laughing out loud.

          • mimeforJesus

            I tried Rosetta Stone, and it didn’t really work well. I think co-ops are the best way for a homeschooler to learn a language (I’m assuming you’re homeschooled).

          • alana

            Nope. I’m a private schooler. I’m taking level 2 Spanish. I’ve never heard of co-ops.

          • mimeforJesus

            That’s where homeschoolers get together to learn some subjects. Like if one mom is really good at a language, she might offer to teach other kids that one subject.

          • Allie Blue

            Co-ops are awesome!

          • mimeforJesus

            One of two reasons why I don’t want summer to be long!

          • Allie Blue

            Lol

          • mimeforJesus

            Yep, but it’s a lot more fun than not being a nerd :)

          • Allie Blue

            Totally agree. :)

          • Ruthie C

            I am exactly 0% Mexican or anything in that area, but I *LOVE* Mexican food… lol!
            I have a little of everything European- German, Dutch, British, Irish… (needless to say my family gets sunburned easily :P)

          • Yeah surprisingly though, my family does too, except for me, who is content with the tan he has and stays underneath the tent. 😛

          • mimeforJesus

            My family is split half and half – one half burns really easily, the other half only tans – I”ve only burned three time taht I can remember!

          • Allie Blue

            Ahh …yes ,Mexican food is delish.

    • mimeforJesus

      Are you sure we’re not related? First the article about Gatorade, then this! It’s scary how well you would fit in at my house.

      • Yeah man. Related by blood from Adam and Eve and Related by the Lamb’s blood, through Jesus. So, yeah, in a sense we are related!

        • mimeforJesus

          The best way to be related. These relations actually think like you!

    • Keely

      Hey Trent! I think that’s a great connection to make. I’ve been talking to a few high schoolers about this lately. There’s nothing wrong with dating in high school, but I would definitely counsel a young person to exercise wisdom and not to allow peer pressure to control their decisions — speaking from my own mistakes. As Alex and Brett are so good at reminding us, youth is an exciting opportunity; not just prep for life but an opportunity to seize life for God’s glory:)

      • Thanks for your feedback, Keely. I appreciate it.

  • Ah yes. I heard a message a while ago where the speaker admonished the audience to not forget that children are a blessing from the Lord (our culture seems to be loosing that perspective), but also reminded that an inability to have children does not equal a curse either. Seems like you’re trying to communicate the same thing, just about marriage.

    I love the quote Jim Elliot said. “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Being in a “season of singleness” certainly is not a hugely defining factor in my life right now, but it *is* one aspect of this season of my life. So, as long as I’m there, I might as well be all there and do my best to be a good steward of it … for however long it lasts.

    • Riley H.

      Yes!! I love Jim Elliot’s stuff and Elizabeth Elliot’s. Elizabeth’s book “Passion and Purity” talks specifically about singleness and how she sought God during that time. I love it!

    • Keely

      Hey Leah! I love that Jim Elliott quote, I remember it meant a lot to me right before I went off to college and during other challenging seasons of life. Thanks for reminding me of it:)

  • alana

    I have friends that all they talk about is finding the one, getting married, having kids and an okay life. I don’t think that way. I think about it from time to time, but it’s not a pressing matter. I think Keely is right when we assume that you’re married, you’re different. I wish there weren’t labels. They’re so annoying! I know I’ll be content whether I’m married or not, because like I have said if you listen to me on the internets, God’s with you, and He won’t let you down.

    • mimeforJesus

      What do you do when friends start talking like that? I normally just leave the conversation, but don’t know if that’s the best move diplomatically.

      • alana

        Yeah I leave. They know I don’t care about boys and dating. It kinda has to do with my Asperger’s and boys ignoring me.

        • mimeforJesus

          Aspergers? Sorry but I don’t know what that is.

          • Ruthie C

            Not alana, but I believe Asperger’s is like an intense version of autism.

          • mimeforJesus

            thanks :)

          • alana

            Asperger’s is a mild form of autism. If we were real life acquaintances, I could talk to you just fine. But I still struggle with other stuff.

          • mimeforJesus

            Ok, thanks :)

      • Amanda T.

        You know, there are times when it is necessary to politely back out of a conversation, but just because you don’t agree with what they are saying doesn’t mean you have to walk away every time. I am only recently really learning how to interact with people – especially people close to my age – but it can be good to participate in a conversation and be the “different” one. For one, you can listen to the other people and where they are coming from. Try to hear past the words and hear their heart: are they lonely? are they hurting? do they feel worthless? Then you can know how to pray for them for sure, and maybe how to specifically reach out and encourage that person. Also, (and I’m talking to myself here too) you can voice your views and convictions. Don’t be judgmental, but you can differ from them, and it just may make someone stop and think. Not only will you potentially help someone else, but speaking out about what you believe and having to explain it and why will help you, too. It wasn’t until recently that I had to stop and explain to someone why I believed some of the things that I did. Doing so helped me understand more about what I believed and helped me grow in and affirm my stance. :) You can have a big effect on the people around you, sometimes just by the way you live and also by the things you will speak up for. God bless!

        Loved and Never Alone,
        Amanda

    • Keely

      I can relate to you Alana. That’s how I felt in high school and even in college. Many of my friends seemed to be wasting opportunities just because they were really fixated on meeting the right guy/girl. I think focusing so much on marriage can become a big heart problem — just like focusing on any other blessing (which in and of itself may be a neutral or good thing) becomes idolatrous, whether that be health, success, talent, wealth, whatever. Your contentment is inspiring. Stay focused on the Lord, sister — sounds like your heart and your vision are in the right place & I’m encouraged by that, I’m sure your friends and others in your life are, too. <3

  • mimeforJesus

    Good article, Keely.

    • Keely

      Thank you! :)

  • Riley H.

    Wow, I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently. I totally agree, Keely! I’m only seventeen, so I’m not thinking about marriage right now, but when I look at my peers who are dating, instead of envying them, I kinda see just how ridiculous it is. Not to say that I don’t want a boyfriend some day, I do! But right now I’m content to just be friends. My friends with a “significant other” seem to miss out on so much of life because they’re so consumed with that other person. Like in a group setting, they likely won’t participate in group games or group conversation, because they have tunnel vision for just that one person. From a practical standpoint, this doesn’t sound fun to me! I enjoying being independent, being able to come and go as I please, and talk to who I want to talk to. But more importantly, I agree that God can work in big ways during these years. The way I see it, if I live an average life of 75 years, and I get married at an average age of 25, that’s fifty whole years of married life, and only twenty of singleness. I don’t want to waste it.

    Bought with a Price,
    -Riley

    • mimeforJesus

      Yep, not dating around makes sense for more than one reason. You’re good at explaining ideas – I try and it doesn’t really end up making sense :(

      • Riley H.

        Haha thank you!

        • mimeforJesus

          Really, I can write out a lot of my ideas, but as soon as I start talking, I might s well not talk for all the good I’m gonna do.

          • Amanda T.

            I have a harder time speaking what I am thinking that typing it, too. But even sometimes recently writing has been a big challenge for me. I can’t really say that I know any magic way to make either side of it easier, but I can say this: make sure you don’t label yourself. That will be the biggest hindrance to you.

            If you tell yourself “I am no good at speaking” sooner or later that becomes an ingrained part of who you are. I have seen it in my life so many times! It will be a feature you learn to enhance, and title that you hide behind. The two that I am struggling with the most right now are “quiet” and “unwanted”. But in my feeling isolated I learned to isolate myself better and more.

            If it is already really a part of you, then just start by changing the “I am…” to “I struggle with…”. From there, make it “I am working on…”. That leaves you with the mindset of needing to step out and… :) do something hard! It is not an overnight change; this whole thing is a messy tangle of lies, but the more we can learn to see through them the more we can find freedom.

            Also, don’t worry when you talk. The words that we say should be God’s words and not our own anyways, so pray and ask Him to speak through you, take every thought captive, and then just step out of the way. I am going to be sharing my testimony with my youth group next week. I have been dealing with a lot of spiritual battles lately and one of the things that keeps happening is my thought process just shuts down to the point where I can’t really talk, just because I can’t construct a complete thought to say. I have worried that that would happen next week when I have to share, but last night I realized what a blessing it could actually be if it did happen! If I do reach the point where I can’t think or speak, then anything I say will be God talking and not Amanda, and that is what those people need to hear.

            So be encouraged, and be bold! :)

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks for the reminder – just today I was actually reading the chapter in Do Hard Things that points out that generalizations like that can be an excuse for not doing Hard Things. I had this coming from two places at once!

          • Amanda T.

            :) Well I guess God had something to say to you then, didn’t He! It is a good reminder. Even once we know that truth it is so easy to forget and go back to the way we used to identify ourselves.

            Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, – Philippians 3:13

          • Riley H.

            Wow, yes! Don’t we all type easier than we talk? :) Yes, it’s so vital that we don’t label ourselves. Yes yes yes!! Can I ask, what led you to share your testimony? I’ll be praying for you!

          • Amanda T.

            :) Thank you so much!! I really do need a lot of prayer right now.

            Well, a couple things got me to this point.
            It is only over the past couple years that I have really figured out what it means for me to have my testimony. And when I understood what God was doing and I began to find healing in Him, I understood that my testimony was one that was meant to be shared. I am not supposed to keep it safe and share it with just close family or friends when needed – lots and lots of people are supposed to hear this story. So I began to become willing to share when God asked me to.
            The second side is that I pulled out of my youth group after one year of being there. I didn’t like it because it seemed shallow and I felt like the leaders kept holding me back just because I was one of the youngest, newest ones. So I never had anything to do with them. Well, over this summer I began to feel God telling me that it was time for me to go back to my youth group. I may or may not have put up a bit of an argument on that one, but said that if that is really what He wanted me to do then there would be something good come out of it. Right after I made that decision to obey and go back we heard that our youth pastor was leaving. So now someone new has stepped up (temporarily for now) and he is making a lot of changes in the group. I am so excited because I see God starting a work in there! One of the things that we started now is a youth leadership team. I am a part of that team and Mr. Fountain has opened up the opportunity for any of us on the team who want to share our testimony to do that on Wednesday nights. So I am scheduled to share on the 14th.

            Thank you again so much for praying!!

          • Riley H.

            Wow, that’s so cool! That’s amazing that God is leading you in that direction. I feel like I can relate to you in a lot of ways…I felt the same about my youth group being shallow, and desperately wanting some depth and fellowship. But I guess I’m learning that the “real” might have to start with me. Recently God has been teaching me just how important it is to be real. I have a story too, and up until now it’s been too hard to talk about. But over this past year God has really worked. I’ve been watching and waiting for a time to share my testimony – I’ve shared with my close family members (I held back even with them), but I also kinda feel God guiding to share with a wider group (like youth group), for them…but mostly for me. I think that’s where the healing really skyrockets. Have you heard the song “Any Other Way” by Tenth Avenue North? Listening to that was like a turning point for me. I also know how hard it is to go back to a situation that you left. Waita follow God’s leading and do it anyway! That’s so cool that things are changing for the better at your youth group. I’d love to hear how your testimony turns out!

          • mimeforJesus

            I just looked up Any Other Way. Powerful lyrics! Thanks for the song recommendation :)

          • Riley H.

            Thanks :). One of my favorites.

          • Amanda T.

            Yes :) What you said here is so true!!

            Being the first one to be “real” isn’t easy at all, but it is good! Someone has to be the brave one :) it might as well be us!

            One thing I am finding is that *everyone* has a story, so there is really no need to be worried about sharing yours. And if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ then no matter what has happened there is no shame or guilt or condemnation for you! So we might as well live in the freedom that is ours!!

            You are exactly right: sharing your story is just as much for you as it is for the ones who hear! I have done it a few times and I never imagined how it would affect me, too! Each time I share or help someone else it heals me just that much more. God is truly amazing!! I am stunned at what a beautiful thing He is creating out of my complete mess.

          • Riley H.

            Yes, we serve an amazing God!

          • Allie Blue

            Ah, cool…yes I will definitely pray for you.

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, I forgot to say… I’ll be praying for you too! Wednesday night?

          • Amanda T.

            :) Thank you so much!! Yes, Wednesday night youth group 1/14.

          • Allie Blue

            That is encouraging Amanda. :)

    • Clare

      I couldn’t agree more:)

    • Keely

      Riley, I’m glad you agree! I love your perspective about using and enjoying this time of life. I would add that everyone is different, though. It’s good to appreciate the places in life God has us at, even while appreciating the different paths He is leading others down. That’s the beautiful thing about our Lord — He guides each of us so differently and so well:)

      • Riley H.

        I absolutely agree. Maybe my first comment came off as judgmental…I really didn’t mean it to. Yes, every person is different, and God’s timing is different for everyone. Thank you!

        • Keely

          Not at all, I understand what you mean:) I love your clarity of mind in seeing the exciting opportunities of this season of your life. It’s encouraging:)

    • Aitana Nikisha Marie B. Garcia

      I agree with you with that statement! You’ll be married and be with your partner for how many years compare to being single 20-25 years so enjoy being single by serving the Lord, focusing on Him!

  • Stewart Kepper

    Hi Keely,
    Your discussion of the true purpose of marriage, to aid one another in what God has called us for, was very inspiring to me. It is extremely important to realize that marriage is first and foremost to better equip each other to serve Jesus Christ. This essential truth should be our primary purpose in life, regardless of our marital status.

    • Keely

      Hi Stewart, I’m so glad you were encouraged. Thank you for letting me know. :)

  • Good article Keely! It is something most of us should think of more often. :-)

    • Keely

      Thank you Brittany!:)

  • Nine

    I agree with pretty much everything that you’ve said, but my understanding of marriage as a gift from God troubles me in some ways. I guess that’s my own shortcoming for not trusting Him more, but I do wonder about Matthew 7:7-12 which speaks of asking and receiving.

    It’s hard to accept what I know theologically when my experience feels closer to receiving a ‘snake’ than a ‘fish’. I know how I ‘feel’ is not a reliable indicator of truth; I’m not so conceited as to think otherwise.
    However, by that same note I’ve always lacked the feeling of my Father in heaven loving me as his son. I believe that He does, but I’ve not felt that way in any strong sense despite having been a Christian for quite a few years now.
    I don’t need to feel that to believe in Him, but it does make it hard to accept that ‘His love is all I need’ when that’s never been something tangible to me; I don’t mean that in the physical sense, rather that an emotional response to a person is something I’ve experienced far more strongly than I’ve ever felt towards God. It’s no that I value that person more than God Himself; I’m just talking in terms of my own emotional response.
    On one hand I can’t understand this, as I’m certainly open to experiencing God in this way; on the other hand I wonder if I’m responsible somehow. ‘God’s perfect, so the fault must be with me,’ or something like that.

    To experience God’s love is what I really want, but when the blessings I’ve asked for in prayer, such as being in a relationship, seem with-held(despite praying open-handedly into the situation, both in regards to God working in my heart and the circumstances of my life) it is hard to feel as though His will is to give ‘good gifts.’ Perhaps my own inability to see singleness as a good gift is the problem here, but I find it impossible not to see a disparity between what God’s Word says(ask and you will receive) and what I’ve experienced(ask and one day you might receive, assuming you’re still alive, but in the mean time you’e going to have to go through a lot of waiting, rejection and hurt). It’s something I really have tried to address, but I keep coming back to square one.

    I know patience is sometimes needed of us, and I’m familiar with the concept of human ‘seasons’, but this is one of those cases where my own understanding, which doesn’t completely support my own perspective in regards to my life circumstances, just doesn’t seem enough.
    I honestly don’t want a relationship for selfish reasons; I did in the past but I realised that was just idolatry, both of the person I admired(despite admiring her foremost for her commitment to God) and the ideal of marriage. My attitude toward God has grown and changed a lot since then, but I’ve found myself in a similar situation. Examining my heart I don’t feel the same sense that I’m deluding myself(I can give sober reasoning for why I’m asking for this) but the same reality is what I’m faced with. I also believe it would be a harder lifestyle than the one I have now; as a boyfriend, fiance and eventually husband I believe I would be responsible for self-sacrifice on behalf of my significant other. not just cruisy romantic bliss. Yet I made the mistake of finding someone I genuinely want to bless more than I want live.

    In most area’s of life I can be very objective, but this is such a heart issue. In saying that, it’s honestly quite simple:
    There’s a young woman of God who I’m amazed by and I sincerely want to do life and mission with, but circumstance is crushing any hope of that happening. I should be focusing entirely on living life to the full right now, but I want so very much to be there for her, and to be with her that I’m struggling to have a positive outlook on life or even Gods love, which is supposedly infinite. I was hoping for a deliciously baked fish, but instead look down to find a live viper in my hands. Or maybe I’m just imagining that venom coursing through my veins…

    If God knows how to give good gifts does that simply mean He’s unwilling? OR am I just not grateful enough for the gift of single-ness, something that Paul extols? I was born single, and have always been single, so you’d think I’d have identified with the perks by now, but no dice.

    I’ve been posting a lot in response to others question an concerns lately(other blogs etc), but I don’t necessarily expect all the answers to come flooding in response to this. It’s just nice to type out my own struggles for once.

    • mimeforJesus

      I don’t know what to tell you, except that I’ll be praying that God show you what He’s doing. I’m not gonna throw Bible verses at you because I know how that feels, but… God’s using this time to strengthen you. Whatever He has planned for you later, you’ll need the strength you’re gaining from this time. Whoever this young lady is, maybe God put the circumstances there in the way… but maybe you’re supposed to work through them. I don’t know what your situation is. If you sincerely want to marry so you can cherish and serve your wife, I have no doubt that God will bring someone along, where you two will both serve each other and you will do great things for God. My brother-in-law wasn’t married until he was thirty-six, and had to pass up some incredible ladies in the process, but now he’s married to the Godliest woman I know. It’s hard to wait on God, but He hears your prayers, and will answer them in His time. If it seems like I’m talking at you, I’m not… most of what I’m typing is me talking to myself too.

      • Nine

        But you admit to talking; or is typing a loophole for Mimes? I’m not very offend-able, so don’t worry, anyway.

        Anyway, I don’t expect someone to simply agree with what I’m saying, as it’s somewhat contradictory and I know that. I also get the whole ‘strengthening’ thing, also referred to as ‘seasons’, but the circumstances even seem at odds with that notion…
        Allow me to explain in a bit more detail:
        The difficulty I have is that I’ve been in a season pretty much exactly like this one before. I developed strong feelings for someone, circumstance(in that case her having moved far away) made it difficult to develop any sort of meaningful relationship and she rejected me consecutively until I eventually blew things completely and we no longer communicated at all. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, but that’s the gist of it.
        Having come out of that(conditioning my heart through prayer and deliberate steps to get over her, which is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done) and thinking I had learnt what I needed to from that drawn-out and difficult experience I found myself in similar circumstances shortly thereafter.
        I somewhat wonder whether I’m simply setting myself up to go through that again, but have had no intention of doing so; it just seemed nice to be taking an interest in someone who I could speak with in person and relate to in a way that was a lot more personal and probably healthier.
        It was when I’d really taken a shining to her that I found out she’d made a promise not to date for a year. That’s something she did to focus more on her relationship with God(ie entirely the right reasons) but I still question it, as I’m not sure whether she was a making a mistake in doing this; the reason I am in doubt of her decision is that Matthew 5:33-37 is pretty clear in regards to whether or not we should take oaths.
        So was her decision to do this mistaken? In which case it could be suggested “the evil one” could be making deliberate attempts to interfere with her life and in effect, mine as well.
        OR is this something God asked her to do, in which case it may not be what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 5 but rather a covenant she has entered into during this time. Biblically, I don’t see the latter making much sense, but I’m also inclined to blatant bias and find it at odds with her character to make such a commitment without prayerful consideration. But in that case the sense the God is with-holding a blessing becomes much more reasoned, and I don’t understand why he would.
        Either way, she has given her word on the issue, and whether or no she should have doesn’t change the fact that she’s required to keep that promise. As such this is something I’ve decided not to discuss with her until after she has fulfilled the commitment itself, as to do otherwise may just be putting a stumbling block in her path.

        In fact, my immediate reaction to hearing that was of disappointment; a sullen acceptance that it wasn’t to be. Having spent a long time waiting in the last situation I was I thought maybe this time I should just look after myself and cut my losses. That thought, however, didn’t last.

        • Al Ive

          It’s tough to go through seasons like this
          May I offer a different Perspective?
          instead of “… God … with-holding a blessing …”
          … “God is PREPARING you for a better blessing”
          It’s not always the one we hope for but it is always God’s best.
          Our perspective can be often be clouded & block out the view of the better blessing to come.
          The best way to re-aline our focus, is to dig into God’s Word. (reading through the Psalms helps me) remember David’s looong wait for the promised throne? David often cried out to God as Saul pursued him & God always reassured him of His faithfulness

          Isaiah 40:31 is my favourite verse on this, But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

          There is an excellent online article called WHEN GOD SAYS, “WAIT” by IN TOUCH MINISTRIES I recommend reading it, it has a great outlook on waiting (not just for this hearts desire but all :)
          Here is something else I recommend, it is 46 verses on (you guessed it…waiting)
          http://www.openbible.info/topics/waiting_on_god
          print them out, cut them into individual verses & put them on the fridge, in the fridge, on the bathroom mirror in your study books what ever where ever 😉

          each time you see & read one pray “Thank you God that you have a better plan for my life than I do, help me trust you”
          Anyway I hope & pray this is helpful

          • Al Ive

            And as the article says waiting is not sitting about, it is active in pursuit of God:)

          • Nine

            Thanks for the link. That’s a good article.

            Also, I’d forgotten Proverbs 3:5-6. The Bible never suggests we need to understand to trust Him. I do hope to understand how I should approach this situation(which I may simply have to give up on, but I don’t want to do that without knowing that’s what God wants of me), but I don’t need to understand anything to trust God, so I’m not quite sure how I got in such a bind. In regards to taking in God’s Word, I have been endeavoring to read the Bible front to back and am currently In Deuteronomy, so I may have neglected to actively find appropriately encouraging Scripture that actually relates to my current circumstances.

            The situation has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, honestly. Right now I’m in a state of zero communication(for a matter of months) with the person I have feelings for. While I intended to use that time to deal with my feelings(ie get rid of them) I am genuinely not sure this is the right decision, even though it was one I made out of respecting her disinterest in my waiting for her in the first place. It would take a miracle for things to resolve themselves favourably, so I’ll know sooner or later what God thinks of the matter, I just don’t want to drag this out and make it any further of a burden on her than it may have been so far.
            In saying that, there’s a couple of misgivings I have about leaving the situation behind me(apart from simply caring about her) and I have been having a damnably difficult time hearing God on this.
            Even after learning about listening to Him in a series of lectures, reading a book, taking time to just listen etc I feel about as spiritually attentive as a rock. Though I guess that’s not entirely accurate. It’s more that I have an overly active mind. I enjoy silence, ironically, but can’t stop my mind racing most of the time. The instant after I pose a question to God I’m already shouting a hundred answers at myself.
            When I really focus, I can with-hold from doing this for short times, but inevitably can’t identify whether the answer comes, or when it does I have just thought up an answer myself/am not sure it’s even God speaking. A week or two ago I tried just sitting on a park bench, with no-one around, focusing and refocusing my thoughts on God and His voice. After 3-4 hours I still had no idea what he was saying to me. I did this because I decided I didn’t want to make excuses or try to depend on any shortcuts to hearing Him, but it still wasn’t enough. My biggest fear is that I’ll go on like this for several more months only to put her, and myself, through more difficulty just to satisfy my own qualms about the situation.

            There are few more ways I need to acknowledge Him; that’s for sure. There probably always will be, but some are pretty obvious to me right now.

          • Al Ive

            Some suitable distractions can help, for example
            volunteering at a soup kitchen or a children’s hospital, serving others whose hurts are different to yours.

            Music is helpful, Songs that have Scripture as a basis. Someone shared with me that to sing once is to pray twice.
            Pray without ceasing as1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says

            God’s desire is for you, He loves you, keep trusting Him, He will bring you through

          • Nine

            I’m not very musical, to be honest. It’s not that I don’t don’t understand music at all, but lyrically I am inclined to take lines and phrases literally, which makes some verses annoying to hear, and I don’t enjoy sorting through music to see what tunes I like.
            I did start listening to Christian podcasts lately, though.
            The community meal program that I am involved in starts back up in February, though there may be something temporary I could do in the mean time, I guess. I don’t want to do something that I’ll just be leaving in a few weeks time, though, to be honest; feels like it might send the wrong message.

        • mimeforJesus

          Yeah, typing is a loophole :) But I also talk when I’m not a mime… too much sometimes.
          About the lady deciding not to date… I believe that God will still ask us to choose to give thing up for a time, and I don’t think that what she’s doing is in conflict with Matthew 5:33-37.
          One thing I can say from experience is, when I’ve had guys interested in me, the best way for them to impress me is to respect my decision not to date for now, and to wait until I will be available. One guy in particular now has my total respect because of that. But that’s not really what you’re asking here, so this may not be helpful.
          Your decision not to discuss this with her until after her commitment is very wise in my eyes. This situation is way beyond what I’ve experienced, so I’m not going to try to say I can empathize, but I do know from smaller things that it takes a lot of willpower to do what you’re doing, so keep up the good work!
          Like I said earlier, I’ll be praying for you, her, and this whole situation.

    • Keely

      My heart goes out to you, friend. I know what it is like not to “feel” God’s love, even when I understand it on an intellectual level. But what we must remember is what Eugene Peterson said, “The mistake we often make is thinking that God’s interest and care for us waxes and wanes according to our spiritual temperature.” I know you’re not necessarily asking for advice, but what has helped me in my own spiritual valleys is 1) preaching the gospel to myself and 2) focusing on others through service. I don’t say this tritely, I truly believe that God is sufficient and that, for those who are saved, even the most difficult trials we face are His grace in our lives. I wrote about my own experiences with this a little while ago (God for the rest of us). Anyway, I am saying a prayer for you. I hope you are encouraged again in the Romans 8:31-39 love of Christ.

  • Daniel Noa

    My guiding sermon on this has been one called “Single Like Jesus” that my pastor preached long before I ever heard of his church. https://goodnewsto.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/single-like-jesus-rankin-wilbourne-1-corinthians-sermon08-30-09.mp3 Absolutely we are complete.

  • Josh A

    I don’t know if it’s necessary to call Matt Walsh (if that’s who you’re talking about) a “Roman Catholic pageboy hat-wearing blogger.” While I don’t agree with Catholicism, he does sometimes make good points in his blog. Also one of the first verses in the chapter you mention, 1 Corinthians 7 (verse 2b) says ” Each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” And I know this is all negative so far, but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) so not all fear is bad.

    Wow I sound really mean so far…honestly I agree with your main point. :-) Thanks for the article!

    • Keely

      You’re right, we should fear the Lord — and Him alone. Certainly not man’s opinion, or hard times, or being alone, or difficulties, or anything else. The Proverbs 31 woman is described as laughing without fear of the future. I think that is a great way to approach life:)

      Politically, Mr. Walsh has some logical ideas. But I’m not a fan of his writing overall — almost all of his articles are very moralistic and void of the gospel. But I haven’t read everything he’s written, and he does show some good common sense in a few secular areas. :)

      Glad you liked it!

    • mimeforJesus

      Ok, got a question for you: What don’t you agree with in Catholicism? I’ve been trying to figure out what makes us so different from them. So many people equate them with total pagans, which I don’t understand. So anyway… You have an answer for me? (Honest question. It could sound like I’m trying to start a debate.)

      • Josh A

        Lol you probably did start a debate…they’re not total pagans or anything – I do have a couple Catholic friends. I don’t know too much, never having been a Catholic, but some things I don’t agree with (and this is by no means a comprehensive list or anything):

        1. They elevate man’s word (i.e. the pope) over God’s word.
        2. They’re mainly rooted in traditions as opposed to the scripture.
        3. They worship/pray to Mary (not exactly sure how that works).
        4. They believe in “purgatory” which is where you are punished for your sins until you’ve been punished enough and can go to heaven.

        and another random tidbit that I don’t agree with:

        1. They think that Peter was the first pope because of what Jesus said about him being the “rock” of the church, but Peter couldn’t have been pope because being pope requires you to be celibate/never marry and Peter had a mother-in-law so he had to have been married.

        This would be a good discussion to voice opinions on if we wanted to turn this into a debate. :-) I hope this helps!

        • mimeforJesus

          Ok, thanks. I just wondered because I have a friend who recently left his (spiritually dead) church to join a Catholic church. I wondered where we differ (although I saw him helping out at his old church today, so I wonder if he’s back with them… but you don’t know my friend or what’s going on, so I don’t know why I’m telling you this). Anyway, thank you for explaining.
          And Peter being the first pope doesn’t make sense… I wonder where they got that.

          • Josh A

            OK no problem-I’ll pray for him!

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks Josh – that means a lot to me. FYI his name is Nathan.

        • Clare

          As I understand it, Catholics don’t exactly *pray* to Mary and other saints, they ask Mary to pray to Jesus for them, bc she is supposed to have more influence than any other saint (which I think is why she is addressed as ‘Mary, queen of Heaven’). She’s kinda supposed to be an intercessor. However this is coming from my gramma who is sometimes confused on matters of doctrine so don’t quote me on that:)

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks Clare, I’m trying to understand what my friend believes.

          • Clare

            Glad I could help!

          • Josh A

            Yeah that’s what I thought-that’s why I said I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked. By the way her being the “queen of heaven” is totally unbiblical because she refers to herself as God’s “lowly servant girl” and refers to Jesus as her savior (both in Luke 2: 47-48) which means she is in need of salvation like everybody else.

          • Josh A

            I meant Luke 1: 47-48 lol :-)

          • Kate

            What about Revelation 12 where it says, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman cloth with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant… She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.'”?

          • Clare

            Hey Kate, most Protestants consider her to be the nation of Israel, we believe the 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

          • Kate

            What about the part about the woman giving birth to a male child and the child ruling the nation “with an iron scepter”? The child can’t be anyone but Jesus.

          • Clare

            Yes, I absolutely agree that the child was Jesus. I wasn’t clear enough sorry ’bout that :). I believe that the woman both in Gen and Rev is the nation of Israel, bc over and over I see a Seed promised to Israel, beginning with that passage in Gen throughout the history of Israel. I look at the point of that passage as being, ‘Israel brought Jesus to earth, and He will rule’. So yes, I believe the woman in both places would include but is not limited to Mary (since Mary was an Israelite she would be part of the woman, in my opinion), and I believe Jesus was the Seed in both Gen and Rev. But really, I can see how if I were in your shoes, I would see the woman as being Mary:) Thanks a lot for knowing the Bible about what you believe, where Im from everybody says they’re a Christian (mostly Catholic) but its very rare for someone to be able to back up what they believe with the Bible :)

          • Josh A

            FYI I agree with what Clare said…

          • Clare

            Kate, I’m unclear as to whether you’re enjoying this discussion/debate or not, so if at any point you feel pressured or anything, say the word and I will pull out :)

          • Kate

            Hey Clare, nope, your gramma is right, we Catholics don’t “worship” Mary, we don’t “pray” to Mary, we ask Mary to intercede for us to the Father.

          • mimeforJesus

            So, how are you (Catholics) different from folks like me (Protestants)? Any explanation is appreciated!

          • Kate

            Although I do know a few, like, you guys judge everything according to the Bible, and we judge everything based on the Bible and Catholic Teaching. Another is that you guys believe that Mary was the Mother of Jesus, but that she was in need of God’s salvation like everyone else and we believe that she was sinless. Here’s some links that explain it pretty well:

            http://www.diffen.com/difference/Catholic_vs_Protestant

            http://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Catholic-Protestant.html

            Here’s another link from a Catholic perspective:

            http://www.catholic.org/news/national/story.php?id=27355

            I think the last one kind of shows that although we have differences that that doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends or that we have to be enemies. I have a lot of Protestant friends, but that doesn’t mean that I hate them. I don’t agree with them, but we’re still friends.

            Hope this helps!

          • Josh A

            OK so here’s my disclaimer: I promise I’m not trying to jump down your throat and I’m not trying to be mean or anything, I’m just curious. That being said, I would like to ask a few questions – hope you don’t mind. :-)

            1. So you believe that Mary was sinless. How do you reconcile that with Luke 1 :47- 48 in which Mary refers to Jesus as her Savior, which means she was in need of salvation?

            2. Do you believe that protestants are going to heaven?

            3. Does the pope’s word outweigh God’s word in the Bible?

            Thanks!

          • Madeleine Grace

            Hey Kate you have a good point their. Just because we believe different things doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends or have conversations etc. But we shouldn’t judge others (and this goes to all not just you and i) just because they believe different from us. and i know their are Christians out their who do. But not all do.we just need to learn how to coexist which is hard and won’t happen in a day but we need to and stop judging others. :) i king of find the catholic faith interesting because i find their beliefs interesting. :)

            but i do have a question do you believe that God is God?

          • Kate

            Yes, we do believe that God is God, otherwise we wouldn’t be Christians. :-) If you mean something more by that, I’d like to know. :-)

          • Madeleine Grace

            I was just trying to understand what you believe. i’m sorry if i offended you :( i really didn’t mean to!

            But i thought you were catholics? if so then how can you call yourselves Christians?

          • mimeforJesus

            It’s like we call ourselves Christians rather than Protestants.

            Sorry this turned into a debate, Kate!

          • Madeleine Grace

            I didn’t start a debate MFJ i was just asking a question trying to understand what Kate believes. Why can’t we discuss our beliefs, our different beliefs like mature teens why do we always have to point fingers and say ‘oh your religions not right blah blah blah’ is that what we want to display to the world? do we want the world to see us as accusers and haters and debaters? No we need to be able to talk to other people who don’t have the same belief system as us maturely and with respect and dignity! Come on guys this is embarrassing! i’m sorry but it is. we can’t go through life having debates with people whom don’t belief the same as us! we just can’t! We’ve not been God honoring hear guys. We should not accuse Kate we should not hate her just because her beliefs don’t line up with ours. like she said we can still be friends with people who are outside our religion but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them or constantly debate with them we have to love them were they are and pray for them. We’re old enough to know that debates never solve anything they just make others hate you. Come on guys we can do better that’s why we’re hear! Cause We’re rebelutionaries. This is not who we are and this is not a good picture of who Christians are. This isn’t solely against you MFJ it’s for everyone. Know stop being stereotypical teens guys you know better! I’m sorry if i offended any of ya’ll i really am but it’s true. and this is an embarrassment! and just for the record i wasn’t trying to debate with Kate i just wanted to understand her viewpoint i wasn’t trying to judge or condemn her either! that’s all i have to say on the matter!
            May God Bless You All!
            ~Madeleine

          • mimeforJesus

            I meant the comments on this whole discussion, which has in many ways turned into a debate. I wasn’t talking about you, I just directed a comment toward Kate at the same time as I answered your question. And yes, I totally agree with you about discussing opinions without arguing.
            I actually started this by trying to find out where Protestants and Catholics are similar, but I asked where we differ because that way I can know where I agree with Catholicism.
            Again, I apologize, @disqus_zvcB3xyLlz:disqus!

          • Madeleine Grace

            oh so it’s your fault this all blew up!!??!!! and i’m sorry it wasn’t because of you that i said something it’s just i was fed up with the whole thing :) sorry.
            God Bless,
            ~Madeleine

          • mimeforJesus

            Yep, if you look a ways up there I asked where we differ, and then when Kate jumped in to be helpful, folks got into a debate with her…

          • Madeleine Grace

            I’m sorry i didn’t know you started the debate. and i wasn’t trying to rebuke one person i was just saying it in a general way. So it was not directly pointed at you MFJ but at everyone included in the debate and excluded from the debate!!

          • mimeforJesus

            Yep, see that now.
            God bless!

          • Madeleine Grace

            What is that supposed to mean?

          • mimeforJesus

            Now I see that you weren’t talking to me with your long comment :)

          • Kate

            Really, it’s no big deal!

          • Josh A

            OK this is the LAST THING I’m answering on this thread. If people want to continue arguing we’ll find somewhere else. :-)

            “Why can’t we discuss our beliefs, our different beliefs like mature teens”

            My answer would be I am discussing my beliefs like a mature teen. If I haven’t been mature, I’m sorry.

            “why do we always have to point fingers and say ‘oh your religions
            not right blah blah blah’ is that what we want to display to the world?”

            If someone claims to be a Christian yet insists on believing something contrary to Scripture I’m going to try to correct them about it. There is only one way to heaven and I don’t need to quote the “no one comes to the father except through me” verse to you.

            “we can’t go through life having debates with people whom don’t belief the same as us! we just can’t!”

            Ken Ham, an amazing person whom I greatly respect, held a debate with Bill Nye, and I don’t recall any Christians bashing him for wanting to defend his faith…

            “We’ve not been God honoring hear guys. We should not accuse Kate we should not hate her just because her beliefs don’t line up with ours. like she said we can still be friends with people who are outside our religion but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them or constantly debate with them we have to love them were they are and pray for them.”

            First, I don’t hate Kate!! I respect her beliefs, and I’m tired of debating as well! And I was the one who first mentioned that I had a couple of Catholic friends….

            “This is not who we are and this is not a good picture of who Christians are.”

            You’re right – my guitar profile picture is not who I am. :-) But I don’t believe I’m painting Christians with the wrong brush either – see the quote later…

            “i wasn’t trying to judge or condemn her either!”

            For someone who’s not trying to judge or condemn you’re judging @liamsiegler:disqus ,@gbingo:disqus, @brandonbuchanan:disqus and me pretty harshly for debating. :-)

            The last thing I’ll say is this….

            “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4: 1-5

            I’m just trying to obey this passage by “reproving and rebuking” because people have “wandered off into myths” like “Mary was sinless.” :-)

            If you want to discuss this further, then let’s go to a different thread. There’s 5 bazillion comments to scroll through before I get down to this one. :-)

            -Josh

          • Josh A

            It’s official: that’s my longest comment ever. :-)

          • It was a good comment. :) I’ve been keeping an eye on this thread for a while and I really admire how mature all of you have been about it. It can be difficult not to get defensive (which is why I didn’t jump in), but you guys handled it well and in doing so I was able to broaden my understanding of someone else’s belief, so thanks! :)

          • Madeleine Grace

            What thread do you want to go to Josh!!

          • Josh A

            Well like I said I’d prefer to be done but we can go to the “what do you like about this discussions” if you want to. :-)

          • Madeleine Grace

            fine we can be done, but why did you feel the need to answer all the questions i asked in my comment? they weren’t so much for asking as they were for affect (if that makes sense) they were rhetorical questions. and i’m sorry if i offended you in my post but i don’t think that we should always correct others wrong beliefs in condescending manner. cause that’s not going to win souls for the Lord. We need to be able to hear each others beliefs and talk about them in a way that’s not trying to persuade them otherwise. and i’m so not saying that we should not try to win souls to Christ in every chance we get i’m just saying we need to be careful and go about it in a way that is nonthreatening and listen to what they believe and tell them what we believe. Do you understand what i’m saying?
            God Bless,
            Madeleine

          • Kate

            No, no, no. You didn’t offend me at all. Sorry for being so blunt. :-)

            Just wondering, but what makes you think of us as non-Christian?

          • Madeleine Grace

            i don’t know i guess i don’t really know about the catholic faith that much. but i guess because you pray to saints and believe that marry was sinless and stuff like that. i’m not judging you i just want to understand you! 😀
            ~Madeleine

          • Kate

            Thanks, I just wanted to know so I would know where you are coming from, so to speak. I’m sorry if you feel like I’m being rude, I just wasn’t sure how else to word the questions.

            We don’t “pray” to the saints. I told this to Liam in our discussion. We don’t “worship” them either. We honor them for being saints, but we don’t worship or pray to them like we do to God. We ASK them to pray for us to God, but we don’t PRAY to them. Although prayer is pretty much talking to God, when we talk to the saints, its not prayer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to talk to your family or friends without “praying” to them. You can ask your friend to pray for you to God, but you wouldn’t be praying to them when you said that. I guess it’s sort of like an indirect way to pray to God. Not saying you can’t pray directly to God, but two prayers are better then one. :-)

            Mary was sinless not because God absolutely needed her to be sinless for him to come into the world, but think about it, do you think it would be appropriate for God to come into the world through a sinful woman? I don’t think it would be appropriate or respectful. There is also many prefigurements of Mary being the Mother of God and being sinless.

          • Hey Kate :) two questions for you…

            1. You said that to get to heaven, you need to do God’s will. How does that work exactly with Ephesians 2:8-9?

            2. What is the Sacred Heart? I have many friends and family that are Catholic and have wondered what it was based on.

            Thanks! :-)

          • Kate

            Hey Sam, two answers for you… :-)

            1. Here’s my response to Brandon Buachanan that I wrote a couple days ago: This passage is totally in line with what we believe. Faith comes before works. We can’t get to Heaven by ourselves. It’s “not our own doing; it is the gift of God…” Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is also dead.

            I would say that we can’t just do good works to get to Heaven. Sorry, I’m probably confusing you because I’ve said before that to get to Heaven we need to do God’s Will, which is true, but we have to order our lives the right way so that we aren’t just doing God’s Will just to get to Heaven, but we are doing it because of our complete faith in God and our love for God. People can do good things just for a good name, but Ephesians 2:8-9 shows that just because we do good works doesn’t automatically mean that we get to Heaven. It is through God and his grace. It is through faith in God.

            So, yes, I would agree that to get to Heaven, we have to believe that it is not us that gets ourselves to Heaven, God does that. But I would also put that we can’t just be like, “Well, I believe in God, I guess I’m good. I can just sit back and watch now.” Once we have that faith in God, we have to live it out too. We have to realize that by God’s grace we are saved. God humbled himself to save us. We should be humbled by that.

            2. The Sacred Heart is a shortened version of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” There is also a devotion called the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. As you can probably guess by the name, it’s pretty much Jesus’ heart. We refer to it as the SACRED heart because he’s divine and not just some normal person and also because he loved us SO much that he died hanging on a cross to save us from sin.

          • Liam

            Hi mimeforJesus,

            Catholic’s have many different doctrines, and believe in having someone like the Pope to lead the Church. Protestants broke away from that idea, partly because the Church was affiliated with the government.

            Here is Catholic belief
            1. Universalism- The belief that everyone gets to Heaven whether they are Christian or not or on a less extreme level, you can get to Heaven by doing good works.

            Most Protestants do not believe this though (I hope) They believe:
            1. That you are only saved by belief in Jesus Christ, and through Him only do you get to Heaven.

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks, Liam!

          • Kate

            Ok, I’d like to challenge that thinking.

            How do you explain your belief to the atheist dying at your side who is wondering if he lived a good life and if God will be pleased with him? Do you just tell him, “Sorry, you should have changed early. God doesn’t have mercy this far into your life.”? Or do you tell them, “Well, I guess Jesus wasn’t feeling very merciful when he died and decided that, to make things less complicated, he was only going to save those who believed he was God.”? How do you explain Jesus’ mercy to the man who was dying at his side who repented at the last moment? Yes, true, we get to Heaven through Jesus, but if you believe that you can get to Heaven if you believe in Jesus, then that means that you believe that Jesus didn’t die to save everyone. Do you think that your parents still love you even when you do something bad? I hope you do, because they do. That’s why parents discipline their kids, because they love them and they want them to grow up the right way so their life isn’t messed up when they are adults. So, if you can believe that your parents love you even when you do something bad, and you call them “Mom,” and “Dad,” then how can you call God your Father and not believe that he loves everyone, even when they do bad? He does love everyone, and he died to save everyone.

            Also, about the Catholic belief.

            No, we don’t believe that EVERYONE gets to Heaven, I mean, I hope everyone gets to Heaven, but we also believe that you died with a mortal sin on your soul, you probably aren’t going to get to Heaven. That’s why you should try to never commit a mortal sin (or any sin), because you don’t know when you are going to die. Jesus died to save everyone. He wasn’t just dying to save a handful of people. And, the part about “getting to Heaven because you do good works,” well, we don’t believe that either. To get to Heaven, you need to do GOD’S WILL, not just good works.

            God bless!

          • Liam

            HI Kate,

            Concerning your atheist illustration. I’m think you are misunderstanding me, I by no means don’t believe that If an atheist accepted Jesus last minute, then his sins are washed away and he is saved. I am not saying Jesus didn’t die for everyone, indeed he did, and if one accepts him, they receive eternal life and their sins are washed away/ regardless of their past life.

            I know some Catholics do not believe this doctrine. Though some do, and I think you would be in err if you claim all don’t. In fact, the Pope believes in Universalism, the more extreme level of what I was talking about.

            Regardless of how severe your sin may be, Jesus will wash it away if you ask him to forgive you.

            Actually on your last point. First, to get to Heaven you must accept Jesus into your life, following God’s will follows after that.

            God Bless,

            Liam S.

          • Kate

            Ok, yeah, I think I misunderstood you. I agree that Jesus sort of “gives us the opportunities,” in a sense. He is offering salvation for everyone, but it is our choice to accept it and do his will (and then get to Heaven) or to not accept it. Thanks.

          • Liam

            Yes, I see how it could come out that way. Sorry for not being clear enough!

          • Kate

            I wasn’t very clear either, so sorry!

          • Josh A

            Wow all it took was one phrase “While I don’t agree with Catholicism” in my original comment and now it’s turned in to this giant debate. I don’t agree 100% with what anyone is saying, (I believe in the doctrine of predestination and all that) but it is interesting seeing where one phrase can take you.

          • mimeforJesus

            Yeah, I think I did start a debate :(

          • Clare

            I think a debate on predestination would be fun:) Are you a full fledged TULIPer?

          • Believe me Clair, Ptredestination vs. Free Will is not a fun topic! I have great experience in this topic and all it gives is headaches.

          • mimeforJesus

            My thoughts exactly – predestination is one of those things that cause more divisions than it’s worth!

          • Josh A

            Yeah what @trent_blake:disqus said. Nooooo thanks. :-) And yes I am.

          • Liam

            Josh A,

            I wouldn’t even call it a debate, since Kate just responded to one of my posts, I responded back, she responded again and then it was over. Definitely not a “giant debate.” More like a misunderstanding.

          • Clare

            Hi Kate, I had a question. In your first paragraph, when you say that Jesus didn’t die to save only those who believe He is God, are you saying that belief in the divinity of Jesus is not necessary for salvation?

          • Kate

            No, I’m not saying that. I should probably rephrase that. I wasn’t trying to say anything about what was necessary for salvation at all. I was trying to make the point that Jesus hadn’t already decided, “Well, I’m only going to save Christians because atheists just don’t believe that I am God.” I was just trying to show that Jesus didn’t pick and choose who to save, he saved everyone. He loves everyone, even though we might stray. Does that clear it up or should I explain it better? Sorry for the confusion.

          • Clare

            I see what you mean, thanks!

          • Clare

            Thanks so much Kate!

          • Liam

            Then isn’t ‘asking’ Mary to intercede talking to Mary, just as praying is talking to God?

          • Kate

            Hmm, I’ve never thought of it that way, but no, it’s still not praying. I’m mean, I guess you could call it praying if you thought of it as we aren’t worshiping Mary as we pray, we are asking something of her (to pray for us to the Father). I guess it’s not the same type of “prayer” as the prayer we pray to God. When we pray to God it’s more of a worshiping prayer, we realize that he is God, and are directly asking him to do something for us. (Although it doesn’t always happen). When we pray to Mary, it’s more of like a dialog with a friend where you are asking them to pray with you to God. Mary is the friend who joins you in prayer (to God). I mean, if you were talking to a friend, you wouldn’t be calling it prayer. Prayer is more of a supreme/kingly way to ask someone greater then you of something (in this case, God). Yes, we believe that Mary is sort of greater then us because she is the Mother of God, but I think we also recognize Mary as a friend. Not saying that God isn’t our friend.

            I guess how to explain it would be that it’s like army ranks sort of. Privates are lowest, then Private 2, and Sergeants are the highest. We are the privates (the lowest), Mary is like a private 2, and God is a sergeant. Both privates and private 2s fall under the leadership of the sergeant. Mary is greater then us, and yet not as great as God. So, in that case, Mary can sort of pray with us to the Father. We are the people who ask our friends (Mary) to pray with us for a intention to God.

            Does that clear it up?

          • Liam

            I understand this in your worldview. Yet I see no connection between this and the Bible. If it were a Biblical doctrine, it would be mentioned and commanded several times throughout, yet Catholics like the author of one of the articles you gave us, claim that you can ‘hail Mary’ just because the angel gave her a high title. If we were commanded to do that, then it would be commanded in the Bible.

            We can pray to God and ask Him to provide for us without having to ask someone else to do that for us. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we can ask the saints or Mary to intercede for us. I see no justification for this.

          • Madeleine Grace

            Have you grown up in the catholic faith Kate?

          • Kate

            My family and I actually started out atheists, but then my dad felt the calling to be a Christian, so we were Baptist for a while, but my dad still wasn’t satisfied, so we then became Catholic when I was in kindergarten. I was baptized in kindergarten too.

          • Madeleine Grace

            Cool! How did you go from not believing in a God to believing in a God?
            ~Madeleine

      • Keely

        I don’t know if this question was directed to me? I can answer if so:) Looks like Josh mentioned a few good points though. I

        My parents were raised in the Catholic church and neither heard the gospel until their 20’s (from an evangelical ministry). After they were saved, they split their time between a Prostestant and Catholic church for a little while. I was baptized Catholic and raised that way for a time. Over the years they saw the difference and left the RCC. One place to begin studying this (huge) topic is the Council of Trent. This was the benchmark of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the decisions and anathemas have not been revoked. (This is a good article from an evangelical perspective: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-the-council-of-trent)

        • mimeforJesus

          It’s a question for whoever wants to answer… though it was intended for Josh.

          • Keely

            OK sounds good:) Quick comment: If you are interested in studying this for yourself a bit, I would recommend looking into the Council of Trent, the major Catholic Counter-Reformation benchmark. None of it has been revoked by the RCC.

          • mimeforJesus

            Thanks Keely, I’ll look into it :)

          • I didn’t know I had a council all about me. :) Just kidding, of course.

      • Josh A

        Hey M4J look what our little discussion has turned into. :-/

        • mimeforJesus

          Ikr? Aaaah! And I was just trying to get what my friend believes!!

  • Thank you for writing this! This has been a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It’s really important to remember that our identities aren’t found in being in a relationship, or being married. We can have a life and not be in a relationship! We can serve God and do hard things while we’re single, and it might even be easier because we won’t be “tied down” with a relationship to worry about. We can enjoy this time of singleness, and wait patiently for God to bring our spouse to us. We don’t have to worry about who we will marry, because God has it all in His hands, and He knows what is best for us.

    • Keely

      Awesome perspective, Rebecca:) Thanks for encouraging me with your comment!

  • Birdwhisperer

    This is exactly what I needed right now… I’m a 21 year old woman and have been getting a lot of comments from people around me asking when I’m going to get married. Generally I respond by asking if they have anyone in mind they’d like to introduce me to, jokingly of course, but it does still bother me sometimes. I’m not really scared of being single, in some ways I feel like that would be easier, but I do worry that it’s because something is wrong with me: I’m not attractive enough, or sociable enough, or whatever it may be. I know those are just my insecurities. But girls are bombarded with talks about how ‘God has someone planned for you!’ and as this article described, they’re waiting for their prince charming so their real life can begin.

    Anyway, thank you for this article. I’ve been praying about this lately, so I suppose this is one way God has chosen to answer. You’ve given me some things to think about.

    • Keely

      Very frustrating isn’t it? I was never exposed to that when I was younger because my parents married later in life (both graduated from veterinary school the same year) and so they always encouraged my siblings and me (all 8 of us) to pursue our educations and gifts, without pressuring us to “find someone.” I couldn’t be more grateful to them for that upbringing — especially after graduating from college and discovering the feverish pressure cooker that is the dating environment of Christian conservative academia.

      So yeah, I understand where you’re coming from Birdwhisperer. And I don’t know you personally, but I do know that most of us women tend to be extremely hard on ourselves. But marriage isn’t a gold star of approval that you get when you finally meet some standard. It is just a gift of God, and like everything else He gives us, it is undeserved. That’s another funny idea we get — that when we’re perfect like a Disney princess then the prince shows up. But you won’t be perfect if and when you do get married, and your guy won’t either. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” I hope you don’t think I’m talking at you — as a big sister and 23 year old girl myself, this is very much from the heart:) I hope you find strength, courage, and joy in the Lord during this and every season of life, my friend.

  • Cassie

    “This isn’t the waiting room. I’m not biting my fingernails off and trying to figure out what to do “in the meantime.” There is no meantime. I have been bought with a price: this is God’s time.” Such awesome words! This is a wonderful post, Keely. Full of truth. I heard recently of an answer someone gave when asked if they were ‘called to singleness’: “TODAY, I am called to singleness.” This IS life! We’re not ‘waiting’ for life, meaning, identity, whatever!

    • Keely

      Cassie thank you! I’m excited by your passion and desire to use your current situation in life for God’s glory. Awesome & encouraging.

      • Cassie

        Thanks Keely!

    • Grace

      That quote, “TODAY, I am called to singleness.” is from Krissy (Ludy), Eric & Leslie Ludy’s sister/sister-in-law :)

      • Cassie

        Ah yes. Thanks Grace! :)

    • Stikki

      Yes, there is no meantime… we shouldn’t be waiting around (as you said this is God’s time). God is a big God. He has pretty amazing plans for us… let’s live out His plans to the max! :)

      • Cassie

        Absolutely!!

  • Stikki

    There are some great examples of women such as Corrie Ten Boom, Mother Teresa, Mary Slessor etc., and men such as Brother Andrew, Nicky Cruz,
    etc. they were used by God to do great things without a husband/wife.

    God also has a great plan in marriage too, it has been God’s plan since
    Adam (Genesis 2:18). While still in fellowship with God, God
    provided Adam with a helpmate. I think it is more that we need to use God’s time
    wisely (while single and/or married), and not try to push the wheelbarrow
    ourselves to make our plan happen a bit faster to our liking.

    God doesn’t forget about us while we are single, & then suddenly
    remember us and use us for His glory when we marry. God has a perfect plan for
    each of our lives, He knows what is best for us. Whether it involves marriage or
    not, He will use us to carry out His plan, all we need to do is trust Him and be
    obedient to His leading. Why? Because HE IS GOD… and HE HAS A PLAN (the
    foundation of this plan, which is only possible by living with Jesus as #1 in
    our lives, is a relationship with our Heavenly Father)!!!

  • Louis Gervais

    Agree =v)

  • Nine

    I don’t want to discount your article, but having read over 1 Corinthians 7 again, I’ve noticed a few things that do contrast with your article, as per generalisation rather than anything you wrote being un-biblical per se.

    I would first like to point out that Paul actually says ‘the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried.’ That’s not the same as singleness itself being a gift. Some, who are single, may not have that gift, as we are all born unmarried and it shouldn’t be assumed, especially given Paul contrasts the two in the same sentence.
    Furthermore, he states to “*stay* unmarried”, so the gift is not even a blessing over someone who is waiting for a good opportunity to marry, but happens to be in singleness in the mean time. It’s actually referring to those who have been given the capacity to live Godly, fulfilled lives without ever marrying. This doesn’t have to mean monk/nun-hood, just Christians who contentedly serve in singleness without intending to marry.
    He also says ‘it is better to marry than to burn with passion/lust’. As someone who’s struggled with lustful thoughts before I don’t believe that I am gifted with what it takes to stay ‘happily unmarried’ without ‘falling back into sin’. Sooner or later, I’d slip up.
    What I’m saying here is that merely being single is not a gift; the capacity to be happy with an on-going single lifestyle is what Paul refers to.

    Something Paul does say is that we should act in “accordance with God’s direction and help, and accept whatever situation God has put [us] into.”
    I just think there’s a significant difference between saying we need to accept our situation and that ‘singleness is a gift’.
    The fact Paul feels it’s necessary to give a command to accept things probably suggests that singleness is not always a gift, just the same as marriage isn’t always a gift(Paul also discusses married couples who aren’t both Christian, which is an example of when a spouse may not be a gift from God). Otherwise we wouldn’t have any trouble accepting our situation, given our Father in Heaven knows how to give good gifts(to paraphrase Matt 7:11).

    • Keely

      I’m not really sure what you’re saying here, Nine. Just because you hope to get married someday does not mean that this time of your life right now is not a gift. Your reading of this text is very narrow and I think it’s hurting you. There’s nothing in the passage to suggest that singleness is only a good thing if you plan to be single forever. It just says that someone who is single is “spared worldly troubles” (v. 28), spared “anxieties” (v. 32), and is free to focus wholeheartedly on the Lord (v. 34).

      Many people don’t intend to get married, and God ends up bringing someone into their lives who changes their minds later on in life. Does this mean their single years weren’t a gift? No; there are different seasons, and every one of them is a gift — a blessing and opportunity from God who loves us best and knows what we need. We don’t know the future. All we have is today. If you are single today, thank God for the blessings and opportunities of singleness. Look for ways to use your gifts and interests for His glory. Don’t idolize marriage, wait on Him and trust in Him with all your heart, knowing He is faithful (Proverbs 3:5-6).

      God is sovereign. So in this time, you aren’t married, and that’s what God has for you. It may be out of the time frame you desire, but that’s not up to you. If you are really serious about marriage, ask your pastor or older guys in the church for advice. I’ve heard people advising young guys to move to churches where there are young women if they really want to get married. I’m not sure if that’s wise or not, but again, something to talk about with your pastor. It’s OK to be proactive in seeking marriage, and I believe that is something you can still do while remaining content and focused on the Lord and living a life of gratitude.

      Personally, I am very happy where I’m at. I would encourage you to enjoy this time and the unique opportunities associated with it, and view it as a blessing. I’ve had my fair share of heartaches and bad breakups, but looking back, I don’t regret any of them. Even through the worst pain, I understand now what God was doing. I’m glad I’m not with those guys — even though in my wisdom at the time it seemed like the right thing, God knew better. Walk in faith, friend, even when you don’t understand what God is doing.

      • Nine

        I wasn’t referring to my situation specifically(which is why I started a separate comment), just that ongoing singleness is what Paul mentions in 1 Corinthian’s 7, not waiting due to circumstance, or something similar. Singleness can be a gift, but we shouldn’t assume that it always is.

        So thinking ones singleness isn’t a gift doesn’t actually contradict this passage, as you seemed to suggest by you’re rhetoric in the article; namely the title and implication that anyone who holds this view must have forgotten the passage even exists.
        Paul only commands we are to continue in our faith in whatever situation we are in, not that we acknowledge every circumstance as a divine gift. Some things are spiritual warfare or require patience.

        I wrote this to make sure people understand that you’re not quoting Scripture when you say ‘singleness is a gift’. That is not what Paul writes. It’s your own perspective, which is fine; but that is an important distinction which people should be made aware of, considering you state “that’s Biblical”.
        There are other parts of the chapter that still support your view, just not in the same way. I believe Paul describes single-ness more as a glorified tool for mission(something we should use to further God’s kingdom in ways married couples might not be able to), but I also think there’s danger involved in generalising all singleness as a gift.

        • Keely

          I’m not really sure what you’re saying here, Nine. Your reading of this text is very narrow and I think it’s hurting you. There’s nothing in the passage to suggest that singleness is only a good thing if you plan to be single forever. It just says that someone who is single is “spared worldly troubles” (v. 28), spared “anxieties” (v. 32), and is free to focus wholeheartedly on the Lord (v. 34).

          It’s also worth noting that I didn’t pick the title. :)

          Thanks for your continued interest in the piece.

          • Nine

            I’m not attacking you personally, I’m saying that there’s a broader Biblical perspective written in 1 Chronicles 7 then what has been indicated by the content of this article, whether by yourself or whomever edited and added the title. I just mentioned the title because it’s the most apparent example.

            I also mentioned the passage had parts that support your message in some ways, so I’m not sure why you would accuse me of being narrow minded. What I’m saying is that the Chapter in question includes more of an in-depth discourse on the topic than a statement of fact that ‘singleness is a gift’. There’s more to what Paul says than that.

            There’s not ‘nothing’; Paul does suggest that type of singleness in his writing, as I’ll reiterate. That or he doesn’t suggest any sort of singleness is a gift.
            I’m not taking a view that aims to defend my own difficulties; I’m assessing what is written. Please stop assuming this has anything to do with personal bias or my own struggle. I wrote the opening comment to promote the fact that Biblical truth is more important than our opinions. I”m also not saying that if singleness is not a gift we shouldn’t live fully, just that calling it a ‘gift from God’ has a certain application in the relevant passage.
            I’ll quote verses 7-9 directly, and explain in more detail:

            “Now as a concession, not as a command, I say this. I wish that all could be as I am. But each has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
            To the unmarried and widows I say: it is good for them to *stay* unmarried, as I do. But if they can not control themselves , they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

            So, to be ‘how Paul is’ is to be single, and he says it is good for them to remain that way, indicating being able to do so is one ‘gift from God’. Then he speaks to a second sub-group; Paul’s advice to them is that it is better for them to get married than to struggle with self-discipline. So this group lacks that gift, and instead should seek marriage and the gift of a spouse. One has the gift of remaining single, another has the gift of marriage. Neither is said to have the gift of temporary singleness

            In regards to the verse fragments you quoted, they’re all part of a passage writes in his own wisdom, rather than being a command or word from God. Paul says in verse 25, “Now about virgins/people not married, I have no command from the Lord, but I give judgement as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.”

            Of course I think we should acknowledge Paul’s opinion; he’s trustworthy, after all. However, he also sees fit to let the reader know that it’s ‘no[t a] command from the Lord’, but Paul’s own advice. If these things are of Paul’s opinion should we consider them ‘gifts from God?’ Not when he never says they are. He uses the words ‘I(Paul) want you to be’ before listing these examples. He’s looking out for our interests, of course, but he’s also speaking from the perspective of a single missionary who’s concerned with the practicalities of how we are able to serve God in singleness effectively. That’s why I referred to this description as singleness being a tool for service.

            Some, who aren’t gifted with the ability to stay single, may have “worldly troubles” because they don’t marry, such as “burning with lust/passion”. In that case it might be foolish for that person to simply decide their singleness is a gift and they shouldn’t take an opportunity to marry sooner rather than later. Paul does suggest ‘ if you are not married do not try to find a wife'(27,B), but this is one of many things Paul says about prioritising serving God above all things. He also says ‘those who are happy/rejoicing should live as if they are not happy/rejoicing'(30,B), so he’s not saying we should enjoy singleness while we can. I believe this means we shouldn’t simply stop ministering to those around us in order to relish a happy time in our lives. Similarly, we shouldn’t spend all our time looking for a spouse and focusing on that when there’s God’s kingdom to live for and expand. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen along the way or that we shouldn’t prepare ourselves for when an opportunity to marry does come, it’s just not as important as serving God.

            Do you see what I’m saying now? Paul certainly affirms the need to prioritise God’s work above our own circumstances, but he doesn’t say that God has gifted us with singleness; only that marriage comes with certain obligations and that his view is that we are better off serving outside of marriage.
            He’s admitting this is his own perspective and telling us to consider whether we need to marry before we do so, or whether it’s something we could do without. He’s not saying ‘make the most of singleness today if you intend to be married tomorrow’, he’s advocating devoting yourself to God in service to the point of never marrying, and conceding that some people lack the discipline to do this without ‘falling into sin’.

            You’re article is fine, really. It’s a good perspective to share, and I’m glad you wrote it, as I’ve had some encouraging feedback on the topic. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to combat societies and the Church’s obsession with being married by going as far to say all singleness is a gift. I actually didn’t even think that’s what you were saying, as that could apply to whole bunch of scenarios where someones singleness relates to widowhood, divorce, disobedience to God, spiritual warfare, wallowing in a sinful lifestyle, etc. I was just clarifying that 1 Corinthian 7 doesn’t extol being single under all circumstances. It’s not a curse either, but we don’t need to insist that it’s always God-given to assert that one should make the most of whatever point in life there at.

          • Keely

            Don’t worry, Nine, I didn’t view your response as a personal attack. :) I confess, however, that after reading your comment I’m still not sure exactly what our disagreement is. If you would like me to respond to something specific, I’d be happy to try.

            Perhaps you think I am trying to be a cheerleader for lifelong singleness? I’m not. All I’m saying is this: God is sovereign. I am His child. He works everything for good. I am called to be content and to have joy in every situation & season.

            The point of this little piece is simply to encourage & invigorate people who happen to be in the season of singleness. It was written in response to a friend who was very discouraged by the article I mentioned in this post. That’s all:)

            Again, thanks for taking time to tell me your thoughts. I appreciate it.

          • Nine

            I’m not seeking to disagree with you. In essence, I don’t. I was just clarifying that there may be times where singleness is not a gift(I’ve already mentioned some examples and there are probably many more).
            That’s not to say it should be looked at in a futile light, I just thought it important to make sure no-one was interpreting Paul’s words out context.
            I also find Pauls writings sell marriage short, and when he’s discussing this we find him using language like ‘I have no command from God’. It’s not that he’s making up the benefits of singleness, I just don’t think we should take his words at face value when he has made deliberate reference to this being his own perspective on mission and serving.
            Yes, singleness has less limitations than marriage, but so does ignoring God’s commands, which he gave to us. Having less limitations doesn’t make something a gift. Doesn’t mean that it’s not a gift, I’m just yet to hear you reference a verse that actually says that being single *is* a gift, in terms of someone who is hoping for a marriage relationship.
            You say that you want to ‘respectfully remind this blogger that 1 Conrinthians 7 hasn’t fallen out of our Bibles’ but then neglect to delve into what Paul actually says.
            That’s where my disagreement lies.
            Why not use the very Chapter of the Bible you so cleverly introduced? If Scripture supports what you’re saying then bank on it more. Use the actual sentences Paul wrote. Explain what that means for us. Back up your points.
            You don’t have to spoon feed the readers, but a few key verses would be a nice start to explaining the significance. You use Proverbs 19:14 to back up a spouse being a gift, then leave “(singleness is also a gift)” hanging with no verse reference despite this being central to the point the article makes. As a reader, I somewhat assumed this must be stated in the passage, but having looked through Chapter 7 I found this summation doesn’t quite fit 1 Corinth 7 the way I was expecting(I have read it before but it had been a while). That’s when I wrote the comment which started this discussion.

          • Keely

            “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” 1 Corinthians 7:6-8

            This isn’t a theological treatise, so going verse by verse would have defeated its purpose by making the post too lengthy. I believed the chapter was self-explanatory. But I’m happy to discuss this with you now.

            Paul’s words are still inspired and from God. He’s not denying inspiration in verse 12, but rather stating that his words had no previous precedent in Jesus’ teachings as his former passage on marriage did, which is the reasoning behind verse 10. In verse 6, he is saying that his words do not pose a command to either singleness or marriage – simply a call to contentment. This is what my former pastor John MacArthur wrote in his study notes on this passage, I think he put it well so I’ll retype it here:

            “A better translation of the Greek [word for ‘concession’] would be ‘awareness’ or ‘to have a mutual opinion.’ Paul was very aware of the God-ordained advantages of both singleness and marriage, and was not commanding marriage because of the temptation of singleness. Spirituality is not connected at all to marital status, though marriage is God’s good gift. As a single person, Paul recognized the special freedom and independence he had to serve Christ… Both singleness and marriage are God’s gracious gifts.

            …Discontent was prevalent among these new believers in the Corinthian church… In a general response to that, this passage plainly repeats the basic principle that Christians should willingly accept the marital condition and social situations into which God has placed them and be content to serve Him there until He leads them elsewhere.”

            Quick note: You said ignoring God’s commands would hypothetically also present less limitations for service. This makes me wonder if you are missing the point? Ignoring God not give us “less limitations” for honoring and focusing on Him. The goal isn’t having less limitations for less limitations’ sake, but for honoring God with our time and life. Singleness offers obvious opportunities to do so.

            Each has his / her own gift. At risk of sounding like a broken record, the point is joy, contentment, and service in your situation, whatever it may be.

            If you (not you specifically, Nine, just a hypothetical situation:) are single because of a sin situation, you can repent of that sin situation, turn to God, and still be grateful for your singleness – if for no other reason than that you are not inflicting that sin on another person, and God is giving you the time to focus on it and to heal. But I would be careful to avoid thinking that God gives marriage or any other blessing as a gift only to the perfect gold-star Christians. We don’t earn any of God’s blessings, they are all of grace. Singleness is itself, as Paul clearly states here, its own gift.

          • Nine

            I was simply suggesting we should not take Paul’s words at face value, though it is certainly still Scripture despite him having no command from the Lord. Paul also says ‘that he wishes that all were like him(single)’ but it’s obvious this is Paul’s view and doesn’t literally mean it would be good if all people were single. That would result in human extinction.

            Disobedience to God was merely an example of something that is obviously wrong yet entails less limitations than obeying God. I mentioned this to affirm that a lack of limitation is not what defines something as a blessing or gift, or even as ‘good’. It was an extreme example to avoid getting caught up the semantics of the example instead of the actual topic.

            I’ve never said anything about marriage being a greater gift or that we can earn blessings. Of course not.

            In saying all of this, we clearly haven’t gotten anywhere with this discussion. You still claim that ‘Paul clearly states singleness is it’s own gift’, although he makes no such statement(if there were a statement you could simply reference the verse number and there would be no problem).

            Singleness certainly can be a gift(as I’ve conceded from the beginning), but I don’t think it should be generalised as being implicitly so.
            I could never justify declaring all singleness a gift to someone who has lost a spouse to death or has gone through a divorce. Nor would I try to convince someone that their circumstances of singleness are God given when I don’t actually know that; relationships, which involve human will, won’t always represent God’s perfect will, and the enemy can kill and destroy just as easily by feeding a lie to someone you love as he can be telling it directly to you(not referring to my own circumstances, but I see no reason Satan would hesitate to to do this if he got half the chance). I’m sure God work’s through these situations to bless us in the long run, as His is a redemptive grace, but this implies there is something to redeem; ie something that went wrong. He is not behind the scenes manipulating every human heart and decision(the only times we see this sort of thing happen in Scripture are when God hardens the heart’s of someone in political power to demonstrate his own glory).

            Having a mind set of self-discipline, Godly focus and contentedness(which Paul does describe) is certainly a gift, but I don’t see anything about the text that affirms that the very circumstances of being single are God given(and if Paul were to simply state ‘singleness is a gift’ it would have to include this, or he’d be exaggerating the truth).

            I’m sure there are times when we just aren’t ready for a relationship, or God has something better waiting for us, but we do live in a fallen world where things can go against God’s will. Just because he uses this for our good doesn’t mean he actively put these obstacles in our way or that they never held any potential to be a blessing or gift. He might challenge us with such things at times, but we shouldn’t passively assume our every circumstance is God’s leading and will somehow keep us on the ‘narrow path’.

            Thanks for taking the time to reply, but I think it’s good to look at situations critically instead of assuming it’s part of God’s plan when things don’t work out. We shouldn’t be afraid to question whether something is perverting the course of God’s will. If there is and we don’t consider that possibility then our ability to face that situation could become impaired. That’s what I was referring to as ‘dangerous.’

            Unless you’ve got any particular questions I probably won’t comment again, as I don’t think it will be beneficial.
            God bless and I pray that you’ll receive the mind of Christ and the wisdom of God anew each day.

          • Fighting_Falcon

            Nine,
            I just read through that debate thread and agreed with you on many things. I do not think that the writer did quite as good of a job at parsing the passage as we would’ve liked. Kudos for saying something about it. You seem to have things well thought out and articulated. Are you a member here?

          • Nine

            Ah, no, I haven’t, but thank you none-the-less.
            The frustrating thing is that it was never about undermining the actual intent of the article, or anything to do with my personal struggle, but rather the use of Scripture, and reference there-of. I know this is difficult with the recommended length of articles on Rebelution, but still could be improved. I’m still glad she wrote it, I just have a firm belief that we should be clear about what is our opinion, what the Bible clearly says and what is an interpretation derived from cross-referencing the implications of a passage(s).

            I actually started writing my own article on a separate topic but it’s already too long despite being unfinished, so I was thinking I might start my own blog instead. Then I had trouble with getting a similar address to the title, so I haven’t done either at this point. I could cut the article down, but would prefer not to as that would probably mean limiting myself to number references rather than quoting pieces of scripture. I know that’s alright, but when I read stuff like that I find it less satisfying.

          • Fighting_Falcon

            I was actually also thinking of doing a blog. I’ve done several in the past but not specifically on theology. Your depth of inquiry into the topic has me impressed; would you be interested in looking into a co-authorship?

          • Nine

            Well, on one hand I’ve only dabbled a little in Blogging, so I am tempted to make use of whatever experience you possess. On the other I’m not sure I know you well enough to form that sort of partnership and would like to have a theological Blog that is uniquely my own, at least to begin with.

  • Louis Gervais

    Another good point is that during these few years that we are still young and unmarried we can do many things for the Lord that married people can’t do anymore (or can’t do as easily). For example, a young man who is a full-time itinerant missionary in Africa doesn’t have to worry about leaving behind a wife with toddlers; he can fully focus on how to please the Lord (like 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 says). Constantly dragging a wife with small children from place to place to place is usually discouraged. However, like Paul says that Peter did, a wife is allowed to go along. But when children come into the picture… and you don’t have a fixed address… expect hardships. But, what I mean to say is this: give your best for God and do everything for Him that you can do (within His will) while you’re young that you will no longer physically be capable of doing when you’re old. The retirement homes are full of regrets. Try to minimize yours by going all-out for God. And, if you do have a home where you minister from all the time, your ministry is of course more efficient if you have a supportive wife with the same calling helping you. Single or married, just make sure you’re in God’s will, and then His blessing will rest on your work.

  • Jemimah Davis

    Thanks so much for sharing this :) my older sister has recently started courting, so as you can imagine, I’m now constantly asked by others where ‘my young man’ is now… learning to be content in the place God has put me has been a big part of the last couple of years of my life, especially in regards to relationships, but people often say things that (unintentionally) can be very hard for a single person to have to hear and deal with. So yes, this post was exactly what I needed, and I believe this was exactly what a lot of other people needed to read as well :)

    • Keely

      I’m so glad Jemimah:) Thanks for letting me know!

  • Sara

    Thank you for the wonderful article Keely!
    I strongly believe that every single one of us should live by the verse in Philippians 3:14. We are running a race and if God sends another person that is willing to run with us thats a blessing. If God doesn’t send anyone, its a blessing too and it just indicates that He has a different, bigger and a better plan for our lives!

    • Keely

      Awesome perspective Sara, couldn’t agree more:)

  • Joyful joyful

    Oh so true. I know personally that whenever I pray about marriage/family/kids etc., that I remember to pray “thy will be done”. Four simple words can make all the difference in your attitude…

  • Aitana Nikisha Marie B. Garcia

    For me when you’re yet still single, it is the time to think, evaluate, learn more, explore things, help, encourage, be a friend and many other things ALL for the Lord, by our Lord our Father’s will :) It is a time to improve what you’re lacking of, taking risk for good, think of things by the Holy Spirit’s guidance of all that can glorify our Lord. To be a better person everyday until you meet our Lord in heaven. And if you get married be the encourager, the partner, the friend for your husband or wife to SERVE more for the Lord, love him/her by the love that God shows you.

    Keely I totally agree with you with all of your statements! Thank you for being a blessing and placed a reminder for us all :) GOD BLESS YOU! <3

    • Keely

      Wow, awesome thoughts Aitana. I love your perspective and mindset and I totally agree with what you said. I’m really glad the article encouraged you!! <3

      • Aitana Nikisha Marie B. Garcia

        Thank you Keely, I know It’s the Lord who instruct me all that, all for His glory. :) Thank you for the encouragement! :) 😀

  • Amanda

    Amazing article. Thanks so much. I definitely need to realize this.

    • Keely

      Thank you Amanda! Praise the Lord He used it in that way <3

  • Allie Blue

    Let me just say…WOW! This is an awesome post ,and it’s kinda a funny coincidence that I just read this after I just got finished reading about the same subject in book…or maybe it’s not a coincidence. The single years are absolutely a gift from God as is marriage ,but marriage is God’s gift to give at the right time (like how you added that:)). You’re also right on that we’re not supposed to be just waiting around doing nothing ,but we’re to be actively engaged in serving Him.
    Thanks for the encouragement, God Bless

    • Keely

      I’m so glad you were encouraged Allie! Thank you for letting me know:)

  • Clare

    I disagree with your position that women who aren’t married are in rebellion to God. Paul goes on to say in I Cor. 7 that the unmarried woman and *virgin* is concerned with the Lord’s affairs. My interpretation would be that it is permissible and even good for a woman to be single.

    • Fighting_Falcon

      Wouldn’t you call Christ a bit tyrannical? Like, complete authority and all… I mean come on…

      And when Paul tells wives to submit to there husbands in EVERTHING, that also sounds a bit tyrannical. You know, this whole bible thing has a lot of “tyranny” in it. I apologize profusely that it hurt your feelings.

      The sacrifice of Christ is very much the point of all this. Sacrifice for authority. The husband lays himself down for his bride, and the bride gives him authority over her.

      • Clare

        Tyrannical? No, holy. That is what is so amazing, He is so awesome, all-powerful and all-knowing, He knows what a failure I am on my own, and yet He chooses to love US! And even though He is so all powerful, so perfect sin can be nowhere near Him, yet He comes to earth to be near us, not bc He somehow needs any human relationship, but because He is soooo good and merciful, and He loves us. It’s amazing.
        I think maybe you and I are defining tyrannical differently. I look at tyrannical as having power, but using it for evil. I have never seen God relate to humans in any way other than incredible mercy. Just examining the history of Israel, a nation who God chose to associate His holy name with, and showed how they could be near Him, and they blew it. Over and over again. But each time, He disciplined them through foreign nations, and mercifully led them back to Himself. Is His love and mercy not amazing? There is nothing in that love and mercy that hurts my feelings. According to Eph 4:15, I would ask you to speak the truth in love, so that we as the body will grow into Christ, without sarcasm.
        I totally agree with your last paragraph, marriage is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s relation to the church, is it not? I have really enjoyed listening to Voddie Baucham’s teaching on marriage and male headship in particular, you should check it out:) It’s so amazing how in the flesh women do not want to submit to men (Gen 3 16) but when the Holy Spirit permeates our way of thinking, submission becomes so beautiful and perfect.

  • mimeforJesus

    I would ask, if Paul is saying that the young men are better off not married, how are all the young women going to get married?
    I agree that women were created to help men (although I also believe that women were created for God as much as men, just in a different role), but there are some ladies who are like my sister, who married late because there weren’t any good guys asking her.
    I don’t entirely understand your last sentence in the second-to-last paragraph you wrote. Are you saying that women should be doing all these things so long as their husbands like what the women are doing?
    I believe that this article is intended for both Christian men and women, but being a woman, the author wrote it to be more applicable for Christian women.

  • Eva H.

    I feel like people get the wrong idea of what marriage should be like. So I’m glad that you mentioned that it’s not all about “me”. When I am waiting for a future mate, I shouldn’t be looking for someone who completes me, and meets all my needs. Instead the focus should be on God and how I can “serve you so that you can serve Him better”.

    • Keely

      I love that. Seriously such an important perspective and I’m so sad how rarely it is discussed. I would love to see more Christian authors (married and unmarried) on this topic. Thanks Eva:)

  • Hannah Kittle

    Keely, thank you SO MUCH for your insightful article! Satan preys so hard us when we’re single to make us think that we can’t do anything but go hunting for a marriage degree while we’re single.

    Leah, your quote from Jim Elliot is perfect!

    I also found a two quotes from “I Kissed Dating Goodbye: by Joshua Harris” that I felt fit really well.
    “God doesn’t use our season of singleness to punish us. He has created this season as an unparalleled opportunity for growth and service that we shouldn’t take for granted or allow to slip by.”
    “Waiting for God’s timing, requires trusting 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.”

    • Keely

      Thank you for sharing Hannah! So glad you were encouraged.

  • Stikki

    What were you meaning in the second sentence of the last paragraph (“And I would likewise encourage all Christian men, who are the bride to be of Christ, to be satisfied with this world.”)? We are told not to be satisfied with this world… just to list a few important verses:
    “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV
    “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world,
    love for the Father is not in them”. 1 John 2:15 KJV
    “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye
    are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore
    the world hateth you.” John 15:19 KJV

    Are you saying that God has plans for every woman to get married (“Women were created by God for men, and to “wait” or sit around and not get married is an open rebellion to this order that God has established.”)? And if they don’t marry they are rejecting His plans? Just interested on what your thoughts are on this.

  • Liam

    I have a question about number three. If we were to take the Pope’s word seriously, then does that mean that we believe God used evolution as the creative process, or have to believe in Universalism; like the Pope does? Just to point out, Pastors or Church leaders are not our authority. They sin like every other human being. God and His word the Bible should be our final authority.

    • Kate

      evolution (with a lowercase e) is ok to believe in. I mean you see it everyday. Look at the flu virus. Last year it was a completely different virus (science wise) then it is this year. It mutated/evolved in the new virus. Evolution on the other hand (with an uppercase E), the belief that humans evolved from monkeys, is something that we firmly believe is not right. God created us to be dominant over the animals, he created humans IN HIS IMAGE, but not the animals. It doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible, “And God created the animals in his image.” So, if we believe that but also believe in Evolution (with an uppercase E) then we are disproving the fact that God created humans in his image.

      I’m not sure what the connection is between evolution and Universalism? Or if they are two different questions?

      I wasn’t trying to say your pastors have authority over you, I was trying to say that you respect your pastors as leaders. So, yes, they don’t have authority over you, but I’m guessing you do sort of have a sense that your pastor is your leader and that you should respect that. Also, when you said that they sin like every other human being, I thought I would point out that the Pope sins too.

      • Liam

        The type of change you’re talking about is not evolution at all. Evolution is the adding of new information. What your talking about is adaptations and variation. As of the flu virus. Virus’ can change and become resistant due to losses of information, or the shutdown of a certain gene. We do not see any information increasing change that make the virus resistant to medicine. It can get dangerous when you say you believe in microevolution and don’t believe in macroevolution. Because the term evolution means “any process of formation or growth; development:” -dictionary.com
        So basically you would be implying that you do believe in information increasing change.

        Im glad you realize the conflict between evolution and the Bible. You seem to be using the term ‘we’ when referring to Catholics and act like they all believe the same thing. No, the Pope and many others believe that God used evolution as the creative process.

        Yes that was a question.

        God Bless,

        Liam

        • Kate

          Ok, yeah, what I said, I had heard something like that form my science teacher but she used a different example, so it’s probably that I used the wrong example. Not exactly sure. Oh well, forget that I said that. :-)

          Ok, so I looked it up, and I got this: We Catholics believe (or are supposed to believe) in evolution. Sort of. We’re not exactly sure, we don’t have all the answers in the world. Many things are still mysteries. Anyways, we believe that if we did derive from some sort of animal or something, God kind of guide our formation. Also, God gave us our soul. That didn’t come from the animals. So, yes, it’s possible that we came from animals (we’re not sure), but we do know that our souls came from God.

          And, as for how creation happened, if you look at all the time periods of the Earth, and what scientists have found, you can see that everything matches up.

          In the Precambrian, bacteria, forming of the Earth, and multicellular organisms were present. On the first through part of the third day, God created the sky and the Earth.

          In the Paleozoic, many sea creatures, plants, insects, and amphibians were created. On the last part of the third day through the fourth day, God created those things too.

          In the Mesozoic, dinosaurs and birds were present. In part of the fourth day and the sixth day, it says in the Bible that God created birds and animals.

          In the Cenozoic, some more animals were created, but also humans. On the sixth day, God created humans.

          So, yes, God did create us, his time probably isn’t the same time as us. Millions of years could have been one day to God. As for evolution, if it did happen, God guided our making.

          • Liam

            The belief that God used evolution is called Theistic Evolution. This is unbiblical and has many, many problems. What the Bible says how God directed the creation is clearly different than what order it would happen if by evolution.

            I encourage you to read every one of these articles to see where I am getting at, since I don’t have time to write all of it down.

            http://creation.com/2-peter-38-one-day-is-like-a-thousand-years
            http://creation.com/Did-god-create-over-billions-of-years
            http://creation.com/how-could-the-days-of-genesis-1-be-literal-if-the-sun-wasnt-created-until-the-fourth-day
            http://creation.com/how-long-were-the-days-of-genesis-1
            http://creation.com/6000-years
            http://creation.com/did-the-creator-use-evolution
            http://creation.com/theological-case-against-evolution

            You seem to have done some research after I wrote that comment. So are you really supposed to believe in evolution? Does the Bible say that you have to? Is evolution even implied? Evolution is a man made theory that was made to undermine Biblical authority. The Bible warns us to accept false doctrines/man made ones that aren’t in the Bible. Evolution is a philosophy of man. As you can see from the articles I sent you (and there are many more I could give you), evolution is in contradiction to the Bible. As I said in a previous comment, our authority should be from the Bible, not in scientists or the Church.

            If you look at what happens in those days, you can clearly see that the order of what happens in scripture, is in contradiction of what happens with evolution. For example:
            The Bible:
            1. Matter created by God in the beginning
            2. Earth before the sun and stars
            3. Oceans before land
            4. Light before sun
            5. Atmosphere between two hydrospheres
            6. Land plants, first life forms created
            7. Fruit trees before fishes
            8. Birds before insects (“creeping things”)
            9. Land vegetation before the sun
            10. Birds before reptiles (“creeping things”)
            11. Man before woman
            12. Man before rain
            13. Creation completed
            Evolution:
            1. Matter existed in the beginning
            2. Sun and stars before the earth
            3. Land before the oceans
            4. Sun, earth’s first light
            5. Contagious atmosphere and hydrosphere
            6. Marine organisms, first forms of life
            7. Fishes before fruit trees
            8. Insects before birds
            9. Sun before land plants
            10. Reptiles before birds
            11. Woman before man (by genetics)
            12. Rain before man
            13. “Creative” processes still continueing
            * Illustration from “Creation According to Scripture” Scientific Creationism pg 228 -1981

            Please read those articles, and if you have any more questions or objections I will be happy to answer them.

            Your friend in Christ,

            Liam S.

          • Kate

            Wait, wait, wait. I thought you were for evolution and I was the one trying to disprove that?

          • Hey Kate, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable (I hate feeling trapped to respond to someone in a debate or else feel like I’m “betraying the faith”.) So if you ever need to step back and regroup, so you don’t get stressed or fall behind in school, feel totally free. I don’t want this discussion to be a burden to you. K? :)

          • Liam

            Another misunderstanding I guess. I am by no means for evolution.

          • Yeah. Liam is the top Apologetic of the Rebelution.

          • Liam

            I’m humbled.Thanks Trent. :)

          • Kate

            Yeah, neither am I. I was just saying what I got from looking up “evolution catholic teaching.” :-)

          • Liam

            That’s great! At least I showed how the ‘catholic ideology’ has flaws. That post wasn’t worthless. 😛

          • Kate

            Well, I wouldn’t call it flaws. I would call it “things we’re not sure about” because we as humans can’t fully comprehend the mystery of God.

          • Josh A

            Liam, thanks a lot for “taking over” for me here – whether you call it a debate or not I appreciate what you’re doing. :-)

          • Liam

            No problem Josh! As long as this is a healthy debate (I would call it one now) I have no problem with participating. :)

          • hey, just curious. but if we evolved, and our souls came from God, then:

            Where did God come from? and if God wasn’t powerful enough to just create us, how could he have made us in his image?

            just some food for thought :)

            P.S. sorry for asking you two things on different threads.

          • Kate

            Honestly, I can’t answer those questions. We Catholics don’t have the answers to that. Only God does. As I said before, we’re not sure how we came to be. We know (and believe, or are supposed to) that God created us, but we’re not exactly sure how. Plus, we can’t explain God. It’s like in the Chronicles of Narnia when Mr. Beaver says (about Aslan), “He’s not a tame lion.” We can’t explain God’s greatness, we don’t know how he came to be. What we do know is he is the beginning and the end. So, he really didn’t have a beginning, he just always was. Sorry I can’t explain it, but it’s too great for our human minds to comprehend.

          • Gabrielle S.

            Not sure if I want to get involved in this whole thing or not, but there’s just a few points I want to make.

            God exists outside of time. It doesn’t really matter “when” everything was created, because time doesn’t exist to God. Time is man-made. We created the system of days and minutes and hours and years.

            We were created in God’s image. In Genesis, if you noticed, God spoke everything into existence. Everything except humans. “Let there be light”, “let birds fly above the earth”, etc. And then “let us MAKE mankind in our image.” God formed us out of dust and breathed life into our bodies. We’re valued so much higher than the animals, he took special thought into creating us. We for sure were not spoken into being like animals, and we didn’t evolve from them.

            There is God, and there is us. There’s no between. We were totally separated from God until Jesus became the bridge for us to be with God forever. I believe Mary was an ordinary girl.
            Romans 3:23- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
            Romans 3:10- As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one.
            John 14:6- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
            God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Why would Mary have to be perfect to be chosen by God? God uses us when we believe and follow, not when we’re perfect.

            And just to clarify, I’m not super educated in all this theological stuff, but I do know enough to hopefully get my point across. :) God bless!

          • Kate

            Ok, I agreed with everything… until I got to the part about Mary.

            Mary is not believed to be another “god” to us. We don’t worship her like God. We don’t say she has any divinity. She isn’t divine, she is human. She is human, but was given special graces to be sinless. To be a pure vessel for God to come into the world.

            Just because Mary is pure doesn’t mean that that takes away from Jesus. Jesus is the reason that Mary is sinless. So Mary’s sinlessness gives more glory to the name of Jesus. To Jesus’ divine power.

            And, going off your point of God using the ordinary to be extraordinary, yes that’s true. Mary (without Jesus to make her pure) would just be another ordinary girl. Jesus DID use the ordinary to be extraordinary. Mary points to Jesus.

            Hope this clears it up! God bless!

          • Gabrielle S.

            Okay, I guess that makes somewhat sense. :) But why wouldn’t Jesus be able to be sinless on his own? Why would he need a perfect person to bring him into the world, if he’s already perfect himself?

          • Kate

            I’m not saying Jesus couldn’t be sinless on his own at all.

            Think about it: Would it be appropriate for the perfect God to come into the world through a sinful body? No, I would say it wouldn’t be appropriate. God didn’t “need” a perfect person to come into the world as a perfect man, but it wouldn’t be right for him to come into the world at the Incarnation (when God became man) through an imperfect human.

            Hope this helps!

          • Gabrielle S.

            Hmm, that sounds exactly right to me. God deserves all the honors, of course, but he came to save some really dirty people. And he was born in a smelly barn, for goodness’ sake, to poor parents and no one there to celebrate except a few shepherds and some foreign wise men. I don’t think he was looking for a majestic golden carriage to carry him to our world.

            What are your thoughts? (By the way, we totally don’t have to keep this up if you want to stop anytime. I seriously doubt either of us are going to change our beliefs due to this debate, however, I think it’s interesting to learn more about your opinion on things!)

          • Kate

            If you want to continue, I’m fine with that.

          • Kate

            Hahaha, I like that way you put it. :-) Well, I would say that although it is sort of hard to keep up with the discussion at times, that it helps me learn about my faith more.

          • Gabrielle S.

            ((Seriously, there’s so many comments on this page you can’t find anything anymore! :P)) Well, I’m glad to help out. You’re going to be a great debater for Catholicism someday with all that knowledge!

          • Kate

            Haha, yeah right. A lot of this stuff I have a general knowledge of it but I have to look it up for answers that make sense. Thanks though. :-)

          • Josh A

            Wait wait wait are you ignoring the verse that says “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?” (emphasis mine). There are two options here…

            1. You can say that Mary was a sinner in need of a savior, which is the Biblical position to take (Luke 1: 46-48)

            2. OR you can say that Mary was not one of the “all” (if that makes sense). This would imply that she was not human.

            Is there a third option I’m missing here?

          • Kate

            “Romans 3, verse 10 says, “…as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one.’” Yet, James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. If absolutely no one is righteous, then who is James talking about? Luke 1 says that Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before God. If absolutely no one is righteous, then how can that be? Is Scripture contradicting itself? No. Rather, we have to make sure to interpret Romans correctly, and that means realizing that the key to understanding Romans 3:10 is the phrase, “it is written.”

            Here in Romans, Paul is quoting from the O.T., Psalm 14 to be exact. In Psalm 14 it says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God. They are corrupt…there is none that does good.’” But then that same psalm goes on to talk about the “righteous.” Well, if none has done good, who are these righteous the psalm is talking about? Obviously, when the psalmist says that none has done good, he is talking about the fools who say there is no God. He is not talking about absolutely everyone.

            The same goes for St. Paul when he quotes from this psalm. Paul is not saying absolutely no one is righteous; if he was, then how we would have a hard time explaining all the Old and New Testament passages that refer to the righteous. In Romans 3:11 it says that no one seeks for God. Does that mean that absolutely no one is seeking God? No, to interpret it that way would be strange.
            This also is true for verse 23, which says that “all have sinned.” Babies haven’t sinned. This is not an absolute. There are exceptions. It’s something to think about. So, it is perfectly legitimate to say that these passages from Romans, when interpreted in context, in no way conflict with the Church’s teaching on Mary being without sin.”

            I got that from http://www.catholicscomehome.org/mary-the-saints/

            I’m not sure that’s the verse you’re talking about.

          • Josh A

            I’m talking about Romans 3: 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ALL PEOPLE without exception have sinned and “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10
            The only way one can become righteous is to believe in Jesus Christ and have Him take away your sins. This is exactly what Paul was intending to say, if you read the verse in context. The verse you reference that says “no one seeks for God” is getting back into the predestination vs. free will debate that I’d like to steer clear of. :-)

            If Paul had intended that verse to be anything except “ALL have sinned” then he would have said “MOST” or “SOME” or “ALL except babies” or “ALL except Mary”. But he doesn’t: he’s clearly referring to all humans. Which brings us back to our two choices…

            1. Mary was a sinner.
            or
            2. Mary was not human.

            I don’t know about you but I’d like to move on. Can we call it quits soon? :-)

          • Kate

            Ok, but if you say ALL have sinned, then that would mean that Jesus would sin too, because he is a human too. He became human at the Incarnation.

            Also, if you look at the translation of “all” into Hebrew, it is “pas.” Pas means “all” in the sense of “every one that applies.” Some proof of that meaning is in other Bible verses also, but if you took that Bible verse literally, it wouldn’t make sense. It would seem that the Bible is contradicting itself. (Romans 11:26, “… all Israel will be saved…” No, not ALL Israel. (In the sense of “all” as we normally think of it.) Some people will not get to Heaven because they chose to be divided from God. (There is proof in the Bible that not all people will get to Heaven.)) Also in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” Well, if you look at the Bible, not everyone “died” physically. Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Heaven body and soul without “dying.”

            So, I wouldn’t conclude that that Bible verse means “all” the way we use “all.” Many verses are like that. For instance, I think I’ve said this before, but Jesus did not have “brethren” although it does say that in our English Bible. When the Bible was translated, they used the word that best suited the Hebrew version, but we didn’t always have the right word. The translations can be different.

            Yes, I would agree that this is getting to be a long discussion. Sometimes it seems that we are just going around in circles. It seems that I’ve answered some of the same questions multiple times, but that’s ok. It helps me learn more about what I believe.

      • Hey hey hey, Grants jumping in this party 😉

        Why do you believe Mary was without sin right from the get-go? I’ve never seen any scripture to support that idea.

        And why do you believe in purgatory? I know it sounds nice having a second chance and all, but where is it in the bible now?

        I’ve talked with Catholics before and must say, catholics are very nice people and I enjoy talking with them. I also want to help you in as much as I can.

        • Clare

          Hi Grant, Im guessing here (so Kate correct me if Im wrong), but I would suspect that the reason Catholics believe that Mary was born without sin is bc if she was a sinner then Jesus would have, for lack of a better word, “inherited” Mary’s original sin (referencing Psalm 51:5). As a Protestant I believe that Mary was not sinless but that sin is carried through men (because of male headship) therefore Jesus could not have a biological father, which is why He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Because of that, Mary could have original sin, it would not have compromised Jesus’ holiness.

          • Kate

            One of the theology teachers at my school explained it this way: We are all falling through a hole, the hole of sin. Everyone has been, since the fall of Adam and Eve. When God decided to come to Earth though, he needed a perfect vessel for him to be born of. When Mary came, he caught her so she wouldn’t fall through the hole and therefore saved her from sin.

            As for Jesus not having a biological father, yes, not an earthly father, but a heavenly father. Although, if you look at Jesus sinlessness as something determined by genes, then I would say that yes, God could have just forced all of the Holy Spirit’s “genes” into Jesus so that Jesus was pure, but he didn’t. I’m not trying to say that “genes” determined everything about Jesus, but I guess “genes” are the best way to describe it. If you look at a person’s genes, the only way they come to be is through both father and mother. Not just one or the other. So, if you’re (assuming God didn’t force the Holy Spirit’s “genes” into Jesus) going to think about it as genes, then Jesus would need both the Holy Spirit and Mary to be without sin.

            Hope this makes sense!

          • Clare

            Hey Kate, I think I understand where you’re coming from, but to be sure, I’ll try to repeat what you believe back to you. ‘In order for Jesus to be sinless, He couldn’t be contaminated by sin. In order for Jesus not to be tainted by sin, God kept Mary from sin from the time of her conception so that she could be a sinless vessel to bring Jesus to the earth.’ I love your teacher’s explanation up to the point of Mary’s sinlessness. I believe that man has sin inside him from conception, you’re born with it (Ps 51:5). So because of that, I believe that Mary was a sinner.
            However although Mary was a sinner I believe she did not taint Jesus because Joseph (or any other human father) would have passed sin to Jesus, which is why Jesus had to be conceived by the Holy Spirit. In Luke 1:35ish, Mary asked how she could conceive since she was a virgin, and the angel said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, enabling her to conceive. I hope that wasn’t too long, thanks so much for answering all these questions:)

          • Kate

            Look at Genesis 3:15. It says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

            If you look at the Jewish translation on “enmity”, it actually means something more like totally warlike and having nothing that they agree on. If you agree with me that Jesus is the one that bruises Satan’s head when he dies on the cross to save us all, then the woman that it is talking about has to be Mary. So, it’s basically saying, “Mary and you (Satan) will have no common ground at all, you will always be fighting, Mary for God, you for yourself, and her Son will destroy you.”

            If Mary and Satan have NO COMMON GROUND AT ALL, then that means Mary has to be sinless, otherwise they would have something that they would agree on, sin.

            Get what I’m saying? The whole verse points to Mary being sinless.

        • Kate

          I think it’s inasmuch not in as much. Just kidding, I’m no grammar enthusiast. :-) OK, time for the answers.

          Why do we believe Mary is sinless? Because of Luke 1:28 where it says, “And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Hail, full of grace. You don’t call someone “full of grace” unless they are sinless. They can’t be FULL of grace if they sin. They can have grace, but they can’t be FULL. Also, when the angel says “Hail.” You don’t hail someone unless they are royalty or something. I’m not saying Mary is like another god or something, she isn’t, but I am trying to say that Mary is the Mother of God. The name Mother of God isn’t supposed to gratify Mary as much as it’s supposed to give glory to God.

          Why do we believe in Purgatory? Good question.

          http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/is-purgatory-in-the-bible

          Please look at the link. Ditto to everything it says.

          • Liam

            You can’t make up a whole doctrine because of a title. Also, the text actually says “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:28.

            I don’t know how you can derive “highly favored one” from that.

          • psst, hey Liam, they use a different translation. and Jesus probably wouldn’t like us knocking his mother. just saying, be careful.

          • Liam

            If you mean mocking, then by no means am I trying to do that.

          • The Catholic Bible contains more then the 66 books we have. Including something called the “Apocrypha.” Also, the 10 commandments were changed so they wouldn’t condem idols, like the typical catholic uses. (Statues of Marry and such). It wouldn’t surprise me if the part with the Angel talking to Marry was changed too.

          • Kate
          • Hey Kate, :)

            I would just like to point out in online debates, no one goes to someone else’s link. Because then it goes from say an atheist vs a Christian to Videos of Charles Darwin vs. Videos of Ravi Zacharias. And the debate never ends.

          • Kate

            Sorry, you already said you don’t like getting in debates, but i thought I would clear the “Catholics worship statues and pictures!” thing.

            Ok, then I will basically sum up what it says. It was saying how we Catholics don’t worship statues.

            In Exodus 25:18-20 it says, “And you shall make two cherubim of gold [i.e., two gold statues of angels]; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be”. God did say, no worshiping statues, (which we follow by the way), but he didn’t say don’t use them for religious purposes. He praised using them for religious purposes! (It’s also in 1 Chronicles 28:18-19 and Ezekiel 41:17-18.)

            Some more proof for that is when God tells Moses to make a bronze serpent to heal the people of their snake bites in the desert. The people weren’t worshiping the serpent. If God commanded that all pictures of Jesus and holy items were “illegal” (I’m using that word for a lack of a better word.), then all movies, pictures (including the pictures that you Protestants use), paintings, and photos would be banned. But they aren’t.

            Also, when you said that we change the Bible to hide things that we don’t like, well, that’s not true either. It’s pretty simple. We’re just abbreviating them to make them easier to understand. Jewish people do that too.

            I hope this helps!

          • Okay. I’ll take your word for it, since I have not done a ton of research on the topic. To me, an idol is anything that is equal to or is more important to us then God. (Virtually anything can be our Idol, even people, or very good things, like our leaders, food, America, pleasure, money, anything really.) Something we all (including me) need to be on guard against. :)

          • Kate

            No, no, no. We aren’t putting the saints and Mary before God. THAT would be idolatry.

          • mimeforJesus

            I think we should stay out of the Iconoclast for now…

          • Kate

            I wasn’t trying to say that Trent is against statues and pictures of anything. I’m not against them either. Not sure what you mean by Iconoclast then?

          • mimeforJesus

            It looked like we could get into the Iconoclast controversy if we didn’t watch out – and that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

          • Josh A

            Kate,

            Did you hear what King Hezekiah had to do to that serpent? He destroyed it because people started to worship it! 2 Kings 18 : 4b “He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had begun to worship it by burning incense to it.” I’m not going to twist that to say that you’ve been worshiping things, but be VERY careful how you use that to support your position….

          • Hey Trent, not entirely sure about this, but I think the Apocrypa was used by Protestants originally (shortly after the Reformation). It was dubbed good to read/teach from, but doctrine was not to be derived from it because of its questionable reliance.

          • That’s a very good possibility. However like you said, deriving doctrine from it is never a good idea because of it’s questionable reliance. It’s like a history book, created by man, not inspired by God. It could be true, and yet it may also not be. I have never read it personally, but I may in the future if I have the time and the means to do it.

            God bless you, Sam!
            – Trent

          • mimeforJesus

            The Apocrypha being the books that were written during the “400 Years of Silence”?

          • I was curious after hearing that and looked at it briefly, but not much. I think when reading it, it is important to check its accuracy using the Scripture we are sure about :)

          • Kate

            And yet, how many times does the Bible call Mary “blessed”?

            If I was to start a debate on this, I probably could, but actually it does say “Hail, full of grace,” at least in the Bible I’m using.

          • Liam

            Regardless of the names the angels bestow upon Mary, you can’t create a doctrine because of it. As I said before and I’ll say it again. a biblical doctrine is one that is taught and commanded. Just because Mary was called “highly favored one” or “full of grace” doesn’t mean it teaches or implied that Mary was without sin, or that it is even right to ‘ask her’ to intercede for you.

            Grace has multiple definitions, none of them that would imply that she was sinless. Yes, she was picked by God and was highly favored, but that doesn’t mean she was born without sin. If she was born without sin that would mean that she was basically the Christ almost. (The Christ couldn’t sin) Or as I think you might say, God gave her the grace to not sin. (which is basically the same thing when you come down to it)

            Here are the definitions of grace

            As a Noun
            1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action:
            2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment:
            3. favor or goodwill.
            4. a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior:
            5. mercy; clemency; pardon
            6. favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
            7. an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied:

            As a verb:
            1. to lend or add grace to; adorn:
            2. to favor or honor:

            As an idiom
            1. but for the grace of God, under less fortunate circumstances:
            2. by the grace of God, thankfully; fortunately:
            3. fall from grace,
            4. Theology. to relapse into sin or disfavor.
            5. to lose favor; be discredited:
            6. have the grace to, to be so kind as to:
            7. in someone’s good /bad graces, regarded with favor (or disfavor)by someone:

            Basically ‘grace’ is another word for ‘favored’. So it would not be incorrect to translate it either way.

            Just because Mary was favored by God does not imply that she was sinless. That’s a pretty big jump.

            I have a question, what version of the Bible do you use? I use the NKJV.

          • Kate

            No, Mary was not Christ. Jesus is God. Mary is human. Jesus was sinless from the start. Mary was sinless from the start. Jesus was sinless because he is God. Mary is sinless because God gave her the grace/had mercy on her. But, (in my Bible at least) it says Mary was FULL of grace. I will agree with you the just because it says “grace” or “favored” doesn’t mean “sinless”, but FULL of grace? (HIGHLY favored?) THAT would mean sinless. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. You can’t be FULL or grace unless you are sinless. As for highly, I think that would be the part where we spilt into Protestants and Catholics. You would agree I imagine that highly would mean that Mary could have God’s favor, but not be sinless. So, that’s where we split.

            But… I have more proof Mary is sinless. (I took this from my reply to Claire below.)

            Look at Genesis 3:15. It says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

            If you look at the Jewish translation on “enmity”, it actually means something more like totally warlike and having nothing that they agree on. If you agree with me that Jesus is the one that bruises Satan’s head when he dies on the cross to save us all, then the woman that it is talking about has to be Mary. So, it’s basically saying, “Mary and you (Satan) will have no common ground at all, you will always be fighting, Mary for God, you for yourself, and her Son will destroy you.”

            If Mary and Satan have NO COMMON GROUND AT ALL, then that means Mary has to be sinless, otherwise they would have something that they would agree on, sin.

            I’m not trying to keep arguing with you, but I’m trying to make my point that Mary is sinless.

            I’ll get back to you on the praying to Mary and the saints part.

          • Kate

            Ok, so for the praying to saints and Mary and stuff, there’s actually nothing against it, but there is proof that we can. In countless Bible verses it says that the angels/saints praise God in Heaven. If they praise God and we praise God, then wouldn’t we be praising God together?

            Also, in Revelation 5:8 it says that “the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” The saints are us. So, the saints in Heaven are offering the prayers of the people on Earth to God. We ask them to pray for us, and they offer our prayers to God. That’s evidence that the ancient Jews prayed (asked) the Saints in Heaven to pray for them and the Saints in Heaven did pray for them.

            Yes, it says in the Bible that Jesus is the only Mediator between man and God, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t ask others to pray for us. Even when we pray to ask the saints and Mary for help, really they take that and offer it to God.

            God bless!

          • Liam

            Prayer in a sense is worship, acknowledging that the person we are talking to is higher than us. If I were to pray to a saint, or Mary, even if I am asking them something like they are my friend, I am acknowledging they have a higher power than me. All those people are human. They prayed to God just like you and I do. But- nowhere in the Bible does it say they pray to any other holy person who served the Lord, like Abraham for example. In fact in the Bible people only prayed to God. For example: Acts 12:5 , Romans 10:1, Romans 15:30

            Philippians 4:6 also says that we should lift our prayers to God, and bring our needs to him. That knocks down that we can’t directly ask God for our needs.

            If I were to make of some doctrine, that the Bible doesn’t specifically say anything against, is it ok? The Bible warns us in to not follow man made doctrines. Praying to the saints is one of them since the scripture does not command it. Hebrews 13:9

            I agree with you that both the angels, saints, along with us worship God. But I really don’t know where you’re getting at with that. Of course we both praise God, us on earth and they in Heaven. But that is no evidence that we can pray to the saints.

            Trying to take scripture to fit into the Catholic idea that you can pray to the saints is not the right way of going about Theology. Especially with a verse in the book of Revelation.

            Just because the elders were holding bowls that were the prayers of the saints does not imply that the saints on earth gave prayers to the saints in heaven. That verse doesn’t give the slightest reference to “the saints on earth prayed to the saints” Therefore an assumption that the prayers of the saints on earth the elders are holding were given to the saints, not God. It doesn’t even say that. Again the Catholic Church trying to fit verses that into their assumptions that you can pray to the saints, pray to Mary, etc.

            I need to ask you this? It seems you are eating in everything the Catholic Church says or believes like it’s the final authority? My authority is not in whatever some highly respected person, or group thinks, but in the Incarnate Word of the God of the Universe. Is your authority in scripture, or in the Catholic church?

            To sum this up, scripture does not blatantly say that you can pray to the saints, that Mary is sinless, or purgatory. True scriptural doctrines are commanded or are done by people, very clearly, and not vaguely.

            God Bless,

            Liam S.

          • Kate

            Is my authority in Scripture or in Catholic teaching? Not sure that I would use ‘authority’ to describe it, but anyways. Personally, I’m Catholic. I believe what the Catholic Church teaches to be true. I might not fully understand Catholic teaching, but I have faith that it is good and true. That doesn’t mean I ignore what the Bible says. We believe what the Bible says to be true, but we also teach stuff that might not be clearly in the Bible, but stuff that has been proven to be true over centuries and centuries of study and inspiration.

            I am specifically citing Bible verses because I know that it is the easier way to talk to you guys about it since you guys sort of “judge everything according to the Bible.” All of your teaching is based on clear biblical teachings and also because if I came up with answers that might not have the clearest biblical backing, that you would say, “Where’s the biblical evidence?”

            Some of our doctrine (venerating the saints and Mary) is based on some unclear Bible verses, (like the one I gave you above and some other ones) but also on study and inspiration done by the Catholic Church that has been PROVEN TO BE TRUE by many scholars. Seriously, think about it. You think we’ve been lying about these things for hundreds of years? If we were, people would be falling for the biggest lie in the universe.

            The saints are human, just like us. They sin, just like us. They struggled with loving God at times, just like us. They strived to live for God and give glory to God as hard as they could, just as (hopefully) we do. They were holy. They aren’t perfect, but we don’t just sweep them aside like just another one of us. We don’t worship them for being saints, but we do honor them and venerate them. Therefore, we’re not worshiping them or really praying to them. Lots of people call it praying, but it’s not praying. They are our example (after Jesus) that shows us how to live a holy life. The Vatican didn’t call them saints for nothing, or again, we would be falling for the biggest lie in the universe.

            Mary on the other hand, has a special place among the saints because she is the Mother of God. We don’t worship her or pray to her, though we honor her and venerate her and ask her to pray for us. Mary is human, but without sin. Think about it: would it be appropriate for the perfect God to come into the world at the Incarnation through an imperfect body? God didn’t NEED a perfect person to be born of. Being born of a perfect person didn’t make him perfect, he already was, but it wouldn’t be right for him to be born of someone who was filled with original sin.

            We say that Mary undid the knot that Eve tied. Both Mary and Eve started out completely sinless. God gave both of them a choice, say no to him, or say yes to him. Eve chose no. Mary chose yes. Eve, from that moment on, was a sinful, imperfect human being. Mary, from that moment on, continued to be a sinless, perfect human being.

            Also, I would agree that we can bring our needs to God directly, but we can do it indirectly too through another person. Like two heads are better then one, two prayers are better then one. Not saying God doesn’t hear us when we pray just once, but you would probably pray for something more then once if you really wanted it.

            “1 Tim 2:5 reads as follows: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” Many think that the practice of praying to the saints goes against the Bible, claiming that Catholics are making them mediators between God and man and thus diminishing Jesus‘ role as the sole mediator.

            But this is not an appropriate interpretation of the passage. Let‘s see why not…

            In the Old Testament we see that Moses, Abraham, and Job interceded on behalf of others… that’s mediating between God and man. We know that it is okay to ask others here on earth to pray and intercede for us…. that’s mediating between God and man. So we have a situation here where a passage of the Bible is being misinterpreted and misunderstood.

            There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, but as members of the Body of Christ, He allows us to share in His mediation.

            Also, Scripture tells us that we have only one foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11); but, Scripture tells us that there is more than one foundation (Eph 2:19-20). Scripture tells us that we have only Lord, Jesus Christ (Eph 4:4-5); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one lord (Rev 19:16). Scripture tells us that we have only one Judge, Jesus Christ (James 4:12); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one judge (1 Cor 6:2).

            These are not contradictions in Scripture, not when these passages are all properly understood in context. Jesus is the only foundation; Jesus is the only Lord; and Jesus is the only Judge. But, we are members of Jesus‘ Body. Therefore, we are able, according to the graces given by Christ, to share in Jesus‘ role as foundation, as lord, and as judge, and in other aspects of Christ, as well. Another example, a father shares in God‘s role as Father, by His grace. And, so also, we, and the saints in Heaven, and the angels in Heaven, can share in Christ‘s role as Mediator.”

            http://www.catholicscomehome.org/mary-the-saints/

          • Liam

            Ok, you just admitted to me that you’re authority is in the Roman Church’s teaching because you believe them to be true. Authority as in “a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested”

            And is it wrong to judge things according to the Bible? You seem to act like this is annoying to you.

            Now doesn’t that tell you something if the Roman Church’s doctrines aren’t clearly taught in the Bible? I think the Roman Church takes things way too far with the ceremonies, rituals, and talking to the saints. In your own words, the Roman Church’s teachings are based on-unclear verses. If they are unclear, then how can you derive whole doctrines, and whole traditions for that matter from that? Things that aren’t commanded in the Bible! Biblical doctrines are ones that are commanded and cannot be derived by “unclear verses.”

            And please, please don’t make blanket statements like that. It really annoys me and does not help your argument.

            Has really the whole Roman Church studied these verses? (the whole body of Christian believers) Or just the Pope and the Roman council? The congregation in the Roman Church has no say in the theological matters or doctrine of the church. The pope and the council does.

            Please show me how you honor these saints, and how your ask Mary to intercede for you. Of course I respect these people, but not to the point where I will highly honor them to the point it gets to worship like. Did you see the example prayer I gave you? You didn’t seem to have anything to say about that.

            “it wouldn’t be right for him to be born of someone who was filled with original sin.” Alright, from where are you getting this? Or is it just not right because you think so? Why isn’t it right? You can justify that Mary was sinless, just because of your own personal preference, or if the Roman Church says so. You have to back it up with the Bible.

            Your term “we say” says to me that you aren’t coming from the Bible with these things, but from the Roman Church.

            You seem to overlook a key reason why Protestants believe in one meditator. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” In this verse it says there is (one) Mediator between God and men. Notice the word (one). One means a single person and cannot infer multiple people. The word is singular not plural to sum it up. The Bible clearly says there is one mediator and yes Abraham, Moses, and Job interceded on behalf of the lives of men; just like the priests did for Israel. But-Jesus came to earth and died for us. The temple curtain broke – which signified that men can come to God and that we no longer have to have anyone to intercede for us. To wrap up, Jesus Christ is the final mediator between God and men as stated in 1 Timothy 2:5. There is no misinterpretation of this passage.

            Praying for others is no reason why we can pray or talk to the saints. The Bible says we can pray to God to intercede for others, not pray to anyone else. A mediator is an intermediary between parties. Nowhere in scripture does it say we, the saints, or the angels do that. Scripture says there is one mediator; Jesus Christ.

            In context, Revelation 19:6 is referring to the Kings and Lords of the earth; by no means is this inferring there are other beings of divine power or headship.

            In this debate, before you make new points, I would like it if you respond to my points and objections before you bring up a red herring. (something totally different from what the actually objection was)

            If I missed anything or did not respond to one of your points, please tell me and I will put my effort into answering them. :)

            In Christ,

            Liam S.

          • Sounds about right to me.

          • Kate

            I wasn’t saying that it is wrong to judge things according to the Bible. I also wasn’t trying to sound annoyed by using Bible verses. It actually helps me learn about what I believe more then articles on the Catholic faith do.

            Ok, but does the Bible plainly say, “Abortion is wrong.”? I’m not sure about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that before in my Bible. And yet I’m pretty confident that we both would agree that it is wrong. It’s just reason.

            http://www.usccb.org/bible/understanding-the-bible/study-materials/articles/bible-at-core-of-catholic-beliefs.cfm

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you are picking on my word choice more then what I have to say about the Catholic Church. Are you defending what you believe or are you trying to prove me wrong? It seems like you are trying to prove me wrong more then saying what you believe. It also seems that you think that we shouldn’t give God due reverence. You seem to think that it is ok for us to sin against him and that Jesus puts aside our differences and doesn’t care about all that. Jesus was hurt by our indifference and sin. He was beaten and hung on the cross because of our sin! I don’t think that was particularly pleasant for him to endure. I was using reason when I said that it wouldn’t be appropriate for God to be born of a sinful woman. Using your REASON, would it be appropriate?

            Before I answer your question about all Catholics and if we study what we believe in, I would like to ask, do all of your fellow Protestants completely understand what they believe in? I know I don’t completely understand what I believe in, yet I have faith that it is the truth. Faith means a “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” So no, not all of us are complete professors in our religion. That doesn’t mean we don’t have faith in it though.

            I agree with your argument about Jesus being the one Mediator between men and God. But, again, look at the translations. In Greek, the word “one” means “first” or “primary.” If there is a first, there can be a second. In a sense, we are mediators too.

            http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/isnt-calling-mary-the-mediatrix-of-all-graces-contrary-to-the-doctrine-that-jesus-is-

            It seems that we are going around in circles. You ask a question, I answer back, you argue, I argue, we get sort of off topic, and you restate the question. It seems I have answered the same question multiple times, in all different ways, and yet you refuse to take my answer.

            Sorry if I missed something.

            God bless,

            Kate

          • Liam

            The Bible does not use the word abortion, but it does say killing is wrong and is a sin. Therefore we can conclude abortion is wrong since it is murder.

            I am sorry if you feel like I am picking at your word choice. Your word choice opens up things to me and allows me to challenge you on various things.

            I know the Catholic doctrine. Just to clarify right now I am only refuting your evidences for it. There is no need for me to try and pick at your repeated statements and summaries of what the catholic doctrines are.

            I believe that Mary is a sinner, there is nothing more for me to say. In fact I have given scriptural arguments on why she is sinful, but you seem to not have responded to them.

            Sorry but I don’t know where this accusation comes from. Yes I am challenging how much reverence we should give to Mary, but not to God. We should give God all honor, all glory, and all power forever. Matthew 6:9-13

            I don’t know where I have hinted such. I believe it is wrong to sin against God, of course! But when we do sin when we ask Jesus to forgive us our sins are gone. John 1 1:9

            I believe that the virgin birth and conception of the Holy Spirit was enough for Jesus to come into the world. Using my reason I have come to that. Your argument of reason is invalid. Someone could reason that killing is ok, but does that make it true? You would have to back your position up with scripture to make a valid argument.

            I completely agree with this paragraph.

            In a sense we are mediators. But this doesn’t mean that Mary is a mediator for us in Heaven.

            This is what I would call a debate. In a debate there may be circles, there will be different arguments being passed back and forth. I don’t take your answers because I believe them to be of error, there is no problem with this.

            Now I admire your steadfastness through this debate. Steadfastness is a good quality! I just want to remind you that we are still brothers and sisters in Christ, not enemies, we may have our disagreements, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love each other the way Christ loved us.

            God Bless!

            Liam S.

          • Kate

            Sorry it has been so long. Life has been crazy, well maybe not a month crazy, but as soon as I had a reply, something would happen, like my internet would give out or the page would reload and I’d lose my reply. Sorry about that.

            Sorry I didn’t respond to some of your points, I guess I’m not the best debater. This is the biggest discussion/debate I’ve been in, I guess that makes me a beginner, but it was pretty overwhelming for me.

            As for the reverence part, it seemed to me that because you against me in the point about the appropriate-ness of Jesus being born of a women who had sinned, and that point was pretty much about the reverence Jesus deserved since he was God, and how it would be wrong for God to be born of a sinful women, Get what I’m trying
            to say? Sorry, I’m not the best explainer.

            I’m sorry I lashed out at you sometimes, but I was frustrated that you couldn’t see how what I was trying to say made sense. I’m pretty passionate about Mary, so just to finally see how you guys understand Mary was pretty surprising.

            Anyways, I know it probably seems like I’m giving up, but honestly, this discussion has become more of a burden then a blessing. I realized that I had been spending more time on my computer arguing on this topic, than I was with my friends and family and with Jesus. As much as defending my faith and showing others my faith is important, I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I liked learning your points of view and stuff, but I still believe that Mary was sinless. There is just so much that I believe shows that Mary is sinless, that I am sort of surprised that you could interpret it any other way or find reasons for Mary
            being just like us in original sin.

            God bless
            Liam!

            Kate

          • GodsThespian

            Hey, we’re not here to make anything a burden for you! We’re still sisters in Christ 😀

          • Kate

            Hey GodsThespian! Sorry, I’m not saying you guys are the burden, but I think, in the first place, I should have just answered a couple of questions and then been done. Like I said before, there were just some crazy things that happened, like my internet would shut off or the page would crash right when I had a reply, and I think that was God trying to tell me that this wasn’t what he wanted me to do. If that’s true, it’s not surprising for me that this discussion was hard to keep up with. Not that you guys are the burden! :-)

          • GodsThespian

            Okay :)

          • Clare

            Hey Kate, good to hear from you! I really enjoyed discussing this with you, it has really helped me better understand the beliefs of my Catholic relatives, you explained everything very well, thank you for being willing to share! I’m sorry it got kinda intense, certainly didn’t mean for you to feel that way:/

          • Kate

            It was definitely partly my fault it got so intense, so don’t feel bad! I glad it was some what easy to understand, because my wording wasn’t always perfect! Honestly, I thought nobody would be able to understand what I was trying to say! (I’m bad at putting my thoughts into words.) :-) God bless Clare!

          • Clare

            Kate you did great, you always came across as being very sweet and patient:) As for your wording, I understood you, and that’s saying something:P The great thing is that we all better understand what we believe. God bless you too!
            (PS, GodsThespian is mimeforjesus in case you were unaware)

          • GodsThespian

            *facepalm* Thank you for making that clear, Clare! I can’t believe I didn’t identify myself!

          • ok, thats interesting about Mary, i did some reading on general Catholic beliefs, and have a couple questions.

            Do you believe Mary remained a virgin perpetually?

            Do you believe in infant baptism?

            Do you believe in penance?

            could you please explain why you believe in these, in the case that you do.

            thank you for remaining civil and kind, as in fact, we should. :)

          • Josh A

            You guys are still going? I gave up like 2 weeks ago. :-)

          • :) I like talking to people about their beliefs, as long as it stays civil.

          • Kate

            Wow, it’s been that long? Geez. You make this discussion seem old. I’m not that old am I? :-)

          • Kate

            Yes, yes, and yes.

            Mary stayed a virgin throughout her whole life. Although it says many times in the Gospels that Jesus had “brethren”, the real translation of brethren into the Jewish language has to do with all relatives (Cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.). They (the translators) didn’t have a word that translated exactly into English what the Bible said, so they kind of mushed it all into brethren. Or, that’s what it says in my Bible in the footnotes.

            Infant baptism. So, in Luke 18:15-16 is says that “they were bringing even infants to him” and Jesus said, “Let the children come to me… for to such belongs the Kingdom of God.” Although if you read the actual account in full and you notice that they isn’t anything about baptism in it. We still believe that that verse shows us to baptize infants. We recognize that Jesus really meant “bring them to the faith” and that when he said children/infants that that meant that Jesus not only wanted adults to come to him, but also infants/children. Also, in Acts 2:38-39, it says, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children.” The last line is a big one. It’s saying, not only converts can be baptized, but also people who have been Christians all their lives and their children.

            If you mean the very act of going to a priest and confessing your sins, then yes. But also, if you mean just doing penance by yourself, then yes to. So, if you look up the definition of penance, the more non-Christian/Catholic definition is the “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.” The Christian/Catholic definition is “a Christian sacrament in which a member of the Church confesses sins to a priest and is given absolution.”

            The first one I think it kind of obvious. You want to pay for the things you’ve done wrong, so you sort of punish yourself.

            For the second one, we believe that the priest is in the person of Christ (so it’s actually Jesus in the confessional with us) and that we ask for forgiveness with true contrition in our hearts and that then we are forgiven once we make an Act of Contrition and are given absolution.

            We believe that minor or venial sins can be just forgiven directly through prayer, but many Catholics go to Confession anyways just to get rid of those sins. Mortal sins although need to be forgiven through Confession or Reconciliation.

            Hope this helps!

      • mimeforJesus

        You talking about the difference between Macroevolution and Microevolution? I agree with you that Microevolution does occur, while Macroevolution does not.

        • Martial Artist

          I think she is talking about microevolution, and yes, it does occur often in the form of mutating viruses and things of that nature. Apologia Biology :)

          • Clare

            I did Apologia too, cant believe I made it through that:)

        • Liam

          I would rather define that as adaptation and variation rather than evolution. Since the definition of evolution is “any process of formation or growth; development:” Using that title would imply that we do see information increasing changes, which we do not.

          • mimeforJesus

            Microevolution is the adaptation and variation within a species; it is the accepted term within the scientific community. I was just trying to clear up terminology here :)

            edit: wow, I sounded kinda defensive here – I didn’t mean to!

          • Liam

            I totally understand that and 100% agree. I just don’t think we should use the term “micro evolution” because it implies that information increases hence that would be supporting macro evolution. So I think it is better for Christians to use the term adaptation and variation rather than something that implies something we don’t mean!

            If you get what I’m saying. 😛

          • mimeforJesus

            K, I get what you’re saying.

          • Hey Liam, I’m attending a public high school and am going to be starting a unit on evolution soon. Any tips or things that would be good to know for defending creation?

          • mimeforJesus

            Ooh, now I get to sit back and get more apologetics in one sitting than I got in my whole high school course! Carry on, Liam!

          • Liam

            Hey Sam,

            If you want to defend creation or know why how to refute the evolutionary teaching I would recommend reading Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2. Both books have helped me greatly. You can find them here. http://usstore.creation.com/catalog/

            I also recommend reading the articles on creation.com. These also have helped me. You can search up just about every issue that class will bring up and this website will have an article that refutes it.

            Most evolutionary classrooms present any change as evidence for evolution. I expect this will be one of the first things they will try and teach you. Change within a species is called adaptation or variation, and does not involve the adding of new information, aka what evolution actually needs. Instead it involve the loss of information. These losses may be beneficial in a way, but they are also harmful. The website I linked you to has more articles explain this in great depth.

            Another thing they will probably teach you is things about the fossil record. I recommend you spend a decent majority of your reading on this, since it is what I have found to be the greatest “evidence” they got.

            If you have any questions I will be perfectly happy to answer them!

            In Christ,

            Liam S.

          • Thanks! I’ve been doing some research on creation.com and will have to spend some more preparing. I will definitely look into the fossil record, and if I find anything I have questions about, I’ll be sure to ask. :-)

      • Sorry to jump into this, but I find this to be a very interesting discussion.

        We (as Protestants) would say that our salvation is a gift that God has given us, and that it’s not our works or even “do God’s will, so as a Catholic, how would you interpret Ephesians 2:8-9?

        “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

        • Kate

          This passage is totally in line with what we believe. Faith comes before works. We can’t get to Heaven by ourselves. It’s “not our own doing; it is the gift of God…” Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is also dead.

          I would say that we can’t just do good works to get to Heaven. Sorry, I’m probably confusing you because I’ve said before that to get to Heaven we need to do God’s Will, which is true, but we have to order our lives the right way so that we aren’t just doing God’s Will just to get to Heaven, but we are doing it because of our complete faith in God and our love for God. People can do good things just for a good name, but Ephesians 2:8-9 shows that just because we do good works doesn’t automatically mean that we get to Heaven. It is through God and his grace. It is through faith in God.

          So, yes, I would agree that to get to Heaven, we have to believe that it is not us that gets ourselves to Heaven, God does that. But I would also put that we can’t just be like, “Well, I believe in God, I guess I’m good. I can just sit back and watch now.” Once we have that faith in God, we have to live it out too. We have to realize that by God’s grace we are saved. God humbled himself to save us. We should be humbled by that.

  • I needed this! It is a timely reminder for me. Thank you for encouraging words about God giving us someone who shares & enhances our gifts or dreams. I wrote in my journal the other day that “I desire to marry a man who loves Uganda, who loves me more, and God most.”

  • Kate

    No, Mary is fully human. She is not divine. She is human, but God gave her the grace to be sinless.

    If Mary and Satan were to have “common ground” would mean that they would stand in agreement on one subject or another. Yes, agreement isn’t the right word because we don’t agree with sin while we still fall for it, but what word would you use? I guess to explain it I would say that Satan wants us to fall for his tricks, but Mary loves us and wants to keep us safe from temptation. Mary is our mother. (As it says in John 19:26-27, “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” Notice how Jesus doesn’t say, “Son, behold your mother!” but rather leaves it unspecific. We believe that Jesus was giving us Mary as our mother, so he sort of left it open for us.) Mary loves us just like our own mother, but that doesn’t mean we worship her like God. Mary wants us to go to God. She points to God. Everything about her says, “Look at God. Look at what he has done to his lowly servant. Don’t look me, but rather use me as a sort of mirror that reflects God.”

    We believe Mary to be the “new Eve.” It’s like the old and new covenants that God made with the people of Israel. Eve/Old Covenant was broken through the sin of the people. Mary/New Covenant came to sort of remedy or make new the brokenness of the Old Covenant.

    If you look at the Bible in its entirety, it is very odd that a woman would be said to have “seed” (whether capitalized or uncapitalized). The men are the ones who have “seed.” The family name is carried by the men. If a man were to have be part of the conception of the child then the child would have been called the seed of Billy or something. Not “her seed.” If the woman were to have “seed” that would mean that no man could be intertwined (I use that for lack of a better word) in the birth. The only woman in the Bible who conceived a child while still being a virgin is Mary. Eve could not be the mother talked about in Genesis 3:15 or the child would have been referred to as the seed of Adam.

    Also, Jesus isn’t the descendant of Eve. Yes, Jesus physical body would probably be considered of the line of Adam and Eve, but God didn’t come into the world to just be a human. God came into the world to be God and save us from our sin. Not saying Jesus wasn’t human or anything. Eve was the one who fell for the temptation Satan threw at her. Jesus is perfect. Jesus has never fallen for the temptations of the Devil. So why would God choose to have offspring from the one who originally fell for the lies of the Devil? Wouldn’t he want to start anew like the Old and New Covenants?

    Answering your question on enmity and Satan only having enmity towards Mary. No, Satan wouldn’t only have enmity towards Mary. He would also have enmity towards God himself.

    God bless!

    • Liam

      Forgive me if I’m starting to be blunt.

      Catholics place Mary on the same level as Jesus as far as sinlessness is concerned. That is what bothers me.

      If Jesus could not have a sinful parent, then how could Mary have a sinful parent as well? You can keep asking the same question until you go back to Eve. The virgin birth and the conception of the Holy Spirit was enough for Jesus to come into the world; there is no need for Mary to be sinless.

      It is such a far leap to say that because Jesus said “behold your mother” to the disciple John, that he meant Mary is everyone’s mother. What Jesus actually meant (which is presented in plainly) , is that John was to take care of His mother just like a son would to his own mother. When he said that, John took care of Mary. John 19:26-27

      “Don’t look me, but rather use me as a sort of mirror that reflects God.” ?? Where in the Bible does it say or infer that we should look to Mary as a mirror that reflects God? There isn’t. If you are supposed to not look at Mary, then why are Catholics so fixed on her in the first place? Take the rosary for example. It’s all about Mary and very very little about God; and the Raccolta? One of the Catholic prayers (or ways to talk) to Mary: “Hail, Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life. Sweetness, and Hope, all Hail! To thee we cry, banished sons of Eve; to thee we sigh, groaning and weeping in this vale of tears.” There are many, many, other examples I could give you.

      The Old and New Covenant that is involved with Eve and Mary is not biblical. A doctrine that is not of the Bible which cannot be justified because the Church believes it. This is an instant where people take the authority of the Church and it’s doctrine above Scripture.

      Lets look at the context of Genesis 3:15.
      13. And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14. So the Lord God said to the serpent:
      “Because you have done this,
      You are cursed more than all cattle,
      And more than every beast of the field;
      On your belly you shall go,
      And you shall eat dust
      All the days of your life.
      15. And I will put enmity
      Between you and the woman,
      And between your seed and her Seed;
      He shall bruise your head,
      And you shall bruise His heel.”

      So looking at this verse in it’s entirety, we see that when God talked to Eve, and then talked to the serpent. He was referring back to the only woman that was currently on earth, Eve. It would only make sense if God was referring to Eve rather than some other person who didn’t even exist!

      The devil has enmity with everyone, so if God wasn’t referring to all of the woman’s (Eve) seed, then the Bible would be in contradiction with itself. So to put it simply,
      If the woman was Eve.
      Devil=enmity with everyone
      If the woman was Mary
      Devil=enmity with only Mary (and of course God)
      You seemed not to respond to this point.

      Scripture is actually in agreement that Mary was a sinner. In Luke 1: 46 and 47 is says “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” ” Take note of Mary’s words “my Savior” No one other than a sinner needs a savior, because no punishment or evil of any form can be inflicted upon a sinless person. Catholics would have to accuse her of lying, because in those words she confessed she was a sinner in need of a savior.
      Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” That includes Mary too. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Romans 5:12 Of Course this verse would be false, if Mary was sinless; therefore the Bible being in contradictions with itself. Also Jesus died for everyone “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5: 14-16. Again the Bible would be contradicting itself if Jesus wasn’t the only sinless person on earth. Because if He wasn’t, then the text would have to say “and He died for everyone except Mary His mother” And it doesn’t say that! The last time Mary is mentioned in the Bible is when she is praying on the same plane as other needy Christians, not being prayed by them. (Acts 1: 13-14)

      The belief that Mary is sinless is not Biblical, and was not decreed by the Pope until December 8th 1854. The doctrine of the immaculate conception was unknown by the apostate church, and it was not even in discussion until long after the death of Mary. It became a doctrine 18 centuries after the birth a Christ. So no, it was not practiced by the Jewish people as you said in another post.

      I am not against this just because I just want to debate. I am in opposition because this is to me clearly contrary to what scripture teaches; and my authority is in God’s Holy scripture, not in the philosophy or doctrine of man.

      If there is anything you specifically want me to explain, please tell me, and I will put in my effort to do so.

      In Christ,

      Liam S.

  • Michael Hoover

    I want to believe that my being single into my thirties is all part of God’s plan for me, but I just can’t anymore. You always hear about the people who are single later in life, but you never actually believe you’ll become one of them. It a horrible feeling. I absolutely do not think singleness is a gift, more like a curse.

    • mimeforJesus

      Hey,
      I just wanted to say, I know people who were single late into their lives, and they now realize that it was a vital part of their lives. One is my now-brother-in-law; he married when he was 36.
      I’m not gonna throw a Bible verse at you, because I know that cliche verses can sting more than they help. I’ll be praying for you!

      • Michael Hoover

        While I very much appreciate the prayer, the fact remains that I’m still single and the way things are going I will be for a long time. If (and that’s a big if) I do find someone I’ll most likely be too old for children. God’s “plan” has robbed me of the chance to be a husband and a father. There are some who I do believe are ment to be single their whole lives, I am not one of them, but apparently it is being forced upon me. That is pretty cruel if you ask me.

        • Jonathan

          It’s up to you man. God doesn’t tell you what to do he just tells you to go and he will guide! Go get a women and be happy :)

          • Michael Hoover

            If only it were that easy.

          • Becca<3

            If you don’t mind me jumping in, I know that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We can only see snippets, God sees the big picture. Though I’m not in your situation (I’m only 16), I am still afraid to be single my whole life. I know that God has a hand-picked plan for my life, and yours. Have you ever considered that God may be using your struggle and longing to bring you closer to Himself? I know it sounds crazy, but God could be allowing this in your life to cause you to cry out to Him in your hurt, and ask Him to fill you with peace, joy, and satisfaction. I read a blog post on Lies Young Women Believe a few months ago that talked about not being a “Rapunzel”. I have no idea if you’ve seen Tangled, but Rapunzel didn’t think her life would really start until she met Flynn Ryder to rescue her from her tower. Until then, she just sat around and waited, for 18 years! But she had crazy skills! She could cook, clean, make pottery, sew, she was a speed reader, an amazing artist, a ventriloquist, and the list goes on!! Our single years are a blessing because we are able to use our skills to bless others and show God’s love in a capacity that we’re unable to after we’re married.

            1 Corinthians 7:32-34 “I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His
            interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.”

            Like God’sThespian said, I’m not sure why you believe you will never, ever be married. Is there something else that makes it impossible for you to get married? And if God blesses you with a wife someday, but you’re unable to have children, you will still have the amazing opportunity to adopt an unwanted child or take in foster kids who need the love and mentoring of a father. I hope everything I said makes sense:) My heart hurts for you and I will be praying for you!
            1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

        • mimeforJesus

          If you don’t mind, it’d be easier to talk to you if I knew your situation – you said that the way things are going you’ll probably still be single for a long time. What/who is in the way? I want to encourage you, but without knowing what’s going on, I’m not certain how.
          Regarding your last sentence – God is never cruel. We might not understand what He is doing, and it may hurt for a while, but He never does anything to harm us.

        • Ruthie C

          I’m genuinely very sorry you’re so discouraged. My heart hurts for you. I haven’t been in your situation; I can’t possibly understand exactly what it is like. I would like to say that God really does have the best plan, even though you can’t see it right now. Please keep trusting God; it’s not in vain.
          You said, “God’s ‘plan’ has robbed me of the chance to be a husband and father.” If I may ask, how can you know that you would be a husband and father without God in your life? Just throwing it out there.
          I do know 100% for sure that God is NOT cruel, no matter what the situation.

          • Michael Hoover

            It doesn’t matter, God has decided that I am to suffer by being alone, so I have decided to not follow him. I still believe He exists, I just don’t care. Why should I follow Him if his plan is for me to be miserable. I have tried to enjoy my singleness, but as the years have gone by I just feel more and more bitter.

          • Ruthie C

            Well, I guess you’re right. If you were only following God to not “be miserable”, it wasn’t worth it. God isn’t obligated to make anyone happy; it’s about us serving him, not him serving us. I believe you really could choose to handle this differently. But that is your choice. No one’s forcing you to do anything.
            I will still be praying for you, though.

          • Clare

            I wanted to let you know I’ve prayed for you. Also wanted to let you know that God knows excactly where you are, meaning that He cares for you. He has not chosen to keep you single for a time because He somehow enjoys your pain. He went through the pain that we humans face daily (singleness included), and eventually was the perfect sacrifice, so that you could be near Him. Think about that, God was tourtured and killed so that He could be near you. He wants to be with you. Would such a God who loves you that much cause you unnecesary pain? He is jealous for your love and devotion, He wants your whole heart. His plan is not that you be miserable, but that you would find the eternal fulfillment in Him that nothing on this earth can give you. The beauty of this is that the world can be falling apart, but if God is the Source of my joy, nothing can take my joy from me, bc God will never fail. I learned this in a real way when my mom carried my sister full-term, but the baby didnt make it. That was gut-wrenching hard. I did grieve, but I had joy bc God was the Source of my joy and He did not move. Michael, based on that time I can promise you that God does not allow meaningless pain, and that He does not abandon us in it. I know that I can trust His plan, bc He loves me so much. Michael, you can trust Him with your life, Im praying that you would come to know Him that way.

          • Michael Hoover

            I used to feel that way. I volunteered with my church, I helped run the late 20’s early 30’s group that I went to and I loved every moment of it. That was several years ago and now all of the people in the group, my younger brothers included, got married and had kids. Do you know how hard it is to go to family functions and all of your cousins are married and have kids while you’re the only single one. It is heart wrenching. I feel as if I have a knife I’m my heart. The “gift” of singleness is being forced upon me against my will.

          • Clare

            Michael correct me if I’m wrong, but the impression I’m receiving is that you believe a wife will bring you happiness. But surely you understand that a wife will not bring you satisfaction? Look at divorce rates. How many men were satisfied by a wife? Is it really fair to expect a wife (or anyone else) to fill the void that only God can fill? I understand that the place you are in is hard, and that you’ve been in it for a long time, I can only imagine your pain. But I believe you are trying desperately for fill the void in your heart with the wrong thing. Look at Jer. 2:15, “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” God is the fountain of living water, life is found nowhere besides Him. Anything else is a broken cistern that will hold no water. God wants your whole heart. He will not share it with anyone else, bc He loves you that much and bc He is worthy of it.

          • Michael Hoover

            No, I don’t think that at all. Honestly I’m sick of being told l need to work on myself. Apparently a well paying full time job and my own house means I still need to work on myself. The fact that I like who I am and that I don’t want to change doesn’t matter. I’m through with waiting. God says wait forever and I say no.

          • Clare

            Ok, I’m so sorry I misunderstood you. I meant to show you how good God is, but if you have made a fully informed decision not to follow God, there’s nothing I can do but pray that you come to know Him. I truly appreciate your honesty, and will continue to pray for you:)

  • Jonathan

    Very cool article young lady!

    • Keely

      Thank you! :)

  • Judy

    Love this!!! Thank you SO much for the encouragement!! May the Lord bless you as you serve Him!!

    • Keely

      Thank you Judy!

  • Kathryn

    Found this really helpful, Thankyou. I’ve been finding this issue difficult at the moment as it seems like everyone I know is in a relationship which has made me feel quite lonely at times but reading this has helped me to realise I need to cling to God and keep trusting and serving him in my singleness.

    • Keely

      I’m so glad this was encouraging to you. Thanks for letting me know Kathryn <3

  • Hannah

    This is such a good article! Thanks you so much for sharing the truth. We need to live purposefully in every area of life and singleness is no opt-out. Thanks again for the encouragement to live sold out for Christ. He deserves our all!

Back to Top ↑