By Tatianah Green
Recently I’ve had the privilege of attending a singles event at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church (Fellowship Chicago) in which they were discussing topics in dating that often don’t get addressed in a series called "Singles Uncut."
With the perspectives and experiences of four panel members, the audience had an opportunity to speak and hear Godly wisdom on topics such as singleness, dating, marriage, and sex. No topic was off limits, the only issue unfortunately was not having enough time. I’ll share a few of the notes taken from this event below and a word on self-control:
Why are the majority of people at singles events and conferences women? One of the panelists shared that according to men, there are not as many steps to get into a relationship as women perceive. I can see where they were coming from because women are the receivers and like to communicate. We have our lists in mind of whom we want in a mate along with perhaps some idealized timeline of how the dating, courting, and engagement process is supposed to go.
What was brought up at the event was that men are not asking about soul mates as they don’t have that added pressure from society. The dating to marriage process seems so simplified in the average man’s mind: guys pick a lady they like, ask her out, and if things go well then maybe they will get married. That may be a generalization, but it’s important to live the life that God tells you to live and in the midst of living you could very well meet someone special along the way. “We have to use common sense and do what our spirit lines up with.”
Sexuality and sex are often seen dirty or taboo to some. We are sexual creatures, we were hardwired that way by God. Sexuality is a part of our human nature. What was stated at the event was that there’s a difference between thinking about sex and being fixated on sex. Sex is not dirty, it’s only wrong when it’s out of the context of God has set it up for. “Not that it’s wrong, but what do I do about those thoughts? You can’t get mad when you are tempted by the very things you put up.”
Panelist Pastor Alisha Jones also mentioned that while it’s okay to have a thought about sex, if you’re getting tripped up about it and lost in sexual thoughts then you should check your eye and ear gates. For instance, posting those Man Crush Monday or Woman Crush Wednesday photos on your social media can be a source of temptation if you participate in that. From movies to music and other forms that you entertain, question are they feeding your desire to have sex in your mind?
So about this masturbation thing…A brave single asked about masturbation and if it was okay even if they just needed "an energy release." Reverend Christopher Harris broke it down in a practical and relatable way for all when he shared this:
“It’s impossible to engage in a certain activity without impure thoughts. We must ask what does the Bible say? Is it really helpful? Is it enslaving or could develop a habit? What’s my real motive for doing this?” I think that last question is powerful because it takes your sobered mind to think about why you’d want to pleasure yourself, no matter the reasoning behind it. “It becomes an issue of self control. We have to be willing to make whatever sacrifices or adjustments to please God. Love God with your all; it’s hard to do that when your heart is determined to submit to unnatural desires.”
Marriage is promoted as the Promised Land when it’s really work. Singles are often feel that they are in the desert going to the promised land which is married life. Society makes it out to be like that but that’s not necessarily the case. We as singles have to get to a place where we are completely content with being single and embracing the numerous benefits of that.
Marriage is not a destination; it’s a new chapter that prayerfully you will get to experience. But in this current chapter, what stories are you telling? What’s your life saying right now? Is it a comedy, romance, adventure, mystery, thriller? Let’s be grateful for the present state that we are in and ask God to prepare us for the work that will come with marriage such as killing your selfish desires daily for the sake of the marriage and serving God together as a couple.
If you want to know more about Fellowship Chicago and their young adult ministry, visit their Facebook page. If you are in the Chicago area the weekend of July 25th, they are hosting a relationship weekend for singles and couples!
About Self Control
Self-control is an important factor to consider within yourself and the person whom you want to be in a relationship with. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, but is it something we tend to look for in others? Galatians 5:22-25 give the fruits of the Spirit and instructs all “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
Observing the characteristics of self control can be spotted in simple observation. When on dates, communicating, etc. with this person of interest, you may notice little things as to how they approach food (gluttony), if they drink anything other than water (sugary drinks is as addictive as alcohol), their approach to spending and saving money for just a few examples. Then there’s the biggie when it comes to physical touch and intimacy. Do they respect your boundaries or do they push your buttons to get you to give in or compromise?
Also consider your own behaviors. If you have any issue of self control that is unhealthy to you in your single state, consider how much it will affect your spouse who you will share your life with. It’s important to take care of that issue now instead of bringing it into your marriage relationship. This is only to help you hold yourself accountable to the everyday things in life. As believers we can break free from the things that try to control us. Your appetite for _________ does not control you! Take back the reigns and ask God to keep you and provide you the ways to escape that pit or cycle of destructive habits that can keep you from fulfilling your purpose and destiny.