Having thoroughly and efficiently examined the nature of gender, marriage, and human relationships in the Scriptures and in Christian theology, a turn to contemporary application is now appropriate. Some definitions and clarifications are in order before beginning the application sections.
2. The Road Ahead
First, gender is a good thing. God even declares it “very good” in Genesis 1:31. This implies that differences in gender are also a good thing. It means that sex is an inherently good thing when practiced in the way it was designed. Second, singleness is a good thing. As we have seen, a person does not become more fully human whenever they find a spouse. Alone, they are created fully in the image of God and are not lacking in value. Third, marriage is a picture of how Christ loves the church. Details and applications will be found below. Fourth, knowing these truths will help me grow and mature as a believer in Christ. As an MA in Leadership major, I plan on serving in leadership roles in churches or other institutions and it will be crucial for me to understand these details of Scripture in order to implement and operate effective programs to help others grow into the fullness of Christ.
3. Singles Ministries
One of the first concrete applications that I can think of is (the lack of) effective singles ministries. It is no secret in the U.S. that the American church is lacking in serious and effective singles ministries. Singles are often looked down upon as inferior, despite the biblical evidence that this is absolutely not the case. So one of the applications from this topic and for my major will be that of helping to implement effective singles ministries. This will obviously take some hard work and preparation, and it might even involve teaching the church at large that singles are valuable to the overall church! In my opinion, singles can add extremely valuable insight to the church as a whole. This is seen in such biblical examples as Paul and in Jesus himself. Certainly these two are seen as valuable to the church, and it is my argument that other singles are valuable as well.
4. Marriage Ministries
Another application of these truths for my major is the implementation of effective marriage ministries. This can actually start by teaching and training singles what marriage is really about, namely a picture of how Christ loves the church. Then it could also lead to marriage counseling sessions based on the redemption of Christ (as seen in places like Ephesians 5). Surely fewer marriages would end in divorce if people understood what marriage actually is. One of the great lies of our culture is that marriage is permitted in order to fulfill your life. “If you could just find ‘the one,’” they say, “then you will be happy and fulfilled.” This, in my opinion, is a devastating lie. So many marriages end because one spouse simply feels that the other has not met their expectations. And the problem with this is that most people, Christians included, go into marriage with the wrong expectations. This could be curbed, at least to some degree, by the implementation of marriage ministries that train singles and married couples alike to be prepared for marriage based on the truths of what marriage actually is biblically.
5. My Personal Growth
My own personal growth in Christ is also an important application point here. I am not currently married. Knowing these truths will help me to understand that I am not inherently less valuable because I don’t have a wife. It will assist me in my own ministries because I am now able to complete far more things logistically because I am single. It will also help prepare me for marriage one day, knowing that I am to love my wife as Christ loves the church. This will help me to be faithful even now, when I don’t have a wife. I can continually focus on Christ and work on my own personal growth while single, knowing that I am not less valuable.
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