My Gladiator Arena

For the last couple of weeks, I feel like singleness has been kicking my butt. Like singleness and I have been facing off in a gladiator-style arena, and I’ve been losing.

Maybe it had to do with hormones, or maybe it had to do with the fact that things didn’t work out with the man I met online. Whatever the reason, I’ve been tempted to sin, I’ve given into temptation, I’ve been bitter against the demands on my time (because I’m single, I apparently have plenty of free time for everything everyone else wants me to do).

With every temptation, every failure, singleness has delivered another blow to my broken, weary self.

In church this past weekend, my pastor’s Easter sermon was on Romans 8:31-39. These verses are all about how God is on my side RIGHT NOW.

In the past, I’ve just kind of thought about these verses, “Yeah, okay, so Jesus is going to win in the end.” I’d picture myself at the end of my life, bloody and bruised spiritually and emotionally, heaving my last breaths as singleness swooped in for the death blow – then Jesus would show up out of nowhere, deliver a final kick to singleness, take me to heaven, and say something about putting up a good fight or something.

But Romans 8 says something radically different than that. It says that God went to extraordinary lengths, even to the point of sacrificing His own Son, in order to “graciously give [me] all things” (8:32, ESV). Because I was spiritually dead at one point, God sent Jesus (His only Son) to earth to die in my place so that I could be spiritually alive. God the Father. Sent His Son. To die. For me. If that isn’t proof that God is on my side, I don’t know what is.

Romans 8 also asks rhetorically “Who shall bring any charge against” me (8:33)? And “Who shall condemn” me (8:34)? Then it answers the questions those questions with “God” and “Christ [Jesus].” The only Ones Who can charge me or sentence me with anything are the Ones Who

  • have already conquered my greatest enemies (sin and death).
  • have taken care of my punishment for sins already, declaring me righteous through no work of my own.

Then come some of my favorite verses in the Bible:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [S]hall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? […] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (8:35, 37)

Basically, these verses are saying that no matter how badly I’m distressed by singleness, I am still the conqueror of it because God is on my side. Not because He was bribed or obliged or duty-bound or bored or finished with everything else on His list – no, He’s on my side because He loves me with the greatest love that anyone has ever shown in the history of love.

I have the most hardcore, triumphant, battle-ready Person Who has ever lived, and He is ON. MY. TEAM. He has already scored the winning point against my greatest enemy (death), He’s already defeated sin, and He’s already crushed everything that would keep me from His love.

He’s not just the coach or the water boy or the cheerleader – He’s all those things AND He even fights singleness with me and for me. He’s my strength when I’m weary of fighting, my shield when singleness throws temptation my way, and the weapon I fight back with.

My pastor said something at the end of his sermon that will probably stick with me forever. He said, “The cross [Jesus’ death] proves that God is for us. The resurrection [when Jesus rose from the dead] proves that nothing can be against us.” Stated differently (in my words): it doesn’t matter what is against us, because God is for us.

I’ve been holding tightly to two thoughts since Easter:

  • God Himself is for me right now.
  • Because of God, even singleness can’t be against me.

It’s hard to explain how these truths have sunk in and made my days go better, but they have changed me. I’m not fighting alone; I’m not fighting a losing battle; I’m not even fighting, when it really comes down to it.

Jesus is the conqueror; through Him, God has made me a conqueror. And I can declare with Paul (the author of Romans) “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [n]or height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).

Jesus defeated sin by dying, He defeated death itself by living, and He defeats my opponents simply by showing up. BOO-yah.

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