Like Neo in the Matrix. Like a unicorn outside of a fairy tale. The “one” is a mythical concept that leads us to believe that there is only “One” out there who can meet our deepest needs. Countless romantic comedies revolve around the notion of the “One,” and love songs ooze with this sentiment. Many men and women believe that the “One” is somewhere out there waiting for them to walk into the right coffee shop or join the right singles group. The wonder of the “One” is that it is absolutely true and absolutely false at the same time.
From one angle you were created to pursue only “One.” There is only “One” who will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart and He isn’t the stuff of sappy love songs. Hear, O single person: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:4-5) Sin has fractured the human heart and has made the pursuit of the “the Lord our God,” who “is one,” impossible apart from the grace of God. Yet, the romanticism of our day paints a picture of another “one,” who is the perfect emotional, sexual, and intellectual counterpart to our own perfect emotional, sexual, and intellectual composition. What’s the flaw present in this thinking? The very fact that you believe yourself to be a perfect match for anyone demonstrates the root of the imperfection that dwells in your broken and sinful heart.
You want me to answer the question simply. You want me to either blast the concept of “the One” and liberate you from the burden of searching for a spouse, or, you want me to affirm the concept of “the One” and justify your selfish pursuit of perfection outside of God. I will do neither. Let me suggest three different angles on pursuing “the one,” pursuing “one” and pursuing “the One.”
1. It is foolish to pursue “the one.”
The “one” is a fiction you have created. In your opinion, you know who would be the best fit for you. You, to say it bluntly, believe that you possess complete knowledge of who you need, when you need them, and what they need to do to fulfill your needs. Romantic desire wells up within you and you begin to hear Roxette, Alicia Keys, and many others singing “Listen to your Heart.” If I could suggest ditching the sappy 80’s love song and in exchange consider Jeremiah’s words, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9)
Can you understand the fleeting emotions of your heart? Really? Explain this to me, at one point in your life you were in a store with one of your parents. In that store you picked up a cheap toy that you never knew existed before the moment it touched your hands. When your mother or father told you to put it back, because you were not going to get to take that with you, you probably cried and possibly threw a fit, because you desired that cheap toy so much. Sadly, many of you have a trail of past relationships, relationships developed on the path to “the one,” where you can look back and see tears, hate, and rage that were all sewn by your own hands as you pursued complete satisfaction in half-hearted lovers.
You don’t know your heart, but “One” does. Jeremiah continues, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Until you are pursuing the Lord, who is the only one who can satisfy the eternity in your heart (Eccl. 3:11), you will always pursue the wrong “ones.” Listen to the woman who captured Solomon’s heart, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (SOS 2:7)
2. It is holy to pursue “one.”
Wait a minute, didn’t I just urge you to be cautious of pursuing “the one?” Absolutely, I think it is foolish, naïve, and betrays the posture of your heart. I think pursuing the idea that there is only one man or woman wandering about in this world looking for you is utter selfishness. So, why is it holy to pursue “one?”
One day, Lord willing, you will meet your future spouse. When you have met this person, the Lord is going to begin to knit you together. You are going to love them, in the light of the love of Christ. They are going to love you, in the light of the love of Christ. The Lord is going to stir and point your affections and delights towards them and you are going to find them beautiful, charming, and satisfying. If you are a woman, this man is going to be a spiritual leader and he is going to love Christ, the Church, and you. If you are a man, this woman is going to be wonderful helpmate who is willing to follow your leadership as you both submit to the leadership of Christ. (See Eph. 5:22-33)
Then one day, Lord willing, you will marry that person and celebrate with family and friends. You are going to make a covenant with each other before the Lord, standing on His covenant love for you both. As you make this covenant with each other, you are covenanting to pursue “one” until death or the Lord comes. It is holy to pursue one, forever.
3. Pursuing the “One” who Pursued You.
You will not see the foolishness of pursuing “the one,” or the beauty of pursuing “one” forever, until you rest in the arms of The Lord our God, who is one, and who has been pursuing you from before the foundation of the world.
You will never be able to quit the selfish pursuit of finding “the one,” or be able to faithfully pursue one woman or man as spouse, until you are pursuing the Lord. As Augustine taught us, there must be an order to our loves. If our highest love is not God, all of the “lesser” loves will out of order. These loves will either devolve into reckless lust or rev up into false ‘saviors.’
When our loves are properly ordered, beginning with God, we are free to pursue men and women as potential spouses and one day settle our affections on “one” forever.
-Kyle Worley is Connection Minister at the Village Church in Dallas, TX. He is the author of Pitfalls: Along the Path to Young and Reformed and blogs regularly at The Strife. He holds a double B.A. in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Dallas Baptist University. He is currently completing a M.A. in Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a M.A. in Religion at Redeemer Seminary. You can find Kyle on Twitter @kyleworley.
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