This post was originally published on my church’s blog.
We have all been “single.” Every single one of us lives at least a part of this life on earth “single” – without a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse. The length of time, number of different seasons, and weightiness of those seasons differs from person to person, but this is a part of life for all of us, and it is so for a reason.
Seeing as it’s inevitable, we should seek to spend the time spent single wisely, glorifying God. Well, what does that look like?
Maybe you’ve been chasing romance and affirmation, believing that once you find a partner you’ll be fulfilled. Maybe you used to want a relationship, but you’ve become so used to being on your own that the idea of sharing life so intimately with someone else is almost scary or downright terrifying. Or maybe you’re having trouble trusting that anyone could want to be with you, and all the “baggage” that comes with you.
Well, Girl or Boy, this is a post for you—and for those who are curious about singleness—meant to encourage you, maybe even convict you, and bring hopefulness through God’s Word.
FIRST THINGS FIRST—DOES THE BIBLE TALK ABOUT SINGLENESS?
The answer is yes—it does! In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
How comforting is it that, in our God’s Word, we find a message for single people that starts with the phrase, “I want you to be free from anxieties?” Anxieties of any kind do not come from God, but, in this instance, Paul is talking specifically about the anxieties or thoughts that consume our minds around marriage/singleness. We know that “undivided devotion to the Lord” is the call upon the Christian life. In these few verses, it would seem as though Paul is saying that it is better to be single in order to accomplish such undivided devotion.
This is an encouragement to us in our singleness, Friends! We know that Jesus is our purpose and our everything; it is His Spirit who must live through us in order for us to truly live the Christian life. If we have idols or distractions from Him, and our flesh starts to think on and live out of those idols, it is impossible for us to live devoted to the Lord.
This isn’t to say that marriage is bad: as Paul wrote, “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint on you.” This Word isn’t telling us not to get married; it’s a reminder for our own benefit that, if we are to be married, it’s vitally important that Jesus remains our first love; this is the only way to truly love and serve our spouses, too.
THIS ISN’T TO SAY YOU ARE NECESSARILY CALLED TO A LIFE OF SINGLENESS; THE BIBLE SPEAKS TO MANY WONDERFUL BENEFITS OF MARRIAGE AND THE GIFT THAT IT IS, TOO.
It is, however, to encourage us when we are single to use that time well by…
- Surrendering idols, addictions, and habitual sin in Christian counselling, through prayer and repentance, and with trusted friends
- Cultivating disciplines of faith, including prayer and fasting, time in the Word, worship, sacrifice, and service
- Growing in other relationships with Jesus at the centre of them, such as with family and friends
- Learning and maturing in leadership
ULTIMATELY – GOD CALLS SOME OF US TO MARRIAGE, AND SOME OF US TO CELIBACY. REGARDLESS OF THIS PART OF YOUR LIFE, CHRIST IS THE ONLY WORTHY TREASURE OF YOUR HEART.
Marriage and singleness are both gifts from God. So…should you get married, or remain single?
The Bible says that it is best for some not to marry in order to fulfill a specific purpose. If you continue wanting to be married when God has plans for you to remain single, you will never find real peace. It is so important that, regardless of where He calls us in life (married or single; teacher or businessman; with children or without; to the city we live in or to move), that these calls themselves are not be-all-end-alls for us. They’re not in any way ultimate. Of course our spouses and our children are indescribably dear to us, as they should be; but we are forever content in Jesus. The prayer of our hearts is, “More of You, Lord.”
If you believe that God has called you to a life of singleness—wonderful! Accept this with a glad heart. If it is something that you struggle to accept, spend time on your knees before Him and with Him, trusting Him.
If you are currently single and unsure about whether God has called you to marriage or not—stop striving for a relationship. Lay that heavy burden down. You don’t need to be on dating apps in case you “miss the one”, or constantly seeking out a man or woman to marry. God’s plans are so much better than yours. God’s timing is so perfect. If there isn’t a person now in your life who you feel called to know more about or pursue in Christ—remain in Christ! Pursue Him as the King of your heart always. Sometimes God works to actually thwart the idols in our hearts or things we’re trying to control (Deuteronomy 12:3). Know that idolizing a relationship won’t get you any closer to one or be any good for your soul. And know that the person God calls you to marry will be someone you are so in love with, aren’t expected to “tone down your love for Jesus” for, and are equally yoked with. A God-ordained relationship will come with so much clarity, peace, joy, love, and fruitfulness: you’re pursuing Jesus TOGETHER, better for it.
And finally, if you are currently single, but have a burning desire for marriage—know that God cares about your desires, and that desire may just be an indication of what He’s called you to. There are many wonderful reasons to marry:
- God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). In ideal marriages, there is close intimacy, support, and companionship. God ordained marriage, and it is for His glory.
- Marrying is favourable in the eyes of the Lord. “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 18: 22).
- God has given most people the desire for sexual intimacy and children, according to Malachi 2:15; He expands His Kingdom in this way.
- If a person doesn’t have the gift of celibacy, then he or she should likely marry: “for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:8).
- God compares His relationship to the church with marriage (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 31:32; Hosea 2:16; Ephesians 5:22-3).
- Married people can avoid the sins of fornication and sexual immorality (Galatians 5:18-21).
Seek first the Kingdom of God, Friends… “and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).