…….Singleness can be hard. Singleness can be lonely. However, Scripture tells us that singleness is a gift to be treasured. I have listed a few thoughts about singleness that have occurred to me in self-reflection over the last few days. I look forward to hearing thoughts from others to add to the list. I thought it would make sense to stick to the single digits for a post about singles. I also don’t like odd numbers which is why I stopped at 8. I digress. I hope this list to be both encouraging and challenging to those who are struggling and waiting.
- When our struggle with singleness is obvious to everyone around us, we are showing the world Jesus isn’t sufficient.
This one is hard to deal with. We all struggle with singleness (unless you just have the miraculous gift of singleness and you know early on). I do not suggest that there will be no struggle or that no one will know/should know of your struggle. I am suggesting that we do not be like the religious who are fasting and making a scene about our situation. May we struggle for the glory of God while literally bringing glory to God in that struggle.
- We often don’t know how to handle singleness because we have not spent time studying Scripture about singleness.
I never knew how much Scripture spoke to singleness until a was in a college a year or two. In order to find the depths of these passages we must be students of the Word. We have the common passages, like 1 Corinthians 7, that speak explicitly to singleness. However, we also have monumental amounts of Scripture about the life of a Christian that does not pertain to only the married. We have the Great Commission and the Great Commandment that does not pertain to only the married. Further, we have the longing for Christ that involves everyone.
- Rightly handling our singleness has a lot to do with how we handle our time.
I recently did a study in 1 Corinthians 7 and what it was calling for in our singleness. In this passage Paul explains that singleness is a gift, explains the gift has much to do with time, and then speaks to marriage. We often act as if these sections are not to be read independently as well as together. All of us are anxious to arrive at the section on marriage that we neglect the section on our singleness. He instructs us to use our time of singleness by learning to please the Lord (vs. 32), learn holiness (vs. 34), and to devote ourselves to the Lord (vs. 35).
- We must realize that marriage is the norm in Scripture while singleness is a unique gift, therefore, we are to prize that gift.
Marriage is given to man in the act of Creation. Marriage is established while mankind is being established. There is great purpose in recognizing the norm of marriage and the picture of marriage given by God. While marriage is also considered a gift, singleness is a unique gift that is different from the normal plan of God for His people. Throughout Scripture certain people in the service of God are called to abstain from marriage. Paul speaks much to marriage but he also speaks to the high gift that singleness is. We are to prize the time we have in singleness. The context of Scripture is that singleness is a great gift that is to bring great joy.
- We often view singleness as a time to be selfish when the biblical call to singleness is being freed up to give more of ourselves.
Many times, we treat singleness as if it’s the time to do whatever we want. This is the time to buy expensive things, live life to the fullest, and bask in only being responsible for ourselves. However, once again Paul speaks to our time of singleness as God ordained for more of our time to be given to Him. Singleness is the time we are to learn what it means to rest and serve. In the biblical context, we learn to balance resting in God for contentment and growth and serving Him through the extra time we have been given. Marriage is not the time to settle down and get serious. Marriage is not the time to finally begin figuring out where God is calling you to serve. What if more of us spent out time serving God in our singleness and we met our spouses through serving His Kingdom together.
- We often struggle most in our singleness when we are spending less time with God.
As stated in the beginning, these are reflections of my own time of singleness. This one hits hard. The times I most feel lonely and incomplete is when I am spending the least amount of time with God. I have found out there is a reason for this cause and effect. A future spouse is not the fulfillment to my loneliness or incompleteness, God is! The moment we try to fill the void with someone other than God we will feel empty. I am not marriage and I usually don’t just hand out marriage advice; however, I would venture to say that this is a struggle even in marriage. When we begin to fill a void with something, or someone, other than God it will leave us struggling.
- We often long for a spouse more than we long for Jesus.
In step with thought #6, if we are not spending time with God than we are longing for a spouse over Jesus. The reality is that marriage will not last forever. Paul is clear in Ephesians that all of this is a picture of Jesus and the Church. The book of Revelation uses Jesus’ return with events like the Marriage Supper and Bride of Christ. My prayer is that I will be more excited when Jesus is coming than when I see my future wife coming. I pray that each day I would long for Christ more than I long for the first breathe I consciously take or the first piece of food I eat. What if the world saw us longing for Jesus and finding Him sufficient for our longing for a spouse?
- We often try to find comfort in sexual sins instead of finding contentment in Jesus.
The danger we face in our culture today is the sexual temptation. Our world tells us that our happiness will be fulfilled in physical sex or the imagination of our mind. We are being exploited by a sexually driven world and we are giving in to it. We are built for intimacy, but we are deceived in thinking that only comes through sex. The world makes us confused in a sexually confused society that when we experience elongated singleness the world tells us to diverge from the biblical gender roles or biblical example of marriage between a man and a woman. God provided the greatest gift of intimacy we could ever receive. Ephesians 1 tells us that the Trinity emptied their love into the gift of salvation. May we find fulfillment not in what people can offer us physically but what God has given to us spiritually.
…….I pray that we would see a resurgence of single Christians who are a light to those around them. As singles, we can show the world that this is a gift and that we long for and are satisfied in someone who is greater. We also can give testimony to our future spouses, if the Lord wills, of our foundation in Jesus. We are to spend our time wisely in singleness in order that we can be better prepared for what God calls of us. He may call some of us into marriage and thus we have a better foundation of marriage. He may call some of us into a life of singleness and we have a better foundation to continue giving of ourselves for His Kingdom. Either way singleness and marriage are not eternal. One day our Savior is coming again and the eternal wedding will take place. We will all be completely satisfied and lacking nothing. What a glorious day that will be.