Singleness. Ah, that wonderful stage in your life when everyone assumes it is their personal responsibility to help you find a significant other. Those in the over-21-and-unmarried category have heard the matchmaking jokes and jabs (you know which ones I mean) countless times. In our Anabaptist culture there appears to be an underlying belief that purpose and fulfillment are found in marriage. Anything else can be perceived as “less than.” One can quickly arrive at the conclusion that if only they were married they would be happier and more effective in God’s kingdom. While marriage is indeed a very good thing, this ideology needs to be challenged.
Singleness Is a Journey
The journey of singleness affects each person differently. Some enjoy the freedoms availed to them by not being tied down to the responsibilities a relationship brings. They are content with waiting a few more years until their singleness is invaded. Others find this state of life difficult and lonely. They wrestle with the longings of unanswered prayers and the ache of empty arms.
Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, know that you do not journey alone. Jesus, who was Himself single, has promised to be with us. He offers fulfillment and satisfaction that no person will ever be able to give (Psalm 107:9). Christ invites us to fully trust that He is working, even through the painful things in our lives, to bring Himself maximum glory.
Singleness Is Advantageous
The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:8, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.”1 Later in the chapter he expounds on the topic, highlighting the advantages that the single believer has been given. They have the freedom to live a life solely focused on pleasing the Lord-a life of undivided interests. Rather than worrying about pleasing their spouse they can be more concerned about holiness in body and spirit. Paul viewed his singleness as advantageous for being more effective in the work of the gospel and wished that all could be like himself in this manner.
David Platt suggests that singleness and marriage are both a gift. Whichever place one finds themselves, that is the gift that God has chosen to give them.2 Singleness is not an affliction that one needs to wait out until God gives them the best–marriage. It is not a period of life that should be filled with the busyness of worldly pleasures to distract oneself from the fact that they are not married. It is an opportunity to live wholly dedicated to God’s mission.
Instead of moping around waiting for “the perfect one” singles should be maximizing the potential of the gift God has currently allocated to them. They have time, freedom, and flexibility that if leveraged correctly can be used for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom for generations to come. What a shame it would be to rob God of the glory He should receive through our lives by being more concerned about getting married.
Singleness Is an Opportunity
Once you are married, you will never have the same opportunities that you had when you were single. There are many avenues for bringing God glory during this time in life.
Seek Christ Above All Else. For every believer the most important calling is to become more like Christ (Col. 3:1-2). At the end of our lives our relationship with Jesus will be the only thing that matters. Time spent communing with Christ is an eternal investment.
Learn Contentment. Marriage will not satisfy us or make us less thoughtful of our own selves. Whether God chooses to bless you with marriage or chooses for you to remain single; learning now to be content will save you much heartache later in life.
Pour Into the Lives of Others. Singles have a unique chance to invest large quantities of time in people outside of their immediate family. Become involved in the lives of adolescents, or volunteer to spend time visiting with the elderly. Don’t be selfish in your relationships. Instead, build friendships outside of your comfort zone that could eternally impact that person’s life.
Cultivate Godliness. Instead of obsessing over finding a Godly companion; focus on becoming more Godly (1 Peter 2:11). It is easy for singles to live a self-seeking life with hidden sins both in thought and deed. Find someone to be accountable to, and practice self-discipline.3
Spend Time in Scripture and Prayer. Married people in my life have often told me to savor the amount of free time I have now. That used to irk me until I realized that my busyness was a result of things I chose to do. Choose to use your time in a God-honoring manner, and develop good habits now in your spiritual walk that will set a precedent for the rest of your life.
Leave Your Comfort Zone. There is more to be experienced in life than hanging out with your same group of friends every weekend. Traveling and experiencing other cultures is much easier when you are not married. Intentionally open your eyes to the ways that God is working globally, and then become involved in sharing the Gospel with all nations (Matt. 28:19-20).
Take Your Desires to Jesus. The desire God has given for marriage is natural and good. Don’t squelch that desire, but rather allow Christ to minister to these areas in your life. He may not fill that actual physical longing, but in Him we find something much better than any person can offer. Amy Carmichael, who never married and lived a radical life committed to sharing the Gospel in India said, “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”4
Singleness Is Temporary
Scripture says that our lives are like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14). Marital status is not permanent; in fact, in Heaven we will no longer marry (Mark 12:25). Even if we are never married in this life, we live with hope. Christ will some glorious day return to claim His bride, the church. When He returns, the hardships of this present life will pale in comparison to the joy of being in His presence!
As Christians our focus needs to be on the most important wedding, the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9). Singles, let us live purposefully with eternity in mind not expending our time waiting and wishing for marriage.
|Rachelle Zook, better known as Shelly, is daily learning more of the Father’s heart while living her dream of doing ministry in a red-light district. She desires to see lives radically transformed through the Gospel, and is passionate about seeing young women embrace godly femininity. In her free time she enjoys: interacting with people, studying theology, riding motorcycle, savoring a good cup of coffee, traveling to new destinations, and delving into the pages of a well-written memoir.
1. 1 Corinthians 7:8 (English Standard Version)
2. Platt, David. “Singleness and the Next Generation.” Radical, 12 June. 2011. Web. 28 September. 2016.
3. Roberts, Vaughan. “Vaughan Roberts On Singleness.” Living Out, n.d. Web. 12 October. 2016.
4. Carmichael, Amy. “Quote by Amy Carmichael.” goodreads, n.d. Web. 14 October. 2016.
All Scripture references derived from the ESV.