The gift of singleness
Making the most of your time as a single person.
Different gifts for different people
Now I want to start by acknowledging that I just got married. So in one sense, it seems funny for me to write an article about singleness. But I have been single before, even though I may not have wrestled with this issue (in a personal sense) as much as others have. But let’s have a look at how the Bible describes singleness - you might be surprised.
In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul spends a good deal of time answering questions the Corinthian church had about marriage and singleness. Here is what he says in verses 7-9:
I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Paul says that our particular life circumstances are a gift. Being married is a good gift, and being single is a good gift. They are both from God. The Bible encourages us to be godly, whatever our relationship status - married or single. There are advantages to both, and there are real struggles in both. But whatever our status, we are to follow God.
It’s kind of like comparing living in the country to living in the city. There are good things and bad things about both. But both are gifts from God, and wherever we live, we are to glorify Him.
The other category that comes to mind, of course, is "dating". There are a number of helpful articles on dating on Fervr already, so check them out (start here) for more. For now, let's just say the same principle applies - we are to bring glory to God in whatever our life circumstance is.
The benefits of being single
As we focus in on God’s gift of singleness, we'll want to think through how to glorify God as a single person.
Like I mentioned before there are some real genuine struggles to being single.
- Maybe your friends are pressuring you to go out with a guy or girl
- Maybe you get teased for not having a boyfriend / girlfriend
- Maybe you feel really lonely
Again I want to acknowledge that those feelings and struggles are very real. But we need to be careful that we don’t set up marriage as an idol. We can’t think that getting married, or even getting a boyfriend or girlfriend for that matter, will solve all our problems. Don’t hear me wrong, I love marriage! But it has some real struggles - struggles that wouldn’t be there if I was single. So relationships and marriage don’t take away struggles, they just give you a whole different set.
But just like marriage has many joys and advantages, so does being single!
Here is how Paul describes it:
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife - and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
Like Paul said: when you're single, you can devote more time and energy to the Lord and his affairs. You are not distracted by your responsibility to another person. For me, for example, before I was married I would go on two camps almost every school holidays - 2 weeks back to back. But now, I still go on camps, but only one at a time and not as many, because I need to be home to look after my wife.
Making the most of your singleness
There are some great advantages to being single. But the biggest and best one is that you can have all this time to serve God. More time to go on camps, go to youth group, read the bible with other people, pray, help out at church.
Singleness is a real blessing. It’s important to not think of marriage as the ultimate end goal. The end goal is trusting Jesus and living for him until he comes back, regardless of your relationship status. So don’t spend your time wishing away your singleness, waiting to get married or be in a relationship, saying “When I get married…”. The real question is “while I’m not married, how can I best serve God?”
Use this season of life to bring glory to God. Singleness is a gift, don’t wish it away.