Singleness: Moving Past the Myths to See the Truth
Singleness is a gift to be enjoyed, not a problem to be solved. Now before I lose most of you, just hear me out. What if God never intended for your days as a single guy or girl to be spent simply waiting for that perfect person to come waltzing into your life? What if instead He wants you to use these days, however long they may be, by pouring yourself into Him and into the lives of those around you?
Moving Past the Myths About Singleness
1. The single life is an incomplete life. The belief behind this myth is that if you're single, you must be missing something, like a puzzle that would finally be finished if we were only able to find that one missing piece. The simplest answer here is to look at the perfectly complete and fulfilling life of our Savior. If singleness was good enough for Jesus to fulfill everything the Father wanted of him, then it can be for you too. Russell Moore rightly warns us of going too far on the other end, “If single people are deficient people, then we are following a deficient Savior.”
2. If you're single, something is wrong with you. We all know how it goes, "Are you dating anyone?" "No." What's the response? "Why not?" or "Oh" or "Hey! It's okay, I know someone." What's the assumption? You're a problem that needs fixing. What's the reality? God is not punishing you by keeping you single, He is sanctifying you.
3. Singleness is all about waiting. For many people, the only purpose of being single is to wait for a spouse. I can honestly say, this was the myth I believed above all the others. "Once I get married, then I can really begin to live my life." The only problem here is that we're subtly saying only married people fully enjoy all this life has to offer, and that couldn't be further from the truth.
4. If I were just content, I wouldn't be single anymore. You may have heard it before, that well-meaning married man or women, "Once I was completely content in my singleness, then God brought ______ into my life." What's actually being said? Once you're content, then you'll get what you really want. Contentment in Christ then becomes a means to an end, rather than the end itself. When we do this, we elevate the gifts above the Giver.
5. If you want to be married, God will provide a spouse. Simply put, God never promises to fulfill every physical, relational, or material desire we may have in this life. All of us, to one degree or another, have good desires that remain unfulfilled. That's part of the curse of living in a fallen world. He does, however, promise to fill us with everything we need in Him. "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11).
Seeing the Truth About Singleness
1. Singleness is a gift. The Apostle Paul not only valued singleness, but he even saw it as a gift from God like any other. 1 Cor. 7:6-7, "Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." If singleness is a gift, then that means it has a purpose in God's kingdom.
2. Singleness frees you from certain distractions. Relationships and marriage require two things: time and attention. With each of these come the temptation to lose sight of our priorities. According to Paul in 1 Cor. 7:32-34, the single man or women has a unique opportunity, "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."
3. Singleness is an opportunity for devotion, not desperation. If you're free from the inevitable distractions a relationship can provide, what should you be doing? We'll let Paul answer that for us in 1 Cor. 7:35, "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." What if you replaced the constant question, "Who will I marry one day?" with "Who can I invest my life in today?" Jesus had his twelve. Paul had Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Mark, and many others. Who is it for you? What would your wholehearted devotion to Christ in your singleness say to the world around you?
4. Singleness keeps you focused on your mission. 1 Cor. 7:31 - "For the present form of this world is passing away." Married or single, this world is passing away. Our time here is short. The need for the Gospel is great. David Brainerd, a single missionary to the Native Americans in the mid-1700s, challenges all of us,"I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls for Christ. While I was asleep I dreamed of these things, and when I awoke the first thing I thought of was this great work. All my desire was for the conversion of the heathen, and all my hope was in God."
5. Singleness gives you Jesus. Jesus, not marriage, is the ultimate goal of singleness. If you are in Christ, you are forever chosen, adopted, redeemed, loved, and sealed in Him. Single or married, that never changes. If you are single, you are not limited in your ability to develop a deep and vibrant relationship with Christ. Marriage is a wonderful tool for sanctification. But so is singleness.
“Like Jesus, we can live in a way that anticipates what is to come. Singleness now is a way of saying that this future reality is so certain and so good that we can embrace it now. It is a way of declaring to a world obsessed with sexual and romantic intimacy that these things are not ultimate, and that in Christ we possess what is.” - Sam Allberry
Steele Wright. Soccer enthusiast. Hopelessly optimistic Vol.
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