The church has not served singles well. Sometimes we communicate the subtle message that “You are incomplete if you are not married or, you haven’t lived, or can’t be fulfilled until you’re married.” This kind of thinking is not God’s view at all. If you are single, I want you to know that you are not unfinished business.
I remained single until I was almost 30 years old. It seemed like people were always trying to hook me up with their daughters, cousins, and sisters. They were anxious for me to leave the ranks of singlehood and find a wife, settle down, and have kids. Whereas I appreciated their motivation, the underlying message, seemed to be that I was incomplete, or that my life hadn’t begun. Sometimes, I know singles feel this way, and married couples in the church have contributed to making them feel this way.
This is not right, and I want to help singles celebrate and maximize their singleness. I believe singles can celebrate and maximize their singleness and make God famous in our world by making three courageous moves. I will talk about one of those courageous moves today and the other two in my next post.
1. Embrace singleness as a blessing.
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. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 1 Corinthians 7:7-8
Paul was single, and highlights and celebrates singleness as a blessing. In fact, he says that he has the ability or the gift of singleness. Now, when we talk about singleness, the Bible says there are three categories of singles:
Singles by gifting or creation (1 Corinthians 7:7): These are individuals who God has given the ability, right now, to live happily ever after, alone. These are people who have no yearning and burning desire to get married. Though they realize they are sexual beings, they are not itching to express themselves sexually in a marital relationship. They are fulfilled and content in their singleness.
Singles by circumstance: (1 Corinthians 7:15): These are singles, who, for a number of reasons, find himself/herself single or single again. Maybe they are single because of divorce or a spouse abandoned them. Maybe they are single because a spouse died. Maybe they are single because no one has asked them to marry them or they simply have not found the right person. Maybe they are single because they have family or school obligations. There are a number of circumstances why a person might still be single.
Single by choice: The Bible (Matthew 19:12) talks about people who could be married if they wanted to, but have decided that something else is more important. Some people are single because they desire to advance God’s work in the world. Others remain single for other reasons:
Making lots of money/personal belongings/financial independence
Avoidance of responsibility of marriage
Having sex without the commitment of marriage
Not wanting to compromise and make adjustments in a committed relationship
Fear of commitment
Fear of losing a spouse through divorce or death
Marriage is inconvenient right now
Loves privacy and freedom
Leaving and returning with questions
You only want to “do you”
Fear of marital failure
Whatever the reason for your singleness, the first step to maximizing and celebrating your singleness is to embrace it as a blessing and not a curse or incompleteness. In this passage, Paul is not commanding Christians to remain single. He only wants to highlight singleness as an option and as a profound blessing.
If you decide to embrace singleness as a blessing and not a curse, God has promised to do something for you:
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Isaiah 56:3-5
God makes an incredible promise to fully devoted singles. Singles who have made a commitment to devote their lives to God, God says: “I will give you a name that is better than any legacy of children.”
You see, this was a significant statement, especially in light of the cultural context of the day. If you were married and had children, then your name could be carried on. If you could not have children, you were considered useless, worthless, and incapable of producing anything, like a dried up tree. Your life didn’t matter.
But, God says to the single person that if you live to please me, I am going to give you a life that changes the world. I am going to give you a name and legacy that will impact the world for decades to come. If you embrace your singleness at this moment, God will use your life as a blessing for many.
Sorry to say, the church and married couples have, unfortunately, made some singles feel like a dried tree, incapable of producing anything because they are not married. Your singleness does not make you incomplete or unfinished business. You are valuable to God and the body of Jesus. Don’t buy what the world is selling. The world is saying that if you are not married or in a relationship that you are not valuable. That is a lie.
You are valuable.
You are loved.
You are treasured.
You are enough.
You are needed.
You are wanted.
Single men and women, if married couples have ever made you feel like unfinished business and incomplete, please forgive us for our insensitivity and lack of understanding. God doesn’t view you as a dried tree. So don’t ever see yourself as useless, worthless, and unable to produce precious fruit. The church would not be standing and making an impact in the world if it were not for single people. You are a treasured gift to the body of Jesus.
If you are to maximize and celebrate your singleness and make God famous in the world, it begins with embracing your singleness as a blessing and not a curse.
Next Post: What is one key in celebrating and maximizing your singleness?
Turn Your Minutes into Moments
Have married couples and the church ever made you feel incomplete or like you were unfinished business?
In what ways have you embraced your singleness?