We live in a couples-conscience world. You can look at social media, popular magazines, and even church culture and see the emphasis is in on couples, marriage, and relationships. I find this particularly interesting in church culture because the apostle Paul nor any of the other apostles elevated marriage and dating above anything else. In fact, Paul was single, felt called to be so, and was quite comfortable in his own skin and in his calling from God. Why doesn’t the church teach on this?
I am a single person. Technically I’m a widowed person. I prefer the term single because I don’t like being compared to a spider that eats its mate and is so poisonous and nasty by nature. Single people like myself can have very satisfying, God-honoring lives. In fact, we are often freer to follow the path God has for us because we are less distracted by a more intimate relationship like a marriage. Having been married, I can tell you that you have another person to consider and sometimes you must alter what you want to do in order to make a situation work for both of you. I am not against this aspect of marriage. Yet, having been on the other side, I see now how marriage presents unique challenges to pursing your God-call, especially if you are married to someone who wants to be your “leader” and not your partner in leading. To those of you who have a true partner and co-leader, you are indeed blessed and I salute you.
The church in particular seems to believe that to be single is some sort of oddity or even something to feel sorry about for someone. If that is the case, we should start feeling sorry for Paul. I’m sure he would not need our sympathy. Authors, pastors, and speakers spend a lot of time in the church as a whole trying to get people to not be single. I do not believe this is done out of any kind of real dislike for single people. I do believe it is done from the belief that single people can’t be fulfilling their highest purpose unless they are married. That is furthest from the truth. Did Paul not fulfill his purpose as a single man? How would today’s pastors, teachers, and authors approach Paul if he were living? I believe if Paul were here today, he would correct this fallacy in their logic regarding singleness, God’s purposes, and fulfillment. Why do I say this? The answer is quite simple. Nowhere in the Bible, not even in Paul’s letters, does it say you have to be married to be happy and fulfill your purpose. Yes he addressed marriage and relationships because people were (and are) inevitably married and dealing with relationship issues. He would have been amiss not to deal with those issues. I think we have to ask ourselves how we arrived at the lopsided philosophy that single people have to become married people if the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament did not say that was ever the case.
Singleness is not a disease, it does not need a cure. It is not something that single people like me need you to fix. For my part, if I am single for the rest of my life, I am happy with that and I will be fulfilled by the plans God has for me and those He sends into my life. Many times singleness is a choice. Sometimes, it is a season. Singleness is also a calling and it can be a very rewarding calling. I point to the apostle Paul again as my example. His singleness, nor what people thought of it, bothered him in the least. My singleness and what people think of it does not bother me in the least – they aren’t God, they didn’t make me, and they don’t have their hand on my life. Why should their opinions matter?
I am not saying all of this to say, close yourself off to love or a relationship if God brings a person into your life. Absolutely not! What I am saying is value and revel in singleness as it is for you now. God will show you whether it is a season or whether it is your calling. All of our acceptance and our needs must be met in Him! If our acceptance and needs are not fully met in Him, I can promise you another person will not be able to do that for you. Trust me, I tried that in my own way. It didn’t work!
Above anything I write here today, trust God and trust His call on your life. Listen to what He has to say to you. His opinion is the only on that counts. If you are not a Christian and you are single, this blog is for you too. Regardless of your beliefs, single people are not less as people because we are single. We are just as valuable and just as gifted as our married counterparts. We have much to offer and we must never stop offering what we have to give to this world. Don’t fear your singleness or try to fix it, embrace it! The world needs you just as you are!
1 Corinthians 7:7-8; (the words of the apostle Paul) - I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your 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 do.
1 Corinthians 7:32-34; (the words of the apostle Paul) - But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.