If she has been given the gift of living as a single person, she must be willing to do so, prepare to do so, and look for the work in Lord’s vineyard that doubtless He has for her. She must not dread the future, looking at it apprehensively, but must recognize that the Lord never calls His children without providing them the help that they need to accomplish His will and the ability to be happy in doing it.
The normal state is marriage, not celibacy. A man and wife – not single persons – were put into the garden. Celibacy is exceptional and it takes a particular gift. Indeed, God specifically declared that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). He insists, as the norm, that a man must leave his father and mother and “cleave to his wife” (Gen. 2:24). God ordained marriage for His purposes. Those purposes are outlined in Scripture.
Through no fault or choice of my own, I am unable to express my sexuality in the beauty and intimacy of Christian marriage, as God intended when He created me a sexual being in His own image. To seek to do this outside of marriage is, by the clear teaching of Scripture, to sin against God and against my own nature. As a committed Christian, then, I have no alternative but to live a life of voluntary celibacy. I must be chaste not only in body, but in mind and spirit as well. Since I am now in my 60’s I think that my experience of what this means is valid. I want to go on record as having proved that for those who are committed to do God’s will, His commands are his enablings… My whole being cries out continually for something I may not have. My whole life must be lived in the context of this never-ceasing tension. My professional life, my social life, my personal life, my Christian life – all are subject to its constant and powerful pull. As a Christian I have no choice but to obey God, cost what it may. I must trust Him to make it possible for me to honor Him in my singleness. That this is possible, a mighty cloud of witnesses will join me to attest. Multitudes of single Christians in every age and circumstance have proved God’s sufficiency in this matter. He has promised to meet our needs and He honors His word. If we seek fulfillment in Him, we shall find it. It may not be easy, but whoever said that Christian life was easy? The badge of Christ’s discipleship was a cross. Why must I live my life alone? I do not know. But Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. I believe in the sovereignty of God, and I accept my singleness from his hand. He could have ordered my life otherwise, but He has not chosen to do so. As his child, I must trust His love and wisdom.
My most earnest of all pleas to singles is abandonment of the self, surrender to Christ of all unfulfilled longings, an unequivocal willingness to receive whatever God assigns, and a determination to practice the sacrificial principle of Isaiah 58:10-11. Life becomes not only far simpler, but surprisingly joyful and free.
God made us to be in relationship with others, but your most important relationship is with Him. In human relationships you get a taste of the happiness, meaning, and fulfillment that ultimately are only to be found, in their fullest form, in Him. So don’t let yourself be fooled into believing that a romantic relationship will be the most satisfying experience of your life. Instead, thank God for the tastes that you have had that remind you of what His love is like, and ask Him to give you a desire for a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Trust Him with your hopes for a relationship and ask for His wisdom and guidance when you enter into one. Most of all, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can continue growing in your ability to love others (William Smith).
It is commonly accepted among men today that the great danger is to get married too early. The thought of marriage is approached with fear and trepidation, with the threat of what the man will lose mainly in mind. But in the view of Genesis 2 – and in our experience in ministering to singles – the greater danger is what will happen to the man if he doesn’t marry. It is not good for a single man to develop selfish and otherwise sinful habits. It is not good for a man to grow older without the sanctifying influences of a wife and children. It is not good for a man to battle with sexual frustrations. (The same things might be said about a woman, too, but the Bible is specifically talking here about the man.) What is good for a man is to seek a relationship that will blossom into marriage – the sooner in adult life, the better (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
[A godly single] answers God’s calling in his/her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give him/her happiness or purpose (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
For the majority of adult Christians, singleness is not a gift but a trial (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
If you cannot be contented in singleness, you will not be contented in marriage… No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Too many singles think that life starts only with marriage. But singles must cultivate a purposeful life of Christian growth and service. You are not stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting to land at the great airport of life. The habits you develop as a single will carry over into marriage, and you will probably pass them on to your children. Remember, it is death – not a wedding – that removes every vestige of sin and presents us glorious before God. As singles, we must cultivate godly habits and the fruit of the Spirit that enables us to lead holy and effective lives (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Intimacy should therefore follow commitment; commitment is the cup into which intimacy is safely poured and from which it is wholesomely enjoyed (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Commitment, intimacy, and interdependence – these are the building blocks by which a healthy dating relationship grows toward marriage. They start out small – a first date does not and normally should not involve a great deal of commitment, intimacy, or interdependence – but as a couple desires to grow toward marriage, they should pray for these qualities to grow in their relationship and they should give of themselves along these lines. This is, by the way, the best way to develop a healthy marriage. A strong marriage draws from the relationship that was developed before the wedding, a relationship that grew according to the architectural plans of God’s design in creation (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Paul would not surrender his singleness, nor even allow it to be despised. It had its unique advantages of freedom for Christ, and he wants others to join him in it. Singleness was not curse; it was an opportunity. The biblical implication is that sexual intimacy is not an ultimate need for a full and well-spent life. Jesus Christ never experienced it. And when our culture says you can have it all, married or single, it not only contradicts the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 15:19) but makes Him out to be a fool for choosing chastity and claiming to give fullness – mark the word, FULLNESS of joy – to all who trust Him: “That My joy might be in you and your joy might be FULL” (John 15:11).
Today singleness is cherished by many because it brings maximum freedom for self-realization. You pull your own strings. No one cramps your style. But Paul cherished his singleness because it put him utterly at the disposal of the Lord Jesus …. The contemporary mood promotes singleness (but not chastity) because it frees from slavery. Paul promotes singleness (and chastity) because it frees for slavery—namely slavery to Christ.
Today singleness is cherished by many because it brings maximum freedom for self-realization. You pull your own strings. No one cramps your style. But Paul cherished his singleness because it put him utterly at the disposal of the Lord Jesus… The contemporary mood promotes singleness (but not chastity) because it frees from slavery. Paul promotes singleness (and chastity) because it frees for slavery – namely slavery to Christ.
God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and He gives you and extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.
Children are born into God’s family and receive their inheritance not by marriage and procreation but by faith and regeneration. Which means that single people in Christ have zero disadvantage in bearing children for God and may, in some ways, have great advantage. The apostle Paul was single in Christ, and he said of his converts, “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your Father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). Paul was a great father and never married. And does he not speak beautifully for single women in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 when he writes, “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children?” So it will be said of many single women in Christ, “She was a great mother and never married.”
It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and His kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage. As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church
1. that the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
2. that relationships in Christ are more permanent; and more precious, than relationships in families;
3. that marriage is temporary and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church – the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face-to-face;
4. and that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance form this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.
Ten Reasons Why Single Adults Are Turned Off by the Church:
10. Frivolous jokes degrade the single lifestyle.
9. Church leadership is mainly interested in the interests and needs of married people.
8. Budgeted funds for single ministry are usually inadequate or nonexistent.
7. Singles feel the church neglects them.
6. There is a perception that single adults are morally loose.
5. Marriage is portrayed as normal for everyone.
4. The emphasis on “family church” really means couples and kids.
3. All singles are lumped into the same category as “unmarried.”
2. Divorced personas feel rejected.
1. Singles often feel left out.
Fifteen Ways for Leaders to Develop a “Single Friendly” Church:
1. Emphasize the family of God church.
2. Ask God to open your heart to reach singles for Christ.
3. Institute an annual Single’s Day.
4. Preach one sermon a year especially directed toward single adults.
5. Plan special things for single parents.
6. Speak to the singles Sunday school class or evening meeting.
7. Develop and train single adults to be leaders in the ministry.
8. Discourage jokes about single adults needing to get married.
9. Incorporate sermon illustrations that apply to single adults.
10. Encourage singles to get involved in every area of your church.
11. Publish a list of ministry opportunities that single adults especially could fill.
12. Present sermon topics and Sunday school class subjects that attract single adults.
13. Give sermons on building a marriage before you get married.
14. Highlight single adults in the Bible.
15. Contact brainstorming sessions with single adults on how to develop a powerful ministry to singles in your area.
First, there is no “gift of singleness” if by gift we mean a supernatural outpouring accompanied by some kind of revelation that it is God’s hidden will that you remain single all your days. I would suggest that there are two proper ways to speak of this gift. First, if you are single, you have the gift of singleness… The “gift” of which Paul speaks is the freedom that comes to us when we are not burdened with pleasing our spouse… Second, I believe we can speak of the gift of singleness if by that we simply mean a lack of a current pressing need to marry. I too have this kind of the gift at present. I am sympathetic to men who are eager to marry, or in certain circumstances, to remarry. But I do not at present share that urgency. Indeed I honestly can’t imagine remarrying. I am savvy enough, however, to know that this could change in a moment. God’s Word gives me liberty. If the desire comes to marry I would be without sin to do so. I would not be turning up my nose at some kind of pseudo-charismatic “gift” God had given me. I’d be giving thanks for the wife He would be giving me.
How can you know if you have the gift [of singleness]? If you are not married, and are at peace about it, you have the gift, even if you hope one day to marry. God does not allow us to peek into our own future. And Paul in [1 Corinthians 7], if he is encouraging anything, is encouraging us to embrace our liberty. Insofar as you are not breaking God’s law you may do as you wish. If you marry, give thanks for the gift of marriedness. If you are single, give thanks for the gift of singleness. Indeed in all things give thanks.
Apart from sexual temptation, the greatest danger which I think we face [as singles] is self-centeredness. We may live alone and have total freedom to plan our own schedule, with nobody else to modify it or even give us advice. If we are not careful, we may find the whole world revolving around ourselves.