Singleness is not about living for yourself

Following on from yesterdays guest post about singleness, I thought I would share John Piper’s perspective:

piper2-707691-1Paul was so completely committed to a life of celibacy that he longed for everyone to have it. But the reason he loved the single life is exactly the opposite of why many people today love singleness and will even break up marriages in order to be single again. 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. No wife and children had to be taken into account when the mission for Christ was dangerous. No money had to be spent on clothing and educating little Paul junior. No time had to be taken preserving and cultivating his relation to his wife.

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  • Chris Dagostino

    The link directs to an article on sexual sin. Shocker!

    All joking aside, the idea that we’re called to either celibacy or marriage, but never anything in between, is one that needs serious reconsideration. What about those of us with enough self-control and discernment to realize that the current state of the world is not one in which to raise children? What about those who’ve looked extensively into things like No-Fault Divorce and the high divorce rate among Evangelicals?

    “Healthy fear” isn’t always an oxymoron.

  • steve burdan

    Piper good as usual! Though it would be good to have more voices speaking from a place where they haven’t been married almost their entire adult life! This topic is one of those where decades of self-control, community and single exp. can have something unique to say…

    • Philippa Linton

      That would be me. 😉 52 and never married. And happily serving my Anglican church in a voluntary capacity as a Reader (not full time).

      I don’t know about ‘decades of self-control’. To some degree, yes, sure. But hardly 100%. I do wish that evangelical churches wouldn’t pretend that their singles are magically asexual.

      I don’t resent the biblical demands of my faith. And I certainly don’t want pity. I do welcome empathy, and far more awareness from the church in general about what it really means to be a singleton in today’s culture.

      That pic of Piper’s odd hand formation is crying out for a caption, btw. 😀

      • steve burdan

        Good for you sister! My comment was based on my perception that there are a lot of books, articles and blog posts by other sisters, but not enough IMHO from guys – the single dynamics we each face are not interchangeable – women have different impulses and pressures than guys – most obvious is the desire to have children and build a family – this is not reflexive for guys. So it would be great if both church leadership and congregations could be 1. more aware, 2. more sensitive 3. more inclusive for singles – a key goal should be high levels of “single friendliness.” Adult Singles do form the largest demographic in Amer. society….

        • Philippa Linton

          Thanks for the reply! I’m not one to deny differences between the sexes but beware of thinking that there is no interchangeability between women and men on this issue (and others). :) I’ve known single guys who deeply longed to become fathers. And while many women do want to have children, not every woman does: for some, the biological clock never goes off.

          I’m certainly not convinced that single men and women face different PRESSURES, because the pressures seem remarkably similar to me, e.g. the desire for sexual fulfilment, the spectre of loneliness, family expectations, worries about being alone in old age, etc.)

          Perhaps Christian single women are more comfortable about baring their souls on the internet. 😉 Also, there are more Christian single women than men – in the UK, anyway. So that might explain the disparity.

          • steve burdan

            Good Philippa! Sorry, I guess I meant that while pressures may be same or similar, the responses are different, because the genders are different – of course, there is a spectrum of exp. at play, ie guys who want families, women who don’t want children – there is no single absolute portfolio of response to exp…lol.. Plus there is the “baked-in” different of men needing to learn to love women and women respecting men – both require sacrificial effort – despite the weight of media and culture pushing the other way…

            Plenty of single gals in churches in here the US – a key concern to me here is the general knuckleheadness of so many single guys – multiple reasons why they are single and most not good… Yes, gals seem to feel more free in sharing on line, in print or on phone – maybe part of that words-per-day thing?…lol!