If you ever go into a bookstore, and you look for books on living life, you find all kinds of books on being a husband or wife, on how to raise your boys, on Mothering in a godly way or being a parent, but you don’t find hardly any books on living life well as a Single.
We place a high value on the institution of marriage, and rightly so, but in doing so, we relegate single people to the back of the bus. I have noticed that as we get older (especially in the church) we want to help the single people find a mate! If you are married with kids, how often do we invite someone single over to dinner versus another family?
Now granted, often there are more families than singles, but that doesn’t mean that we exclude them from fellowship. However, that is often what we do. And for the single person, it becomes hard to live that way for long without being bombarded with questions.
- Have you met anyone yet?
- When are you going to think about getting married?
- Perhaps even questions about their sexuality.
My question today is this…
Is it OK to be a single Christian in the church or can a person choose to be single for at least a time after entering adulthood? And as a single Christian living in this world, how is it that I should be playing my part in society and the church?
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.
I want all of us to understand that being Single can be Good! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8 “It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am”. Some of you who are single may be thinking right about now, “What is good about being single”?
I am sure there are few married people that you know who can tell you. But single people know that sometimes it can be lonely, boring and seemingly unfulfilling! And to top that all off, hasn’t God designed marriage for everyone?
Is Marriage for Everyone?
While I would agree that marriage is the norm for most people, but it is not necessarily for everyone. Look at Jesus. He wasn’t married but in his physical life lived purposefully and fulfilled.
You may be thinking, “Well that is God, He can do that”. Well, what about Paul? He said that it was good to remain unmarried as he was. The fact of the matter is that while marriage will be the norm, God has not created each of us the same. Even though things can be generally true about people, they are not always true.
I could say something like women are more emotional than men and that would be true, but I am sure we could all come up with some exceptions. I could say that men are stronger than women and again, it would be true, but there are exceptions. The point is that even when something is generally true, it doesn’t mean that it is true for every person.
It’s A Good Thing!
Paul tells us in these verses that staying single will be beneficial for some people. So we see that for some people it can be good to remain single, and that is OK. And we, as the church, need to be OK with that too.
Now if the person is looking for a mate, this is not wrong, but we should not try to play matchmaker with someone who is choosing a single life. And we need to help them continue to be incorporated into the life of the church. Invite a single person you know over for dinner. Integrate them into your activities. We need to work at helping singles feel part of the body in the church.
And we need to be able to accept and honor a persons decision to stay single if that is what they choose for that point in time in their life.
What Good Things?
So what are the good things about being single?
Paul tells us.
those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
I would like you to be free from concern.
So is he saying that married people will face trouble and single people won’t? Or if you are single you won’t have any concerns in life? Of course not! If you are a Christian, you can count on facing trouble, whether married or single.
Jesus told us:
33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So what does Paul mean then?
He means that when you marry, you have new responsibilities and cares and you will not only face your own troubles, but you will experience trouble when your wife or a child faces trouble as well.
When you get married, you become one with another person and while you experience joy in that relationship, you will also experience more troubles because of more responsibilities that come along with marriage.
I always like to get practical, so practically speaking, in what ways will you have reduced troubles by staying single?
Reduced Financial Responsibilities
You may have heard the saying 2 can live as cheap as one, and while there is some truth to that, in terms having only to pay one rent per month or one mortgage, beyond that, it does not hold true.
And if you add a child into the mix then that equation goes completely out the window. Kids are down right expensive. You Feed them, House them, Provide clothing that never seems to fit for more than a season, Pay for schooling, etc
When you get married, kids are often part of the mix and they will definitely add to your financial responsibilities. So remaining single will give you reduced financial responsibilities versus if you were married.
Singles will also be spared additional troubles by having having less time responsibilities.
Reduced Time Responsibilities
When you are married, you have responsibilities to be with your spouse and if you have kids you have time commitments to them. These are all part of being a godly husband and father or wife and mother.
I have written extensively about many of these responsibilities over the course of several years leading Manly Training Ministries. Well, being single, frees you from some of the time commitments that married life brings about. Being in a committed relationship means committing time to your family. That is what being a family is about, spending time together. You are going to have to spend time doing what the other person likes sometimes.
Guys, you may have to go to some sappy movie on occasion. Ladies, you might have to see an action movie now and again. When you are married, you no longer have as much freedom with your time, because you have made commitment to a spouse.
Now being single Christian doesn’t mean that you have freedom to sin or do absolutely anything you can think of, but you are free from the level of concern that a married person would have.
Wow! We should all be single. It sounds great.
No responsibilities, nobody else to worry about, more cash and more time for me. That’s awesome!
Now the last thing God or Paul or myself want to see is people going out to lunch after reading this and someone saying, honey, in light of Eduardo’s message today, I think God is calling me to the single life.
All Paul is saying is that if you are single, consider some of the advantages of remaining that way. In what ever situation we find ourselves, we too often focus on the negative aspects of it. Married people do it. “Oh to be single and free from the responsibilities”. Singles do it. “Oh to be married and find that completeness that God wants to give through a spouse”.
We need to think about the advantages of the situation we are in. And if you are single, there are some advantages.
Practicalities of Singleness
How should you live in light of these advantages? I want to get into some of the practicalities of what a single person should be doing. Now I realize that there are some who choose the single life and others who have it thrust upon them but they are not looking to remain that way. Whatever the situation is for you, God has a plan for it. Come back for the second part of this important topic where we will take a deep look at making your singleness count!
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