To Have and To Hold: Being a Single Christian
As human beings; not robots or trees or sticks of gum, we have feelings, and nobody really likes feeling alone. Nobody especially wants to dwell on the idea that they may never be married or even find that special someone, but the honest truth is, not everyone that God has called will end up married. Now before you give off that loud sigh and start rolling your eyes ladies and gents, hear me out.
You might remember a certain fella in the Bible named Paul; he was an Apostle who never married. Even though Paul very much wasn’t restricted from getting married, it just wasn’t really high up on his things-to-do-list. He was super occupied with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. You see, to our friend Paul, spreading the gospel took precedence over getting hitched. God came first all day everyday. God doesn’t want us to feel alone or be alone, but He doesn’t want us obsessing about it either.
Perhaps there are a few who are saying to themselves, “But you can be married and still spread the gospel, duh. Don’t Pastors have wives? So, Sateigdra, that’s not really a valid explanation for why I shouldn’t be out there trying to hunt down my man or my woman who God has for me.” Roger that. I hear ya. Trust me, I hear you loud and clear. But hear me out for a minute.
That walk down the aisle many females have fantasized about and I’m pretty sure men think about marriage as well, maybe just not as much and in detail as females tend to. For females, from our childhood even into adolescence and later into our adult years we think about marriage. We wonder what our wedding gown will look like, who will be our bridesmaids; usually volunteering all our high school friends for that job. We imagine where we would get married, what our color scheme would be, and every time our favorite slow love song comes on we declare, “That’s going to be my wedding song”.
I know for me the minute I meet a guy I start imagining our entire lives together; even if we only had a few conversations and he seemed like a guy that shares many of the same interests as I do and holds the same values. I would imagine me and this guy’s kids, imagine us out together at events, and just the idea of saying this is my husband to people made me happy. All of that after only knowing Rico Suave for all of five minutes. So, I can relate to it all really. It seems as though it’s in most females to want a family. Even in the fairytales we hear as children, we’re taught that the princess marries the prince and they live happily ever after. But how and why does it go from a simple, healthy, pretty much normal desire to have a family, to an all out life long obsession for some women? Does God really want any of us dedicating our every waking moment to working towards that, or would He prefer it if we left it to Him? Is that the most important thing that’s worth investing our time and focus in this life?
Some women obsess about marriage, and in many cases it’s still while they’re very much single. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married, it’s rather nice wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. What if it turns out that God has another plan for you though, one of singleness and celibacy, will you be willing to relinquish all thoughts of your fairytale wedding? It’s a very hard thing to ask a woman to do, especially when her heart is fixed on getting married to Mr. Right, or when a guy’s heart is fixed on finding Ms. Right. The prospect of marriage for some can be intoxicating. Some young ladies get the warm fuzzies inside thinking about, love and marriage, love and marriage, goes together like a…. but I digress. Obsessing over marriage is not good if a person becomes so manic over it they get to the point where the desire to get married overrides a persons desire to walk faithfully with God.
Many people can become so encapsulated by the thought of searching for that person, or in a constant state of fear that they will die alone, they become willing to bend a few rules just to keep or find who they think is that special someone. Even if those rules have been set in place by God, some people just don’t care at that point. As far as they’re concerned, they waited their whole life for that moment. If he or she is good looking, intelligent, witty, fun, say that they’re a Christian, but in reality are not really walking in truth, most people don’t care, as far as they are concerned Mr. Tall, dark, and handsome is heaven sent.
Some become so blind, they don’t even stop and ask God, “Is this Him? or “Is this Her?” Maybe it’s too much sparkles or mascara or a piece of eyelash or whatever it is in their eyes, smoke maybe, who knows, but the point is they’re blinded, and the first thing that is served on their first date is an order of compromise. Some people, once their eyes meet, they’re like, “Yeah, I’ll have him to go please, thank you.” When lust leads instead of God, you end up in a dangerous place. Lets’ be honest, how many truly ask God, after they pray for that special someone, for His will to be done and not theirs? It just may happen that it is His will for you to get married and you didn’t get married simply because you felt you deserved it, or because you, out of desperation, opened an account on every single dating social website out there, which are also dens for pedophiles and pervs by the way, just saying, but because it was God’s good acceptable and perfect will. How awesome is that.
Now back to that, what I think some may find an insufferable question, what if it is God’s will that you remain single whilst doing work for Him, remaining chaste for the rest of your days? Really think about it though, give that question some serious meditation for a second, because nobody ever really thinks of that as an option. Some think it’s being negative or pessimistic to wonder or even dear to mention such madness, but there is nothing negative or pessimistic about putting reality into perspective, but I guess that’s only if you’re not one of those people who don’t see an unmarried life as the worst possible outcome for a person.
There are many believers that have never been married and went on to live happy lives, not fornicating and serving the Lord. Does it mean their life was valued any less by God, because they didn’t take that strut down the center of the church with “Here comes the Bride” playing in the background, they’re listless and lived a bleak life? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. God has a special plan designed for each of our lives, a plan that was created before we were even born and for some, a part of that plan may not be for you to have a husband or a wife, but to dedicate your all to the work of God.
Many people that obsess about things of the world end up compromising to have those things. To be clear, I am not saying marriage is of the world, if that were the case, we as believers who are called to separate from the world should not marry, but that’s not what I’m getting at here. The unity of a man and a woman, man leaving his mother and father and cleaving to his wife, marriage, is from God. “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” Matthew 10:9 KJV.
It is a joining together of two people that nobody or anything should break up. Just because it may not be God’s will for your life for you to be married, doesn’t mean marriage is an ungodly thing, because it is not. If only for our own benefit, or perhaps for the benefit of others as well, we should not become so fixated on the idea or become so depressed that we are still single, that it clouds our judgment and we forget, or can’t even be bothered to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus and be ready at any given time to give an answer for the hope that is within us.
In scripture it is written that, “It is good for a man to remain as he is, Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek to be bound.” 1 Corinthians 7:27. It also goes on to say that even if you do marry it is not a sin. Paul said all of this simply to express how being single isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world, it actually has its good side to it. If indeed you are single, that is, not bound to anyone, you will be free of the cares a married person has. “When a person is married he or she has to be concerned with the things of the world that he or she may please their partner” 1 Corinthians 7:33. This doesn’t mean you are free to fornicate and participate in as many sexually immoral acts that your body will permit. Christian by day, contortionist by night.
We are not to use our freedom as a cloak for vice, as written in the Holy Scriptures, 1 Peter 2:16. If you’re single you’re free of the myriad of concerns a married person would rightly have, so you can spend more time and focus on caring for the things of the Lord.1 Corinthians 7. That isn’t so horrible is it? It’s another way to look at a single life, a way to encourage you, not to bring you to a point of despair. Even though you don’t have that person to double date with Jill and Bill, you can use your single time to grow with the Lord. Yes, there are many Christians and non-believers out there that are not content at all with being single. As far as they’re concerned, “Why on earth would anyone want to be content with being single?” This is because so many people have been conditioned by movies and music to believe a single life equates to a losers life, and if you’re single it’s because you resemble a mutant or something. Not trying to justify this, but I could see why so many people get depressed and some end up hurting themselves or even others.
I think a lot of people have heard before that they shouldn’t allow Hollywood to dictate how their lives are suppose to turn out, but people still don’t listen, stubborn to a fault. It’s kind of like the lie about sex that the media also perpetuates. That if you’re not having sex you’re probably going to die, or you’re missing out on something major, or the worst case scenario, you will suffer from a severe case of genital cobwebs. Ridiculousness is not only a TV show; it’s what many people are being fed on a daily basis. There is never a slow day wherever foolishness is being sold or bought. The merchants are wallowing in your gullibility and the patrons, well, another one bites the dust.
For many the idea of never being married is a very dismal prospect, and it’s somewhat understandable because nobody truly wants to be alone. For those who truly love the Lord being single or married should not be a stumbling block. For many single men and women, young and old, who are consumed with wanting to be in a relationship, any mention of laying those ambitions of marriage aside and focusing on greater things whilst single, is crazy talk. If you tell them that they should spend more of their energy and time focusing on cultivating their relationship with God first and foremost, they would say you’re unrealistic.
Somebody called me an alien once because I said it’s possible to enjoy being single. I’ve never really been someone who was given over to flights of fantasy, and I have always thought the idea of a person having a “soul mate” was nothing more than that, a school girl’s fantasy. If indeed there is such a thing as a “Soul mate” and everyone has one, what about those who never end up getting married? I guess people would say, “Oh, they just never found their soul mate.” You would think that if each human being who has been created by God, having had created specifically for them a mate, wouldn’t they, no matter what the odds were against them, at least meet. If not, then wouldn’t that throw the entire idea of there even being a “Soul mate” straight out the window?
It’s a bit odd to hear people at weddings say, “Oh, they found their soul mate.” Okay, and if the marriage happens to end, like so many of these marriages nowadays unfortunately, then that wasn’t their soul mate I suppose? How many more persons must one cavort with before they find this particular person created just for them? I do believe that because God fashioned our days for us, every single person that we encounter during our lives we were meant to meet because they were already placed in our path before we even began to walk. But I don’t know too much about one specific person being created for each human to have as a mate for life, maybe some people have one, may……be.
There may be occasions where God permits you to be with the person you select. When Jacob saw Rachel he wanted to marry her, but he ended up marrying Leah instead, but he eventually married Rachel also. Rebekah was chosen for Isaac by God. I don’t think this is evidence of a person having a soul mate; but more so that it is evidence of God’s sovereignty. “There are many plans in a man’s heart but it is God’s will that prevails”. Proverbs 19:21. Let’s just say, what if, and this is a big what if for me, the idea of soul mates wasn’t exactly cray cray and there is somebody special for everyone? Run with me on this, I’m willing to view both sides of the coin here. What if that person may not be the person they end up marrying, but perhaps ends up simply being a companion, you’re best friend. That’s the gist of one of the definitions that popped up when I Googled the word.
For the most part, when people think of the word soul mate, what they’re referring to is somebody created to have an inner connection for life with their soul, a spouse, not “just friends”, you know that whole “friend zone” thing that some guys dread to be in because they want to be able to have sex with you and not just talk on the phone and take you shopping and stuff, that’s really horrible that some guys think that way about girls by the way; and if the soul mate thing was real, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be what it’s all about.
David had a best friend in Jonathan, and on account of the both of them being men, we know that they weren’t soul mates by the world’s definition of the word; they were just bff, best friends forever. Perhaps it’s just that, a mate for life, but not necessarily somebody you mate for life. Ya dig? I feel the need to add, simply because I know how busy the devil is, David and Jonathan were only friends. The enemy has placed some perversions in many persons minds and has people thinking David and Jonathan were more than that, but you all know that devil is a liar, and God did not create people to be gay.
Am I going to die single? Am I going to go my whole life without ever having experienced the joys of marriage? Am I ever going to find Mr. or Ms. Right? Am I going to be miserable if I don’t find “The One”? Is there really such a thing as a, “Soul mate”? How many singles have asked themselves those very same questions, and have also been pining away in fear that they will never meet that special someone? I can tell you this, looking through your friends wedding photos or random couple photos on the social networks you frequent will not help; in fact, they will only make you plunge into depression if you’re already feeling bad about your life.
Wanting someone else’s life is covetous, and it’s really easy to covet another person’s life if you’re not careful. Besides, on those social networks the majority of the time, people only post their celebratory moments, so you go on believing everyone’s life is perfect, and if not perfect, much better than yours. They post pictures of their graduation, a party, reunions, a new car, a pet, their marriage, or just somewhere really fantastic, and you never get invited to places like that.
It would be unwise to draw conclusions on anyone’s entire life based on a few still shots on the internet. No ones life is filled with ups all the time. There are real moments in life, candid moments, rocky moments, you would rarely see people share those, why should they I guess, private vulnerable moments are just that, private. Most people want to have that perfect life and since there is no such thing, they’ll just find a way to project it, either by dressing a certain way and driving a certain car or claiming to know a certain popular person, but deep down inside they’re miserable, and they don’t know any “popular” people any more than they know a can of paint.
There are people out there that love being envied, so they will only present a life that most would find enviable, even though it’s only smoke in mirrors they don’t care, and most don’t even realize. I’ll call them “The Pretenders”. Even though somebody may slit their wrists from envying the facade of a life the pretenders display, the pretenders don’t care. These people who you follow and admire and think they’re life is perfect, could care less if you ran into on coming traffic because your life wasn’t up to par with theirs. Most of the time the pretenders have no idea who you are. Whenever you’re feeling down, really depressed, please don’t harm yourselves or anyone else, what’s making you sad isn’t something that is only happening to you, you’re not the only person on planet earth that has off days, and nobody really lives in ‘Pleasantville’. Remember my friend, you’re not alone when you begin to feel alone, there are others who can relate to what you’re going through, and most importantly God is there, “He’s working it out for you”. Those are lyrics from one of my favorite gospel songs from Shirley Caesar way back in the day.
All of this is I shared here with you all is not to say relationships are not important in this life, they are, but there are many different types of relationships one can have that can add a lot to a persons life, and not all of them involve sex, in fact, most of them will not. But regardless of whatever other relationships you establish, your relationship with God is supposed to take center stage. It is the most important relationship a person will ever have. Yet for most, having a boyfriend or girlfriend is at the forefront of their life. There are people who lose sleep over it, who pray relentlessly for God to send them their “Soul mate”, but how many people pray for contentment? Isn’t it Godly to be content?
Contentment whilst single doesn’t mean loneliness coupled with misery. It means no matter what the circumstances may be in your life, you still give God the glory and the praise. As long as you have breath in your body there is room to be content and for hope. It is satan that wants you brooding away over certain things, in most cases it’s simply to distract you from what is paramount, God’s will. Who’s to say if after you have fixed your eyes on Jesus Christ, that He won’t send that special someone right there to you. Are we not supposed to seek ye first the Kingdom of God first, then all these thing will be added? I think many have forgotten that, and seek the things first, but things won’t lead you to the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is where you should to want to be.
Where does our joy come from, is it not from the Lord? If you believe you will never be happy because you are single or unmarried, then you believe that true joy only comes from another human being, sadly, many believers have this attitude. Wouldn’t that be considered claiming your allegiance to God in word, but in deed denying His power? God is the creator of joy, He is able to make you content even if you are unmarried, even in the most grim circumstances life may bring, and as long as we are in this tent, this earthly body, there will be moments we would prefer not to go through, but we must, remembering to “Rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation”, Romans 12:12.
God knows the desires of your hearts, don’t be so impatient, wait for Him. If it happens He wills that you be married, and you and your partner are not unequally yoked, both having the fear of the Lord, remaining steadfast in prayer seeking His council on all things, you will have a blessed marriage, but you must trust in Him. We must remember to remain in a state of sobriety, not getting so drunk on desires and forget how to conduct ourselves. This isn’t to establish a mob against marriage, marriage if done correctly is beautiful, if done correctly. There have been more things written to young adults about pursuing the one they want, how-to’s on how to find that special someone and how to know if he or she is the right one. But my friends, what I have presented here, is just a little change in perspective on the way a single person can look at their life. Perhaps it can release some from the pangs of depression and give them some hope, most importantly to establish patience and trust in our God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Paul’s Instructions Concerning Sex and Marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 (joebuchanan.wordpress.com)