A single woman in our church told me after the sermon, "I've been a Christian for 20 years and I've never heard a sermon on singleness before". That's a shame.
And when churches are silent on things like singleness unbiblical views often take root and become a part of the church culture. Texts like 1 Corinthians 7 and the very life and ministry of Jesus push back on the misconceptions like single people are incomplete and need to find a spouse.
Generally, the church has made too much of marriage (it's a good gift from God but not the be-all-end-all for a full, successful, godly life) and too little of singleness, which has led to innumerable insensitive remarks to singles in our midst and a lack of intentionality on the part of the broader church to be a vibrant community for the singles among us.
So without further ado here are...
5 WAYS YOU CAN BE FULFILLED & FLOURISH AS A SINGLE, UNMARRIED PERSON
1. FIND YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
This is for everybody.
We place our identity in lesser, temporal things that are fleeting. Yet we can’t take our bank accounts with us when we die, how high the job ladder we climbed won’t matter, how big our house was will be completely insignificant. What matters in this life is what we did with Jesus — He’s all that’s eternal — and therefore our identities should be in Christ.
For many singles, the prospect of a spouse is consuming. A spouse is not meant to be a god, they’re meant to be a gift. A spouse is seen as a god and not a gift when: To find a spouse would be heaven; and, Not to would be hell.
"A spouse is not meant to be a god, they’re meant to be a gift."
Our hearts are created to worship something — they always do. But only God is the Divine that our hearts were designed to worship. Our identity, as Christians — as human beings, is meant to be wrapped up in Jesus.
Like every Christian, singles need to wrestle their identity issues through and make Jesus their identity.
2. CULTIVATE DEEP, CHRISTIAN FRIENDSHIPS
The Apostle Paul had deep friendships. He and Barnabas spent years on church planting missions together, and because the Bible's real life they — like many friends — had a falling out at one point (Acts 15). Paul and Silas did prison time together. Luke the gospel writer and recorder of the Acts of the Apostles was by Paul's side a lot. Paul didn't just have male friends, he also had female friends like Phoebe and couple friends like Priscilla & Aquilla.
Timothy was Paul's young protege. There's
Singleness shouldn't equate to aching loneliness. Paul's life was not void of deep, Christian friendships. The whole church needs to be mindful of this and make every effort to have friendships with married couples, singles, older and younger generations, and all manner of ethnicities.
When God made Adam, the Bible states, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Sometimes that not good is answered by a community and not a spouse.
"Sometimes the 'not good' of Genesis 2 is answered by a community and not a spouse."
A word to the singles, cultivate deep, Christian friendships. A word to the broader church family, cultivate rounded community.
3. SUBMIT YOUR SEXUALITY TO JESUS
In our place and time, the Christian sex ethic — sex was created by God to be enjoyed exclusively in the context of marriage between a wife and her husband — is seen as laughable at best and hateful at worst.
And studies are showing that the results of the hook-up culture have physical, mental, and spiritual ramifications. It is deadening intimacy (
"The sexual revolution was supposed to liberate but it’s actually enslaved."
The sexual revolution was supposed to liberate but it’s actually enslaved. I'm mindful of the fact that not only are we all sinners but we're all sinners sexually. And so this portion of the blog is not meant to fill the reader with shame and guilt and leave you there. It's meant to draw you to Jesus, the lover of your soul, and flood you with His grace when you come to Him in repentance and faith.
"Don’t buy the lie that chastity makes you less than human. Jesus was single and was the most fully alive, fully human being to ever live."
Who was the most fully alive, fully human being to ever live? Jesus — and He lived a celibate, single life. Question: Was He incomplete? Don’t buy the lie that chastity makes you less than human. Jesus was single and was the most fully alive, fully human being to ever live.
4. IF YOU MARRY, MARRY SOMEONE ELSE PURSUING JESUS
Some of you are given to singleness and others of you find yourself single and long for a spouse.
In 1 Corinthians 7:39 the Apostle Paul writes that a widowed woman is free to marry whoever she wants, but only in the Lord. Simply put, he must be a follower of Jesus. This goes back to the identity in Christ point. Our lives, as Christians, are fixated on and revolve around Jesus. A Christian identity in Christ is not only incompatible but opposing to different worldviews. Money, purpose, family, morals all have completely different frameworks. Deepak Reju writes helpfully here about why a Christian should only marry a fellow believer and what to do if you find yourself in a marriage where your spouse isn't a believer or is a spiritually immature one.
Don’t let your desire for a spouse (and children) trump the cause of Christ (which leads to the final point):
5. LEVERAGE YOUR SINGLE YEARS FOR THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL
The single years I speak of refer to the single years that some of you will have prior to marriage and for others it's the settled, whole life singleness some of you are given to.
When Paul says, The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord... the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord... I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) he's making an obvious point about an obvious advantage of singleness: You are more freed up to risk and leverage your life for the gospel. This doesn’t mean that married people can’t, it just means the ceiling on their ability to leverage their lives for the cause of the gospel is lower.
"Singles are more freed up to risk and leverage your life for the gospel."
Think about the Apostle Paul. He couldn't have had the ministry calling on his life he did if he was married. Perhaps that is why he and not Peter (who was married) was the greatest missionary to ever bring the gospel to the unbelieving world. He was constantly traveling, constantly imprisoned, and constantly beaten. Can you imagine him bringing his wife and a family with him under such conditions?
Or, if he would have traveled without them, can you imagine him writing a letter home: "I was dragged out of the city today and stoned to what they thought was
If you’re reading this and you're single know this: it’s not by accident, it’s by God’s providence. Leverage your singleness for single-minded devotion to the Lord.
Find your identity in Christ, pursue deep Christian friendships, submit your sexuality to Jesus, if you’re keeping your eye out for a future spouse make sure they’re pursuing Jesus above all else, and leverage the singleness you find yourself in today for the cause of the gospel.
"Christian singleness reveals the sufficiency of the gospel."
And know this, while Christian marriage puts the gospel on display, Christian singleness reveals the sufficiency of the gospel. Single Christians anticipate the consummation of the marriage of Jesus and His Church (which means you won't miss out on the Greater Marriage that our earthly marriages are merely a shadow of) testify to the sufficiency of Christ as
To all the singles among us at Central, we love you and so grateful to have you in our family of faith! Thank you for revealing the gospel to us through your singleness and contributing your time and gifts for the glory of God and the good of the Church.