Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV): "Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
1) Singleness is an opportunity to set God first
Walking in singleness can be a difficult journey for one’s walk of faith. It can be so easy to look at couples, marriages, and other relationships, and long for the same thing. To desire a partner is not evil, and we know God has said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NIV). God created us to live in community. Even looking at the Trinity itself, communal relationship is something that has extended into eternity. The love the Father has for the Son and the Spirit, and the both of them for Him and each other, is an incomprehensible demonstration of the love that creation was borne out of.
With Christ, we are called to love God and love one another. He sums this up with the two most important commandments: “Jesus said to him, ‘‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV). When we walk in singleness, God provides us with a journey where we can grow in love with Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. We are given the opportunity to set God first in our life in a unique way, and continually learn to love and listen to Him all the more.
2) Seeking to fulfill our desires and passions our own way leads us to sin
Nonetheless, God formed us and made us who we are, along with our passions and desires (Psalm 139:13-16). When we seek to feed these passions and desires of ours in our own way, we lead ourselves into sin. The desire to be known intimately by someone is a good thing because God made us to exist in that love. But when we pervert our desires by seeking to fulfill them in our own way, we are not partnering with God’s will, but rather, forcing our own. And it is our own will when not submitted under God's that seeks to obstruct what He is trying to do. This is why Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). Christ had just finished addressing the necessities we strive for in food, drink, and clothing, and then stated to seek the kingdom of God first. He is not saying these things in life are innately bad or wrong--nor our desires or need for them--but is saying to seek God first. Because, without God, whatever we do or long for in life will naturally fail to live up to Him.
And this is the crucial point we must always strive to remember and write upon our hearts: every good gift comes from God, and to find the blessing we seek, we must look to Him first. With singleness (myself being single and having walked this way for a bit), it can be easy to grow impatient with God and want to walk our own way. What walking your own way looks like can vary, but probably the most prevalent path is sexual immorality. The world we live in is extremely sexualized, and it is easy to lose sight of the blessing that comes from waiting on the Lord. Purity is something considered “prude” in today’s culture when in reality, purity is simply just seeking God’s way over your own. And what is God’s way in terms of walking in singleness?
3) God's will over our own
For one, we know God has placed an incredible weight upon marriage and that He has sanctified it. We see Him say, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 NKJV). And what God has joined together, let no one separate (Mark 10:9). So in terms of sex (and all the intimacy of that kind of romantic relationship thereof), to put it plainly, God wants us to save until marriage (there are a lot of other verses, but I am keeping it brief here). “Wow, that’s such a boring, Christian thing to say. Who really wants to wait until marriage to have sex? And if I’ve already had sex, it doesn’t matter anyways.” This is the whole dilemma that singleness and seeking a partner ultimately comes down to: do we want to walk our own way, or God’s? And if we walk our own way, then we are not honoring God in the way He wants us to walk.
Singleness can be a path into a relationship of deeper trust in God. It is not a matter of whether or not we are meant to be single or married--the matter is entirely based upon God’s will. And it is not about finding a definite answer or receiving perfect clarity as to what He wants us to do. God seeks our obedience and submission, and even when we give that to Him, He still may not provide a clear answer. And why would He--when thinking about it--if leaving us in a tension of uncertainty requires that we continue walking in faith? Of course, God does speak to us and lead us in the direction we should go, but at the same time, it is not always so cut-and-dry--He is a living being, after all, and what He will do, He will do. But, God is always wanting to bring us into deeper depths of relationship with Him. And, in many ways, He will bring us closer to Him through this dynamic if we yield to His hand.
The reality of a life of singleness can be a scary thought. One of the most common manifestations of society’s desire for a partner is the concept of finding “the one.” We have shows like the Bachelor/Bachelorette, where people watch other people try and find a romantic relationship that leads to marriage (sometimes, I think?). We as humans are so drawn to the allure of an eros relationship (Greek; romantic kind of love), that we (at least, the culture of America) are willing to watch, and enjoy watching, other people on their journey of finding “the one.” But is this weight that we place on this kind of love warranted? I believe in certain contexts, the answer is no. In our culture, we place so much importance on finding another person to “complete” us, that we create a potential stumbling block to finding the actual One we are looking for. And it is in the One--Jesus Christ--that we are truly completed, and it is out of Him that we can love others in an agape (Greek; unconditional) love.
4) All other ground is sinking sand
No mortal human should ever be elevated to assume the seat of the throne of your heart. In truth, when we place so much of our hope and reliance on a relationship with a human--such as an eros one of love, in this case--we are establishing a foundation where that person takes precedence over God. Christ has told us, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV). Is Christ talking about literally building houses? Of course not (though there’s some natural wisdom in it I am sure); Jesus is telling us to build the foundation of our heart, soul, and minds, on Him.
Build Your Church - Elevation Worship
Once we build our foundation on Christ--the firm foundation, the Rock on which the whole Church is built--we can have no other gods in our life. To be wanted and known is something that is so close to our hearts, and something we all desire. Sexual passions are also something that many people have--sometimes in varying degrees--but God is clear that He wants us to reserve such things for the sanctity of marriage. Nonetheless, whether we are called to be single or called to be married, the right answer will come from following Christ. If God is wanting you to walk in singleness for the rest of your life, would you still be able to give Him your 100%, bought-in, “yes”?
We have our desires and passions, but can we be willing to submit them to God? And it is once our will is submitted before God that we find the answer we are truly looking for. Be it grace and peace to walk in contentment with Christ in singleness, or to find a spouse and enter into marriage; in both cases, if we are to walk God’s way, the answer will be determined by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And once we know we are under the will of God, we can walk freely in His peace and joy, and be at ease knowing He is with us wherever we go.