The Single-Focused Life
Every person goes through a stage of life where they are aware of their “singleness.” For too many, it is a stage of life to be raced through as quickly as possible, to reach the “ultimate stage” of being in a relationship. Too few live embracing singleness as the gift from God that it is, and enjoying it in all its fullness – to enter into it with excitement of the opportunity to totally and completely fulfill the will of God whilst loving God with ALL their heart (even the part that longs for a relationship), and being loved by Him. (1 Corinthians 7:7 NLT)
Paul emphasized that his ideal would be that everyone would remain single as the time is short here on earth and so being free to completely devote our lives to the Lord and not have our hearts divided or weighed down by cares of this world. There is a freedom in the single life that is so rarely focused on. “I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)
Perhaps we, too, often associate being single with being alone and lonely. 1 Corinthians 7:1 (AMP) states that “it is well [advantageous, expedient, profitable and wholesome] to be single.” How can any of that infer loneliness? I don’t believe that’s what God ever intended.
It would seem that the vision of singleness as being “advantageous, expedient, profitable and wholesome” has escaped us in a society where the culture of the world, and often the church, too, promotes the vision of being incomplete without an exclusive relationship with the opposite sex. Sadly, the church applies so much teaching to marriage and virtually none to being single. They hold up family without embracing those with none, yet the Bible clearly says that “He puts the solitary in families.” The emphasis that most churches give only compounds the concept that those who are single are missing out on Divine destiny.
I have never been in a church where singleness is given similar honor, embraced and extolled as a time of destiny and amazing opportunity, as a time that is ordained by God in all its fullness. It is time to bring back honor to those who are single, to bring back teaching that extols and excites people for that time of their life. Too often the teaching is about “saving oneself for marriage,” about “dating” and similar topics, all of which have the implications that singleness is about preparing for marriage, instead of being complete in itself and a time to become the person God created us to be whilst discovering the joy of a relationship with Him. It would seem to me that someone who has been nurtured and envisioned in their singleness will automatically be in a wholesome place should God lead them to marriage; they will also be less likely to rush into relationship after relationship because they are already fulfilled in Him.
If being single equates with being incomplete, then two people coming together to complete each other is a recipe for disaster. One person can never complete another. If they enter a relationship looking for that fulfillment that only God can bring, this will lead to disappointment and more heartbreak or a co-dependent relationship as single individuals cease to be able to function fully without the other person. Whereas, a marriage should be of two people God has brought together to complement, not complete, each other, and so God is still the rock of their foundation/relationship when the other lets them down.
So, then, how do we make being single a positive focus? One thing I did was spend a year as a single woman, reading the Bible with the focus of what characters God delights in and drawing inspiration from godly women in the Bible whilst learning from the others. I wanted to learn to be a woman who could be like Deborah and be able to prophesy to someone where they should be and be so confident in it, I would offer to go with them [to the battle ground]. Or like Esther, and rise to the times God has put me in. I wanted to learn to be like Ruth who honored the men around her and respected their godly authority, and not be like Jezebel who used her sexuality to drag down a man of God. (Men can also do a Bible study on this using the men as the focus.)
There are other ways to give singleness a positive focus. For instance, encouraging each other to be true brothers and sisters in Christ and caring for each other in that way. Encouraging a true relationship with Christ - I cannot express enough that only He can bring you to wholeness, and to a place where, like Paul said, “Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8 NLT). When talking about subjects such as dating, always state the positive rather than the negative (e.g. rather than “no sex before marriage,” use “personal purity and integrity, your body being a temple of the Holy Spirit”).
Too often the “killing fields of dating,” which tear too many hearts, can take a lifetime to heal. The single years (lifetime) are a time to protect one’s heart and keep it only for the One who is worthy to capture it and keep it safe. The warning in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” should be noted by everyone. Our hearts belong to our Bridegroom King, they are His throne and His and His alone – this is our vision, to keep them for Him and, should He ask us in the future, to present them whole and undamaged for an earthly bride/bridegroom. Until then, we can have a great time and have a great time living undividedly and fully for God.
God is for us and not against us, He loves you and He values you as you are, for who you are. Song of Solomon says “you have stolen My heart with one glance of your eyes.” That is how precious He sees you. I pray you find joy and contentment in all things, through your relationship with Christ.