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Singleness is Not a Sin

From the moment you graduate high school, the questions start, people’s fervor for matchmaking reaches a new level and those you’ve never met or hardly know tell you about their sweet grandson who happens to be around your age. What you thought would be a time of self-discovery, exploring the path God has for your life and maturing as an adult has become a non-stop barrage of questions regarding your relationship status.


As a teenager, it would have been creepy for a man twice your age to ask if you’re single, but now that you’ve crossed the threshold into “adulthood,” everyone suddenly feels they have the right to ask you the most probing questions about your romantic relationships. Almost instantly your church experience goes from learning about Jesus to how-to lectures on finding a good husband, being a good wife and having babies. So much for discovering yourself and growing as a mature disciple of Jesus.


If any of this describes your church life after high school, I’m sorry. Like many unfortunate souls before you, you’ve been swallowed up by the marriage-obsessed church.

Newlywed couple walking down the aisle
Victoria Priessnitz photo | Unsplash

Perhaps you have older siblings, thus you knew this was coming, but for others who are either the older child or the only child, you were blindsided. (Not because the church’s infatuation with marriage and reproduction isn’t obvious, but because you simply just hadn’t noticed before. However, now that you’re in the target age group, you wonder how you missed it all those years.) Or maybe you are a younger sibling but didn’t grow up in the church, and as a result, you had no idea what you would be getting yourself into when you walked through those doors.


You were amazed by this man named Jesus and you heard the church is a good place to turn to so you can learn about Him. At first, the people were nice and you were really starting to discover what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, then WHAM! The floodgates open and you’re hit with a sea of probing questions, obvious set-ups and pushy grandmas telling you about their precious grandson.


Welcome to church.


Now, let me tell you, especially if you grew up outside the church and wonder what in the world is going on with these so-called Jesus freaks: it hasn’t always been this way and there is some sound Biblical doctrine behind this marriage-adoration. Plus, many of the people who are pushing you down the altar are doing so with good intentions. Just like so many other things in the world—and especially in the church—we as humans have found a way to veer off the map and come up with our own plan to compensate.


Who knows when, but somewhere along the way, the Church became more bent on marrying off their young people than equipping them to be disciples and follow God’s plan for their lives.


One thing we're not told is a message the Church as been preaching far too long: To be a good Christian, one must be married, and naturally, have children.

For a happily married couple, they’re comforted by the metaphor God gives of his relationship with the Church resembling that of a husband and wife. In fact, it brings them such comfort, they want everyone to experience it. Again, good intentions, not always good doctrine.


Yes, the Lord and Jesus equate their relationship with the Church as one between a groom and His bride (Isaiah 54:5; Rev. 19:7-9, 21:2). Yes, the Bible says man should leave his family and cleave himself to his wife, and vice versa (Genesis 2:24). Yes, God commands us to bear fruit and multiply, filling the earth with our offspring (Genesis 1:28). Yes, we’re told it was not good for Adam to be alone and thus, God created Eve (Genesis 2:18). Yes, we’re told all of these things, but one thing we’re not told is a message the Church has been preaching far too long: To be a good Christian, one must be married, and naturally, have children.


Nowhere in Scripture (the Bible/Word of God) does it make such a statement. In fact, it says the opposite, multiple times.


One instance being in Ephesians 2:8-9 where we’re told salvation only comes as a free gift from God to those who believe in Him, not based on our works, i.e. not based on our marital status. Another being in John 14:6 when Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”


Woman sitting on a wooden deck, writing in her Bible
Amy Tran photo | Unsplash

The only relationship status which affects your salvation (whether your sins are forgiven and you spend eternity with God in Heaven) is your relationship with Jesus. Your only marriage goal should be to fully commit yourself to Jesus, love Him more than anyone or anything else and live solely for His glory.


That is the only marriage required for Heaven, but I say this with caution. Unlike earthly marriages—and all other relationships, for that matter—this marriage is not based on our merits or our efforts. Yes, we are to make every effort to love and please God, just as we are to do with our human spouse, but we will never earn a relationship with Jesus based on how well we do so. These efforts are mere evidence that our relationship with Jesus already exists (Romans 2:13, James 2:14-17, 1 John 5:3).


Jesus pursues you (Luke 19:10, John 4:23). He softens your heart toward Him (Jeremiah 24:7, Ezekiel 36:26). He cares for you when you’re hurting and corrects you when you’ve sinned (1 Peter 5:7, Proverbs 3:11-12). He gave Himself up for your eternal joy (John 3:16, 10:10). He is the source of the relationship, as well as the glue which holds it together, and it is this relationship alone that defines us as a genuine Christian, not whether we are single or married according to the world’s (or church’s) definitions.


So the next time Satan attempts to bog you down with doubt, fear or frustration regarding your singleness, remember the One to Whom you’re already married. When a family member or church member nags or belittles you about being single, remember God has a unique plan for you.


So the next time Satan attempts to bog you down with doubt, fear or frustration regarding your singleness, remember the One to Whom you're already married.

Yes, God created the concept of marriage (between one man and one woman, for their entire lives), and it is definitely His intention for many of His people to get married (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). However, His ultimate goal is for us all to be united with Him (Ephesians 1:7-10). Whatever happens in the meantime is completely up to Him.


He may have someone in mind for you, but one or both of you may not be ready yet and He’s waiting for that time to come. One or both of you may need to repent of a deep hidden sin or grow in your relationship with God. Maybe one or both of you are in the middle of a transition time, and adding another person to the picture would only increase tension and hardship. God knows us more intimately than we do ourselves, and He knows what a marriage will do for you (Psalm 139:13-16).

Husband and wife sitting next to each other on the couch, reading the Bible
Cassidy Rowell photo | Unsplash

As a loving Father, God would never rush one of His children into a relationship where one or both parties are not ready. He would not risk your or the other person’s heart, nor would He risk His name. He is the God of love, and creating a situation that would end in nothing but heartache and pain is not love. The relationship is only right when it happens as God leads, from the first meeting to your final moments together.


Now, for others, God’s plan may be for you to remain single for as long as He has you here on Earth. The Apostle Paul was not married, and in his letter to the church in Corinth, he exhorts,


“I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind

and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to

remain single, as I am” (1 Corinthians 7:7-8).


Paul is not saying singleness is the ultimate goal for everyone, but for those whom God has called to remain single like him, it is best to abide by the plan (gift) God has given them. In fact, Paul says exactly that later in his letter after he addresses all Christians, single, married and widowed; he says, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches” (v. 17).


God had a specific plan for Paul, and it did not involve marriage; the same may be for you. God may want to use your singleness as an example to show that true fulfillment happens only in a life devoted to Him or perhaps He wants to utilize the benefits singleness provides (time flexibility, freedom to move on a whim, etc.) to further His Kingdom in a way a married person could not.


God had a specific plan for Paul, and it did not involve marriage; the same may be for you.

Whatever the reason, trust that God has a purpose for your singleness, however long it may be, and it’s for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28). And for those times when you feel lonely or impatient, remember everyone God has placed in your life who loves you. Also continue to pray about your feelings and be honest about them with God; ask Him to help you have contentment in Him and perhaps even remove your desire for a spouse, if His will is for you to remain single.


Most importantly, keep your eyes and heart fixed on the true marriage God has already given you—that of yours with Christ.


And for those of you whose favorite hobby is to push people down the aisle or dote on your precious grandson to any girl who walks by, remember God has a plan for each of us. His plan for you is not the plan He has for your grandson, nor is it the plan He has for the poor, unsuspecting single woman who just wants to go to church to fellowship with other believers and worship God. Just as God invites single people to be patient and trust Him, you too need to be patient and trust Him. God knows the whole picture, and though we doubt it sometimes, He knows what He’s doing. Therefore, please be merciful to your single brothers and sisters in Christ, and let God lead them down the path of service He has for them, whether it be as a single person or as a spouse.


Brunette woman standing outside and praying
Ben White photo | Unsplash

So before you go trying to set them up or make another comment about their singleness, pray about it. See what God has to say on the matter, and if you still feel led to make that connection or say that comment, then by all means, do it. It’s your objective as a Christ-follower to seek God’s guidance and obey when He answers. As a single Christian myself, it means far more to me for someone to pray for my relationship status and then act on those prayers rather than try to set me up or push me into doing something God doesn’t have planned for me. In fact, the former encourages me because, frankly, I’m not sure what God’s plan is for me relationship-wise, so it’s reassuring to know someone else is praying about it with me.


Plus, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as brothers and sisters in Christ? Pray with and for one another, encouraging each other to seek God’s guidance and follow His plans for each of our lives? That’s all I, and every other single Christian, am asking. Please pray with us and help us live the life God has called us to live. Trust me, when you do, God and every single (unmarried) Christian will thank you.




References:


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.


#JesusIsTheWay #TrustGod #PrayForOneAnother #Marriage #Singleness #GodHasAPlan

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