March 1, 2021
Scripture: Romans 12:1 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
It is amazing how strong our desire is for romantic relationships. There are all kinds of cultural pressures, family dynamics, and even spiritual aspects that influence our desire to be in a relationship with someone. Even more than that, our elevated focus on being in a relationship rejects the beauty of singleness. It's as though we have underlying assumptions of singleness being a bad thing. We treat it as though it is for people who are second class citizens that are not as mature or sophisticated enough to be in such a relationship. The need to be in a relationship may be so ingrained in our thinking that we actually have numerous biases against singleness. But the reality is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both singleness and being in a relationship. Here we will focus on the blessedness of singleness and the reason that Paul celebrates and encourages people to remain single in 1 Corinthians 7:7.
In the passage above, we see that the call for everyone, single or not, is to give God our bodies as a living sacrifice. To surrender outcomes, control of our life, and the way we move forward to Him. To do this, we have to study scripture and spend time in prayer. By seeking Him this way we can learn about the heart of God. Learning the heart of God has numerous benefits for us spiritually and gives us greater understanding in how we can honor God. But if we consider Paul’s understanding of the difference from relationships and singleness in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, we find singles have a great advantage spiritually. They are able to give God their bodies as a living sacrifice more readily because they do not have to be concerned about the other persons spiritual walk or expectations they may have; singles can simply focus on God.
We should also address this lie, “Singleness = Loneliness.” I am aware of several single individuals who love being single. They are not lonely, they are independent, able to be more spontaneous with their time and generally speaking are enthusiastic about life. This is not because they don’t need relationship, we all need relationships with other people. This is because they have learned how to make deep, intimate friendships with other people. And because they have several good friends, they don’t feel the need to have a significant other. In fact, they actually recognize the many benefits to the single life.
Finally, we should consider where completeness in life comes from. Many of us mistakenly put relationship status in front of us as a step towards a complete life. However, this is far from true. The only place to find completeness is in the Lord. We were created to be in relationship with Him. We are called to love Him with all that we are, all that we have, and in every way we are able to imagine (Mark 12:28-34). When God created Adam, God and Adam were in relationship with each other and no one else. That was the intent, that God would be our center focus in life. Then when God created Eve, we find a hidden assumption in our thought process. We assume that because she and Adam were involved romantically that we all were created to be in a romantic relationship. This assumption is incorrect. God created us to be in relationship first with Him, then with others. Yes, we are supposed to have deep, committed, and intimate relationships with other people. But if we are not right with God, if we are not pursuing Him, then we will not find completeness. Completeness comes after this life is over and we are in eternity with Him. Completeness is not something we can experience in this life. But through our seeking the Lord, humbling ourselves before Him, we can taste it, smell it, and know that it exists. Through knowing Him, we can know that one day, we will experience completeness and it will be for all eternity. This is what gives us peace of mind and hope for the future. That God will bring us with Him to new heaven and earth where we will be cleansed of all sin and find completeness in Him.
Singleness is not a curse; it is not for people who are less mature or incapable. Singleness is a gift that is overlooked. It has many benefits, spiritually, physically, financially, even emotionally. Yes, there are some draw backs. But if we are diligent to pursue the Lord and to develop deep relationships with other people, there is much upside.
Stop and consider your own thoughts towards singleness. What are some assumptions you have had concerning a life of singleness? Have you ever considered an opposing view? In what way have you sought completeness through relationship? Have you elevated the importance of having a relationship higher than your focus on Christ?
Perhaps you are currently single, consider stopping your pursuit of relationship. Commit to a set period of time where you will actively practice enjoying being single.