August 23, 2010

Christian Singleness - Is it a curse or a blessing from God? (Part 2) ©

Being a single Christian is not for sissies!

To married people and society in general, if we’re a single person than we must be incomplete and need a partner. The idea of somebody wanting to remain single, or not being willing to settle for just anyone, is a puzzle to them. We don’t fit into their preconceived ideas of what a fulfilled human being is like, and so they try and squash us into the mould that they understand which is “you’re either married, or you’re looking for someone to marry”.

In my childhood and my teens I went along with that idea, happily assuming that I would meet somebody, fall in love, marry and have a couple of kids, and live happily ever after. Isn’t that the norm?

In my twenties I was regularly attending a church and participating in church activities. Naturally, I assumed that God would provide me with a good Christian husband. But that didn’t happen.

As my single state continued into my late twenties, I found I was asking myself questions that I simply had no answer to: “What if I start like being on my own and miss out on a great guy?” “What if I become so independent that I scare off a guy that I was meant to be with?” and perhaps the scariest questions of them all, “What if God decides to bless me with the gift of singleness? What if He really means for me to remain single for the rest of my life?”    

These are the kinds of questions that many single Christians wrestle with, along with feelings of loneliness, loss, failure and inadequacy.

God rarely gives us a clear answer to the question that many singles ask, “Will I ever marry, or will I marry again?”

Having lived as a single man His entire life, Jesus showed that marriage is not an end in itself, nor is it essential to the wholeness of the person. As God’s servant, a person might not be called to have a mate and children. A Christian disciple might need to forget parents, partners and possessions for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

In Luke 18:28-30 Peter said, “We have left our homes and followed you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you, everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come.”

Paul found full freedom and completeness in “attending upon the Lord without distraction” (1 Cor 7:35), in other words, Paul found that being a single person gave him the freedom to live for God and grow God’s kingdom, without the distractions of a partner or family.

In 1 Cor 7:7-8, Paul said, “I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness.”

Now notice here that Paul did not add in the “gift of waiting for marriage”.

I'm going to make three unpopular statements during these blog entries. Even if you choose to ignore my statements, at the very least, I hope I get you thinking.  

Unpopular Statement Number One 

If you are a single person – even if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you have been given the gift of the singleness. This is important, so I'll repeat it: If you are a single person – even if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you have been given the gift of the singleness.  This gift may be for a short-time, a long-time or a life-time.

Perhaps you feel that you did not choose singleness and that it is not fair that God should force it upon you. You deserve to be loved, don’t you?

You can choose to look at your gift of singleness in two ways: “I am single and I’m darned if I’m going to accept it,” or “I am single and I might as well make the most of it.”

Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame once said, “There’s no problem so big that I can’t run away from it.”

If you are a single Christian, you can’t run away from the fact that you are single. So for this period in your life, whether for the short or long-term, you are called to be a single person. ©

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