The Bible has a lot to say about being single. Marriage, as we know it, is a temporal institution that will not endure in eternity (Mark 12:24-27). If there is no marriage in Heaven, then you don’t have to worry about singleness being some kind of a relational disadvantage in eternity. The loneliness that being single sometimes brings here on earth will not be perpetuated in heaven.
Jesus Christ, the most complete human person who ever lived, never married. The single, celibate adult is not less whole than the sexually active married person. He was the most complete human who has ever lived, and he never once had sexual intercourse.This can be a liberating truth for those who are tempted to think, “Unless I experience sexual intimacy with another person, I will somehow be less than what I was meant to be.” One of the purposes of salvation is that we become like Jesus Christ, and so we can rest assured that the need to experience marriage or sexual intimacy is not a barrier to achieving Christlikeness. Jesus was—and is—infinitely whole!
Singleness provides an extraordinary opportunity for undivided devotion to Jesus Christ. As a single person, you have much greater flexibility than your married friends. Compared to your married friends, you are able to focus more singly on your Christian walk and ministry (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). You should take advantage of this opportunity! This is the time to develop the disciplines of regular Bible study and prayer. This is the time to fully devote yourself to worship, fellowship, and ministry.
According to the Bible, both celibacy and marriage are gifts from God (1 Corinthians 7:7). And we need to view them that way. If you are single, you should thank God for this time in your life when you are able to more fully devote yourself to knowing and serving Him. This is a time of growth and preparation.
In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus promised that those who forsake family for the sake of the kingdom will be repaid with a new family: the church. With respect to being unmarried, Jesus is saying that those who choose the kingdom road of obedient singleness, rather than marrying outside of the will of God, will find that forsaken marital relationship replaced a hundredfold with a new spiritual family: the church. Singles, you need not be lonely. In Christ’s church, you have a family where you can find the love, acceptance, and encouragement you need to become the mature man or woman God desires.
One final observation concerning singleness: You need to know that God is sovereign, he rules in the affairs of men, and he determines who gets married and who does not. That being true, we need to trust him to sovereignly work out his will for our lives in the area of singleness and marriage. Allow God to be God in this area of your life. Focus on the person God wants you to become, and allow him to sovereignly direct you either into singleness or into marriage. You can trust him. He loves you. He wants what is best for you, and he knows what is best for you. Enjoy the gift of being single!
Application / Challenge
- Know that your marital status here has no bearing on eternity.
- Know that being single and celibate doesn’t make you less whole as a human being.
- Use your freedom and flexibility as a single to fully pursue your relationship with Jesus Christ.
- View singleness as a gift rather than as a burden; thank God for this opportunity to serve Him.
- Determine to live a morally pure lifestyle.
- Look to meet your legitimate relational needs through your brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Don’t fret over the question of a future mate. Allow God to work that out in his way and in his timing.