Oh! the gift of singleness. Some consider it a curse from God…and in so doing sin against the Lord.
What is interesting about being single, I wanted to remain single, yet I struggled with whether marriage was ‘in the cards’ for me. Did God want me to remain single for the rest of my life or have a family? This relates to previous posts I have regarding biblical decision-making [The Will of God and Counsel and The Will of God and Opportunity].
My understanding of marriage is affected by my understanding of Paul in 1 Cor 7.9 and the last days we are living in. Some people have taken (wrongly, I think) the command in the Garden “to be fruitful and multiply” and made it something that pertains to all people at all times. I think that those who are married (especially as Christians) should heed this command. However, there is a new economy, when it comes to marriage, in the New Covenant. Otherwise, why would Paul give a concession and desire that other people be single as he was?
I plan on working through “gift of singleness” in the future…but for now I want to deal with how marriage can be an idol.
The reason I even mentioned 1 Cor 7.9 has to do with the fact that I think as Christians we have bought into the notion that when God said, “It is not good for man to be alone…” we have assumed that he was referring to marriage. Thus, we have created a culture that is like an elite club – “marrieds“ get enveloped in the fold more readily than singles. The Singles ministries seem to be a little off in their focus – looking more like a 15-minute date party than a congregation of believers.
Because we have set ourselves up for such a world-view, we have made it very hard for someone to not feel left out, so to speak. That is, the goal of life is to get married, have kids, etc. This is not the goal.
The focus in the New Covenant seems to be on radical living in light of eternity. Marriage is not eternal, for neither are the angels married in heaven and we shall be like them in this regard (Matt 22.30). Being single means you are freed up to lay down your life for God’s flock and you don’t have to worry about a sizable life insurance policy to take of your survivors. Balance: Remember my last post…we must not be deceived by sin and become conceited in our hearts regarding marriage.
What does all this mean for a blog post (meaning, short and pithy)?
1) Well, as Christians we need to reconsider the language and paradigm that marriage is a fulfillment and obedience to God’s command and expression that it is good for man not be alone.
2) Our vocabulary needs to shift from speaking of marriage in the same categories pre-Christ and post-resurrection.
3) Singles must shift their focus off marriage as though it were the answer to their loneliness.
4) Instead, as Christians, we should be re-defining what it means to be single and married and live in community. In other, words we need to move our eyes off of relationships between men and women being for sexual fulfillment and more towards a brother and sister mindset.
5) At the same time, we must not negate the fact that God has called men and women to marry and have children. This is a tension, I admit, but one that we must live in and embrace in the last days.
6) Not view marriage as fulfillment of an individual life but as a propeller to more fruitful ministry. Expanding our influence for the Kingdom of God should be the mindset of the Christian. So when we consider marriage to an individual, we should firstly ask, “Will this marriage relationship further the Kingdom of God in the place and time that God has called me to?”