Hundreds of believers in our United States churches are single for various reasons. By definition, a single is an unmarried person of marrying age. However, being unmarried does not make the single a fraction of a person; he is a whole, unique individual. The category of singleness is not necessarily inferior or second-best compared to marriage. Certainly being unmarried has its drawbacks, but does it also have an advantage? Single and satisfied—is it possible?
The Apostle Paul saw his singleness a gift of God. 1 Corinthians 7:7-8 says, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” Is Paul saying it’s better to remain single? At the time there was a present distress, most likely persecution, that was causing temporary trouble for the believers at Corinth (1 Corinthians 7:26). In that environment of persecution, singleness provided the overlooked blessing-in-disguise of not having the responsibility to care for a spouse.
It is not only from this passage we see how singleness provides freedom and flexibility that marriage cannot provide. Later in the same chapter, Paul states that “he that is unmarried careth for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32). Likewise, an unmarried woman “careth for the things of the Lord” instead of having the responsibility of a husband (1 Corinthians 7:34). These verses teach that you, single person, do not have to wait to serve God until after you are married; rather, it is your responsibility to serve God today by praying and participating in the ministry of your church. Now is the time to fix your weaknesses and become more capable by the grace of God. Be not consumed with whom you will marry; rather, become the mature believer you ought to be. The single who has integrity, having little to no need of others to motivate him to do right, will be the best married person as well. So while you are single, develop discipline and learn all you can while you have time.
Singleness is not a holier status than marriage. Likewise, marriage is not a happier status for all. Marriage is wonderful when husband and wife are fulfilling their God-given roles and can reap God’s blessings on their home. Unfortunately, when sin dominates, divorce may arise, causing pain and turbulent, unfavorable circumstances. What is one to do when this happens? If divorce is in your past, confess any sin and find healing in Christ and forgiveness for any bitterness toward your former spouse. Make the upward relationship a priority as you pursue outward reconciliation (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).
Whether you are single, married, or divorced, Jesus Christ is to be your first and greatest devotion. He remained singularly devoted to one objective—to bear your sins and shame on the cross. The Lord Jesus suffered, bled, and died on the cross to redeem mankind and to offer eternal life to all who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. He certainly is the overlooked gift. Salvation is free if you will repent and receive Christ into your heart. “Believe [trust] in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
If you are married, enjoy the privileges and blessings of marriage and fulfill your biblical responsibility to your spouse. If you’re not married, continue to mature spiritually before being involved physically and emotionally with a spouse. Above all, be satisfied with Jesus, the overlooked gift.
The above article was written by Pastor Jim Larger. He is the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Farmersburg, IN. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us, to be forwarded to him, at email@example.com.
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This powerful sermon is a follow-up to Pastor Johnson's sermon "No Fear of Death."