On singleness (a talk)

On singleness (a talk)

 

Before we start, let’s pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity that You have given us to be gathered here together and encourage one another through Your word. Please use this time to bring glory to Your wonderful Name. Amen

Before I start, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to be here today to touch on the topic of singleness. I won’t be able to cover everything on singleness. But I pray that by the end of this, we can learn about what God has to say about this particular stage of life.
Firstly, I want to bring our attention to this world that we live in today. Because whether we like it or not, our thinking are shaped by what we hear and see around us. And we can’t miss the fact that sex has always been the dominant topic of the culture. We see sexual references everywhere. In television, magazines, songs and even in children’s novels. It is so prominent, that to be a single Christian and trying to live a life pleasing to God, can often be degrading and isolating.
But the Bible gives us a completely different view of singleness. Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, where Paul explains to the Corinthians why he himself is single
Let us read this section of the Bible together. From 1 Corinthians 7:25-35

25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord

Now, you may say to yourself, “hang on – Paul can’t be saying that I should be a nun is he?”
My answer is: NO. No he wasn’t advocating for the monastery idea. So what is he saying then?
Let us unpack this part of the Bible together.

If you look at verse 29a, Paul explained himself. He was reminding them of the reality that time is short. Humans are like grass, here today and gone tomorrow. Only God knows the past, present and future, and only He knows the plans of this world. That is why in the following verses, from verse 29b to 31, Paul urges the Corinthians not to get distracted with the details and worries of the present. He said those things not because they were unimportant.
No!
 
Rather, he said those things to remind us that time is so short.
So short that the married won’t even have time to enjoy their marriage, as they would like to.
So short that the mourners won’t have enough time to mourn.
So short that the ones rejoicing won’t have enough time to rejoice.
And you get the idea.
Paul is not saying that we should deny everything that we have. But to remind them of what is truly important. So that we would not focus on the blessings but the Giver Himself. Because “the present form of this world is passing away.”
And because these things are passing away quickly, Paul wants to spare believers of these distractions. Paul wants us to focus on things that will last, the Kingdom of God.
And we can see this in verse, let us read it together 32-35:

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord

Paul is not saying that marriage is bad or sinful. Paul is not anti-marriage in any way. The reason he was advocating for singleness is for the benefit of those who are single. He wasn’t speaking out of his own assumption and personal preference. But, Paul knew very well of the worries and troubles that a marriage relationship will bring. And he wants to spare them of that worries and troubles so that they can be fully devoted to God.

Now, before I move further. This is a hard truth for anyone to swallow. By this time I’m assuming that in your mind you’re saying that “this is too much. I’d rather be troubled and married than to be single and troubled.” And maybe you think that it’s your singleness that prevents you from living your life fully devoted to God.

But can I just say: that’s a lie. Don’t buy into the lie that you are less of a person because you are unmarried. Don’t believe the world when they say that you are worthless if you have no guy beside you.

Remember the psalmist when he said “you are wonderfully and fearfully made by God. You are still part of the kingdom of God regardless of what your marital status is. You are as useful to the Kingdom of God as those who are married. You are as valuable to God as those who have a husband.

And that is what the apostle Paul wants to tell us in his singleness. That to be single means that you are greatly privileged. You have a wonderful gift from God. A privilege to serve God fully with undivided devotion to Him. What greater status can we get more than that?

But don’t get me wrong, Paul is not saying that those who are married can’t serve God with the same undivided attention. He is not at all trying to elevate the status of singleness above marriage. Nor was Paul saying that to be unmarried is holier than to be married.

The argument in the following verses, which I hope you will read in your own spare time, clearly says otherwise.

What Paul is clearly saying here is simply that to be single you do have the privilege to fully devote your attention to God. You have more time and fewer commitments to serve God’s family. You have no children or husband to worry about when God calls you to serve overseas. You have more opportunities to go to places and do more things that a married couple can’t. It’s a wonderful privilege from God.

And before you go home today. I want you to remember this: time is short and the present form of this world is passing away. So in your singleness or in your marriage, do it all for the Glory of the Lord. Because only those things that you do for Him will last till eternity. And don’t ever let anything in this world take away that privilege from you.

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About jsnywng

A follower of Jesus. An engineer of electronics and telecommunications. I live and work to love and serve people. I study and think to strive for any possible betterment that could be brought to life. Soccer, Irish folk music, and the Bible are three of my favorite things.
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