In my last article "God's Relationship Plan For You" I spoke about how to figure out God’s plan for you as far as relationships are concerned. In that article, I mentioned being single and how a person should live contently in that state. Now we are going to look deeper into how this is done.
WE ALL START AS SINGLES
As we learned in our last article, Adam was first a single person before God brought Eve to him. We all start our young adult lives as a single person. This is God’s plan for everyone in the early days of their lives. So, we must understand this phase in our lives and serve God to the best of our ability.
THE DANGERS OF DISCONTENTMENT
Being single has a lot of great benefits (discussed below); however, the problem a lot of single people run into is being a content person first. The reasons for discontentment vary, but most of the time it stems from being alone, and wanting to find a spouse. The danger with discontentment is that it can cause spiritual problems and eventually, it can cause a person to rush into marriage. This will result in them choosing the wrong spouse, and end up very unhappy or divorced.
MAKING PEACE WITH GOD’S WILL
One of the biggest struggles that single people wrestle with is; “What is God’s will concerning marriage for me? Am I supposed to get married? Who will my spouse be? When will this happen?” These are all legitimate questions that God will work out in His time. With these questions flooding the mind of most single people, if not careful, it can often fuel discontentment.
What needs to happen to all single people who struggle with these questions is to first, lay the future plans of marriage on the altar; and second, make peace with God’s current will for their life, and be content as a single person; as Paul states in these two places…
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1 Cor 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
THE STATE OF BEING SINGLE
Above, I mention 1 Cor 7:20 and how Paul stresses that whatever state you are in (single or married) when you are saved (called), that you are to abide in that state. Now, Paul wasn’t saying you cannot ever get married as we are about to read. However, it is so important to be content and settled in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7 is a great chapter on single living, marriage and widowhood. I won’t be going over all of it, but I do want to explain a few things he mentions here.
1 Cor 7:7-9 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. (8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1 Cor 7:25-28 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. (26) I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. (27) Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (28) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
We all know that the Apostle Paul was a single man, so he understood the benefits of being single. Paul tells us that it is not a command to be single, but that it is better if a single or widowed person stay that way; and if they just cannot abide in that state, then it’s better for them to get married then commit fornication. However, his main point is that being a single (or virgin) is a great thing and that you can be spared some “troubles in the flesh” if you were to get married.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING SINGLE
As Paul continues his teaching, he then tells us the difference between being single and being married…
1 Cor 7:32-35 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: (33) But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (34) There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (35) And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
As you have read, the benefits in being single for the Lord are evident! It allows you to attend unto God, do a work for Him and please Him without distraction. Living a life as a single person will allow you to flow in the Holy Ghost in a deeper way.
Not only are there spiritual benefits, there are also life benefits, namely; independence, the absence of conflict or drama, no chance of infidelity, not having to meet a person’s needs (emotional, financial or physical); and then, not having regrets if someone marries the wrong spouse.
Now, I must mention something you need to realize. Paul is not saying that you cannot do a work for God, or flow in the Holy Ghost being a married couple. If you were to read 1 Cor 7:29 he says “if you are married, be as though you are not”… well, what does that mean? Very simple! It means that as a couple, they must both spend time with God and stay close to Him so that both can flow in the work of God!
FOLLOW HARD AFTER GOD
When a single person allows discontent to run their life, it often causes them to chase after a spouse. It consumes their mind and they are constantly nagging God to give them a spouse. However, once a single person has become content with God’s will and they have applied themselves to staying close to God, they will find a peace and anointing that will help them keep discontentment away from them. This kind of peace will allow a person to spiritually hear from God and know what God’s will is, even if it involves getting married. I have seen this happen so many times; once a person gets content, then God brings the “spouse” to them in His own time.
Have you ever wondered why it seems some young people within the church get married and their life is blessed by God and they enter into the work of God at such a young age? Usually it is because they are content with who they are and they allow God to just work out all the details of their lives!
THE GIFT OF GOD – A DESIRE TO BE MARRIED
1 Cor 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
1 Cor 7:37-38 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. (38) So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
So, what about the desire a person has to be married? What and how does a person deal with it?
In the gospels, Jesus mentions that every person has their proper “gift of God” (desire) concerning marriage. The Apostle Paul also mentions it here. Therefore, from these passages we can see that God can lay it on the heart of each individual if they are to be married or not.
When a person has a desire to be married, that is okay. Marriage can be great (another lesson). However, the person has to properly handle that desire and not allow it to turn into discontentment or even lust. This is where waiting on God comes in.
WAITING ON GOD
Though a person has a desire to be married, the key is not to suppress that desire, but accept God’s will and timing to bring it to pass in their life. The more a person chases that desire with discontentment, the longer it will take to happen. However, if a person can become content, then they will be showing God that they trust that He will bring someone into their life at just the right time!
While a person waits on God during their single years, God uses that time to teach them about discipline, faithfulness and being a grounded spiritual person. There is a lot that God may need to teach a person to prepare them for marriage. As I stated way back in our first lesson. Marriage in the church is a lot different than in the world, and knowing how marriage works has to be learned.
It is a true saying... what you are when you are single is what you will be when you are married. So, learn about being a good Apostolic believer and a loving spouse before you say "I DO."
The purpose of this article is not to discourage a single person from getting married, but to encourage a person to take advantage of their time being single and allowing God to work through their lives.
The greatest time to establish a strong walk with God is during those single years. A person should learn the Word of God, learn His voice, learn to pray, intercede, work for God. This “single phase” of a person’s life is the spiritual foundation that is needed to have a strong committed marriage in the future.
Many single people make the mistake in thinking that another person will fill the void and make them happy and content. When in truth, after marriage they realize that they too have imperfections, and that even a spouse cannot fill the void that only God can fill. The right spouse that is compatible with another individual can be a wonderful thing; but all-in-all… only two God-centered persons in a God-centered marriage can be fulfilling.
Over the 30+ years of living for God, I have seen so many single people who were discontent and ended up rushing into marriage, only to see it fall apart later down the road. Discontentment often turns into a lust (strong desire) for being married which causes some to leave their first love (God) and choose a human as stated in this verse…
1 Tim 5:11-12 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; (12) Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
The danger with discontentment is that if a person doesn’t get a spouse in their time frame, they will eventually get impatient with God and “wax wanton” to the point that they leave God.
There is so much I can add to this lesson, but suffice to say, it takes dedicated, strong contented single people to enjoy living for God in the state they are presently at. The key to being a single person is to trust that God will work out His will for you in his time. Being single and content will bring great rewards. A person just has to find that place where BEING SINGLE IS NOT A BAD THING!!!
Read: Dating & Courtship