Take the test below:

1. Are you a Christian? Yes or No?

2. Are you:

(a) Single (never married) Yes or No?

(b) Divorced (and now single) Yes or No?

(c) Widowed (and now single) Yes or No?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to both questions 1 and 2 above, then YOU have been given the ‘Gift of singleness.’

(You may like to take this opportunity to run screaming from the room with your arms flailing about in the air, or to repeatedly beat your head against the nearest wall, as you emphatically say “No! No! No!”)

Introduction

Let me start out with a statement which may shock you: If you are a single person, it’s because it’s God’s BEST choice for you.

Let me clarify that statement: it’s not His second-best choice, it’s not an accident or a punishment: the reason you are single is because God wants the best for you.

At this point, there may be an angry or hurt voice in your head shouting “No way! That isn’t right! How can being alone be the best for me?” So let’s jump into first Corinthians chapter two and see what it says about God’s plan for us:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [NLT]

So in other words, you don’t know what God’s plan is for you – none of us do. So if God has planned for you to be single you have a choice to accept it, or not. But if you choose NOT to accept it, then you have to be ready to face the consequences that may well result from ignoring God’s direction.

Perhaps you are trying to justify your rejection of your singleness by telling yourself something like, “This doesn’t have anything to do with me, because eventually I’m going to get married.” So let me shock you a little further: if you are single RIGHT NOW it’s because you are called to be single RIGHT NOW. In fact, you have been given the ‘Gift of Singleness’ RIGHT NOW by the very fact that you are single, even if you’re dating or engaged.

While it’s true that at some point in the future you may marry, or if you are presently married, consider that there may come a time when you become single (eg death of your spouse), and while you are single, and whether you want to be single or not, it is a gift from God and He has given it to you for a reason.

In first Corinthians, chapter seven, Paul talked a little about the gift of singleness:

“Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband… But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” [NLT]

There it is in plain words: “… each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” Marriage is a gift. Singleness is a gift.

I previously shared in the article “Where is my soul-mate,” that I was shocked when I first heard the term ‘gift of singleness.’ It suggested that singleness was a gift from God: something that God intentionally gave to certain Christians. It had not crossed my mind that I might never marry, let alone that God deliberately chose to give singleness as a gift.

At the time, I thought to myself, “How could singleness be a gift? Wasn’t it more of a curse? Didn’t I deserve to be loved? Was I being punished? Did that mean that I was to remain single for the rest of my life?”

How Did I Come to Accept the Gift?

I grew up believing society’s standards that happiness, success and completeness required that I marry, and I never doubted that it would happen to me… but it didn’t. This situation continued not happening into my thirties right through to my present age (fifties).

When I was in my late twenties I stopped asking “how long will I be single,” and instead began asking, “so what do I do with this gift?” I came to understand that God wasn’t going to answer that question with a definitive answer – not because He didn’t love me or because He thought I didn’t deserve to be loved, but because He had something in mind for me that needed my full attention which I couldn’t give if I was married.

Additionally in my case, part of my journey was to become a Christian singles co-ordinator, Christian radio presenter and eventually develop a Christian singles magazine, so the fact that I’m still unmarried at this present time in my life, makes more sense now.

Sure, I could have resisted God’s call on my life and settled for someone, but if that wasn’t part of God’s plan, then it was likely to leave me unsatisfied and impact on my relationship with God. Added to the fact that I’d settled for a marriage with someone who wasn’t in God’s plans for me, it was also likely to lead to marital problems. It meant too that God would have to find someone else to do work which He had allocated for me to undertake.

I came to understand that the gift of singleness wasn’t a curse but in fact came to be an incredible blessing in ways that I could never have imagined:

• I developed skills and confidence that I might never had the chance to do had I married.

• Two of my blessings are two women that have become my best friends and have continued to support and encourage me and have been a Godsend during times of difficulty (thanks Adrianna and Robyn.)

• God has provided freedom and opportunities for me to develop in areas that I would not have had the opportunity had I married, specifically my writing and creative arts.

• And many more

While Paul said that singleness is a gift from God, it is not included in the list of spiritual gifts in first Corinthians chapter twelve. Therefore it must be a different type of gift. For some Christians, singleness is a personal choice, and for others it is a state in which God places us, sometimes even kicking and screaming!

For Christians in both of these circumstances, singleness is a gift from God. So what does the ‘gift of singleness’ mean in actuality?

What is the Gift of Singleness?

Further along in first Corinthians chapter seven Paul stated:

“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.

I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” [NLT]

It’s quite clear here that Paul was saying that marriage will distract us from serving the Lord. As a Christian our first requirement is that we love God and part of loving Him, is obeying Him. Therefore if God has given us the gift of singleness, we have to face that doing anything other than embracing our singleness, is an act of defiance.

That’s a scary thought isn’t it? If we decide to ignore this gift and run off and find someone to marry, we are likely to find that it leads to all sorts of problems that will ultimately be much more difficult to live with than accepting God’s gift of singleness in the first place, because:

• We’ll be choosing someone that is not approved by God;

• We’re likely to be settling for someone that is less suited to us and will probably lead to high levels of conflict in our relationship;

• We’re unlikely to be able to complete God’s purpose for our life; and

• We’re less likely to find the satisfaction in our marriage relationship than we would have in our single state.

Accepting the Gift

For some of us, as the years pass there may be some disappointment that we’ll never know the closeness of a loving marriage relationship, or have the support of a loving partner. We also may never know the love of a child. From my own experience I can tell you that the worst of my heart-pangs and desires eased over time until all that remained was the smallest spark of an ache.

Sure, I could indulge in a pity party and think of all that God has kept from me. Instead I choose to focus on what God has provided me in its place, such as a sense of satisfaction and purposefulness, and I’ve grown in my confidence and skills.

When I was young I was such an extreme introvert that I was nervous talking to strangers and had very little belief in myself. In the last thirty years God continued to grow me and I developed to the point where I overcame most of those earlier difficulties and became a radio presenter, wrote regular columns in local newspapers, sang in a church and in a regional choir at the annual town Christmas carnival, preached in a church, and created and co-ordinated a Christian singles group for fifteen years. I’ve developed creative arts skills and have opened several on-line stores and I’m presently endeavouring to have the first two of a series of three books published.

If somebody had told me when I was in my early twenties that I was going to benefit so much from committing myself to God and His gift of singleness, I would have laughed derisively. I would not have conceived of the possibility of being able to have the skills and confidence nor the opportunity to do all of those wonderful things. Isn’t God amazing!?

Let’s revisit first Corinthians chapter two and see what it says again about God’s plan for us:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [NLT]

This came about because of one thing: my willingness to trust and follow God, no matter what.

Living the Gift

So let me ask you a question: are you willing to accept the Gift of Singleness that God is offering you right now?

I don’t know what plans God has in mind for you. Instead may I encourage you to forget about that. Focus on following God’s lead and being willing to do what He asks of you, no matter how scary or even improbable it may sound. Keep in mind that with God, anything is possible.

May I encourage you to read Psalms 139 which talks about our relationship with God and how well He knows us and prepares for us.

If it helps you for the present time, just focus on getting through one day at a time, and committing yourself to God afresh each day. Ask God to ease the ache of emptiness or loneliness in your heart and to fill it with something else.

Ask Him to build your confidence, your skills and your courage, and to grow you in areas where you are at your weakest.

Conclusion

Your life has already begun – quit waiting for marriage and instead, eagerly receive the gift of singleness that God has given you.

Yes, God may have marriage in store for you, but not right at this present time, so quit doing nothing while you wait. Ask God to show you the joys and sense of completeness that can come with this gift, and to help you to live the life and the purpose that He has planned for you.

…Then hang on for the ride of your life!

[End]
[NLT] – New Living Translation Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved