by Vicki Nunn
In an earlier issue of SPAG Magazine we explored the ‘Gift of Singleness,’ and who is given this gift. We concluded that the gift of singleness is given to every Christian who is currently without a partner, no matter if they’re dating or even engaged. We determined that God has a purpose for us while we are in this state of singleness, which is why He gives it to us.
We shared that the gift of singleness is different to spiritual gifts, and is like one side of a coin with the ‘Gift of Marriage’ on the reverse. That doesn’t mean that it is the opposite of marriage, but that it’s merely one of the two gifts that God gives to Christians.
The Gift of Singleness means that a Christian single is more easily able to make themselves available to God for His purposes. Married persons tend to have less free time, especially once children enter the picture (although for single parents, this is also an issue.)
We explored the possibility that God will at some point provide us with a partner, if it’s part of His plan. While we are waiting (patiently) we can be busy doing His work. We don’t have to keep a watchful eye out for potential partners because if we keep close to God, His Holy Spirit will prompt us when that possible partner comes into our sphere.
Some Christians prefer to remain single for various reasons, but for others it is a concept with which we struggle, even though Paul clearly stated that this gift is given to some. Some Christians are so resistant to the idea of remaining single, that they deliberately ignore the idea that singleness is from God, and may even rush out and jump into relationships so they won’t be on their own.
So let’s explore some reasons why we may still be resisting the gift of singleness.
We think it’s unfair that God has kept us from a loving relationship, and we’ve allowed bitterness to grow in our heart. It can almost seem as if God is punishing us, which of course He isn’t. While God’s aims for our life aren’t always clear, or sometimes are about as clear as mud until God let’s us in on His plans, Biblical evidence (and personal experiences of millions of Christians over the centuries) would certainly indicate that what God does for us is out of love.
Ultimately we must recognise that our bitterness will impact badly on our relationship with God and with others: our desperation and/or bitterness is likely to attract the worst quality partners, and certain to chase away anyone decent!
If one of our aims in life is to be miserable, then if we continue holding onto resentment, we’ll quickly achieve that goal!
2. We’ve Made the Goal of Marriage Our Idol Rather than God
If marriage is our major aim in life, then perhaps we’ve made it an idol, with God a close second. How can we tell if it’s become our idol? First we must ask ourselves this question and give it an honest answer:
“Am I saying that God is not enough?”
After thoughtfully considering that answer, we should then follow that up with this one:
“If God asked me to give up on the idea of marriage altogether, could I do that?”
That’s a pretty scary question if we’ve never seriously considered it before. God sometimes calls on us to give up things that may hinder our walk with Him, or that distract us from His goals for our life. If we do remain unmarried, do we understand that God wouldn’t be doing that purposely to hurt us or to make us miserable?
If we can come to terms with the concept that God may have called us to singleness, then as I shared in the previous articles on this subject, compensations come with it. God will send us joys and a sense of contentment in ways that we hadn’t expected or experienced before.
If at this point we still feel ourselves resisting God’s gift of singleness, then perhaps we should consider that we are focusing on our own desires rather than God’s purposes for us. Are we putting ourselves and our needs as the number one priority in our life? If so, then alarm bells should be going off at this point! We need to get our priorities sorted out promptly.
3. We Believe that We’ll Get Closer to God if We Find a Good Christian Partner
While it’s true that a good Christian partner may encourage us in our walk with God, we are deluding ourselves if we believe that ‘partnering-up’ will improve our relationship with God or bring us closer to Him. The fact is, the only door by which we have closer access to God is through Jesus.
If we are desiring a closer relationship with God, no-one else is going to be able to do that for us. WE are the only ones who can improve our relationship with God, and finding a partner will not alter that for us.
If there’s a problem with intimacy with God to begin with, then intimacy with a human partner is likely to take our thoughts and our heart further away from God, rather than closer.
4. We Believe that Finding Someone to Love Us Will Prove We are Worthy of Love or Prove that We Are Attractive
Does God really need to prove His love for us, more than giving His son Jesus to die on the cross for us? Do we think that human love will prove to us that we are a more worthwhile person than God already knows we are?
The world likes to deceive us with this lie, or the idea that to be a valuable human being, we must be physically attractive. Ultimately, while finding human love is nice, or being good-looking and enjoying the attention that brings can make us feel good, neither of these things can ever complete or satisfy us.
If we are determined to find a partner because we have a need to prove we’re worthy of love, then consider that perhaps we need to look at our own upbringing/background. Did we have a tough or unloved upbringing? Did someone that we trusted from our past say horrible or negative things about us that made us doubt our value? How was your relationship with your parents and/or siblings? Any troubles there?
If this is an issue for us, we need to be aware that we’re likely to get involved with people that are not healthy for us because we are trying to move from an unhealthy upbringing without fixing anything before diving into adult relationships. This usually results in a negative way on our self-esteem and those self-doubts grow even stronger.
To have any chance of a healthy relationship, we need first to love ourselves through Christ. It took me a number of years to accept and believe that I am worthy of love; to heal of my past hurts and doubts, and I eventually came to accept that I am as worthy of love as anyone else. We must also accept that no human being will ever be able to complete us.
5. We’re Slack in Our Christian Walk
If we are slack in our walk with God, why would He want to distract us with a partner that will take us further from Him? I’m not saying that if we are close to God that He’ll automatically send us a partner as if it’s some kind of reward for good work! If God was waving His hands in front of our face right now, whistling or shouting madly, we’ve become too focused on looking around at all the possible human partners in our view, to even notice Him.
Let’s seriously look at how much effort we’re putting into our relationship with God:
Do our daily habits include spending time in prayer and reading His word?
Other than church, is there a group with which we meet, where we can gain a deeper understanding of God?
Do we put aside some time each week to do our work for Him?