A Serious Conversation for Christian Singles
- Wednesday, June 13, 2007
There comes a time in life when we need to remove the sugar coating and taste the real bitterness of the pill on our tongues.
Many of us have learned that we can fool others and even ourselves by wording things in just the right way or repeating a contrived philosophy until we've heard it so many times that we accept it as "gospel" truth. One of those sugary pills concerns the modern view of marriage versus what the Bible teaches.
Today's view of marriage says that it is something that should be delayed and put off until certain things occur in life such as a college degree, great job, a certain age, certain experiences, etc. The message most young singles take from that is that those other things are more important than a marriage commitment and that such a commitment could not survive less-than-ideal conditions.
And we're seeing the results of that materialistic philosophy. I'm sorry to say that it has become an unusual occurrence for two virgins to marry each other now days. As the average age for marriage continues to creep higher and higher, the virginity rate among singles falls lower and lower.
Why is that the case? I'll tell you just as I told my sister-in-law: "You can't fight God." What I mean by that is that God gave human beings a powerful sexual drive. Unlike animals, humans not only were designed to have sex for procreation, but also to enjoy as intimacy, affection and openness with each other. All of that was God's idea, not Hollywood's. And the drive is so strong that the longer it is put off or delayed, the more difficult it is to control because that God-given need for intimacy, expression and vulnerability grows inside of us. Marriage is supposed to be an environment and an understanding with another person that allows for sexual needs to be fulfilled. That's why we see so much sexual confusion in single land.
But what about the "gift" of singleness. Doesn't the Bible tell us that being single is a gift?
No, it does not. I'm sorry to say that because many of you have heard that said so many times that you accept it as "gospel" truth, but the Bible never calls singleness a gift. Instead, if you read 1 Corinthians 7 which is the passage people use so often to claim singlehood is a gift, you'll see that the actual gift part is to be able to tolerate being single, not being single itself. The gift part is said to be had by those who don't need sexual fulfillment.
I don't believe I even know a single person with that gift. The least I can say is that it is a very rare gift for a human being to have simply because God did not make us to be loners. He made us to desire union with the opposite sex from the very beginning. We're even told in 1 Timothy 4:3 that one of the signs of the end times is that people would "forbid marriage." Sounds a bit scary if you ask me, considering how many are abandoning the idea of marriage for lives of casual sex and single-parent households.
So maybe we should ask ourselves one single question. Do we agree with what the Holy Spirit said through Paul? That it is better to marry than to "burn with passion"?
I realize that many who might be reading this article want to get married, but have yet to find a partner. Many are in that situation because they were encouraged to postpone marriage by their parents or even church leaders. Now they find themselves in a wasteland, where suddenly their career consumes so much of them that they don't know how they'll meet single Christians who might be husband or wife material.
I'm convinced that if we taught teenagers and early twenty-somethings that they should determine their own sex drive and decide if they are "gifted" to tolerate a life without marriage, we'd see the virginity rate among unmarrieds skyrocket and once again men and women would give each other their virginity instead of adding another partner to the list and causing feelings of regret and pain. After all, It's not something that has to be considered very long. It's a simple question, in fact. "Do you want to live a life of celibacy or not?"
If you answer "no" then you are you just like Adam and Eve and do not have the gift of being permanently single. And once teenagers or twenty-somethings decide that they are not cut out for sex-free lives, they should discuss with their parents or mentors what age they would like to start seeking a spouse. That way, they have a time frame so that they don't feel that it is an indefinite wait. With a time frame in mind, they will likely be more successful at saving themselves for then.
Does this sound very old-fashioned to you? Well, I suppose Paul's idea of "marrying rather than burning with passion" might be considered old-fashioned to some. But it sounds very logical to me and seems to take sexual purity much more seriously than the "wait and see" method.
And if we are able to again create a culture that takes saving themselves for marriage seriously, then they will purposefully seek each other. They will ask perhaps even before the first date if the other person plans on getting married in the next few years.
So rather than sugar-coating single life as a "gift" that should be enjoyed, perhaps we should start determining if we even have the "gift" to tolerate that life. If we don't, let's take the sugar off the pill and get serious about finding a compatible partner with whom we can share our mind, body and soul in service to God.
Remember that you aren't looking for a so-called "soul mate" or a carbon copy of yourself. You are looking for someone who loves God, loves you and has similar life goals. God is a wise creator and has made us to be compatible with more than one person. So don't go looking for a Hollywood fantasy.
If you want to find a spouse, start by asking God. Then go to your minister or pastor and ask him if your church would consider joining with other churches to do as many in the Jewish faith do—have social events so that singles can mingle and get to know each other.
The Church used to do the same thing but, sadly, has stopped. I hope to see a revival of this. Also, find Christian singles in your area by using web sites designed to bring Christian singles together. The bottom line is, if you wait for it to come to you, you'll likely not find it. Remember, the Bible also says, "seek and you shall find" (Matthew 7:7).
It's time we started taking these things seriously.
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