Do I Have the "Gift" of Singleness?
- Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young
- 2014 1 Jan
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: How will I know whether I have been given the "gift" of celibacy/singleness?
This “gift” you refer to pertains to what Paul spoke of to the Corinthians.
It is good for a man not to marry…I say this as a concession, not as a command. Each man has his own gift from God, one has this gift, another has that (1 Corinthians 7:1, 6, 7).
Personally, I have never really given it much thought even though I have been writing about being single and becoming a seasoned one along the way. For as long as I could remember, I have persistently sought a relationship, albeit not always actively, so I have never considered myself as having the “gift.”
However, to help determine if we do, we can probably ask ourselves, “How do I know if I have a gift of any kind?”
God does not give us a “gift” we are terrible at or hate doing. He takes pleasure in seeing his creations utilize what he bestows in amazing ways. For most of us, we determine our “gift” by discovering what we do well and what we take pleasure in doing. Others will also take notice of the ease and enjoyment by which we use it.
I have many friends who seem to have “the gift.” They have embraced and are content with where God has led them, while using it to contribute and encourage others in the Lord. What they have been able to accomplish as singles could never have taken place if they were married. This is not to say they never wanted to be married or have children at some point, but they have reached a place in their life where they have found true peace in their soul.
The bottom line is it’s all about your heart. Do you not want a relationship? Are you content and have peace if you remain single? Do you believe and are excited to have “the gift”?
If your answer is absolutely NOT to these questions, you probably don’t have it. However, in my life God has also uncovered gifts I never thought I had, so I don’t believe anything is absolute in this world.
I believe God's plan since the beginning was for most men and women to be married. But due to the fall of Adam and Eve, selfishness, and sin, more and more people are single (single by choice or single by divorce or death). Even though there are more singles than ever, God continues to use us to do amazing things for him. Singles are serving in all parts of the world where traditional families could not go.
But your question is whether you have been personally called to be single. Have you been given the "gift" of singleness? In the Bible, Paul says singleness is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 7:7). As an older single, I believe that it is. I am constantly bombarded with images and information that I have to be married to be complete (vs. the truth of my completion in Christ). And although I have desired marriage from time to time, it does distract me from the work God has given me to do. So to be able to stay focused on God's work is truly a special gift from God. Yes, your singleness IS a gift. But are you called to this life forever?
I do believe there are some people that are "called" to be single for a season and some forever. Based on my understanding of Scripture, these are individuals who do not seek to be married, or have a desire of sexual intimacy (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Please know I have never met anyone under 70 who feels this way (and I have been leading singles ministry for over 25 years). However, I have met several who were at one time married and either by divorce or death have decided to not get married again.
f you find yourself in a place of no desire for marriage or sexual intimacy, then yes, you are called to be single and celibate. This could last for a year, many years, or forever. And boy what a gift, as you will have few distractions! But please know, even if you desire marriage and sex, that does not automatically mean you will get married. We still live in a fallen world, a world where there are more Christian women then men. A world with pain, kids raised in broken homes, very few examples of true commitment, and tons of abuse that will keep a lot of people single.
Is it hard to be single and celibate? Yes, it is. But as you seek God in all things, positioning yourself in places that edify Christ, it gets easier and easier.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: January 23, 2014