When we go to God and ask for His direction in choosing a mate, He has three answers:  yes, no, or wait.  "Wait" means we must pause in our search in order to get God's instructions.  It's the most difficult of all the answers by sometimes the most necessary.  God always saves His best for those who are willing to wait for it, but when we fail to wait, we are out of God's will.  Even when we do the right thing out of God's timing, it's still disobedience and will bring frustration and confusion to what could have been a blessing.  The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. 

God's Gift of Singleness

Before you can determine whom to marry, you must first answer a preliminary question:  Does God want you to marry anyone, ever?  Or is His plan for you to remain single?  Scripture teaches that marriage, like salvation, is an unmerited gift from God (Genesis 2:18).  When God wanted Adam to have a wife, He brought her to him.  Their marriage was a gift from God.  But Scripture also tells us that singleness is God's gift as well.

"I wish that all men were as I am.  But each man has his own gift from God," said the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:7.  He wished all men were single like he was and free from the stresses of married life so they could devote themselves to God's work.  "But each man has his own gift from God."  In other words, God will either give to a person the gift of being married or the gift of being single.

People who are perpetually lonely as singles are usually the same people who are worried about what isn't happening to them instead of what they should be doing to minister to others.  Their focus is inward, not upward.  In 1 Corinthians 7, we are told to acknowledge singleness as good, allow it for our spiritual growth, and use it for God.

C.S. Lewis was single most of his life.  He taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and used his free time as a single to write some of the best Christian literature available in the world today.  As he grew older and was nearing retirement age, he met and married a woman he came to love intensely in their three short years together.  What would the world have missed if Lewis had married earlier someone whom God had not chosen?

It happens.  Singles become consumed with the idea of how wonderful life would be if they just had a marriage partner, and then they make concessions and compromises that lead to marriage out of God's timing and out of God's will.  To feel accepted by another person and avoid the stigma of being single, they enter into unhealthy relationships and compromise values they once held dear.

The more consumed you become with the idea of marriage and/or sex, the more easily you can slip into a pattern of fantasizing.  It might start as innocently as fantasizing about being with another person, perhaps someone at work or church.  Then you might progress to fantasizing about the children you'd have together or where you would live.  If they continue unchecked, your thoughts could become a full-blown X-rated video that stays stuck on replay in your mind until it replays in your life.  The powerful feelings that accompany such thoughts can lead people into marriages God never ordained and intimate relationships He never approved. 

The Bible declares that as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7, KJV).  What a strange thought!  How can you think with your heart?  We normally associate thought with the brain and feelings with the heart.  The phrase "to think in the heart" refers to thoughtful reflection.  Many ideas are briefly entertained by the mind without ever penetrating the heart.  But those ideas that do grasp us in our innermost parts are the ideas that shape our lives.  When our thoughts are corrupted, our lives follow suit.  We are what we think.