gift of singleness: do you claim it for yourself?
Gift of singleness: do you claim it for yourself? Could it be possible that God may never want you to marry? I remember feeling this way as a young adult in my early 20's. At that age I thought old age was creeping up on me way too fast and that I would never marry! I ended up feeling sorry for myself, but God had other plans for me.
While still a young girl, I was told by my parents and grandparents that I needed to prepare myself for marriage because, who knows, I might just meet that special someone at school, which of course I indeed did while attending a Christian college in Tennessee, in the US. During that time, in the early '80's, all the young women attending there seemingly were out to get their "MRS. degree, just as I was. This was the mantra at the time.
A few of the other girls at my college claimed to have this "gift of singleness", which I thought was just hilarious and utterly ridiculous in the sense that through their drab appearances and "plain Jane" personalities, the impression I got from them was complete martyrdom. I felt they were playing "hard to get" and seemed to receive more attention from the fellows than the other, more attractive girls did.
However, as I tracked down some of these friends and acquaintances from college, I later learned that a few of them never did marry and never had any particular interest in marrying either. I was floored by their honesty and admission to me that they were assured of God's purpose in their lives to live a single life, all for His glory and not for themselves. In this they were quite happy and content to live their lives solely for Jesus, without having to share their time and attention on someone else.
As I look back on this experience, it is clear to me that one must truly have this free offering from the Lord, if you will, for remaining single and to choose from the heart not to marry, not just out of sacrifice, but out of one's immense love for God and keeping one's complete focus on Him.
spiritual benefits derived from the gift of singleness
Your family and friends may expect you to tie the knot with someone on day. Maybe that is their idea of what your life should look like, but then again, God could have others plans and ideas for you.
Perhaps you have fantasized about meeting a nice girl (if you're a guy), who sings beautifully, who would help you in your ministry, or who may give you obedient children, etc. Or, (if you're a girl), you may have dreamed of a lavish wedding, along with a honeymoon in Hawaii, looking forward to living in a beautiful home with fantastic kids, living happily, ever after!
You may say, "Well I don't get it. How can this be considered a gift? What benefits could there possibly be in my life if I remain single and never marry? Look at all the things I could be missing out on!" Let's look at a few of them:
Some benefits of having the gift of singleness are:
- You are free to focus your time, attention, and talents on your ministry, or various other ministries, whether it be that of preaching, teaching, evangelism, women and/or children's ministries, etc.
- You do not have to worry about a spouse or children. Being dependent upon, or having dependents who count on you to provide, teach, or protect them can have its own worries and complications as well. When you are single, you are more free with your time. You can go out ministering to others without having to worry about what time to come home, and so on.
- If you are or have been a persecuted Christian, whether it be in another country, or right here in the U.S., you will not have to be concerned about a spouse and/or children being in the picture because that would present a huge burden for you and for your family.
- You are a free agent unto God as a single man or woman. When you feel led by Him to go serve, minister, or teach, you can go immediately when you hear God's call to go. Your main focus becomes that of pleasing the Lord, and not of pleasing the things of this world, which included that of a wife and family. And finally,
- When another believer in the Lord asks for your help and skill to aid in the spreading of the gospel, you do not have to go first, asking permission from a husband or wife. Instead, it is the Lord's permission you will be asking.
Paul gave the Corinthians instructions on being married verses being single. He knew through his own life as a single man and an apostle of Christ what the spiritual benefits were apart from those of being married. Although we believe he did indeed have this gift of singleness, he was not immune to its challenges along the way. He saw the problems that existed within the church regarding these issues. Here are a few passages of scripture that talk about this in greater detail:
- 1 Corinthians 7:6-9 Paul exhorts, "But I speak this by permission, and not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."
- 1 Corinthians 7:17 also says, "But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches."
- 1 Corinthians 7:20-35 gives the church further instructions regarding the single vs. the married and addresses this gift of singleness as well, "Let every man abide in the same calling where he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgement, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction."
When God designed and fashioned you in your mother's womb, He knew whether or not He would bestow you with this truly unique gift of singleness. Very few people actually have the aptitude for remaining single all their lives.
When He prepares you for a task, He creates the pathway, giving you those desires, skills, talents, and natural abilities to carry out His purpose in your life. Therefore, if indeed this is your portion in life, you will feel this gift to be right for you.
The Holy Spirit will confirm this within your spirit as God works in you while you continue to go forth in your Christian walk with Him, giving Him all the glory for all that He can accomplish through you, His willing vessel-- the gift He has given you.
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Dating In The Workplace
Dating Christian Believers
Christian Ministries Bring The Good News Around The World
Lonely Single Christians
Christian Dating Verses Secular Dating
Christian Chat: Not Just For The Internet
Dating Woes Can Create Havoc In Your Courting World
Marriage In The Christian Home
Tying The Knot: Should You, Or Shouldn't You?
Single Christians: Using Their Spiritual Gifts In Building Up The Body Of Christ
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