Singleness and the Christian Life (1 Cor. 7:8-9)

Singleness and the Christian life are often thought to be opposing realities. For many, living single is a life phase in which physical and sexual temptations abound, distractions from all things spiritual and eternal are constant, and one in which it is difficult to have a vibrant spiritual walk, and a continuing quest for closeness to God. This is, indeed, a myth. This myth creates a lack of trust in singles and diminished hope for their emotional and spiritual well-being.

Yet that is not the experience of all singles and, maybe, not the experience of most today. Many singles embrace their singleness; they learn to accept and to appreciate their present reality and to integrate their reality with a strong and vibrant Christian faith.

It is difficult to live in a world with such prevailing sentiments and not be influenced by them as a single person. The subtle and not-so-subtle messages that pervade the environment often result in the inculcation of these scripts and, thus, result in single people acting out these scripts like self-fulfilling prophesies. As a result, there is often a whole lot of preoccupation about intimate coupling, dating, sexual temptation, gratification, and experimentation. Thus, a life with so much potential can become one that is hampered by the desperation and pressure to resist and change one’s single status. I wish to underscore that the prevailing thoughts and commentary about single people and their inculcation of such sentiments impact what many young and single people think about themselves. This negative self-talk erodes the spiritual quest in the soul and social and cultural values capture the spiritual striving, often, leaving it wounded, and for dead.

Many of the single people whom I know have a very different experience, one that does not fit this mold. Instead, they accept the challenges of single living, embrace them, and seek resources from God and their social environment to pursue a full life that is not shaped by weakness, desperation, and dissatisfaction. For such ones, they flip the script and enjoy a wholesome life with healthy perspectives that radiate from inside to the outside.

What really makes a positive difference for singles? I am sure that there are many things, but I will conclude this article with a brief discussion of a few things worthy of note in this brief piece.

  1. Accepting the fact that one’s greatest goal in life is not to be married. At the least, that is a better place from which to start, and that state is less likely to make one preoccupied and desperate. Desperation is more likely to make obtaining an intimate relationship more difficult and less enjoyable.
  2. Appreciating the way God made you, with sexual desires no less, goes a long way in impacting your self-consciousness. God knew what He was doing when He made Adam and Eve single and sexual. God can trust us because He made us with a capacity for reason and decision.
  3. Cooperating with the reality that life does not tolerate a vacuum. One’s life has to be full of one thing or another thing will seek entrance. Filling one’s mind and heart with good, positive, beautiful, honest, just, and praiseworthy things keep negative and distracting things out.

God calls single people to Christian living. The call is reasonable, possible, and is aided by His constant presence and resourceful grace. Yes, it is more than possible to be single and Christian. Embracing this reality allows for better personal integration and spiritual and emotional adjustment in life as a single person.