Sunday, February 15, 2012 am
GODLY HOMES IN AN
UNGODLY WORLD (12)
What about singles?
I. What does the Bible say about being single?
a. Being single is not wrong, nor is it a weakness or a flaw in one’s life.
i. When God said, “Marriage is honorable among all” (Heb. 13:4), he was not saying it was mandatory, nor that being single is dishonorable. Rather He was noting that marriage serves its purposes, which we have examined at length in this study.
ii. IF someone is single, we need to be careful and NOT assume that something is wrong with that person, or that he/she is the victim of unfortunate events. And we need to think about this when we start to play matchmaker. Sometimes, we see someone who is single and seek to impose our will upon them thinking we know what is best. We very well could be wrong in our assessment. AND it is possible that our pressure might drive one into an unfortunate situation. I am not saying in this that it is wrong to introduce people or give SOLICITED advice, but just that we need to be careful in these matters. BECAUSE begin single is not wrong!
In the Bible there are
examples of men & women who were single, yet productive
Paul was clearly single. Daniel was probably made a eunuch, when carried away into captivity. If so he would have been single. Elijah & Jeremiah (Jer. 16:2) were single as prophets. John the Baptist was single. And do not forget that Jesus was single.
There are many others whose lifestyles do not indicate they were married – Timothy, Mary & Martha, etc. There were also widows who devoted substantial portions of their lives to being single.
b. The New Testament speaks of those who are single
i. Matt. 19:12 – after the warnings about divorce and remarriage, the disciples of Jesus said, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus responded, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: ‘For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.’” (11-12) In that expression you might find those whose obedience to the gospel prompts them to live the single life.
ii. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul further developed this – Vs. 8, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise seof-control, let them marry….” And 32-35, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
c. There are many noble reasons why some live the single lifestyle
i. Some are not ready to marry yet – earlier in this study we noted that marriage is for grownups. There are many who realize the seriousness of marriage and know they are not ready to get married yet. Some want to stabilize their lives before marrying. Others have goals they want to achieve – such as completing their education, securing a job that can support a family, traveling or doing other things that may be more difficult to accomplish one they are married, do some things to serve the Lord that will be limited when they get married, etc.
ii. Some have not found the right person – they want to get married, but they have set for themselves godly standards and refuse to compromise, even if it means being single a little longer.
iii. Some don’t want to get married – there are some who simply prefer the lifestyle of being single or are better suited to live that way, and they don’t have to justify it to you or me.
iv. Some are in circumstances that have made them single – such as the death of a spouse, divorced, etc. While at one time they were married, they are not married now.
v. Some, because of past decisions, are required by God to live the single lifestyle. If you are divorced for a cause other than fornication, God requires that you remain single (Matt. 19:9, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)
a. Having established that that single life style is perfectly acceptable and sometimes necessary, there are still concerns to be addressed. Just because one has chosen the lifestyle of being single does not exempt him/her from godly conduct throughout their lives. And being single can lead to some sinful attributes. (NOTE this is not discouraging being single but WARNING of things to guard against as a single person).
The Risk of Loneliness
- we were built to not be alone.
In Gen. 2:18 we find that the Lord God said,
“It is not good that man should be
alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
As a rule, people want, or even need to be around other people from time to time.
Eccl. 4:9-12 addresses the value of having a good friend. One of the dangers such face is to marry the wrong person. The proverbs also speak of the value of friendship – Prov. 17:17, 18:24, 27:6, etc.
Being lonely can lead to other problems such as depression, low self-regard and ungodly attitudes toward others such as resentment, jealousy, bitterness, etc. All of these are addressed in scripture and must be overcome to be productive Christians.
Loneliness can also lead to desperation where one will settle for the wrong friends or spouse. You are better off being single than marrying the wrong person, cf. Prov. 19:13, 17:1, 21:9, etc.
Potential for Selfishness – The Bible is clear that selfishness is ungodly (2 Tim.
3:1-5, Jas. 4:1-3, etc.).
Prov. 18:1 says, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.” (NKJV) One who is single doesn’t have to share or compromise in making decisions, like one who has a family. Sometimes you hear of those who don’t want to have children or a spouse because they are selfish and don’t want to have to share their possessions. How truly sad. While some might not be a good spouse or parent (and ought to weigh that), the truth is if your motives are selfishness, you have bigger problems!
BUT, just because one does not have a spouse or children to care for doesn’t mean he/she is free of responsibilities to others. Every Christian is to be concerned about others. All the “one another” passages must be considered – love, care for, serve, be kind to, comfort, etc.). It could very well be said that if you are single MORE may be expected of you in thinking of others in certain things.
– it is no secret that we live in a sensual society, where lust and
provocative situations are all around us.
In the Bible, the marriage bed is provided for the fulfillment of
our sexual desires – Heb. 13:4, 1 Cor. 7:2-5.
Those who are single do not have that provision and are thus
subjected to greater temptations in these matters.
Furthermore, society winks at fornication and even encourages it. It is because of this that many freely avoid marriage while engaging in actions reserved for married couples. And at times even “Christians” justify such conduct saying, “I know that God wants me to be happy.” Friends, fornication is NEVER acceptable to God. Don’t ever believe that God wants you to be happy MORE than He wants you to be faithful and holy! If you can’t control your desires, consider 1 Cor. 7:9, “if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
a. IF one chooses to live the single life, or if that is your lot, there are some principles for you to keep in mind that will help you remain godly.
b. Accept your lot in life – be content where you are at. Paul challenges us to always be content regardless of our state - Phil. 4:11-12. Even in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 we are told to remain in whatever state we are in. We are told there if we can improve ourselves to do so, but the point is contentment. As long as you are single, whether you want to be or not, you can make the best of it.
Develop a sense of spirituality – by spirituality, I mean that you seek first the
kingdom of God. It means
that walk according to the dictates of the Spirit (through His word).
Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things
of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of
the Spirit. For to be
carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and
Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
IF you are single, you are in a position where you can do more for the kingdom of God. Remember again 1 Corinthians 7:32-39 as to WHY Paul desired that they be single, so that you be without care (of things that must be attended to if you are married with a family), how you may be holy and live to please the Lord, etc.
d. Associate with the godly – if you are single, as we have already noted, chances are you still need friends. Choose who you associate with wisely. Find time to be with the godly. 1 Cor. 15:33 warns us about evil companionship (or company). Prov. 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
Develop godly habits
– give time to Bible study, prayer, attendance, and other things that
God expects of every Christian.
In a sense, you are on your own with these things and have more
“free time”. Give some of it
In 1 Cor. 7:5 where Paul was instructing married couples to come together, he noted that one reason to be apart for a while was “that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” Daniel, Paul & Jesus all continually engaged in prayer. Paul’s custom was to reason from scripture (Acts 17:2).
f. Do good for others – nowhere in the Bible is the isolated lifestyle commended. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Christians live in the world and are to be involved in doing good for others (Jas. 1:27, Gal. 6:10, 5:13 - serve one another.
g. Seek godly wisdom from others - Just like every other Christian, you need advice from time to time. Find godly men and women to help you. Prov. 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Eliminate, at all costs,
– you are still human and have God given desires.
Without a spouse to help you fulfill those desires, you need to
be extra careful to not put yourself in circumstances where you are
tempted. Our world if FILLED with
lustful temptation – on billboards, in music, books and magazines,
scantily clad men and women, television, the internet, movies and other
places. While every
Christian should avoid lustful desires, the truth is that in a healthy
marriage there is a provision for release.
That is absent among singles which is why it requires even MORE
diligence. Don’t forget
Paul’s admonition to Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:22 “Flee youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with
those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
1 Cor. 6:18 says, “Flee sexual immorality.”
Song of Solomon says in 2:7 – speaking to the daughters of Jerusalem they are charged, “Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” The intent of that statement is, don’t awaken desires until you a legitimate way to satisfy them.