This post is a follow-up to a post called “On Being Single” which, by the way, is the most read, most revisited, most popular, most people-coming-up-to-me-talking-about-it post on this entire blog by far. The point of saying that is not to boast in that post, or this blog, or God-forbid, me. But I think it does reveal a lot about what’s on people’s minds.
Singleness is a topic that piques interest, reveals deep insecurities, and can really be a great cause of pain in some people’s lives. Well, not singleness in itself, but our attitudes about it. Or should I say, “What we believe about what God says about it and what I think about my position in it”?
It’s been 8 months since I’ve written that, and I just want to say that I don’t take anything back. Actually, I have been enjoying this long season of singleness even more and more. I really have a lot of joy when I think about being single. I’m dead serious when I say that.
I’ve come to learn that the greatness of singleness is not because singleness is great as an ends in itself, but because it forms a bridge into the many blessings of God that people don’t normally cross.
We are often stuck in singleness longing to jump out of it, and we think that the only good alternative is being in a relationship. And because our discontentments for being single are much deeper than we suppose, we are never ever satisfied being in a relationship with someone, no matter how great they are.
The destinations that we can go to because we are single are not available to us when are in a relationship. And, of course, the inverse is true as well. But I’ve come to learn the blessings that come from being single outweigh those that come from being in a relationship.
Well because the blessings we get from being single were meant for eternity. They were meant for forever. They were meant to be the activity of God’s people in the new everlasting kingdom. That’s because the people of God in the new kingdom will be….single!
Paul, in 1 Cor 7, would agree. And his thoughts on singleness will perhaps challenge us to see it in new light:
“He who marries does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.” v.38
“Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains [single]” v.40
“I wish that all were [single]. But each has his own gift from God.” v. 6
You’ve got to be crazy right Paul? You mean something is actually better than meeting the man/woman of your dreams? Handsome, beautiful, charming, loving, supportive, helpful, funny, etc..? Something is actually better than to be part of a great new family, or to even start a family, to have kids, and to see them grow old…something is better than that?
Yeah, something is. Or should I say, Someone is. That someone is the person of Jesus Christ!
That’s also why Paul reasons in the same chapter:
“I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you,
but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” v.35
Singleness is better because He is better.
You see, Paul is probably speaking from a perspective many who struggle with singleness don’t have. He is speaking as someone who has experienced the deep and abiding joy of the love of Jesus. The key word is experienced. He has tasted the all-surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus that, when compared with all the treasures of the world in Philippians 3, he considered everything else rubbish (direct translation of Greek is “poop”).
People that don’t regularly drink from that well are of course thirsty for something more. But people who DO drink from the pleasures of knowing Jesus realize that all the rest of creation (including our spouses) pales in taste compared to knowing the Creator. And so it doesn’t bother Paul that he’s single.
Singleness is not something he’s grinding out. It isn’t something he’s ashamed about. It’s something…he enjoys. And he enjoys it so much he covets it for other people to have it. Again, not because singleness in itself is great, but because it leads to Someone greater.
You may be thinking: “Well, why can’t I be in a relationship with the man/woman of my dreams AND have Jesus?”
The answer is… you can!
But the problem is…just not as much.
The deep and great affections that you could be exchanging with Jesus are unfortunately… shared with another. They are divided with another. Your time is divided. Your energies are divided. Have you ever seen a married person who isn’t busy? Or how about those with children? Their responsibilities are divided! But what of the single man/woman?
They have all day to spend with Jesus!
Cliche-sounding, perhaps. But not for me. When you are single, you have so much more time, so much more energy, so much more mental power, so much more heart affection to devote to Christ. And yes, his all-satisfying presence is enough for our lonely hearts.
I want to say this to everyone who is single right now: Don’t take this season or your calling for granted!
This is such a great place to be because you can devote your entire self to knowing Christ! You can serve Him with your whole heart and with your all your time! You have no inhibitions to being full out in love with Jesus!
And if you’ve never tasted that joy before and have no clue what the joy of knowing Him is like, this is your chance to drink from the wells of living waters! He is the greatest taste you’ll ever taste in your entire life.
He is better than a wife. He is better than a husband. He is better than their affections. He is better than sex. Yes He is! Knowing Him is, by far, greater and infinitely more joyful.
And the fullness thereof, is offered to you in singleness!
And that’s why singleness is so great!