Some Thoughts on Singleness

There can be some risks and dangers in singleness. I appreciate John Piper’s warning against “adultolescence.” This is a common trend to extend adolescence through the 20s and purposely delay marriage due to selfishness, pursuing pleasure, irresponsibility, and refusing to grow up. I have heard Al Mohler say that “Christian men who are still single by the age of 30 are often guilty of indecisiveness, commitment phobia, and perfectionism.” There is a potential for singles over time to become more selfish, stubborn, dysfunctional, and set in their ways. Some singles are able to hide behind their secret sins like wasting time, pornography, or eating disorders, which would be more easily exposed in marriage. Marriage has a wonderful way of sanctifying believers, revealing sin, and promoting spiritual growth.

On the other side of the coin, there are many godly singles who have pursued education, ministry and careers though the 20s and 30s, and as long as they are walking in holiness and serving the Lord, this can be a good thing. Remember Psalm 84, “Nothing good does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

While some singles may need some moral support and encouragement to pursue marriage, local churches are often guilty of pressuring singles toward marriage, treating them as victims, viewing them as immature, and judging their status as sin. This has been a painful part of my experience as a single in ministry. An individual should not be judged negatively for their single status. A single is to remain content in the Lord whatever his/her status. While singles may struggle with various sins (such as self-sufficiency, commitment, indecisiveness, perfectionism, and other sins mentioned above), every person is a sinner. One is ultimately single or married because of the will of God. Married folks also struggle with sin. I have seen individuals pursue marriage with wrong motives . . . being desperate, on rebound, finding significance in a partner, etc. Motives are a messy thing. The Lord meets us where we are. He uses all of us and our experiences for his glory.

I recommend the book, They Were Single Too: Eight Biblical Role Models, by David M. Hoffeditz. In chapter 1, he considers the apostle Paul and the “gift” of singleness in 1 Cor 7: “Often people neglect to see both [singleness and marriage] as gifts, and in so doing, regard singleness as a social oddity. Finally, note that Paul does not pit the two marital states against each other, but stresses the significance of each gift. Both are given by God. I am comforted to know that God is the one distributing marriage or singleness. The God who called me before He created this world, the One who knows the number of hairs on my head, and who gave His Son for me is the benefactor of these gifts. It is the Lord who has appointed—not Aunt Lilly, not my mother, not my so-called friends, not that well-meaning church member” (Hoffeditz, They Were Single Too, 9).

In the article, “Singled Out by God for Good,” Paige Benton writes: “I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, not because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me” (Benton, Regeneration Quarterly 3 (1997), 21).

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T4G 2008


I just returned from the Together for the Gospel 2008 conference in Louisville, KY. Each of the sessions were excellent featuring Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and John Piper. You can download all the 2008 messages for free at: http://t4g.org/08/media/ and the 2006 messages at: http://t4g.org/06/media/.


I was most impacted by the sermon from Thabiti Anyabwile of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman entitled: “Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church.” He challenged us to remove race from our vocabulary, since it usually carries negative connotation. It would be better to incorporate words like ethnicity, people groups, and nationality. He reminded us that every person on earth is the “seed of Adam . . . like me, created in the image of God . . . like me.” Even more, Christians throughout the world should view one another as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Pet 2:9). I pray this would truly be our perspective.

“Shout to the Lord” on American Idol

It was interesting to hear “Shout to the Lord” on Fox TV’s American Idol last week on April 9-10. It was also peculiar to hear them replace “My Jesus” with “My Shepherd” the first night and revert back to “My Jesus” the next night. Christians should be neither ecstatic nor distressed. I planned to write an essay about this, but then decided it unnecessary after reading the blog entries of Bob Kauflin and Josh Harris (see below). I appreciate their thoughts.

Check out the following articles:
http://www.worshipmatters.com/2008/04/shout-to-the-lord-on-american-idol/
http://www.joshharris.com/2008/04/american_idol_and_shout_to_the_1.php
http://www.joshharris.com/2008/04/more_on_idol_and_shout_to_the_1.php
http://www.joshharris.com/2008/04/inside_scoop_on_shout_to_the_l.php

Here’s another perspective from Catholic columnist Michael Giltz, who is offended that American Idol made all 8 of the contestants sing the song. He feels the group sing-along is an attempt of the show to evangelize or convert people. While I don’t agree with Giltz, it is an interesting read:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-giltz/emamerican-idolem-jesus-c_b_96176.html