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).
I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about singleness. I can relate to each thought. It was very refreshing. Thank you!
Excellent post Josh. I appreciate your insight and found it to be very thought provoking. I will definitely be checking out the book recommendation.
Josh, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I have been looking for some decent reads on singleness and I will definitely be checking out the books you quoted, esp. Dr. Hoffeditz’s!
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