Being Christian and Single Can Be Very Fulfilling

Being Christian and Single Can Be Very Fulfilling
By Henry Harris

Is marriage a part of God's plan for everyone? By the way many married folks treat singles, it would appear the answer is "yes." I hear comments like, "What's a nice girl like you doing unmarried?" and, "What you need is a good wife!"

Parents say that; relatives say that (hey singles, don't you just love those family reunions?); seems like everyone wants to "help" their single friends get married and thus fulfill God's plan for their life.

All I've got to say about all this is, "Time out!" God certainly wants to give us a full and meaningful life, but that does not automatically include marriage. The Bible is filled with people who lead terrific lives without ever getting married. The Bible is very comfortable with singleness.

There are, of course, several kinds of singleness: there are those who have never been married, those who are widowed and those who are divorced. While God has instructions that apply to each of these kinds individually, He also has guidelines that apply to all singles:

Guideline No. 1: Seek God's total plan for your life. If you are single and happy with your lifestyle, great! Remember that God's plan includes every part of life, and whether you marry or not is just one part.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul says being single offers the Christian a great opportunity to serve the Lord without the distractions of being married. So whether your singleness is temporary or permanent, take advantage of the time to channel energy into positive, constructive ministry.

Guideline No. 2: Live a quality life now! It's easy to procrastinate when you are single, putting life on hold until you get married. Realize that singleness is not the time to be in a holding pattern; if you've put your life into neutral, shift gears!

Don't buy into the myth that says singleness equals incompleteness. Please realize that God has not put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket! Make up your mind to be content whether single or married, and live your life to the fullest.

Guideline No. 3: Cultivate deep, caring relationships. Regardless of whether you are married or single, you need quality relationships to stay healthy and happy. If you are single, cultivate a relationship with someone who will pray for you, who will correct you when you go in the wrong direction, who will encourage you when you are down, and who will counsel you when big decisions need be made. Find someone who will listen to your doubts, fears, questions and concerns as well as help you celebrate your victories and joys.

Guideline No. 4: Be very cautious about marrying. This is particularly true if you are disappointed, unhappy or frustrated with your present state. You will be vulnerable to making an unwise choice. Sometimes we become so obsessed with getting into a relationship that we ignore all sorts of warning signs. Let me just mention a few:

Warning sign No. 1: You are a Christian, but your potential mate is not. Many disastrous marriages have been made by a Christian thinking, "I'll change him (her) ... " Will you? Be sure the change happens before you get married.

Warning sign No. 2: You notice major differences between you and your potential mate in your philosophy of life, interests, values, etc., but you think "our love will overcome ... " Will it? For example, your boyfriend is a sports fanatic, but you think after getting married he will lose interest because he will have you. Sure he will ...

Warning sign No. 3: You find yourself in a relationship where you argue all the time, but you think that when you are married, the arguing will stop. Really? Ask some friends who are already married if that is true. Many people naively think that marriage will solve all their problems. It won't. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that you should not hastily enter into a marriage. Take time to become friends first.

Henry Harris is lead pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church in Hollister, CA.


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