Single And Spiritual

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Single Christians; Marriage; Servanthood

Single and Spiritual

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Look in your Bible with me at Matthew 19:12,"For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

Then we read in 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7, "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

Tonight we are going to look at the subject of the single Christian lifestyle. This is an important message at this particular time in history. Why? The population of single adults in our country and around the world is growing at a rate unprecedented in human history. A MOODY magazine article reported some time ago that singles will soon make up more than half of all adults over 18. A similar story was reported in USA TODAY, which stated that a smaller percentage of American adults are married now than at any time since 1890. The last US Census reported that there were 110 million single adults over 18 living in America and that was almost 10 years ago. That number represented over 45% of the adult population. It is expected that the next Census in the year 2020 will reveal even more single adults in the US and around the world. With singles making up an ever-larger segment of our society, we need to understand how God addresses the subject and what it means to all of us in the kingdom.

Before we look at the Scripture, I want to address an important question. Why are some adults single? That question presupposes that everybody should marry. Our Scripture tonight reveals that this is simply not true. The Bible records that some people have the gift of being single, while others are single only temporarily. Single people are not flawed in some way, but often singles are treated unkindly by those who think it is God's will for all adults to marry. Frankly, I have met some married folks who would have been better off had they not married (Please, no applause at this point - and no elbows to your spouse). Why is it that some adults are not married?

There are various reasons why people are single. Some are single because they are not ready to marry while others are single because they are working on careers, saving money, have been hurt in relationships and fear marriage, or because they just have not found that right person yet.

Some people are single because they honestly feel it is God's will for them not to marry. In fact, let me ask you a question: What do Lottie Moon, George Frederick Handel, Annie Armstrong, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Admiral John Paul Jones, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Charlotte Elliot, Alfred Nobel, Corrie Ten Boom and Jesus Christ have in common? You're right, they were all single – they never married. In fact, some people have worked very hard to remain single. I heard about a wealthy bachelor in Charleston, South Carolina, who had his home built with only round rooms so no female could get him in the corner and force him to propose. Of course there may not have been any females that desired to be around him in a sqaure or round room, who knows!

The single life is a noble one, whether it is chosen or forced upon a Christian. We will see that in our message tonight.

Some singles are that way because of the death of their spouse. Many of them will not chose to remarry and remain single the rest of their lives, while otherse may remarry as time passes. There are some people who are single because they have been through a divorce, and they may not ever decide to marry again. Like those who have lost a spouse through death, those divorced may or may not choose to remarry.

Each segment of the single population deals with different issues, but they also have some basic problems which are true to all of them. They also have some strengths which are true to them all as well. I want you to listen as I share some of these truths with you tonight. Even if you are married, you need to have a spirtual and biblical view of this issue,

First, let’s look at...

I. The Problems of the Single Life

Married people and single people face problems. Some singles think that being married would solve some of their issues, and that may be true; however, sometimes marriage doubles your problems. The issue here is not to be absent of problems - we are never told in the Bible that God's desire is for us to have a problem free life. We need to understand what our problems are or can be and how God desires for us to deal with them.

One problem in the single life is ...

A. Loneliness

Loneliness can be a problem for anyone, married or unmarried. But surveys seem to indicate that loneliness is more difficult for singles and can lead them to seek companionship in the wrong ways. Like song, "Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places," loneliness for singles can be a dangerous proposition.

A family had gone to the movies and on the way in the teenager of the family stopped by the refreshment stand to pick up some popcorn. By the time he got into the theater the lights were already dim. He scanned the theater and evidently couldn't find his family. He paced up and down the aisle searching the crowd in the near darkness. As the lights began to go down even further he stopped and asked out loud, "Does anyone recognize me?"

Singles come into this church and they want to find a family. They walk these aisles looking for people who will "recognize" them. Loving Christians are to be sure that we don't fence ourselves off as couples and leave out those who are single. We must call out to singles and say, "We are your family ... come sit with us! You are loved here. You are valued here. You are an integral part of this church family."

At a Sunday night song service, a minister of music told the congregation to pick a hymn. Well, one single lady responded by pointing to certain man in the congregation saying, "If we are picking him-s, I'll take him!" I think she misunderstood, don't you!

Another single said that her favorite scripture verse was: "If any man would come after me, let him!" I think she took that one out of context as well.

Single men and women and experience loneliness and can feel ostracized because they do not have a mate. This can lead to a search for someone that is not part of God's will for their lives. The truth is that loneliness can lead you to make some bad choices. Singles need to be careful not to let loneliness lead to bad decisions. There can be a loneliness in marriage greater than the loneliness you find in being single, but certainly loneliness is a problem for many single people.

A second issue for singles is ...
B. Accountability

Each person needs someone to whom he or she is accountable. It is important for the single individual to have a friend with whom accountable in the Christian walk can stake place. This person should be someone of the same sex who is allowed to ask some tough questions regarding your thoughts, entertainment choices and behavior. Accountability helps us be true to God, but also it helps us be true to our own commitments. Be hones - we just can't trust ourselves, for we do not really know ourselves. Remember that the Bible states in Jeremiah 17:9-10:

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings."

We don't know our own heart and mind, so accountability is important. Trust me, those of us who are married get plenty of accountibility from our spouses. My wife is of great use to the Holy Spirit in correcting me.

Again, singles can have the problem of ...

C. Temptation

A third problem that singles face is temptation in the area of sexual purity. Paul stated as much in his writings in 1 Corinthians7:8-9, where we read, "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 self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.. A person who finds it impossible to control such temptations should certainly seek to marry." Sexual passion is not sinful, for created us that way; however, it can be very destructive outside the will of God. Singles can have a difficult time dealing with this issue and must be aware of the danger of temptation that leads to sin and disobedience to God. Again, having an accountability partner who can ask you very specific questions in order to help you stay on track and in God's will for your life is helpful.

Also, note that problem for singles in ...
D. Misconception

Singles are sometimes sad and have personal problems, and many of them believe the reason they are like this is because they are single. They feel that marriage will solve these problems. Let me assure you that married and single Christians deal with problems and the issue of loneliness all the time. You see, having issues in your life and feeling alone at times is a human problem, not just one for singles.

Be assured of this, almost every personal problem you have will be carried over into your marriage and that will make your married relationship difficult as well. Marriage does not solve your problems, it can in fact double them. One might say that marriage can double your blessings, for you have someone to share your blessings with. However, marriage can easily double your problems, for once you are married you have your problems and your spouses problems as well. Don't think that marriage will solve your problems.

Let me put it this way - you need to have your heart and mind right before you enter marriage in order to have the best chance of making it work properly once you are married. Just be sure that you know as a single that marriage is not a sure road to happiness.

A preacher who has done a lot of work on understanding singles says, "Just saying 'I do' will not change a person. In fact, without the Holy Spirit's help you may discover that what you saw in your spouse before you married was actually better than what you get after you are married." Don’t marry to solve a personal problem – marry because you believe God has given you a person with whom to spend your life – for better or worse. Singles need to understand that they can have misconceptions about married life.

We’ve seen some problems in the single life, now let’s look at …

II. The Power in the Single Life

Yes, the single life contains problems but it also contains within it some special powers.

First, note that being single grants the power of ...

A. Freedom

In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 we read, "I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world -  how he can please his wife - and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

Now that is certainly an interesting passage of scripture. You see, God knows that it is best for some people to be single, because He desires them to be free of some of the encumbrances that are part of married life. Now a man and woman who marry are not really free. In fact, if you are married and think you are free to do what you wish, you are a very poor example of a spouse. Marriage demands attention to the needs of another person on a 24 hour a day schedule. Everything in your life is subject the change at a moment's notice when you are married. Though singles have schedules, it is not the same as a person who is married.

A second power for singles can be ...

B. Energy

Married people burn up a lot of energy in the maintaining of the marriage relationship. Certainly there is nothing wrong with the responsibility that comes from marriage and the vitality it takes to be the right husband or wife. Time spent on marriage and family is time well spent, but it does create demands that can limit energy and time to do other things.

On the other hand, single Christians have time and energy to devote to God’s work in a way that married people simple cannot possess. A person who is single and sees it as a calling from God can accomplish incredible things for God. Don’t waste your energy as a single person by wondering why you haven’t found the right person; rather do the right thing for the Lord and He will bring that right person to you or reveal to you are exactly where he wants you to be. Let your energy be positive in your Christian life and not negative. As you do so, you may just find that it is God's will for you to be free and filled with vitality and vigor in His service.

C. Growth

Another area that singles can see as helpful is the ability to concentrate more fully on growing in Christ. Tony Evans shares that the single Christian can do one of three things about being single.

1. You can Gripe and complain about and feel sorry for yourself.
2. You can Grab the first thing that comes along and regret it later.
3. You can Grow in this special season of your life.

Tony gives great advice with these three points. Seek in every way to grow in the Lord and watch what He will do for you in or outside marriage.

Now, look with me at a third issue for singles …

III. The Provision For The Single Life

God has the power and abitity to provide for your life, single or married. The single Christian must be aware of God's provision in ...

A. Contentment

There is a source for living a godly single life is Christ. Look at Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Paul stated that he had learned in every state of life to know contentment. Christ gave him that peace of mind and he found a strength that was not his own.

As a single Christian, you will need a power, strength and peace that you do not possess in yourself, but you can only find these qualities in your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will give you what the world cannot supply!

B. Companionship

Look at Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Do not covet the relationship you see that someone has, for you have no idea what that situation might actually be like. Everything is not what it appears to be. Find peace in trusting what Christ gives you and He will be the companion to you in those lonely hours of life. He is, after all, the Friend that is closer than a brother – closer than a husband – closer than a wife.

 God promises never to leave you nor to forsake you. You are not alone, even when you are single.

C. Confidence

You can have confidence that God is always looking out for your best interest as a single Christian. He cares for you more than you care for yourself. He will lead you, guide you and take care of you. He will give you places of service and friends to sustain you. He will lead you to someone, if that is His will or He will you give you grace that is sufficient for whatever you face.


It was T.W. Hunt who wrote about a man who exemplified genuine servanthood: "At first I thought he was showing special deference just to me. He worked hard to help me find a retirement house. He watched our house and cared for it in the year of our absence before we moved into it. He saw that the lawn was mowed. When I mentioned painting the closets, he recruited fellow church members to do it, and then worked with them. It seemed that I could not mention a need without him hurrying to fulfill that need.

"Then I moved to his town and joined the same church. His name was Lucian Stohler, and I soon discovered that his name was synonymous with service. He continued to attend to me and my family, but now I became aware that he attended to everybody. He met needs quietly and without officiousness. He was constantly available and working on behalf of others. People in the church had the attitude, `If you really want to get something done, call on Lucian.'

"I asked Lucian to tell me what brought this attitude into his life. He said that a crisis led him to dedicate his life and his whole personality to servanthood. He led a ‘normal’ Christian life until a retreat in Michigan brought a confrontation with his life purposes. The preacher spoke on the deeper life in such a way that Lucian realized the importance of the lordship of Christ. He struggled with that concept as he went back to his cabin and poured out his heart to the Lord.

"He realized he had been angry with the Lord because God had not given him a wife. He said he ‘regurgitated’ all the bitterness he had at God. He told me that the hardest words he ever said were the words he prayed that day, ‘Lord, if Your lordship means I'll never be married, I accept Your lordship.’

"In the three years before he met his wife, the Lord taught him the meaning of servanthood. He learned the walk of ministry, which is to say, the walk of a life given to the service of others. He learned that ministry and servanthood were synonymous. His own words were, ‘My drive to serve has given me a love for people that makes me want to help them, to serve them, to witness the love of Christ to them.’ For Lucian Stohler, lordship meant servanthood." [The Mind of Christ by T. W. Hunt. Broadman & Holman, 1995. Pages 65-66.]

My single friends, you can serve God faithfully as you are. You can serve others lovingly without the necessity of marriage. But to do this, you need special help from the Lord. Tonight is a good time for you to come and dedicate your life to Him and to His service. And, again, it just may be that God has a person for you and that He will bring that person to you on down the road of service and faithfulness. I have seen that many times in my ministry and it just may be the way He has planned for you. Whatever God choice regarding this matter, He is never wrong!