Being Single, Christian and Content

A wise man once said, “there are two ways to getting enough; the one way is to accumulate more things and the other is to desire less.” But desire is often difficult to curb, especially when love or lust is involved. And the problem is also confounded in the life of a modern single Christian when society seems to emphasise or mock “singleness.” We’ve all experienced those times when it seems as if everyone is coupled with someone else. From those sentimental movie stars to those cockroaches that inhabit our rooms, the more together they are, the more alone you feel. Yes, you remember those times when your life was a re-enactment of Noah’s ark – you know, everyone pranced in, two by two. It seemed as if God had forgotten to create your significant other sometime between the sixth day and resting. You sort of thought, “I know I am supposed to love you with all my heart God, but I wouldn’t mind having someone with whom I could watch Survivor, or someone with whom I can have good Christian fellowship; someone I can grow old with, someone who will still kiss me at the age of 80 even if I forget to put my dentures in. In short, Love that lasts!”

Well, the first step to being content in your “singleness” is understanding God’s place in all of it. It is apparent that the promiscuity in today’s society can’t be God’s will. You all know the promiscuity I’m talking about – it stems from the following lifestyle: You (a trendy young student) go out with Bob and have a sexual relationship with him for about six years till one fine day you realise that Bob is not Mr. right(eous). He actually has an annoying twitch, or he has very un-subtle body odour. So you drop Bob until someone else comes along – Ben (who is far better than Bob because he has those wonderful eyes and he pays a lot more attention to you than Bob ever did.) And so the vicious Bob vs. Ben cycle is perpetuated. Now honestly, where is the faith in this lifestyle, where is the submission to God’s will? I ask you people, where is the love? We can appreciate that the dating game doesn’t correlate with the life God wants us to live. It is obvious that this lifestyle prepares us more for divorce than it prepares us for marriage. It conditions us to discard things that no longer coincide with our hedonistic whims.

True contentment in Christ means being satisfied with your relationship with the Almighty. It means cultivating a bond with God that will guide you when you do find someone who would put up with your dentureless mouth. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” God is not saying that you should never be married, you just need to take the time to enrich your relationship with your “first love” first before you presume to want to please anyone else.

We must shy away from the mentality that “if I can just get a boyfriend/girlfriend I will be complete and happy.” This is the impetus that sends people into abusive relationship after abusive relationship. That hole that we try to fill with meaningless relationships is always going to be a God shaped hole. The “Mr. Right Now” we settle for brings his own baggage into the relationship and only contorts your relationship with God. These relationships are typically draining for both parties because they set high unattainable standards. We cannot expect any one person to complete us in every sense because, as the Bible explains in Colossians 2:10, “in Him (Christ) you have been made complete.” The loneliness you feel before marriage will, without God, only be amplified after marriage because loneliness is not something you can beat simply by being in more people’s company. We can be lonely in a crowd on one hand and also completely content by ourselves on the other hand.

Contentment also flows from the knowledge that God is in control and that he arranges these things IN HIS TIME. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says everything under the sun has its season and being anxious neither enhances one’s love for God nor for a potential spouse. We must understand that God’s purpose for us is not some abstract event in the future but it is something that God wants us to be doing NOW! If the season for you to be single is now then that is what God wants you to do – now!

And let’s face it, being married is not always a life filled with Survivor, freedom from denture stress and adorable grandchildren. There are many problems that come along with the shiny wedding band and the joint banking account. Ask any married couple and they will tell you that it is no bed of roses all the time. There are disagreements, anxieties, extended responsibilities and many, many more issues. You need not rush into this decision just for the sake of not being alone because you, as a Christian, are not validated by your partner, rather by your Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

As Christians we must also accept the fact that not everyone is meant to get married. Jesus says in Mathew 19:10-12, “There are those who have been born incapable of marriage and those who have been made so by men; and there are those who have made themselves incapable of marriage for the Kingdom of heaven.” God has admirable callings for those outside of marriage, too. Jesus was celibate, as were Elijah and Paul because they were engulfed by the spirit and the work of the Lord. The stigma we have placed on “singleness” is man-made but “singleness” has its place in God’s Kingdom. Again, this does not mean that we should all remain single. Paul also says in his first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 7:9), “But if they have not self-control (restraint of their passions), they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame (with passions and tortured continually with ungratified desire).”

So I agree with the wise man in one regard. We should try to desire less. But the Bible says we must not only flee from sexual immorality but also pursue righteousness. As we endeavour to be content in our singleness and in Christ we are not just gritting our teeth and enduring it. No, we are actively seeking and serving the Kingdom of God while waiting for the love that lasts!