Living Holy Single Lives

I don’t usually make a big deal either way about being single. I don’t think of myself as a single person, I just think of myself as a person. While I have heard other single people complain about married people treating them differently, I can only count on one hand the number of married people who have treated me differently because of my single status. 98% of the people I come in contact with treat me no differently than if I were married. I don’t believe in discriminating between marital or single status any more than race or anything else. I simply think of myself as a person regardless of single status or race or religion, and I simply think of other people as people regardless of their statuses.

I understand that celibacy is not the norm. I also agree that being single does not make you more holy. (Of course being married does not make you more holy either.) Yes, the Scriptures tell us that Peter was married. However the Scriptures also tell us Paul was not married at the time of his ministry and Jesus was never married. While Jesus and the Scriptures never forbade marriage, Jesus and Paul both have given us enough counsel to see that celibacy has many spiritual advantages. (Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7)

Satan always takes things God says to extremes. For example, Satan suggested to Eve that God told her she could not eat of “any” of the trees when in reality He only told her not to eat from one. While the Bible clearly suggests that it is good for some people not to marry, the Bible never forbade marriage and even warns us in 1 Timothy 4 that the Antichrist would be the one who forbids marriage. Clearly extremism is to be avoided. No one has to get married, and no one has to remain single. I will gladly admit that being married can and should lead one to be a better Christian, and I also admit that being single is a very convenient way to be selfish. There is no one as free as a single adult. You answer to neither spouse nor parent. You just do whatever you want whenever you want, while marriage calls for self sacrifice.There are also many wonderful single Christians who crucify self every day while there are many married people who never think of their spouse or children.

While many people say that you have to be married to understand what it takes to make a marriage work, I somewhat disagree. I do know exactly what it takes to make a marriage work, and maybe that’s why I have chosen to remain single to this point in my life. On the other hand, some married people are married only because they did not know what it took. I know of many single people who have sacrificed to care for the needs of neglected children who are not their own, even though they never made a vow to. There are many single aunts and uncles, “big brothers” and “big sisters” out there who will never get a Father’s Day or Mother’s Day card though they are quite deserving of one. There are those who believe an elder must be married to give counsel to families. While I have never been a husband or father, I have been a son, brother, uncle, nephew and grandson. So I have been in a family and I do know how families work. Also please don’t slaughter Paul’s counsel to Timothy to mean that you have to be married to be an elder. As Bible scholars clearly understand, Paul simply meant no more than one wife. Not that you must have one wife. It’s like when your child goes to the store to buy a piece of candy, and you tell him, “get one piece of candy.” You are not demanding he get a piece of candy but only one. It’s as simple as that when Paul said “one wife.” He was not demanding elders have a wife, but no more than one wife, as polygamy was the issue.

Is one’s ability to be a spiritual leader dependent upon being married, or being anointed by the Lord? I had someone tell me once that I could not be an elder because Paul says that an elder must rule well his own home. Well I do rule my own home well—by not marrying anyone who would corrupt my home. I heard someone say once that I could not be an elder because I can’t counsel with married people because I don’t know what it is like to be married. So if married elders are the only ones who can help married people then wouldn’t single elders be the only ones who could help single people? Or single people don’t need or deserve elders who understand them? Only married people deserve elders who can relate to them? See how illogical we become when we slaughter Paul’s teachings?

Okay now I am going to talk about an obvious issue here—sex. Single people long for intimacy just like everyone else. However not all sex is intimacy, and not all intimacy has to be sex. As a matter of fact, I read a book once about sexual purity that stated that many people will have sex to avoid intimacy! Intimacy takes place in the mind and heart, not the sex organs. I know married people who are still very lonely, and some are even celibate. In the 5th volume of the Testimonies to the Church Ellen White writes of a man who had sexual issues that not even marriage could cure. Marriage is not the sole solution for intimacy. Neither is marriage necessarily the solution for sexual desires.

What I long for is a woman that I can sit and talk with for hours while it only seems like a few moments. A few years ago, I lost a friend to breast cancer, who had a double mastectomy. When I started visiting her in the hospital, we quickly became friends and could talk and laugh together easily. I really enjoyed her company and while I don’t know what was going on in her mind, the day she died, she told me that she really wished we could have known each other longer here on earth. I’m not sure, but it seemed she was implying that she may have liked me for more than just a friend. If she had lived, the fact that she didn’t have a perfect body would not have gotten in the way of our relationship. She and I could talk together forever, and I loved every moment with her. Please understand that marriage does not guarantee intimacy, and being celibate does not prevent it. The Bible affirms both marriage or celibacy. Married people can be beautiful Christians, and their marriages can be a living example of what a true self-sacrificing Christian ought to be. On the other hand single people can be very devoted to their families, church families and, most of all, to Jesus.

I really appreciated a recent men’s ministry convention I attended. For years our church’s preaching and teaching has centered around married people and the message to single people has been, “Listen to this message—it will help you when you get married.” But this time, while they talked about married men and their ministry to their family, instead of telling us single guys that we could apply these teachings later when we get married, they taught us how to apply them now to our church family and our friends who are all around us. They emphasized that even though we are single, we make a significant impact on the lives around us today, and not just later whenever we get married.

By God’s grace, we can be living single, holy lives.



Living Holy Single Lives — 11 Comments

  1. Excellent! We need more men to be examples of Godly men whether single or married. So many children are growing up without a positive male in their lives; I was one of them. The men of my church influenced me by their example, some good and some not good, and several took the boys of our congregation that did not have a father figure and went fishing, played sports, or took them out to breakfast which was so important to my brother. Several men in our church today help many in our congregation with house repairs who cannot do them themselves or afford to pay a professional (we have several professionals in our church).

  2. I think there is another side to sexuality. What if spouses were unconditionally loving, true friends and partners in life? I have seen married people have affairs because of a lack of communication and love at home. Many affairs happen because emotional needs are not met. Not that one person meets all our needs, but a certain amount of caring could do wonders in some marriages.
    I have seen marriages that had incredible bonds. A woman with MS who became bedridden and her husband was just as devoted. He then got a brain tumor and their love was as strong and true until the day when the wife in the wheel chair watched over her husband's death bed. Sex did not hold those two people together. Theirs was a love beyond this material realm altogether.

    • In my opinion, that is what agape love is all about. To the world love is all feeling and no substance, just transient affairs like a whiff of a cloud without any lasting commitment.

      • I think this is philia love .. brotherly love/love of a friend .. philia love is why persons can remain single and satisfied .. and the absence of it is why marriages fall apart, even sans divorce ..

  3. Consider the relationships that you treasure the most. A Mom or Dad, a favorite aunt, a favorite teacher/coach, even a grandparent. Though you never had sex with them or even thought of it, their impact on you life is lifelong, pleasant and cherished. Sex is not what married or single people need. What is needed is love and friendship and acceptance, and forgiveness, someone to stand next to you in good times and in bad times, even closer than a brother or sister. If we can yeild to this level of friendship, as believers our lives on earth would be better and I'm almost 100% sure that we would enjoy our heavenly repose.

  4. When speaking of single people, it is mostly focused on the “before” singles. Before marriage that is.
    But scarcely (not to say never) about the after singles, yes those that are single because of divorce. Who has, in a matter, both of the two worlds, especially when children are present. There isn’t much said on this situation. So there rest but to enjoy of the crumbs that fall from either tables, which is still a blessing.


  5. I just recently came upon this site and appreciate the comments more than I am able to explain. About being single, not so long ago I needed a father figure in the church to mentor a destitute boy from a female-headed household. My first notion was to ask my brothers in the church as my family already took care of the girls. All the brothers I approached, and who I thought were of good standing, told me they will consult their spouses and come back to me. All responses were negative. One of the sisters was actualy not so happy about my request. I made a huge mistake by not approaching some unmarried brothers in the church because I thought they had no experience bring up children. These are some of the ways in which we view the matter of being single. That is why I appreciate what you wrote William. May God keep on correcting and teaching us.

  6. Lydia, welcome to our site. I am glad you have been blessed, and hope you take some time to read some of the articles from the various writers on ths site, so you can be blessed even more.

    Thanks everyone for your comments, and reminding us that we do not walk this road alone, but we all have each other.

  7. We do have each other and I treasure the people who believe in each other.
    We shouldn't have to ask people to help us with our children when we are alone and single. A heart of love will reach out and help others. I raised my son alone for 10 years and one man was nice to us and taught my son to ride a bike. That's it!! There are so many opportunities to reach out to others. I helped people when I was a single parent and when I married I did much more to reach out to those in need. It is a lifestyle that we need to cultivate. We should be detectives on the look out for being the first ones to help someone. We can spread much happiness that way.
    Thanks William for a great post.


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