Is Me Being Single the Problem?

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Is Me Being Single the Problem-

I am a single woman in her late thirties. I have become accustomed to family and friends questioning my singleness. Am I seeing anyone? Do I want to be seeing anyone? Do I not desire marriage and family? Do I not fear an approaching loneliness as I grow older?

Not until recently, however had I been confronted with this notion that my singleness (and the many other single Christians in the church today) is a major contributing factor to the downfall of our churches, and even our nation. Nor had I been accused of committing the sin of sloth by not finding a spouse already.

When I stumbled across the website for “UnMarried: the Rise of Singleness,” a faith-based documentary currently in production, I honestly thought I had discovered a tiny fragment of dogmatic men who looked in disdain upon anyone who did not follow in their same path of early marriage and a “quiver full” of children. I was shocked, however, that as I began to research this ideology that they are far from a tiny fragment. As the traditional family unit is continually being torn apart in society and politics, fingers are beginning to point towards Christian singles as a major cause in the downfall of the family.

God created marriage and ordained it for his glory. He created us with a desire for fellowship and relationship. If marriage is a desire God has given you, don’t wait for God to miraculously drop your future spouse in front of you. Seek the wisdom of godly friends (single and married), pray for guidance and wisdom and with his leading, actively seek the spouse God has for you. But beware of becoming so focused on the search that you forget wherein your ultimate fulfillment lies. Jesus is enough. If you are not content without a spouse, you will not be content with a spouse.

On the other hand, perhaps marriage is NOT what God has for you, or perhaps not now. While we don’t know every move God has for us, he does not leave us scrambling in the dark searching for our next step. We have the promise of Isaiah 42:16 (among many others), which states “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” I want to be on the path God has laid out for me. If I am in His Word, in constant communication with Him, and walking according to His leading, I will end up where He wants me to be (which may include seeking and finding a spouse, or may not). Until God has prompted me in that direction, however, I will continue to be single and continue to believe I am in His will to be so.

 

Single Sinner

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Single Sinner

The filmmakers of “UnMarried: the Rise of Singleness” are not alone in their views that singleness and delayed marriage are significant concerns in today’s church. In his 2004 sermon, “The Mystery of Marriage,” Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary addresses the “sin” of singleness.

Mohler states that in 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul is referencing his own gift of celibacy, which according to Mohler is a gift most single adults do not possess. He states that if you are not one of the rare few with the gift of celibacy–the ability to happily live out your days without sex or the desire for sex, then you have conversely been given the gift of marriage. So get to marrying.

Mohler continues to say marriage is not a lifestyle option but a scriptural “expectation … adulthood equals marriage” and that delaying marriage can be a sinful act. “Our responsibility as a counter–cultural people, claimed by God’s grace, purchased by Christ’s blood, is not just to be men and women…but to be husbands and wives and fathers and mothers.” He states that single Christians are slothful and revel in a life free of responsibility and accountability and therefore put off marriage indefinitely, despite their Christian responsibility to marry sooner rather than later.

Mohler is certainly not as extreme as the UnMarried movement, however. While he does put forth a view that marriage should be actively sought and achieved at an early age (preferably by age 20), he does not go so far as to indicate that one should get married for the sake of marrying alone. Mohler exhorts his listeners to be actively seeking marriage, and not consider it as part of a lifelong “to do” list to be checked off once you are properly educated, employed and established as full-functioning adult. Rather, he contends that Christian singles should “remember that your role [in seeking a spouse] is faithfulness. God is in charge of results and His timing or outcome for us may diverge from ours.”

“The Mystery of Marriage” raises several questions that Christian singles should address. Should Christians be actively seeking a spouse as early as their teen years? Is it sinful to delay marriage while you complete your education or ensure your financial security? And what does it mean to “actively” seek a spouse anyway? Finally, how should the church address these issues and minister to their single congregants?

 

Is Singleness Causing a Downfall of our Churches? Our Nation?

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Is Singleness Causing a Downfall of our Churches- Our Nation-

Singles are sometimes confronted with a litany of (inappropriate?) questions, such as “why hasn’t anyone married you yet?” As uncomfortable, and potentially insulting as those questions are, there is now the theory that singleness is contributing to the downfall of our nation.

That is among the points of Family Vision Films new faith-based documentary now in production called “UnMarried: the Rise of Singleness.” The film includes interviews with theologians, families, married adults and single adults as it seeks to understand why people are choosing “delayed marriage,” or “prolonged singleness.” The film seems to take a firm stand against singleness, operating under the belief that Christians should marry young, with the decision to marry being perhaps more important than the decision of who to marry. One article recently linked on their Facebook page lists ten reasons to marry and have children at a young age. UnMarried specifically approves of reason #3: “Because you will never really find the right person and if you do, you’re probably not the right person for them.”

In the “pre-trailer,” one interviewee states that singleness “is the fundamental problem of our social systems. It is a fundamental problem with our churches, a fundamental problem with education systems, and it will yield severe, severe, socio-economic problems in years to come…If we don’t address this issue, we’re done. There is no future for the family. There’s no future for the church. There is no future for our Nation.”

The filmmakers are using their Facebook page to conduct research for their film. They ask questions for their followers to respond to, post links to articles that address singleness and/or early marriage, and allow followers to voice their own queries. Their followers are on a spectrum from believing God will provide you with a spouse in his timing to believing it is a parents responsibility to find a spouse for their eighteen year-old (or younger) child.

Follow Table For One Ministries on our Facebook page as we repost some of the questions and links UnMarried is using for research and respond with your comments. We would like to have a healthy, Biblical discussion on the issues, myths, and outright insulting fallacies being stated today about the Christian single. Furthermore, we want to highlight some of the invalid and unbiblical arguments facing singles, particularly Christian singles, today.

 

Freedom

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Freedom

Fourth of July, Independence Day; the day when Americans celebrate the very heart of our national identity—our freedom. While we celebrate that freedom with hot dogs and fireworks, and acknowledge the great sacrifices individual citizens have made to secure it, we also need to remember that our national liberty is ultimately of this world.

The only true freedom is found in Jesus Christ. Part of his mission was to “proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). When we give Christ control and make Him Lord in our lives, we are granted an eternal freedom that can never be taken away from us. Each time we lean towards the world and away from God, we waste the freedom for which Christ died. Our pride and stubbornness can lead us to think we have the “right” to do as we please (1 Corinthians 10:23). But Paul warned against such behaviors. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13)..

For more than two centuries, American soldiers have fought and sacrificed for our freedom. They have striven to ensure our “unalienable rights [of] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—our very freedom. Not just to dream of what we want in life, but to chase those dreams. What a waste, therefore, to sit by idly, letting our days go by without pursuing our happiness.

Likewise, and much more importantly, Christ died that we might have abundant life (John 10:10), or as The Message puts it: “more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” Jesus came to release us from the slavery of sin.There are some sins in my life that I seem to repeat over and over. I get tired of fighting my sin. I find myself praying that God would not get tired of me asking forgiveness for the same sin I needed forgiveness for yesterday. Many of us struggle in this way, but if I give up struggling, if i give up the pursuit, I am squandering my freedom.

I would not want to explain to a soldier, someone who sacrificed for my freedom, that I treated that sacrifice as anything less than a precious gift—that I did not pursue my happiness with everything I had. In the same way, I have no desire to explain to Jesus that I gave into my flesh and abused the freedom He gave me—that I chose not to pursue the abundant life he has for me.

This Fourth of July I pray that I will serve others “humbly in love,” pursue the dreams God has given me and thereby honor the One who made me truly free indeed.