Sanctification Through Singleness
As a single woman, I feel like there are constant reminders I am not married. As my 20 year class reunion approaches in a couple weeks, I am forced to think about attending alone, while everyone else comes coupled, complete with their spouses, throw out phrases like “but with our spouses” consistently.
Normally, being single is something that doesn’t bother me. It has become a way life I am accustomed to and am content with. It is times like these, however, that I am reminded from a worldly perspective that I am alone.
Being single, especially the older I get, comes with standard answers to standard questions: “How are you still single?”, “God has a plan for you, don’t worry!” (am I supposed to be worried?), and my favorite of course, “Jesus is your husband”.
Jesus is not my husband, and Jesus is not your husband. Jesus is so much more. He is so much more than any spouse could ever give. It is time, as single people, we hold on to the truths of who Christ is and His sufficiency.
Being single can be lonely. It can be difficult. Many of us are single parents who have to play the role of both mom and dad. We have to answer hard questions, and we have to do hard things. The world applauded Doria Ragland as she exemplified strength and grace by attending the Royal Wedding, alone, as her daughter became the wife of Prince Harry.
Singleness is hard, but it is not outside the grace and providence of God’s sovereignty. Singleness is a sanctification process, and if we keep God in our sights, He will use this season, whether it be a short time or a lifetime, to mold us into His image. How do we allow singleness to sanctify us instead of discourage us?
In order to live the single life well, we must firstly spend time daily in the Word of God. I know this seems like the obvious answer, but it is so important that it must be emphasized.
Singleness Is Not Our Identity
Our identity is in that of Christ. John tells us, “See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:1-2).
Sometimes, because we are single, we feel like we are less than. I think we can almost feel incomplete because we are a minority amongst the masses. The Church often unintentionally focuses on married couples, although focusing on building a healthy marriage within the church isn’t a bad thing. The church should definitely play a role in helping married couples grow stronger in their marriage, pointing them to Christ and giving them Biblical tools in the process of being married and raising a family.
However, I think without knowing it, the church can inadvertently make the single person feel inadequate. It is up to the Church as a community to make sure singles are embraced and not forgotten. On the other side, as singles we must be careful not to isolate ourselves from the church because we may or may not feel inadequate. We can’t mope around and blame loneliness for us not participating in and serving within the church.
Christ is sufficient, and in our anxieties and in our loneliness, we draw near to Him...He is faithful. Attend church events, embrace that third wheel role, and learn from a married couple who honors Christ. The church is a family together for one purpose: to glorify and honor God.
Singleness Is a Gift
Paul gives us words of encouragement, as he himself experienced singleness:
"I want you to be without concerns. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But the married man is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife—and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband." 1 Corinthians 7:32-33
Because we are single, we have a privilege many married people do not know. We are able to serve God in a way that allows freedom in which many married people do not have. Personally, though I am a single parent, I am able to serve in a ministry capacity I would not to be able to serve in as easily if I had a spouse. I am able to serve Christ with undivided interest.
Singleness may be a sanctifying season or a lifetime, but we should embrace it regardless; God has given us multiple opportunities to serve Him in limitless capacities!
Singleness Is Not Forever
Whether it is a season on this earth or a lifetime, singleness is temporary. Stay with me here. We may never marry. Some of us may never marry again if we have had the opportunity to be espoused, but whatever the case, marriage, as well as singleness, is temporary. One day we will all be with Christ! Paul tells us, “Let us be glad, rejoice, and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself" (Revelation 19:7).
What we see here is a picture of Christ using wedding imagery to express his love, intimacy, and joy between Himself and His people. Married or not, we must look eternally at the final picture. The words in the book of Mark tell us, ”For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25).
After the final resurrection, Christ will come and the mandate of marriage and reproduction will no longer be necessary. We will all be rejoicing in the eternal presence of God for eternity.
Sisters, I know singleness is a struggle. I know the difficulties of loneliness, as well as being continually self-aware of your current status. I want to encourage you to take heart and trust in Jesus. Remember God’s sovereignty and how you are a loved child of God.
My final encouragement to you whatever season or state you may be in is out of Proverbs 3:5-6:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight."
The struggle is real...good thing we have a God who can help us through it.
About the Author
Chelsi Woods is the coffee-loving Content Manager for Whole Magazine and a writer for the Reformed Outlook. She is a Jesus-loving, tattooed soccer mom to a beautiful, blue-eyed 12 year old girl and “Choo-Choo” to a 9 year old nephew and 4 year old niece. Her hobbies include communicating in gifs, playing guitar, and bad dad jokes. Chelsi’s passionate pursuit is to teach women solid, Biblical truths focused in spiritual growth, loving God with our minds, all while glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.