“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me.” NKJV
Singleness of heart
Q:- Why can a Pirate intending to celebrate,
Never proceed on a life that is totally celibate?
A:- Because there is no ‘ahRrrrrrr’ in Celibate.
From 1 Corinthians 7:2-6, the gifted single, the apostle Paul himself, by His wisdom in the Holy Spirit, gives God’s view on the Holy service of sex in marriage. If I didn’t believe this book was God’s revelation to us, as a married person I would be somewhat “miffed” at a single bloke trying to give me some advice. However, this book is the Word of God and therefore I sit up and take notice.
It’s worth remembering that in writing this book, God did not take folks and turn them into human automatons or fleshly dictating machines, just to string together a few letters of the alphabet. No, rather, the breathed out word of God came to us through the full personality, life situation, geographical and historical context, of all the various writers, including the apostle Paul. That being the case, Paul here places for us at verse 1 and verse 7 of this passage, his own personal book ends for the context of the central verses of 2-6. Here they are:
Verse 1- “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” NKJV
Verse 7- “ For I wish that all men were even as I myself.”NKJV
The apostle Paul, that gifted, single minded, single person, was most definitely placing a personal preference of single lifestyle above marriage. In the context of his laser like focused apostleship, although marriage was good, for him being single was better. It was better for him because he had free range over the gigantic ranch of his time, yes he had all the time in the world to focus on one thing, and that was pleasing his heavenly Father and pursuing His calling on his life. To that end, he regarded his singleness as a precious gift, a gift of value and everyone must agree, that it was indeed a gift well spent. Whether the great apostle was a widower is irrelevant for in terms of his calling, he intended to be single and he called this a good thing.
I have been a single man and should my wife depart to glory afore me, then I shall be a single man again. I write therefore out of some experience and much observation. In light of this I have observed that there are four states of singleness, defined as looking, waiting, resigned and chosen.
You can be single and looking for a future spouse. The majority of younger folk are in this hunting mode. Prayerfully of course! Be sure that you keep in the God ordained hunting grounds, that is, if you are a Christian, then be sure to find a Christian spouse. Hunting outside of the parameters will get you into trouble and cause untold problems among family, friends and the fellowship of the local church. Be sure of this!
You can be single but in a relationship where you are waiting to take those oaths of commitment in the context of community and faithfulness. You better be saving your money at this point. Be faithful and watchful in all your waiting. Oh, and keep your hands to yourself! Remember, you get to take the wrapping off on the wedding night. You never unwrap the gifts until Christmas. Never.
You can be single and reluctantly resigned to that state, daily struggling to give God the glory no matter what. You singleness may be a result of death, catastrophe, illness, ugliness, both internally or externally, the decision of others, or what we glibly call the providence of God. In any event, you didn’t want to be single, but there you are. Oh hard condition. May God grant you change in it soon. Meanwhile, well done in seeking God’s greater glory. You shall not go unrewarded.
Finally, you might be single because you have chosen to be so. Yes, there is a rise in postmodern Christianity of the young celibate. Healthy, young folks, choosing to dedicate themselves to the service of God in prayer and the service of God in the service of others. It troubles me, for unlike Roman Catholicism celibate lifestyles, we Protestants, have no structure, no community, no mentoring accountability, with which to maybe properly express the celibate lifestyle. That’s a statement for further consideration for sure, yet here is an equation, which I believe to be certain.
Singleness + Purposelessness = Idleness
Idleness + Indirection = Personal Disaster!
In other words, if you choose singleness and, despite the contradiction in my words, I do believe this is a chosen gift, then you had better have a singleness of heart toward your own laser like focused calling. For if your singleness is not poured out in the service of God and others, then it shall find a festering fistula of fulfilment, in sinful and selfish indulgence and I tell you, that for you can only spell utter disaster.
On reflection, I suppose the advice of the last paragraph applies to each and every one of us, single or otherwise. Know your calling and follow it with singleness of heart.
Listen: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV
Pray: Lord, with singleness of heart, I pull back the bow of my anointing and let loose the arrow of my calling into the target of Your desire and Your destiny for me. I ask for a bulls eye! So give me a steady arm, a focused eyes and a singleness of heart, in Jesus name I pray, amen!
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