“10 things to say to singles.” “10 things not to say to singles.” “14 principles for single living.” “5 things to do while single.” “25 things to do to prepare for marriage while you are single.” “35 things to be grateful for if you are single.” “53 things to say to your spouse.”
OK. We’ve all seen articles with titles like these, haven’t we. Quite frankly, I seldom read them anymore. They just don’t scratch the itch of onesomeness issues.
The Church tries to parcel out good advice to singles by saying, “Just don’t. . .” Folks may talk about some of the negative consequences of “doing,” but rarely do they stress positives of “not doing.” Of course, the title of this post is said tongue-in-cheek. I’m still working on my definitive answer.
I said in my last post: “. . . the Church has said “don’t” for centuries. But the question of ‘why’ has not been answered adequately in order to build a good enough reason into single hearts to comply, [especially in the area of sexual activity.]
Everyone loves a baby. Their innocence and sweetness when they smile and coo just touches deep places in our hearts. People acting inappropriately toward a baby or young child brings out the “mother bear” in most of us. In particular, we teach our little ones about good and bad touch and we work hard to keep them out of harm’s way. So, what happens when they begin to mature physically and hormones start to kick in with hyperactivity? Are they stilll not precious and do they still not house a treasure in their bodies and souls? Are there not still reasons to consider good and inappropriate touch, particularly to areas of the body we consider private? Is there an age where these considerations automatically stop? Why should something which obviously brings a great deal of pleasure be limited to marriage – especially when we feel like the bull in a rodeo which is penned into a small stall. Every fiber of his being wants out – to be free – to express his intensity.
So, what is a good enough reason for Christian singles to wholeheartedly comply with spoken cautions about our actions? For some, the possibility of surprise pregnancy is not enough to deter. A variety of health issues is not enough to deter. “Because Scripture says so” is not enough to deter. Shame is not enough to deter. Waiting for a more fulfilling physical and emotional life is not enough to deter.
I wholeheartedly agree with Paul’s words in I Corinthians 7:32-35 which speak of freedom from concerns, undivided devotion, and the opportunity for unhindered attention to the Lord’s affairs. This is exactly God’s desire for us in singleness. However, I also know from personal experience that these things are not automatically built-in when a single commits him/herself to moral faithfulness. Personally, I often find myself living in the midst of a great many concerns, divided attentions, and a feeling of loss and dissatisfaction at not having an intimate human life companion. I have even at times hollered at God, “I know You are sufficient – but I do not feel as if You are enough.”
So, what have I found which helps answer my “why?
- * God loves me with everlasting love and draws me with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
- * Celibacy has never been the cause of anyone’s death – no matter how it may feel at the time.
- * God knows my desires and He also knows my frustrations when they are not fulfilled.
- * Jesus was tempted in all things as I am, and because He never gave in to temptation, He provides for me a way out of my temptations – every time. (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 2:18; I Corinthians 10:13)
- * Temptation’s strength is not determined by what I give in to – but by what I resist – and I can resist!
- * The Holy Spirit gives me power to live with self-control, patience, and persistence. (Galatians 5:22-23)
- * I can utilize self-control in many things which are harmful to relationships. Why would I not expect to use it in sexual areas in sight, hearing, thought, and action?
- * I can use unfulfilled desires as a sort of “fast,” as a reason to help me deepen my relationship with Christ.
Above all, I thank God for those friends who have listened to me throughout the years – sharing my desires and frustrations, encouraging me, not trying to “fix me.” Giving these things a voice is extremely helpful!
For more thoughts on these things, take a look at the first posts of this blog, “I Corinthians 7 – a fresh look.”