Covenant is for Singles, too!
A marriage covenant is a public pronouncement of a couple’s honor and faithfulness to one another and to God. Ideally, this involves careful and thoughtful coming to terms with their sexuality, giving them new opportunity to share that area of their lives in the God-ordained boundary of marriage. It also brings their commitment into the public arena of fellowship with fellow believers. There is no comparable public celebration for the single, however, especially for those who live in faithful “waiting.”
For singles, advice is usually summed up in abstinence and “don’t do’s” emphasizing over and over what we cannot have and still be pleasing to God. Unfortunately, it overstresses that “it is all up to me.” Patience and self-control stand toe-to-toe with desires and raging hormones. Yielding does not show the strength of temptation. Resisting does! The path to I Corinthians 10:13 is arduous, but can become a cherished truth. God does provide a way out of temptation every time, period. It brings one into partnership with God, taking conquering temptation out of the “it’s all up to me” mindset.
While abstinence centers around the individual and his decisions, the practice of celibacy centers around relationship. It always involves another person in thought, word, or deed. While I personally do not feel “called” by God to be single, I am called to be faithful with my thoughts, words, and acts, and remaining celibate falls under that parameter.
The practice of fidelity as a single is the best training for fidelity in marriage. And, fidelity is precious to God whether we are unmarried or married. Grasping that the practice of celibacy is a partnership with God which can lead to a covenant as a single is a way of opening the door for God to change the heart.
While a single’s covenant is not publicly celebrated in ceremony or anniversary, it is nonetheless very precious, and is a very serious commitment. It is quite simply recognition of God’s love and faithfulness to me and my promise to be faithful to Him in all areas of my life. This covenant is only possible with His working out its truth in my life in the deepest part of my soul, for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
Do I have this mastered? It is a life-long process, and I’m still on the way!
Prayer of personal covenant: Dear God, I commit my deepest longings, desires, hopes, and dreams to You and bring them under Your covenant of faithfulness, acknowledging that I cannot be faithful to You in my own strength, but only with Your grace, mercy, and power. I rededicate myself to You – body, soul, and spirit. I will be honest with You about temptations and struggles, and trust You to transform my life in Jesus Christ. Amen – so be it!