Single, But Not Alone
A recent Religion News Service headline reports, “Single Adults Want Ministry, Not Sympathy”.
According to RNS, singles are “part of a demographic — men and women of childbearing age without children — that nearly doubled in 24 years, from 10 percent of the population in 1976 to 19 percent in 2000.”*
How can marrieds interact with this vital and growing group in a way that they will appreciate?
Lose the lonely label
The term “single” is a lonely label. By definition, single means consisting of only one part. To be single invokes images of a solitary soul distant from the whole. But, does being unmarried really mean the faith-filled believer is separate, unattached, or alone? If so, this might imply that a single is not joined to anything at all.
In Christ, this is not the case. Nothing is farther from the truth! Once a person gives their life to the Lord Jesus, he or she is united with the Lord, never to be alone again. The book of Psalms explains, “God sets the solitary in families” (Ps. 68:6, NKJV).
Respect single strength
Think it is easy living as a successful Christian single in 2010? Not so! At a time when there are more singles than ever, being single has never been harder. It takes strength of purpose to drown out distractions and live a godly life.
The Apostle Paul, a profound contributor to the New Testament, is an excellent example of this. This disciple, who remained single, is responsible for sharing truth that has affected the justification, redemption, and reconciliation of millions. His influence on Christian thinking has impacted the body of Christ throughout generations.
Few would dispute the impact this unmarried follower of Jesus made upon the world. In his own words, here’s what Paul says about the subject of singleness and marriage:
“If you do not marry, it is good. I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried” (1 Cor. 7:1-8, TLB).
Connect single links
As the single population of the United States rises, the notion that Christian singles aren’t really single at all is significant. Single Christians are joined in life purpose with the Lord. Christian single, Tina Barta, reflects this truth. RNS quotes Tina as saying, “I am in a relationship with Christ. Yes, I’m single, but I’m pursuing Christ, and he’s pursuing me.”*
The pursuit of God is a foundational key in the life of every believer, regardless of his or her marital status. As we lay aside our differences and realize that we are all joined with the Lord, we’re better able to love one another as Christ has loved us.
The old saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” is noteworthy here. A chain, in this instance, can be described as a series of Christians linked together for the common purpose of building up the whole body of Christ.
A unified chain is a strong chain. In the book of Romans, Paul says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5-6, NIV).
1) Surround your single friends with a comfortable social environment. Allow them to laugh out loud and really be themselves. In this relaxed setting, they might express their concerns to you.
2) According to Paul, happy singleness is a gift. Respect the unique gifts and talents that God has given to your single friends by taking genuine interest in their walk with God. You’ll be surprised, and greatly blessed, by the wealth of wisdom they have to offer you.
3) Link together to share God’s love. The church is known for dividing into small groups such as couples, parents, youth, seniors, and singles. That’s all good, as long as we remember the unity that the Lord Jesus came to bring to all—including sensational singles and marvelous marrieds.