Today we are going to spend our final day looking that the misconception that says, “When I get married I will have arrived!”
As a young adult I remember there was some handout that seemed to accompany every purity talk or discussion on singleness. Someone wrote it from the perspective of God writing to a singleton. I think the person who wrote this letter had good intentions, but the older I got, I more I disliked this “letter.” I don't have a copy of the letter, so I can't tell you who wrote it or quote it directly, but I remember the jist of the letter.
Essentially, the letter said that God was working on me in my singleness and was also working on my future spouse. It purposed that when we were both “ready,” then and only then would God bring our hearts together. We would both be complete and thus have a perfect marriage because we had entered marriage “ready” by God's standards.
Now, I do believe that we shouldn't rush into marriage and that it is a great thing when we have time to mature on our own before we do enter a covenant relationship with God and our spouse. However, I remember being 25 and hearing this “letter” being read for the 500th time (it seemed), and looking at the married couples around me thinking, “I really can't say you are more spiritually mature than I am.” The fallacy of this letter is that it claims that if you do everything correctly spiritually, when you hit a certain maturity level then and only then will God bring you your spouse. This simply isn't true.
God brings people together at all different stages in life and at all different maturity levels. And many people get married because they want to, not because it is God's time or even God's person. As I told you earlier this week, I was very close to marrying the wrong man at the wrong time. Marrying him wouldn't have meant that I had arrived spiritually. It just meant, a man asked me to marry him and I said, “yes.”
I understand that the author of this “letter” was trying to comfort singletons by giving them an excuse as to why they were single, but I think Paul addresses singleness in a much better way. Let's take a look at this:
32I don’t want you to have anything to worry about. A single man is concerned about the Lord’s matters. He wants to know how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about the matters of this world. He wants to know how he can please his wife. 34His concerns pull him in two directions.
A single woman or a virgin is concerned about the Lord’s matters. She wants to serve the Lord with both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the matters of this world. She wants to know how she can please her husband.
And then in verse 40 he adds his two cents:
40In my opinion, she is happier if she stays single. And I also think that I am led by the Spirit of God in saying that.
New International Reader's Version. 1st ed. Zondervan, 1998, S. 1 Co 7:32-34, 40
Paul's argument is that being single is actually better than being married because spiritually we can singleminded in our devotion to God.
Here is what I want to encourage you with today. If you are single, it's not because you are lacking something spiritually or otherwise. Enjoy the time you have as a singleton because Paul is right that life will never be the same when you are married. Your heart will be pulling in two directions once you are married, trying to please God and your spouse. Also, if you are married and thought that because you were spiritually mature when you married that you wouldn't haven't any issues in your marriage, you've probably discovered by now that sin still rears its ugly head in our marriages.
So the moral of the story today is, your marital status does not reflect your level of spiritual maturity. Do not get down on yourself because you are single, this is not a reflection of who you are as a person. It is simply one fact about you.
In my office a few years ago I framed a card I found that read, “I'm single because I was born that way.” So as you head home for the holidays and people ask those daunting questions, “Are you dating anyone?”, “When are you going to get married?” And make those loving statements like, “I just don't understand why a pretty girl like you isn't married!” Cling to the truth that marriage isn't a place of arrival or the definition of “complete.” It is just a different stage of life with it's own set of highs and lows.
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