Welcome to a new year. Hopefully you have made some resolutions and hopefully you are able to push through and make them a habit. At the gym I go to, I see a lot of new faces and they are messing up my routine. I can selfishly say, I hope they give up and don’t come back. That’s wrong to say – right! LOL.
We are jumping into a marriage series. To talk about how to make a marriage great, we have to talk about how to date well. And to talk about dating well, we have to talk about how to be single. And that’s what we are doing today. We want to talk about how to be single.
There can be several reasons why people are single. Maybe you are in High School and just trying to pass Math class. They may have chosen to be single. They might have walked through a divorce. They may have been married and their spouse has passed away. Whatever the reason, being single has some clear advantages.
Being single is actually on the rise. Psychology Today reported in a 2018 article that in the last 40 years from 1970 to 2010, being single has grown to an all-time high of 44%.
Jesus said this when talking about marriage and being single.
11 Marriage isn’t for everyone. 12 Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked – or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. MSG Matthew 19:11-12
Being single has clear advantages. That’s why Jesus wasn’t trying to get everyone to get married.
The Apostle Paul wrote this about marriage and being single.
7 Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me – a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.
8 I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. 9 But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single.
32 I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. 33 Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, 34 leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. 35 I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions. MSG 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-35
Again, being single has clear advantages. That’s why Paul calls it a ‘gift’ in vs 7.
The first advantage we see is, it frees us from relationship drama.
Vs 32 When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. 33 Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, 34 leading to so many more demands on your attention.
Let’s just say it, marriage is hard. What is marriage? It’s when two people who are filled with sin, wounds, expectations with two different personalities get together for life. That’s a formula for some drama. Being single frees you from that relationship drama.
Specific to the person in high school and 20’s, this is important for you to hear. If you are dating and the relationship you are in is filled drama, end it. If you want help defining drama, talk to your parents or talk to me. I’m talking about big emotional swings, highs, lows, jealousy, etc.
If the relationship is stealing time away from friends, sports, music and your grades are suffering, end it.
If your relationship is pulling you away from your family, end it.
If the relationship leads you to feeling guilt or shame or being insecure, end it.
If the relationship is not bringing you joy, end it.
If the relationship leads you to smoke dope, drink or drugs, end it.
If the relationship is becoming more and more sexual, end it.
This is what scripture is talking about. You have freedom from marriage and relationship drama.
Dads, hear to me. This is when you get involved. I told my daughters from day one, if you ever get into a mess with a boy and you need to end it with someone, blame it on me. Tell the boy, if you mess with me, you will meet my dad. I am thrilled to be the bad guy to protect my daughter.
The second advantage we see is, it frees you to love God.
Vs 34 The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.
The point of being single is that we have time to love God and allow Him to love us back. Let’s just say it, when you are married with kids, you have no time. You can’t even pee in peace. When you are single, you have a ton more time.
When my oldest daughter tells me how tired she is, I laugh. The other day she came home exhausted from work. I said, think through how tired you are right now. Now think, how cool would it be if you had to make dinner for the family and run to some school events? That’s what marriage and parenting brings you.
That extra time you have, it’s an advantage. If you are single, you should be the most spiritually healthy people in the community.
Specific to the person in high school and 20’s, this is important for you to hear. The church needs you. The local church needs your heart, your mind, your talents. You are the next generation who God wants to anoint to reach people. We need you to volunteer. When you volunteer, assuming you aren’t a jack-weed, you make everything better.
The third advantage we see is, it frees you to enjoy others and life.
Vs 35 All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
If you are single, you have space to enjoy life that others don’t have. So, take that time and enjoy life.
Specific to the person in high school and 20’s, this is important for you to hear. The time you have as a single person, don’t waste it. Try things, new things. Never be afraid to fail. Only when you try something new do you discover if you like it or not. Do you know what is worse than failing at something? Not trying at all. Doing nothing is always worse because you miss out on learning, growing and a life of adventure.
Never be afraid of your future. The future is filled with so much fun and hope but you must try new things. Never allow depression or anxiety to steal your fun.
Let’s quickly recap before my last point. What did Jesus and Paul teach us? Being single has clear advantages. It frees you from relationship drama. It frees you to love God. It frees you to enjoy life. Okay, follow up question. If you wanted to date someone, do you see that the better you are at being single, the better prepared you are to date? Who would you want to date? Someone who has never ending drama? Someone who doesn’t love God or care about God? Someone who can’t enjoy life? Do you get the point? Why in the world would you want to date that?
Last point about being single. Sex. What does the Bible say about sex?
17 …if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person. 18 That is why I say to run from sex sin. No other sin affects the body as this one does. When you sin this sin it is against your own body. 19 Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. 20 For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it. TLB 1 Corinthians 6:17-20
Specific to being single and sex, what is normal in our culture today? Pornography. Researchers say that because of social media our kids are seeing explicit material at younger and younger ages as low as 8 and 9. What else is normal? Living together. And that is growing in the church. There seems to be very little understanding of sexual purity and what it means to make marriage and sex holy. Truth is, there is way too little sex in marriage and why too much sex out of marriage. Living together can do so much damage to our understanding of sex. What else is normal? Viewing sex through the grid of lust. That means, I want something from you and I want to hook up with you to get what I want with no commitment or responsibilities. That simply means, I want to take something from you.
Paul put it like this:
16 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact…. 17 We must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.” MSG 1 Corinthians 6:16-17
Do you see that? …the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely… That’s lust. That’s our culture.
Sex outside of marriage, defined by scripture as man and a woman, will leave you with guilt, shame and regret. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone in this room the following question. Looking back over your life, are you glad you had so many sexual partners before you got married?
Paul it like this:
19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex. MSG Galatians 5:19
I want to tell you what I told my girls. Here we go, spoiler alert. Guys want sex. No, in general, guys don’t like craft shows. Girls want love. The guy wants sex so he will do anything, like a craft show, in hopes she will give sex. The girl wants love so she will give sex in hopes that she will feel love. And if you are not in the committed relationship of marriage, sex will damage you spiritually. It will leave you feeling empty. And sadly, some people think, ‘I feel empty so now I need more sex to fill that emptiness.’ And the result is feeling more empty.
That’s why Paul said,
No other sin affects the body as this one does. When you sin this sin it is against your own body.
Sex is extremely powerful. There is more going on that what you could imagine. It’s meant to be in the context of marriage.
To close us out today, we said a few things today.
There are advantages to being single. It frees you. Frees you from relationship drama, to love God and to enjoy life.
We also talked about sex. Our culture views sex through the eyes of lust. Get what you can with no commitment or responsibilities. So, pornography and living together it’s okay. But we said there is much more going on. Sex is different because it involves your soul.
If you want to date, healthy dating requires that you are good at being single. If you aren’t good at being single you aren’t ready to date. We’ll talk more about next week.
I want to leave you with this. Paul’s advice to a young single man named Timothy.
6 I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you, that entered into you when I laid my hands upon your head and blessed you. 7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.
8 If you will stir up this inner power, you will never be afraid to tell others about our Lord or to let them know that I am your friend even though I am here in jail for Christ’s sake. You will be ready to suffer with me for the Lord, for he will give you strength in suffering.
9 It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began-to show his love and kindness to us through Christ. TLB 2 Timothy 1:6-10
May God’s challenge impact you. Stir up the Holy Spirit inside you. Don’t be afraid of people. Be wise and strong and love well.
So, are you good at being single? Do you live drama free? Do you love God and allow God to love you? Are you able to enjoy life?
How about the person you are dating? Are they good at being single?
Maybe you are married but the same questions apply to you. Do you live drama free? Do you love God and allow God to love you? Are you able to enjoy life?