Is God changing my heart toward singleness?

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Candice Watters

Is God changing my heart toward singleness?

Oct 20, 2015 |Candice Watters
Question

I recently turned 29 years old. All my friends are married, in relationships, having kids, etc., and to be honest, I never want to attend another wedding as long as I live. Speaking of weddings, relationships, and marriages, I have noticed that as I get older, my desire to get married grows less and less. I haven't been in a relationship in years and it doesn't even bother me anymore. People at church make a point to regularly remind me that I'm single (because that is something, apparently, I have forgotten). I have a college degree, am a homeowner, have a career, and am working to become a licensed foster parent. So at this point I'm like, “Why do I need a man?” I seem to be doing great without one. Is this God's way of changing my heart and calling me to singlehood, or is there a deeper issue here?

Answer

God may indeed change someone’s heart away from desiring marriage toward wanting to be celibate for the sake of the kingdom (Matthew 19:8-12). I am concerned, however, based on the tone of what you’ve written, that this may not yet be what’s happening in your heart.

In 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, Paul urges believers to consider remaining unmarried given the nature of this world “that is passing away” in order that they may give “undivided devotion to the Lord.” Is that what’s motivating you to remain single? I’m not suggesting that such a desire is the only reason someone is single, but rather that a “calling to singlehood,” as you call it, would have at its center the desire to serve the Lord more fully than you could if you had the responsibilities and earthly cares of a wife.

You say you never want to attend another wedding as long as you live, that people remind you that you’re single “because apparently you’ve forgotten,” and that in the midst of all your accomplishments, you’re “like ‘why do I need a man?’ because you seem to be doing great without one.” I can understand the temptation to frustration over people’s questions about your love life, as well as to self-satisfaction over all that you’ve accomplished. But neither frustration with other people’s concerns nor self-satisfaction is the mark of a calling to celibate service. You’ve asked if there’s a deeper issue. Based on what you’ve shared, I think that yes, there is.

The antidote to any negative emotions you feel when things aren’t turning out the way you once thought they would is to meditate on the source of your circumstances. Where does your singleness, your house, your degree, your career, and even your desire to foster come from?

1 Corinthians 4:7 says, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” Nothing comes to us apart from Christ. Certainly we must work hard and we are responsible for how we steward opportunities, but God is the source of everything we have and He is sovereign over our experiences.

Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” The only proper response to everything in your life, including your singleness at this point, is thanksgiving. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 says). Not only will giving thanks glorify God, it will guard your heart against any pride over what you’ve accomplished, as well as any creeping bitterness over your circumstances or over other people’s reactions to your circumstances.

Not everyone is called to marry another person. For believers, however, we all look forward to the wedding feast of the Lamb, when as the church, we will be presented to Jesus as His bride without spot or blemish. This is part of why we are all commanded to “Let marriage be honored by all.” Marriage was God’s idea. He created it for our good, but even more importantly, for His glory. This doesn’t mean that we must marry, but that we must honor marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

You ask, “Why do I need a man?” It may be that God is equipping you to serve Him without a husband, but we all need one another as members of the body of Christ. The feminist spirit of our age says women are perfectly fine without men and maybe even better for the lack of them. But this is not the way we are to relate to our brothers in Christ. Men and women are all equal in worth and called to love and serve and help one another as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in the context of a faithful church body (1 Timothy 5:1-2).

Are you content with being single? That would be a good gift. But you must test your heart. Paul wrote, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me (Philippians 4:12-13). What is the source of your contentment? Christ? Or your success at work, your satisfaction in doing well as a single, your hope of fostering? Anything can threaten to take the place that Christ alone deserves as the center of your life — the source of your joy  and the engine of your contentment.

Will remaining single increase your enjoyment of Christ? Then stay single. Will marrying increase your enjoyment of Christ? Then marry. Whether single or married, the goal for the believer is to be satisfied, not in singleness or marriage, but in Christ.

I pray the Lord will help you.

Sincerely,
Candice Watters

Copyright 2015 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.

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