Marriage vs. Singleness – is one better than the other?

Marriage vs. singleness are they at odds? This is a great topic to discuss because the Bible outlines so many different situations or scenarios that people are in. In this post, I simply wanted to start with one verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 where Paul touches on marriage and singleness. Paul says both are a gift from God. So let’s ask the question, when it comes to marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other? What does the Bible say?

In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul, who remained unmarried, talks about his own singleness and how he wishes more would remain single as he. Simply because of the work he did for spreading the Gospel message. He had no restraints other than his own devotion to the Lord. Of course that is his own bias opinion. But what he teaches after is the main focus I believe he wants us to hone in on. Let’s read the verse and discuss why marriage and singleness are not at odds with one another but each its own gift from God.

It’s a gift.

1 Corinthians 7:7 : “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

Paul said each has its own gift from God; like spiritual gifts differ within the body of Christ so does marriage and singleness differ within the body of Christ. Each gift has its own purpose and plan designed specifically by God. Also, we are not about to tell you which is best for you, as the Bible outlines very clearly its up to the individual and God. There is no more importance in having a spouse than staying celibate and single. Each is it’s own gift from God, which means, each has a divine and important purpose in itself.

However, situations between persons may differ. If a single person is unable to resist their urge to stay celibate than its best for them to be married. As sexual intimacy must stay within the marriage bed as it is a spiritual union not just a physical one. 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

Find Contentment over Resentment

Paul is happy that God has given him the gift of being content with remaining unmarried. Since this permits single-minded devotion to the Lord’s work. The key word here is “content”. Comparing our situation to our neighbours is a dangerous slope for our mind and our faith. If we start to view our situation as resentment and not find contentment we will be in competition with one another and not in unity. We must use our gift to see that its good. A gift is something to be used, admired, and thought highly of; especially a gift given by God!

Marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other?

So, what is it then, one vs. the other? Would you say when it comes to spiritual gifts like prophecy or teaching one is better than the other? Paul says view marriage and singleness both as “gifts” and what do we know about “gifts”? In Romans 12:4-6, Paul says: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.

I do want to make clear that this post is not talking about if you are currently single that means that’s your purpose forever. Its simply stating that one is not better than the other – but each are a gift from God. Your gift can change into marriage one day. It is more about what we do now with our gift that matters, allowing God to take care of our future in His awesome plans for us.

Live as you are called… in this moment.

Paul continues in, 1 Corinthians 7:17, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”

Pursue what gift God has given you today. If that’s marriage – pursue that in a Godly way, if that’s singleness – pursue that in a Godly way. Lets see our “relationship status” as a gift from God’s amazing grace. So we don’t lose sight of His bigger purpose which is making Himself known through us to the world.

Repositioned

In a team sport or in the workplace when you get repositioned it can be hard to accept. Especially, if you have been in that position for most of your career. Then all of a sudden with the new team, coach or boss you’ve been called to a new role. “But that’s not me!” “I don’t know how to lead that way!” “I am not comfortable…” However, the authority is not yours to choose.

When you give Jesus the authority over your life you are repositioned “with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).  Scripture says you have become a new creation, “the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Repositioned from death to life, becoming “born again” (John 3:6-7, 1 Peter 1:2-4, Eph 2:5-6).

I had a dream. (MOST dreams are exaggerated pictures of your current reality and emotional state that have hidden symbols/messages meaningful specifically to you. God uses dreams to communicate with us).  In my dream I was passing by a rowing team practicing on the sand.  I approached one rowboat and the coach said to me, “sit up front”, (where the team leader sits).  I looked back and saw all the rowers on the boat and asked the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there rowing with them, I have a strong build”.  The coach replied, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front”.  So nervously (with excitement) I did so without knowing how.  She explained to me how to direct and lead the boat with my legs crossing over from one to the other.  Then she said, “You’re ready!” And I looked at her and replied, “This is going to be intense”.

Dream over.

As we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  The Holy Spirit becomes our spiritual guide.  He acts as our coach who directs and counsels us to live like Jesus (John 14:25-26, 15:26); and how did Jesus live? He led.  In my dream I told the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there with the others? I have a strong build!” But the coach said, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front!” Where I was more comfortable to lead, there was no room, the position was already (perfectly) filled. It was up front where she needed me. When you become a Christian, Jesus doesn’t just reposition you, He calls you to the frontlines – he makes a leader out of you! In my dream, I naturally saw that I was strong enough to help where I knew I could. But when God calls you he sees much greater things in you than you do in yourself (Romans 8:17, 37). Sometimes the call on our lives is greater in HIS eyes than our own. We must seek him in order to supernaturally see it.  Another part of that conversation I had with the coach meant not one role is better than the other. We as Christians are unified in Christ – we are all part of ONE Body but make up many parts (Romans 12:3-8).  Your part in leadership can evolve, change as you grow in Christ. Perhaps, I was once better “rowing with the rest of them” now God is calling me to lead up front.

Where is God calling you to lead? Where have you been stuck feeling too comfortable and God is saying, “hey I already have leaders there, I need you over here…”  Perhaps you have been a Christian your whole life, decades of waking in faith, but are feeling stagnant.  In my dream the coach explains in order to lead the boat I needed to “cross over” with my legs. (Sometimes depicting symbols in dreams, God uses “play on words” to help us discover more of the message.) Where in your life have you felt God asking you to cross over into a new position? Regardless of the position God gives you, it takes training and belief that He can do it through you.   Rowboats obviously race on the water, but in my dream it was on the sand. So the interpretation meant the team was in “dry-land” training. In sports, there are “dry-land” seasons (also known as “pre-seasons”) before the competition season starts.  In these seasons the athletes work on their weaknesses, such as increasing strength, skill or team chemistry, so when competition starts they are at their best.

Just like being a follower of Jesus, we must always be in “dry-land” training or “pre-season”, getting trained up in the Word of God. So when “season” hits – or “life gets in the way” we are ready.

Matthew 7:24-29  (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Pursue your leadership daily with Godly training, aka-studying scripture. Being built up with the Word of God, so you may lack nothing and persevere through the intensity of being repositioned to lead as Jesus led (James 1:4).