Chapter 1 – Finding Contentment

Most of you reading this today are single. Some of you plan to stay that way and others of you hope to marry someday, but for now you are single.

God’s institution of marriage is a wonderful gift, but it is not and will not give you the answer to all of your problems. Many singles have told us how they would love to be married, and just as many married people have told us how they would love to be single again! This predicament is a good illustration to the old adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

For many of you, the reality is that you are unmarried. You may think, as many do, that you cannot really be fulfilled until you marry. However, the reality God has for us is this: if you cannot attain contentment as a single individual, you also will never reach it in marriage. Marriage is not the key to inner contentment, or to joy or to love; knowing Jesus is the key to all these blessings! And, of course, the good news is you can know Jesus while you are single.

Marriage is not the key to happiness. Rather, becoming whole and finding out your uniqueness is the real key to happiness. And God Himself has that key!

Singleness can become a curse to those who are unhappy, bitter, fearful of remaining single, or angry at God or at others. But singleness can be and is a blessing to those who accept their single status with joy and allow their single life to be filled with the very best God has to offer.

One key to allowing your single life to blossom and flourish is to discover the gift of singleness.

1 Corinthians 7 is usually considered the “marriage chapter”, but actually, it is a chapter about gifts: the gift of marriage and the gift of singleness.

1 Corinthians 7:7 says, &ldquot;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.&rdquot; The Living Bible

Paul says that being single is a GIFT! Marriage is a gift and singleness is a gift; they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Sometimes your gift can change through divorce or the death of a spouse, and you can find yourself single again. You may be thinking, &ldquot;Are you saying my divorce was a gift from God?&rdquot; or &ldquot;Are you implying my spouse’s death was God’s gift to me?&rdquot; No, not at all! That is not what I am saying! I am not saying that the process of how you became single again is necessarily a gift. Life itself is a gift, and if we so choose, we can see the good in all of our life.

There is much we can learn from considering the biblical concept that singleness is a gift. Think about it for a moment... Have you honestly seen your singleness as a true gift from God? Sometimes our &ldquot;good gifts&rdquot; from our heavenly Father come in strange wrappings (see Matthew 7:7-11). The outward covering may at times look like a stone or a scorpion, but that is only the outside! We must remove the wrapping to really see what we have that is worth treasuring.

In this chapter we are going to do some unwrapping! We are going to look at some of the special blessings in being single.

One of those blessings is that you belong completely to the Lord – spirit, soul, and body. To belong is one of the basic emotional needs we humans have, and this need can be fully met through having a personal relationship with the Lord.

Before you ask God for a man or a woman to care for, take care of the Lord Himself! First minister to His needs, and then you can more reasonably pray for one of His children to minister to in marriage. When you are faithful (to One) in your singleness, then you will be better prepared to be faithful (to one) in marriage.

In like manner, if you disregard the perfect companion, Jesus, then you will most likely also disregard the human companion you may be desiring. If you have no time to enjoy Jesus and to learn to love Him more tenderly, then how can you think you will make time to love a frail human being? If we have no time for God, surely we have no time for a mate.

Learning again how to love Jesus in a personal way helped me, Yanit, to love Reuven a few years later. I have found from my own personal experience that loving God increases one’s ability to love people, especially those we are the closest to!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married as long as marriage does not become an idol to you. But while you are waiting for the Lord’s chosen mate for you, use this time to take care of the Lord Himself! Minister to Him; love Him and enjoy His love.

The Scripture makes it clear that God is of the opinion that if you do not belong to a man or a woman, then you belong strictly to Him. God believes you are His, and He loves intimacy with you! So enjoy giving yourself to Him!

Single people can easily be the most consecrated ones in the congregation, set apart only for the Lord, giving themselves to Him and to His work. Often the most faithful servants in the church are the singles. Don’t wait until you are married to do something for God and with God! The Lord has plans for you now!

As Reuven and I have traveled and met many single Believers around the world, a number of them have said to us, &ldquot;I’ll do something significant for God once I am married. Right now I’m just single and waiting.&rdquot; Hey, Single Person, some of the greatest contributions to the Kingdom of God have been made by unmarried people!

Corrie ten Boom, a survivor of the Holocaust and a well-known speaker and devotional writer, said, &ldquot;Don’t be so preoccupied with who you aren’t, for you may forget who you are. Don’t get sidetracked by the devil so that your main goal is to find a mate. Get preoccupied with God.&rdquot;

Some of the key Bible characters chose not to marry: Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel. In fact, a great many of the missionaries today from around the world are single. Many of the well-known mission organizations and para-church ministries are predominantly staffed by unmarried individuals. Why is that? Perhaps they have more time for God than couples or families; maybe they have less ties in general than married people, or maybe they have more of a zeal for the things of God. Possibly they are not as weighed down by the cares of this world or are not as heavily in debt.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Singles can serve the Lord with less distraction and greater devotion. Therefore, avail yourself to God while you do not have the needs of a spouse to care for! Make the most of this season of walking with God!

Instead of the single saints being envious of those who are married, the married could well be envious of the singles and of their time to give the Lord. Not having a husband or wife, Singles often have a greater dependency on God. They have a special relationship with Him.

Look at Genesis 2:18: &ldquot;Then the Lord God said, ’It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ &rdquot;

God did not say it is not good for man to be &ldquot;single&rdquot;, but that it is not good for man to be alone. Adam was so &ldquot;together&rdquot;, so complete in himself that he did not even know that he needed anyone else. God was the one to say Adam should not be alone. Adam had not realized his need yet! He was whole in himself. Until you get to that state, you are not ready to stop being alone.

The principle is: You are more effectively prepared for marriage when you do not need to be married.

God made a second human being not just for Adam to marry, but in order that he would not be alone. You do not have to marry in order not to be alone. All you need to not be alone is to have some other humans to be your companions and close friends. Marriage is not the only form of companionship; actually, our brother-sister relationships in the Body of Messiah can be wonderfully fulfilling relationships whilst we are single. We all have needs for friendship and intimacy, but we are not all called to marriage. When I (Yanit) lived in South Africa, I found great companionship with fellow youth workers and in the Singles group I attended. I had enough solid friendships to enjoy without feeling the need to date and/or be married.

For those of you who are single now, learn to be single fully. Many people want to marry before they are ever really &ldquot;single&rdquot;. Be sure you’ve attained single status before you consider marriage. The word ’single’ in the American Heritage English Dictionary means: whole, unbroken, unique, distinct, individual, separate, and unattached. A good example is that of an apple: it is whole in itself, not needing another apple to fulfill it. It is unique and distinct from every other fruit (indeed, every other apple!). And it is separate, attached to nothing that gives or takes life from it. We all need to be &ldquot;single&rdquot; – whole, individual, and separate – no matter what our marital status is! In fact, it is more important to be single and whole than to be married. If you are not yet single (in the correct sense of the word), then pursue that in prayer and in your ongoing relationship with Jesus before you seek a mate.

1 Corinthians 7:27 says, &ldquot;Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? DO NOT SEEK A WIFE.&rdquot; Paul is saying here: Do not seek a mate!

Many single adults have the attitude, &ldquot;I know he’s out there somewhere, and I am going to find him!&rdquot; They have an inner searching and restlessness. Instead of focusing on Jesus in their singleness, they are looking for the answer to their loneliness in a person. As a result, some of them marry unbelievers. By not waiting for God’s choice, they compromise in becoming unequally yoked.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us: &ldquot;Do not seek a mate!&rdquot; Let the Lord do your seeking and finding. Let Him be your matchmaker! We are not to be seeking a mate. Rather, we should obey the Scriptural mandate and &ldquot;seek the Lord while He may be found!&rdquot; (see Isaiah 55:6)

Jesus did say, &ldquot;Seek and you shall find...&rdquot; (Matthew 7:7), but He was not necessarily referring to finding a spouse! If the Lord wants to change your gifting from singleness to marriage, that is His business. Let Him do it when and how He desires. But as for you, determine in your heart to be content. Do not be in the seeking mode!

Philippians 4:11b,13: &ldquot;... for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.&rdquot;

Paul learned contentment. It did not come naturally, nor probably quickly or easily. But he did learn it. He was content no matter where he was or what he was enduring. We, too, can learn contentment as we keep our eyes on Jesus and our hearts in pursuit of Him. He is our strength, He is our joy; Jesus makes our lives complete and meaningful. We can be content in life, whether we are happily or unhappily married and whether we are happily or unhappily single... because of Jesus. He makes life worth living.

To be content while unmarried requires accepting the fact of your singleness. You must accept that for now you are alone, and pursue making the best of it. You can never enter into an exciting life of singleness as long as you are fretting about being unmarried. Once you have learned contentment in your present state, you can get beyond your preoccupation with your singleness and get on with the Lord and His work. For those of you concerned right now about your single status, in Jesus’ name, I speak peace to you today. Pause for a moment and receive His peace and freedom from the inner turmoil you have been enduring.

Therefore, bring your nature and passions to God. Allow Him to sanctify them unto Himself until the day that He gives you in marriage to one of His precious ones.

Marriage is ministry, and singleness is ministry. Both give us opportunities to serve. While you are single your ministry is directly unto the Lord. Refrain from complaining about being unmarried; the Lord is waiting for you to fulfill your marriage duties to Him for now. It is a privilege and a high calling to belong exclusively to Him. Do not refuse or neglect that calling. Instead, enjoy it and demonstrate faithfulness.

We prayed some similar prayers during our single years; one of those prayers went something like this: &ldquot;Lord, You can see the end from the beginning. You can see the end of my life, and You know which will bring You more glory – if I get married or if I stay single. My prayer, Father, is whatever will bring you the most glory – whether I am married or single – that is what I want.&rdquot;

God’s ultimate purpose and plan for your life is found in Romans 8:29. He desires for each of us to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. And He can use your single status to bring that about as well as He can a married status.

Life is a gift from God. Being married is a gift, and being single is a gift. Instead of looking at the gift that others have, unwrap your gift and enjoy it as God meant for you to. He may change your gift someday, but let that be His decision. For now, minister to Him and love Him; prove yourself faithful to your Heavenly Companion!

Here is a prayer you might want to pray:

&ldquot;Heavenly Father, more than anything else I want You to be glorified in my life. I want Your will more than I want to be married and more than I want to stay single. If it is Your will that I should marry, please send the man/woman that You have chosen and I will wait until he/she gets here. I am not going to sit around waiting, just existing; I am going to be about Your business. I am going to be actively seeking first Your Kingdom. By Your grace and with Your help, I am going to grow spiritually, personally and intellectually. I am going to be a person who cares for other people and serves where I have opportunity. So Lord, when You are ready, You send the one, You choose for me. Bring him/her in Your perfect time. I will be waiting, but I will be busy!&rdquot;