Intentional Single Man
Are You Called or Stalled?
Curt Grice, Associate Pastor of Educational Ministries
As an unmarried man, you have distinct opportunities to grow in your faith and to make a substantial contribution to the Kingdom. In fact, the season you’re in has the potential to be the most formative period of your life. How can you best honor God in this time.
Many Christian single men wonder if they should attempt to move toward marriage or embrace the kind of single life the apostle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 7. In order to evaluate your situation, ask yourself two questions.
QUESTION ONE: Have I been stalled?
Popular American culture tends to discourage marriage; implying that people can live a more exciting, fulfilling life by remaining unmarried. However, there is an equal tendency in some Christian circles to non-verbally communicate the message that if you’re not married, you’re not finished… not complete. Single Christian guys can veer off into the ditch on either side of the road.
One side is characterized by a series of unhealthy, recreational relationships that foster hyper-individualism, consumption and pleasure. The other side of the road creates despair, apathy and a feeling of inadequacy because you haven’t “arrived” yet (meaning married). Both sides of the road can lead to stalling out, which hinders progress on the journey towards being the person God has called you to be. Those who find themselves in either ditch need to stop and consider how to become more intentional about being single.
QUESTION TWO: To what am I called?
Jesus invites people to become His followers. Jesus’ basic invitation is this: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent, believe and follow me.” Following Jesus can take place with a covenantal partner (marriage) or with a covenantal community (the local church). The best way to honor God in your singleness is to be intentionally set apart for His purpose and His glory. Until your relationship with God is right, it is unlikely that you will be able to clearly know His will in any area of your life!
The fact is, God’s call to both marriage and singleness is very different from the popular single culture in America today. That’s because God’s call includes a commitment to sexual purity, active engagement in a Christian community, and faithful stewardship of your talents and resources. Single adults who cultivate these qualities find it easier to discern if God is calling them to biblical marriage or celibate service.
Celibate Service – Dr. Al Mohler explains that “celibacy” means sacrificing the companionship of marriage, the pleasures of sex and the blessing of children for your entire life without being bitter about it. Celibacy is not a “consolation prize” for those who haven’t yet found a spouse, but a purposeful life devoted to serving others. In that context, serving God in celibacy makes full engagement in the body of Christ vitally important. Everyone needs the encouragement, opportunity and accountability of a loving Christian community, but active involvement in a fellowship of believers is especially important for those who are single.
Marriage and Family – Singles who don’t feel called to celibacy should pursue a biblical marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33) with hopeful preparation. While you may not know how or when you will marry, you can be intentional about eliminating roadblocks. You can remain faithful in your purity, stewardship and community. You can also take initiative and pray purposefully for a good marriage, despite living in a culture that doesn’t hold marriage in very high esteem.
Whatever the circumstances of your life, you can find purpose and fulfillment as you break away from a stalled, dysfunctional culture and choose to honor God in hopeful pursuit of either celibate service or a God-honoring marriage.
GOING FURTHER – Resources
A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well – Boundless.org has put together a short, practical guide for men to help them become proactive about whether, how and who to marry. This excellent, comprehensive resource is available for free at www.boundless.org/guys.
MarryWell.org is a relationship service that goes beyond providing a list of matches through coaching resources for those serious about pursuing a Christian marriage.
Boundless.org webzine offers young adults encouragement to live abundantly as singles while seeking God’s best in either celibacy or marriage.
GOING FURTHER – Church Support
Our Young Adult Ministry includes a group of “20 Somethings” and a group called “Crossroads” (30 Somethings) who study, play, worship and do life together.
There are other Sunday morning Bible studies and small group meetings for men during the week. Contact Curt Grice for more information.