Singleness isn’t an Excuse for Selfishness

As I move into the last year of my twenties, even the thought of owning a houseplant still seems like too much of a tie-me-down commitment. As a single, I want my life to be my own.

And I must confess: I love it that way. In fact, I love it too much.

In my singleness, I’ve gotten caught up in concocting a grand plan of how my life should look: all the jobs I could take, all the places I could travel, all the books I could write, all the television shows I could binge watch on Netflix late into the night without waking up someone else. I find myself wanting a lot of things in life, but very rarely find myself saying that I want Jesus.

Singleness became my excuse to create an agenda filled with what I want, instead of what Christ wants to do through me.

There is nothing wrong with singleness in and of itself (just as there is nothing wrong with marriage). Take for instance the apostle Paul — the poster child of singleness in the Bible. His take on singleness is hard to miss: an unmarried man or woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs. And the Lord’s affairs only.

As if Paul looked into the future and saw me recoiling at the thought of letting go of my own personal freedom, he continues:

“I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35).

Paul sets an example of a singleness that was selfless. He considered anything other than Christ to be not just loss, but absolute garbage. Only Christ was a gain to him. During a time when his life was undivided, Paul chose to have undivided devotion to the Lord.

It all seems counter-intuitive — by letting go of our plans, our freedom, our idea of happiness, we will experience what is ultimately best. This is extremely difficult to attain because the call to “die to self” goes against everything our mainstream culture tells us singleness should be.

It’s tempting to believe that not being accountable to someone in a romantic relationship means freedom to do whatever you want; to put yourself first. I know I’m guilty of having a divided heart even if my life is relationally undivided. I’m guilty of turning my attention inward instead of upward. I’m guilty of thinking too much of myself to remember that I am actually in a relationship — one with Jesus.

It’s taken 29 years, but I’m now learning to bring all that I am, and all that I have, and all that I want in my season of singleness to Christ. I’m bringing my single self to his feet and saying, “I want nothing more in my life than You. Do what you want with my life.”

Singleness isn’t an excuse for selfishness. Singleness is a time for surrender.


Photo by (Flickr CC): Aurelio Asiain