“Strategy”… We know the term well in the arena of business, sports, and war. But how about in the world of single living? I was listening to the teaching of Alistair Begg on my way to work this morning and the title of his broadcast was “To Marry or Not to Marry”. The entire scripture text was 1 Corinthians 7:25-40.
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 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 7:32-35 NIV)
Christian singles either embrace these verses or cringe at them. I must admit that for many years of my single life I avoided them. It wasn’t that I believed 1 Corinthians 7 didn’t apply to me. I just didn’t want it to apply to me for very long.
Could it be that I was strategically single for 18 years? Did God have a plan but I failed to perform it?
The scripture says that an unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs. This verse gets thoughtlessly thrown in the face of singles. Many have been advised to stop complaining about being single because we get to focus on what pleases God.
This is true, but because of the callous and self-righteous way it’s often said to singles, it makes the truth of the scripture lose its appeal. It’s like putting tonight’s perfectly cooked meal on last night’s unwashed dinner dishes. Nobody’s going to eat that.
Yet in 2007 (year 14 of my singleness) I had to take that verse and receive it by faith. It was hard to swallow. I still kind of wanted it to apply to someone else. But at last, I made a change and actually grew to care about “the Lord’s affairs” before my own.
It was part of God’s strategy that I was single.
This meant, as Mr. Begg taught this morning on the radio, that my place as a Christian single woman was necessary to the kingdom of God. Wow, that’s powerful. I must write that again…
My place as a Christian single woman was necessary to the kingdom of God.
I knew I would marry one day because God has never failed me. However, the bottom line was that my life was not really mine. I gave it to Jesus in 1993. My body is the temple of His Spirit and He is Lord over my life.
I was recruited by God to fill this position, this place in the kingdom, to commit to the Lord’s affairs. I was strategically single. There was God’s business to tend to. There were strategic spiritual missions to embark upon. And through it all God loved me to happiness.
It should have been my honor to be diligent in pleasing God all of those years. That didn’t happen as well as I wished it did, but finally I woke up from my spiritual sleep.
Then when God’s strategy changed, so did my life. When it was time, God fulfilled the desire of my heart, while placing me to serve another function in His kingdom. Today I care about the affairs of God and my husband.
Being strategically single was not for a lifetime. I Corinthians 7 reads that it was not to restrict God’s people, but to help us live a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
Yours in His service,