“I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:32–35 ESV)
Many Christians are single. They are looking for the right person, that special one that God has for them. Some singles are looking to fill a void that was left by someone else. They may be widowed or divorced. Some have never been married. They look forward to the companionship that a life partner brings. They desire to grow old with someone. I can’t blame them. How satisfying it would be to have a live in friend, companion, co-worker, and lover. I have spent many years dreaming of this too!
Isn’t it odd? Paul says, stay unmarried, so you can be free from anxiety. Do you want to have less stress? Stay single! In this way, your focus will be on God and his kingdom rather than on another’s interests. Wait! When you try to integrate two individual lives into one cohesive life, there’s worry, stress and divided interests? Yes! So of course, there will be difficulties!
The fairy tales and romance movies don’t often show the hard work and time it takes to make a relationship work. They don’t often illustrate the difficulty involved in meshing lives. They never show the struggle of balancing spiritual and earthly responsibilities. It can be extremely difficult to serve God and keep up with the demands of a family. It is easy to see how it divides your loyalties.
I think that is why Jesus was not married. He came to earth to do a job for the kingdom of God. It required focus and undivided attention. His travels and early death would have been difficult for a family. Looking back, it seems best that Jesus didn’t have a wife and children. I am sure it wasn’t easy though.
He was in a body of flesh. I am sure that he, like all of us, felt a need for human touch and tenderness. He saw cute couples holding hands. He went to weddings and celebrated with couples who had found companionship and love. He ate in happy homes. He loved children. And yet, Jesus chose to remain single and focus on the purposes that God had for him. He is an example of what Paul was explaining to the Corinthians.
All people are not called to be single. Paul addresses that in the next few verses. But for those that are single, it is an opportunity to serve God unentangled by many of the world’s cares and worries. It frees us to serve God with abandonment. It is a chance to know Jesus better. It may only be for a season of life, but it should be an occasion to celebrate as we allow God to be the lover of our soul.