Sex and the Single Soul

Jack Hayford
Guarding Your Heart and Mind in a World of Empty Promises

Chapter 2: Embracing Your Singleness

I love and applaud singles in any and every generation of life, and no matter where they find themselves within the spectrum of circumstances or the span that encompasses singlehood. From the outset of this book, let me assert that there isn’t one of those singles who is even slightly less in God’s order or potential for life fulfillment by reason of his or her being single.

Every single person needs to understand that truth. If you are reading this as a single, God’s highest desire and design for you is not reduced, inhibited or restricted by your singleness. So I begin not only by applauding singles but also by inviting you to join me in applying living truths that can maximize each single soul’s potential and fulfillment, for as long as he or she is single-up to an entire lifetime…

Desperately Needed Clarity

I’ve often heard people speak about marriage as if it completed a person-that a marriage partner was one’s other half. The problem in that terminology is that it conveys the idea that to be single is to be half a person, a concept that is a complete distortion of what the Bible teaches about the human personality.

Hear me please: You are a whole person as an individual. In terms of your fundamental person, you do not need someone else to complete you. In fact, to set forth the harsh reality that honesty recommends, if you are looking for someone to complete you, you aren’t offering the best material for a potentially healthy, fulfilling marriage. No healthy person (not to mention one who needs healing in some areas) is going to benefit from having a less-than-complete partner who needs him or her in order to be made whole. That’s why people headed for marriage need counsel-why issues need to be dealt with in advance and challenges addressed before they are discovered after the fact. Often the reason that so many marriages crumble is because those entering the union had some unattended (often unconfessed) brokenness in areas of their life.

I have done a lot of premarital counseling and have found that when men or women lack a fundamental, reasonable stability in their own right, they bring a compounding instability into a marriage.

A fruitful and happy marriage involves two reasonably whole people who come together as partners. The biblical teaching that the two shall become one is instructive, making it clear that genuine marriage commitment involves a willingness on the part of each to make a certain sacrifice of themselves. The benefit comes in gaining a union with someone who brings something to the partnership that you do not have on your own. Yet both partners need to make the choice to sacrifice a certain “completeness” (i.e., self-sufficiency), which they each have as individuals when they choose to become one.

While I will not further elaborate this principle here, I want to underscore two things. The first is that as a single, you are a complete person apart from ever being married. Second, a true marriage involves the surrender of something of yourself, otherwise true union is impossible. The second truth explains why some marriages never work(ed) and also why some of those who genuinely gave themselves to marriage came away from a divorce with such a deep sense of brokenness. In that regard, my years of counsel have taught me the folly of a divorced person even considering another marriage until deep healing has occurred. (I’ll explain more about this later in the book.)

Anna and I have been married for more than 50 years, and it is with great joy and confidence that I can testify to you that partnership in marriage involves a lifetime of making concessions. I’m not suggesting it isn’t worth it. Neither is it learned without a will to keep on growing. But a happy marriage is composed of two people who have learned to give rather than get. The result of such giving is the marvelous relationship each receives in exchange.

Singleness Is Single-Hearted. More than anything, embracing your singleness means having the capacity to give yourself to God’s purpose in your life unhindered and unrestricted by other obligations, yet without being dominated by self-centeredness. It’s important to learn what this means.

Some believers enjoy singleness not because it gives them more time to become what God intends them to be in order to make a difference in their world, but because they simply want their freedom for themselves-my life, my time, my way, my space. This so easily becomes self-centered, self-serving and self-focused-anything but Christ-like.

In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul says that he is motivated to remain single for the sake of being mobile and unhindered to do what the Lord would have him do because of “the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26). The distress at that moment in time was a season of severe persecution of believers. His intent to remain single was to enable him to serve others, not to protect his convenience. This speaks to us today, when so many critical circumstances (distresses) in our world signal a massive opportunity for making a difference in our world if we are available and mobile (and singles are so much more so) and if we’re willing to let the love of God course through our life as an expression of Jesus-reaching, touching and effecting change by His works of grace and mercy through us.

I am thrilled to observe so many singles opening to Christ’s purpose for their lives in this way. Many, with the resources of time and financial support, go as part of a team of believers to nations around the world. They go to build, to touch people with medical aid, to minister the power of the living Jesus, to give themselves unselfishly in the interests of others.

Others do the same within their national or local boundaries. They reach out to the urban poor; they help to meet the needs of the broken and battered in their own cities; they give their time to teach Sunday School classes. It’s a joy to behold-and it is exactly what the apostle Paul was talking about. This behavior references something that rises in and flows through singles who single-mindedly and servant-heartedly exploit the possibilities of being single and belonging to Christ!

From Sex and the Single Soul Copyright 2005 by Jack W. Hayford; published by Regal Books, Ventura, California. All rights reserved.

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