“He loves me… he loves me not”
by Pastor Foo Yuk Yee
It’s commonly called the daisy petal game — where you pluck the petals off a flower, alternating with “s/he loves me” and “s/he loves me not” until you’re left with the last petal and your answer. A seriously lame and arbitrary game for people with a lot of time and flowers to waste! Yet, to many people, the journey of singleness or marriage can seem a lot like that: a lame and random game for people with time and flowers to waste. Thank God this doesn’t have to be our experience.
This month we can thank God for the Bible’s clear teaching on marriage and singleness, as explained by our brothers from the Crossing Church, Pastor Gabriel and Pastor Thomas. Singles, let’s no longer feel pressured every time the awkward question, “When are you getting married?” is fired at us. Singleness is indeed a good thing, even if we may sometimes struggle with not wanting it. Married folks can rest assured that the same is true for us: marriage is a good thing, even if we may also sometimes struggle with the responsibilies that come with it.
If both singleness and marriage are good, then when should we choose to be single and when should we marry?
Consider this truth: that our Christian goal in life is pleasing God, not singleness or marriage per se, but rather how either of these two states enables us to live lives fully devoted to the Lord (1 Cor 7:32). Each state presents different opportunities to please God — their goal is the same, even though the experience and responsibilities of singleness and marriage will of course be different.
– Marrieds will have their concerns and be divided, having to look after their spouses and children (1 Cor 7:33-34).
– Singles are spared from this and have more opportunities to give their undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor 7:32).
Single for God
While the secular world chooses singleness for “freedom” (career choices, lifestyle preferences, maximum income with minimum dependents, travel without strings attached, etc), recognise that many of these reasons can be selfish. Instead, some good reasons for Christians to choose singleness are:
– for the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:12; 1 Cor 7:8, 32-33, 35);
– in the light of the End Times, recognising that even something as good as our human marriages will eventually pass away (1 Cor 7:29-31).
But if we struggle with sexual immorality (1 Cor 7:8-9), it may be good to marry. And yet, be aware that marriage isn’t a cure for sinful desire — even married people can sin sexually through adultery and/or pornography. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit for all Christians. And singleness may still be better than the unwise choice of an ungodly or unbelieving husband or wife.
Singleness may also be given to us for a season. Marriage is a mutual, exclusive, lifelong, one-flesh union between a man and a woman characterized by commitment and faithfulness. This relationship is patterned on the relationship between Christ and the church. If you are not ready to live this out because of age or maturity, then be single and cultivate a deep relationship with God before you start looking for a future husband or wife. This will help you to be the godly spouse that someone else might be looking for.
Married for God
While the secular world chooses marriage for “love” and other “benefits” (companionship, children, double income no kids, social status, etc), many of these reasons can still be selfish. Instead, some good reasons for Christians to choose marriage are:
– if as a couple you can be more effective for God for you will now have a helper to serve God (Gen 2:18);
– to bring up godly offspring (Mal 2:15) in the ways and instruction of the Lord.
Saved for God
In all these situations, whether in singleness or marriage, God has saved us to belong to Him. He has given us one another, His church, His family. So for those who are currently single, rejoice in your greater freedom to do the work of the Lord. If you are married, likewise rejoice in the partnership God has given you for His gospel work. Realise what a great resource God has given you in your single brothers and sisters; befriend and encourage them to do the work of the Lord which you in some ways are prevented from doing to the full. See in your children a potential harvest for the Lord. For in the end, whether you are single or married, this world in its present form is passing away. We are ultimately working towards our true “marriage” in heaven, for as members of the body of Christ, all believers are ultimately betrothed to Christ.
“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
We are now awaiting the day when we will be with Jesus and glorify Him forever in heaven.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Revelation 21:1–4)
This is the glorious picture of our salvation — there is indeed nothing lame or random in God’s plan, and all of creation will then only declare the one truth, “He loves me!” — this is our life in Christ that will last for all eternity. Amen!