Summary: As if being a follower of Christ wasn't hard enough, imagine being a single Christian! That is the predicament for many in the world, and in the United States today. Including myself. I'm single and I have no children.
Single Christians... can we get some love? As if being a follower of Christ wasn't hard enough, imagine being a single Christian! That is the predicament for many in the world, and in the United States today. Including myself. I'm single and I have no children. I follow Christ. And as a Christ follower I'm unique in that I must impose certain limitations on myself when it comes to romance and sexuality.
Being a single Christian is perhaps one of the most difficult situations to face. An individual of either sex is fully sexually active by age 13-14 (Penner & Penner, 2003). The sexual desires are extremely intense beginning in puberty. However in the culture of the United States it's becoming increasingly common for couples to wait until their middle to late twenties to marry (Penner & Penner, 2003). In addition, masturbation and lust are sins according to the Bible (Matthew 5:28). Pre-marital sex is also quite obviously a very serious sin (1 Corinthians 7:2, Ephesians 5:5). The Bible makes references to sexual immorality many many times. So it's clearly a very important area of conduct for followers of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Matthew 5:28, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Colossians 3:5). But how serious is it?
Ephesians 5:5 (English Standard Version) goes far enough to say it like this: "For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."
This is the point during youth group when the kids will probably start rolling their eyes and tuning you out. But are we followers of Christ? If "no" then there's the door. If "yes" then we necessarily must take every word of the Bible, especially the New Testament very seriously. In addition, I believe many Christians today have been lulled into a false sense of security. They believe they may accept Christ and then live however they please. But that isn't the case. We need to be obedient workers of righteousness.
Anyone hanging around youth group long enough may notice a attitude regarding sex virtually synonymous with non-Christians (Morris, 2015). I attended a Cru (CCFC) event at a local college about six weeks in a row. By the end I had heard a lot of good teaching. But in between sessions I heard a lot of drinking, sex, and joking about lesbians (by one of the leaders). I know I'm not alone in that frustration. Many of us have felt that way in large groups, and many of us have been that person making a crude comment when maybe we should've just shut up. I know, I know, I've been that person too. We're not perfect, but we're called to obedience.
Again and again in scripture we notice how faith and trust in the work of Christ is undeniably married to Christian obedience, or in other words, repentance and the keeping of his commands (1 John 3:24, Luke 6:46, John 8:51, James 1:22-25, John 15:10, Philippians 2:12, 2 John 1:6-9, Romans 6:16).
Given the importance of moral sex conduct, what is the single Christian to do? The mainstream media would have sex before, during, and after marriage. Sex is quite often portrayed as occurring on the first date. Young and old alike see that portrayed in enough movies and eventually it becomes a normal attitude. It's basically expected. Christians and non-Christians alike are bombarded by sexually enticing imagery daily. How is the single Christian to stand against temptation?
Churches can help single Christians by beginning to generate a dialogue regarding important issues like sexual intimacy (Morris, 2015). Churches can also help by creating better support systems for the single Christians they serve (Morris, 2015). It's very important that single Christians have a place they can come to frankly discuss sexual frustrations and past sexual hurts (Morris, 2015). If single Christians don't have a place within the Christian community to discuss straight forward sexual issues, then they will most likely go outside the church with their questions and concerns (Morris, 2015).
For single Christians, there are certainly options for dealing with these issues. In many cases single Christians have unknowingly believed lies they've been fed by the media and culture (Morris, 2015). Men and women are programmed to believe that sexual intimacy is synonymous with emotional intimacy. Of course it's not. Women assume they can "get" emotional intimacy if they offer sex. Men assume if they can "get" sex their deep internal desires will be fulfilled. Of course both of those assumptions are entirely false. Singles assume that the best way to "keep" a prospective mate is to "put out." Yet studies have shown that the sooner sexual intercourse occurs in a relationship the more likely it is to end in break up (Penner & Penner, 2003). Studies have shown that those who wait longer to engage in sexual intercourse actually tend to stay together longer (Penner & Penner, 2003).