Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Ben Stuart’s new study, Life + Love: Navigating Singleness, Dating, Engagement, and Marriage. Order your copy or see a free sample today at LifeWay.com/LifeAndLove.
Though seasons of singleness vary in length, God has purposed that every human being on the planet experience this stage of life. So it’s fair to ask the question: Why? If we say the purpose of singleness is simply to find someone to marry, then we’re saying Jesus and the apostle Paul failed at singleness. I don’t know anyone who wants to say that. So let’s ask the fair question: What does God want our single season to be about?
We’re at our best when we function as we were designed. Freedom isn’t the absence of boundaries. It’s the ability to fulfill our created intent. Because of the freedom single people experience, they have more time to focus. However, most people use this season to focus on one of two interests:
- CAREER. They’re working to get ahead or climb the ladder.
- THEMSELVES. They say things like “I’m taking this time to focus on me.”
Neither of these pursuits is wrong, and yet neither focus will ultimately satisfy our hearts. We have to get our relationship with God right before we can ever hope to get a relationship with a guy or a girl right.
In Greek, the word devotion is made up of two words: good and beside, meaning we need to become good at being beside God, attentive to His Word and involved in His work.
Paul gives us an example of how to live a life of biblical singleness. We can evaluate our lives to learn how to implement some of his practices.
The point of life, no matter what season you’re in, is to know Jesus and make Him known. Even if you feel that you’re early in your journey of knowing God, you can still find ways to help others along the way… Paul devoted his life to proclaiming the gospel and to training others to proclaim the gospel.
- How could you help those people on their journeys of knowing Jesus more and making Him known?
- Do you have a mentor in your life who’s helping you know Jesus better? If not, how could you position yourself to get one?
- What would it look like for you to invest your time and energy in helping others know Jesus?
Even in his final hours, Paul had a close friend beside him. In our season of singleness, we need deep friendships—the kind who can stand the test of time and endure difficulties, people who know us, love us, and hold us accountable for stewarding the ministry and relationships God has entrusted to us. These friendships aren’t easy to come by, but they’re worth the effort to find and nurture.
- To whom have you given permission to speak truth into your life? What are their names?
- Do you truly trust these people in the deepest recesses of your heart? When was the last time you actively demonstrated that you trust them at that level? How did they respond?
- If you don’t have that kind of friendship, what steps could you take in this season to begin developing one?
A Lifelong Learner
In 2 Timothy 4:13 we look at Paul’s example of being a lifelong learner. Even in his last days, Paul was committed to knowing God better. Singleness provides a unique opportunity to invest deeply in our relationship with God.
- What’s your plan to learn and grow in this season?
Try this activity this week: Spend thirty minutes a day reading, in addition to the time you spend reading the Scriptures. Select a book or a Bible study that will help you grow spiritually. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a pastor or a godly friend. Then commit to reading for thirty minutes. If you do this every day, in addition to growing spiritually, the University of Michigan’s annual health and retirement study says you’ll live an average of two additional years.1
Want to read more? You can get a copy of Life + Love: Navigating Singleness, Dating, Engagement, and Marriage at LifeWay.com/