Guest Post: Needless Singleness
Today’s post is from a dear friend I have had the pleasure of knowing for a couple of years now, Mr. Mwangi Kiara. This post waited in line for two weeks. Death stung us, and we could not post because we needed ample time to grieve. We thank God for the comfort that he gives in Christ Jesus. Enjoy the read.
Needless singleness is like a cancerous tumor that needs surgical removal. In one of John MacArthur’s sermons, he famously remarked that if it were up to him, he’d have all the single men and women in his church, line up opposite sides to each other and ask every man to point out a woman he fancied marrying. If the woman shared the same fancy in the young man, he would marry them and every other ‘couple’ after that. John said it more tongue in cheek than he was serious, but beneath that statement was a veneer of seriousness.
As a single man, I hope to share the reasons I think there has been a downturn in the enthusiasm that men have in pursuing the godly women that God has mercifully and graciously made available in the church. This downturn in fervor is a problem, in my opinion, which we can call ‘needless singleness.’
1. A high and unhealthy view of (our)themselves
Paul exhorts us, in his epistle to the Romans, to be sober-minded, and crucially to not think more highly of themselves as they ought to (Romans 12:3). There is to be observed among us today, a wicked tendency to think of themselves as God’s gift to humanity. They go about their ordinary lives expecting full adulation and worship from their peers. Men, caught up in this utopian view, find themselves unable to commit to an imperfect woman. They fear that the woman of their dreams will show up a month after they get married. To them, women become items on a supermarket shelf. Displayed for their scrutiny, so that if Wanjiku, notwithstanding her godliness and devotedness to Christ, gets her ‘S’ and ‘Sh’ sounds confused, is tossed into the not-marriage-material wastebasket.
2. A love of the world
A man cannot love the world and, at the same time, esteem the things of God rightfully. One of them, often God’s things, will take a back seat in his life as the world slowly consumes the man. A worldly man cannot esteem a Godly woman. To him, the godliness and devotedness of that woman will be bland and boring. I reckon that there has been such an embrace of the world among the hearts of men that their spiritual appetites have diminished over time. A man in this condition will find himself inclined towards women who love the same things that he loves, that is, the world.
When I was finishing high school, I remember all too well the mantra that would ring over and over again in most circles that I was in. Finish school, get a master’s degree, get a good job, build a house, invest your money, and maybe then, think about getting a wife.
Several men my age bought into this philosophy wholeheartedly, never questioning the deeply flawed and sinful thought behind it. From this, men gathered that their worth could only be drawn from earthly embellishments and not in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
What we have now is a generation of needlessly single men, holding onto the idea that unless they have systematically checked off all the items in the list above, marriage is a thing to be feared and delayed further and further. The sad thing about this is that many of these men are not waiting faithfully and serving the Lord. Instead, these men are leaving behind a trail of heartbroken women.
4. An acute lack of discipleship in the church
There is a dearth of bold relationships among men in the church today. Young men are not seeking the wisdom of older men. Older men are not challenging for young men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:12). Many young men go about life just figuring things out as they go. Many have shipwrecked their lives and faith, indulging in a myriad of worldly appetites that prove damning to them. To these men, marriage seems more like a prison. A prison that prevents their open indulgence in sin. Ironically, marriage is a useful tool that God uses in carrying out their sanctification.
What do we do to counter needless singleness?
I think there are many good and godly reasons why a man can and should delay marriage. After all, age is not the only prerequisite to marriage. There is wisdom in being able to take a good look at oneself and see areas in one’s life that need remedying, by God’s grace, before pursuing a young woman to marry. On the flip side, there are several ungodly reasons why men have delayed marriage. Therefore, pursuing needless singleness and that with costly consequences. The reasons above are just symptomatic of a great lack of understanding of the gospel.
What other reason would a man think more highly of himself, other than not knowing and coming to terms with his inner vileness? The vileness that the gospel opposes?
Is there a reason why a man would love the world other than a misunderstanding of the command to repent and believe in Jesus?
Why do idols spring up in our hearts other than esteeming Christ so low that a job or car would give you more meaning?
Besides fear and the shame accompanying our sins being exposed, why else would men hate community among other men?
The gospel of Jesus is this; For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe in him, shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Dear men, let us not advance our singleness longer than we have to. We do the church a whole lot good by committing to love one woman devotedly as Christ loved the church and if it shall please the Lord, bring up a God-fearing army of children with her.