Loneliness is rampant.
And people both outside and inside the church are pointing to this loneliness as reason to challenge, reject, or rewrite Christianity’s teachings on marriage, sex, and gender.
“How can a loving God give such strong desire for deep, intimate, and physical connection, and then command us to refrain from sex unless we’re married to someone of the opposite sex?”
Many of us know people who have left orthodox Christianity over this, or others who, without leaving, are certainly disregarding Christian morality because it seems unbearable.
Singles, especially, can be vulnerable to these temptations: “Why am I alone when it seems everyone else has somebody?”
Whether single or married, you are meant to be a part of God’s answer for the lonely. To hold men and women to a biblical sexual ethic is to uphold God’s Law. To do so while lovingly walking with them is to fulfill the Law (Gal. 5:14, 6:2).
So ask God what He has for you to do.
Below are four thoughts to help:
- Marrieds, adopt a single around you. Invite an elderly neighbor to your kids’ dance recital, a college kid for a home-cooked meal, or a single in his 40’s over after church. You might be surprised how God can use your family as-is.
- Singles, adopt a family. Practice seeing singleness as the incredibly powerful relational ministry opportunity it is. Paul revered singleness as better than marriage for this very reason (1 Cor. 7:32-38).You’ll likely need to plan ahead more than you do with single friends, but look for ways to serve a family. You might be surprised at how many moms and dads struggle to make ends meet, care for their own souls, or resolve feelings of exhaustion, boredom, and internal loneliness.
- Accept that sex is not a need. Despite what our culture teaches, and despite the benefits of a healthy sex life within marriage, you do not need sex to be healthy, holy, and happy. Are you missing out on something by abstaining? Yes, but nothing you can’t live without.
- Relatedly, embrace that your longing is for more than another person. It’s for God. Yes, even your physical longing is a longing for God. If God who is Spirit created all that is physical, can He not then also meet every physical need? David knew He could, so did Isaiah, Jesus, and Paul (see Ps. 84:2, Isaiah 58:11, Jeremiah Jn. 4:31-34, Phil. 4:12-13). And so have so many saints throughout history, including many who endured the unmet hunger for sexual union for years on end.
(For more ideas on dealing with loneliness, check out the comments following last week’s blog, or add your own below.)
To belong to God is to become a part of His family. Come to His table, bring others, and scoot down to make room for another.
Care to join me?