How should you discern your own call from the Lord? In some ways, the answer is no different than many other major life decisions such as your career or ministry direction. Our life decisions should be made prayerfully, with reflection on biblical truth and wise counsel from those we respect. The Lord can and will speak to you through this.
With all that said, there is a certain ‘foolishness’ that a choice to live single entails. It lacks a certain wisdom in the eyes of the world, and even from other good Christians! Christ himself says that it is a gift, not given to all. But if the gift has been given, we should be careful about refusing such a generous gift from God.
Some Scriptures to Aid Your Reflection
In our covenant, we list some positive reasons for living single that come from the scripture. They are not exclusively reserved to those living single, but as the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 7, there is a freedom that living single gives us to devote ourselves to the affairs of the Lord.
- Living single as an imitation of Christ, who did not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 19:12).
- Living single so that the Lord might be our treasure, our portion, and our joy (Mt. 13:44-46, Ps. 16:5-6, Ps. 73:25-26).
- Living single so that we might set our hearts only on God, and renounce claim to our lives (Lk. 14:26, 33).
- Living single in order to be available to serve the Lord and to advance His Kingdom, free from worldly affairs, and from the demands of raising a family (1 Cor. 7:32-35).
- Living single in order to have undivided hearts, to avoid the concern to please a wife / husband (1 Cor. 7:32-35).
- Living single because the form of this world is passing away (1 Cor. 7:31) and because in the Kingdom there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage (Lk. 20:35).
Some Brief Words of Counsel
Living single for the Lord is something that takes a good period of time to discern (measured in years). Some people find that they can do this on their own, but no one finds that they can do it without the support of other Christians. We are indeed meant not to be alone (Gen. 2:18), and for most of us this means the support of marriage and family. Finding a supportive church/community environment is crucial to living single for the Lord well.
There are many books on this topic. Most come from a Catholic or Orthodox point of view, but many are ecumenically accessible. One that is currently in print is “And You are Christs” by Thomas Dubay, which can be found at any online bookseller.
We welcome you to contact us for more information and help as you discern your call.