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Cherishing Singleness Biblically

By: Atticus Nguyen

Photo Courtesy of Andy Vu via Pexels


I wasn't sure how else to title this heading, so I just went with "context." Real original stuff, right? I've covered singleness in the past on my podcast, and I won't link it here since it is really embarrassing to look back at old content you've created. The episode is still up so if you want to listen to me just repeat everything Ben Stuart has said about singleness, go right ahead. I'm grateful that by God's grace, my podcasting skills have improved and that I don't just regurgitate whatever I hear from ministers.

One of the reasons why I wanted to talk about navigating and cherishing singleness Biblically is that growing up, I wasn't taught much about marriage, relationships, singleness, etc. There were communication barriers with me being a first-generation American in a Vietnamese immigrant family, and I do need to take responsibility for being too afraid to ask more questions. The only major lesson I can remember growing up regarding relationships was this: "stay away from girls because they'll ruin your chances of getting into medical school or ruin your career." Is there merit to a statement like that?

Sure. Could these things happen if you're a guy and you married the wrong girl? Absolutely. I've seen or heard of dudes marrying the wrong gal and having their lives absolutely torn to shreds because they strayed from Biblical standards and reasons to marry. I want to be more pastoral and/or spiritual father-esque as I write this because I would want this to be something that my kids, should the Lord allow me to raise little disciples, find helpful. Saying blanket statements like that in the last paragraph may cause fear or undue curiosity. I will note that I want to honor my parents by acknowledging that they have wisdom to share even though they aren't Christians, and I understand they want me to marry the right person (without explicit Biblical standards in mind).

I also wanted to discuss singleness because this past year so far has taught me a lot about relationships and leveraging my singleness for the glory of God. Of course, that comes with that sweet, sweet context. I had a breakup of sorts in the Spring semester. The operational definition of what I mean by break up (since I'm a good former psych major) is that this person and I had to separate from one another's lives with boundaries. Out of respect for her, I will only discuss what was happening on my end.

For a long time, I knew I was ignoring the conviction that the Lord was giving me. He made it very clear in the depths of my soul that if I truly wanted the best for this young lady, I would need to let her go and let her live in community with the great group of Godly girls around her. Praise the Lord that she has so many of them in her life, but without getting too much into detail, I needed to let her go and trust God to heal her.

It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. No question about it. I made a plethora of mistakes along the way, and from the middle of January to a little after Spring Break in March, I dealt with constant insomnia and the worst anguish I've ever felt in my life. The best way I could describe it is as if my heart was sliced up and ripped out of my chest. Not that she hurt me. No, the Lord used a circumstance like that to reveal the things in my heart that have been hiding all of these years.

There is a theological term out there called "severe mercy," where God uses extreme circumstances to show his mercy to those He loves. He did that with Israel when they rebelled multiple times and after wrestling with Jacob. God used that circumstance in His severe mercy to fix my eyes toward Him. He revealed the physical abuse I saw growing up committed against my mother and my aunt. He revealed the instances of sexual assault or sexual abuse done to me by another family member, people I thought were my friends in high school, and even a gay employee of my dad's when I was 8-10 years old. As I felt walled in, the only direction I could look is up towards the glory, mercy, sovereignty, and providence of God.

My comfort was found in the Lord through these four truths:

  1. He is the one who holds me fast to the very end

  2. Everything that happened was for my highest good and His highest glory

  3. Vengeance belongs to Him

  4. He was, is, and will always be sovereign and providential over everything

The primary verse that I can relate to the most in this after action report of sorts is Job 42:5-6. It reads in the ESV translation:

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

The Beauty of Singleness and the Gospel

I just gave y'all a whole ton of context to finally talk about the s-word (i.e. singleness). I'll share a little more about my journey of navigating singleness Biblically before I dive into a brief explanation of 1 Corinthians 7. A part of what caused me so much anguish in that season was not just the myriad of trauma (I don't use that word lightly) that I went through growing up. It was also a feeling of anguish because I thought I had ruined my chances of ever finding a spouse and that I ruined everything.

As much as it sounds like I'm writing out of a therapeutic or modern psychological worldview, I'm not. The Lord revealed the things I needed to repent of and take responsibility for, and He directed me to ministry endeavors that ignited a zeal for His glory. He used so many of those events to direct me to men's ministry and medicine. Men's ministry is to primarily see guys grow in Biblical masculinity. Medicine is to protect the dignity and sanctity of life, and even though humanity is devastated by sin, we all have intrinsic value because of the imago dei. A statistic that breaks my heart is that close to 100% of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome in Scandinavian countries are aborted, and families with chronic disabilities or special needs are those who I want to serve. There is a physical healing aspect, but I ultimately want to point to the greater physician, the one who gives hope in the resurrection.

It was only recently that the tipping point, so to speak, occurred in this journey. Through Biblical Counseling in my home church here in Georgia (praise God for it and the sufficiency of His scripture), I came to realize that my head knowledge of singleness theologically did not line up with my heart. How I lived was the fruit of what was truly happening in my heart. I believed that God owed me a spouse after everything I went through. I believed somewhere in the depths of myself that I deserved some kind of fairy tale ending, where I would ride off into the sunset with my bride and live happily ever after. The irony is not lost in me how I scoffed at the Disney worldview with its fantastical notions when I believed some portions of it in my own life. Those beliefs led to constant discontentment. I believed that God was holding me back from where my life was supposed to lead. It fed so many foolish acts that only seemed innocent on the surface, but I knew deep down it was sin creeping its way back into my life. I was THAT dude always wondering if today was the day that he'd meet his spouse.

After I came to realize that, I lived in contentment in my relationship status maybe for the first time in my faith walk. The Lord in His goodness showed me what I can do and learn in my time as a single dude and perhaps for the rest of my life. It also reinforced in my heart what I knew for a long time, and I'll just quote one of Paul Washer's sermons:

"And all these years add nothing to my salvation. If I died right now, I would only go to heaven for one reason; 2000 YEARS AGO, THE SON OF GOD SHED HIS BLOOD ON CALVARY FOR SINNERS!" [Emphasis is mine]

By extension, I'm thankful that if I die never being married and yet if I lived for the glory of God, being an servant of His grace by sharing the gospel and Biblical truth to those around me, I wouldn't have it any other way. There is this beautiful truth found in Romans 8:28-32 in that there is no better plan out there! Because if God is truly for us, then He would have allowed it to happen! Psalm 84:11 also shows that He does not withhold good from His people! Now, I'm not falling into prosperity gospel teaching here because there is suffering and groaning on this side of glory, but we have a blessed hope of the future that our faith shall be turned to sight! Everything in this side of glory happens for our good! Let us not lose perspective of that final day when He calls us home! Oh the beauty and joy of it! Glory be to Him!

Cherishing Singleness

This article was originally going to be named navigating singleness, but I changed it because so often we may view this as just another stage of our Christian walk before we go into the next big thing, as if marriage is a guarantee. Please don't read this as though I'm putting churches on blast, but to put it plainly, the single folks and singleness can get quickly glossed over. Perhaps too in discipleship settings, we may grumble at our situation like the following scenario:

"Dang, I'm still single."

"Dang bro/sis in Christ, me too!"

"Golly, wouldn't it be great if we had our own spouses?!" " the meantime let's just keep rereading 1 Corinthians 7 until our eyes bleed."

"Great idea!" No one obviously talks like that. I really hope not, but I want you (the reader) to actually pray through 1 Corinthians 7 on your own after you read it. We often read scripture without praying to God to let the truths seep into our heart. All that head knowledge does us no good if we refuse to believe it. Yes, a "calvinist" or whatever you want to call me is telling you to do something in faith. That's crazy!

To the single folks reading this, do you recognize that singleness is a gift? Note how its not called a present. A present has the connotation is something that we want, like an overglorified metal and plastic box that people are willing to gouge one anothers' eyes over (I'm talking about a PS5). Let us put the concept of gift into perspective. Our salvation and imputed righteousness is a gift. In our state of being dead in sin, we did not want anything to do with God or His truths. Yet, we are saved by grace through faith, which is a GIFT from God (see Ephesians 2:8). A gift is meant to point us ultimately to God and serving Him while a present does what? Merely superficial, temporal pleasure for our own glory.

I'm not saying that owning a PS5 is sinful. This is just an explanation of what a gift is compared to a present. If you do own a PS5, I really hope you didn't gouge someone's eyes out to obtain it.

Christian, are you willing to have the heart posture to submit to God knowing He does not owe you anything? Are you thankful and grateful that He gave you the gift that is singleness? Note how marriage is a different gift, and it doesn't change your standing before God (see 1 Corinthians 7:6-7). In your singleness, you have more time than ever to grow in our intimacy and knowledge of God and to bring glory to Him in everything you do!

Just now, I'm reminded of conversations that I've had with my pastors Rudy and Nate in terms of how they used their time in singleness to grow in their Biblical literacy, pursue God, and learn to trust Him in discernment and submission! I would also add that it's okay to feel that desire for marriage! I'm not nullifying that by any means, but pray for dependence and trust for God to send the right one in His timing, not yours.

My call for the dudes especially reading this is to follow the principles I outlined in my Proverbs 31 Man blog post. If you don't have a bride of your own, dedicate your life to lead, provide, and protect Christ's bride! Currently, I'm striving who to be a Godly leader, provider, and protector. Dudes, have your heart be attentive to the Lord and let him grow you to be a tender warrior, one who is wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove! Learn as well how to lead, provide, and protect as designed by God. Ladies, also grow in your knowledge of God and commit your life to serving the church! Every Christian reading this has the privilege to live for His glory and see His kingdom expanded! It is a kingdom that will never falter and collapse! It is an eternal one! Live with that eternal perspective, that God will one day receive the glory alone!

Cherish your gift of singleness, and if you never get married on this side of glory, look forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb!

In Christ,



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