Something I'm noticing more and more is just how much Christians idolize marriage. Almost every time I get together with other Christians, the topic of marriage comes up. Even in my church's prayer meeting, we pray that single people would find spouses. All the young singles want to get married, have kids, etc.
With girls it's worse. They watch marriage proposal videos, have their wedding day all planned out in advance, but as soon as you mention the word "celibacy", they get scared and don't want that gift -- they consider it a curse instead. If you pray for someone to find a spouse, they will probably thank you, but no one really prays for contentedness in case they are called for lifelong celibacy. They would probably be offended if you prayed that over them.
I used to be like that too. Why would anyone want the "gift" of celibacy? To be unmarried forever -- it sounds horribly lonely and such an unattractive fate. It would make you feel like a loser if all your friends are getting married, but you were the only one alone, right?
But these days I've been thinking more about the eternal perspective, and realized that yes, celibacy truly is a gift. Why? Think about it this way: if God is the most beautiful, most wonderful being in the universe, we should want to spend the most time we can with Him, right? Getting married and having kids -- these are good things, but they're not the best things. They are gifts, but they're not better than the Giver of those gifts. And these gifts can and most likely will distract us from God, the Most Beautiful.
Paul said that married wo/men have their interest divided, since they have another relationship to worry about (1 Corinthians 7:33-34). I'm not saying getting married is a bad thing or that being celibate is "holier." But the truth is, if you are single, you probably will have more time for God than when you are tied down to a family. I've talked to married Christians with children and it seems that it definitely holds you back from fully serving God sometimes. For example, if you have small children, you will probably be more hesitant about going to certain countries for missions work -- or missions at all -- than if you are single or just married.
Another thing to think about: Jesus Himself said that marriage doesn't last forever (Matthew 22:30) and that we need to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33) and to "store up treasures in Heaven" (Matthew 6:20). Our first priority should be loving God, whether we are single or married, whether God chooses to give us a spouse or not. We need to think and live more for eternal things, not earthly things that are passing away.
And if He does for some reason decide not to give you a spouse, will you accept His will for your life? Or will you become bitter and angry against the One who knows and loves you? Remember that we don't actually deserve the blessings that God continually pour over us. God doesn't owe you a spouse.
Marriage is not the most important relationship in life. It's a beautiful and sacred gift from God, yes, but it doesn't last forever, and it will never satisfy you the way that only our Father can. He will never forsake you or betray you, never divorce you or cheat on you. Let's stop idolizing marriage and fall in love with God everyday.What do you think about the celibate life? Have you or someone you've known been called to a celibate life? Do we place too much value on relationships and marriage?