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The Top Ten Temptations of Singles, and How to Avoid Them
Scriptural lessons in the pitfalls of singleness, with suggestions on how to avoid them.

Maybe married people haven't noticed, but nearly half of the adult population is single. There are several reasons. They are marrying later. In Canada, the average age for first marriage for men is 30 and for women, 27. More and more are living together without being married. Divorce and separation are on the increase. Then there are the widowed—lots of them - mostly women.

Singles have concerns and challenges that married people usually do not encounter.

Singles are everywhere. They are just not always evident. They make huge contributions to society, the work force, volunteerism, the church and missions. It's not a 'pair-shaped' world after all!

Singles have concerns and challenges that married people usually do not encounter. The various single segments encounter their own unique temptations. Let's examine a cross section and some biblical basics for avoiding them.

The top ten temptations from our perspective:

1. To See A Different Picture Than God Sees Of Yourself.

Mavis grew up in a church where most adults were married. Now, in her mid thirty's and still single, she is subconsciously considering the possibility there is something wrong with her. Subtle suggestions and well-meaning matchmakers often cause discomfort for Mavis.

She (and the congregation) should know "one" is a whole number. Marriage may not be for everyone. The Scriptures tell of many significant singles hand-picked by God for special assignments. Mavis needs to be reminded, whether married or single:

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God … " (1 Peter 1:9).

There are no second-class citizens in the household of God.

2. To Settle For Second Best.

Cathy longed for a relationship. All her siblings and close friends married in their early twenty's. It seemed all the good Christian guys in her circles were taken. Cathy began dating Travis, an unsaved man whom she met at work. He treated her kindly but had little interest in spiritual matters. In her longing for companionship, Cathy compromised her stand and married Travis with the hopes of changing him. Now she sits in church alone, struggling to raise her children in the faith. Cathy now regrets she did not obey the Scripture: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14).

3. To Speed Up The Process of Finding A Partner.

Gerald recently came through a difficult divorce. Before dealing with his past, he became almost obsessed with finding another relationship.

His overt and persistent approaches were a "turn off" to the ladies. He soon found himself alienated from potential friendships. In his frustration he turned to the Internet, rushed the process and married the first willing prospect. She left him a year later. Gerald should have heeded the Wisdom of Solomon:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5,6).

4. To Suffer In Seclusion.

Leanne had suffered the tragic death of her husband three years ago. She was a talented, attractive lady in her mid forty's. Her children were both in College. Leanne still grieved her loss and resisted invitations from friends to social functions and fellowship gatherings. One day in her private devotions, the following Scripture captivated her:

"You have turned my mourning into dancing: you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness" (Psalms 30:11).

She received it as God's message to her. Her broken heart began to heal.

It wasn't long before she began to laugh again and enjoy the company of friends single and married.

5. To Succumb To Sexual Pleasure Outside Of God's Moral Standards.

Ken had grown up in a legalistic environment where sexual matters were never discussed. Without wholesome appreciation for God's purpose and design in human sexuality, Ken found himself intrigued by the images portrayed in sensual publications. From there he discovered pornography on the Internet. This entrapment kept him isolated from good relationships and fellowship with God. How unfortunate Ken did not have healthy role models to capably instruct him to:

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

6. To Sit, Soak and Sour As The Years Go By.

Dorothy, a single teacher in her mid fifty's, felt life had passed her by. She took early retirement and secluded herself in her apartment. Nieces and nephews would have loved to learn from her storehouse of wisdom, but her stern demeanour kept visits short.

Dorothy should have taken to heart the admonition:

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones" (Proverbs 15:30).

7. To Slack Off In Personal Care.

Jim took pride in physical conditioning and grooming in his younger years. But after the death of his wife, he put on weight, failed to exercise and paid little attention to styles and grooming. One Christmas, Jim's daughters bought him an exercise bike and a new set of clothes. They kept on his case and a few months later introduced him to a charming lady who eventually accepted his proposal for marriage.

Jim needed to be reminded of the Lord's command; "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Mark 12:31). Once he recovered self esteem and appreciation for what and who he was, he felt confident to love someone else again.

8. To Stifle Your Dreams.

Meagan always dreamed of working in a third world country. She was engaged to Bill who had agreed to participate in this venture when they married. Shortly before the wedding, Meagan discovered Bill had been unfaithful to her.

The engagement was broken. Rather than live in remorse and self-pity, Meagan applied for Social Work abroad. She gave herself unstintingly to her task. In the process she met Troy, a committed Christian missionary, who shared her vision. They eventually married. Meagan discovered to her credit:

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).


… through wise counsel, much prayer and tears, Shelly knew she must forgive …

9. To Stay Angry and Bitter Over Past Hurts.

Blain had walked out on Shelly and moved in with her best friend Bev. This happened ten years ago. When Shelly showed up at a divorce recovery workshop, her first response was: "I still can't stand the sight of them! It is like it happened yesterday." The anger and bitterness were still eating away. Shelly knew it was harming her relationships with others and with God, besides taking a physical and emotional toll. Finally, through wise counsel, much prayer and tears, Shelly knew she must forgive Blain and Bev. She finally got up the courage to write and ask forgiveness for any part she may have had in the breakup of the marriage and expressed forgiveness for their offense to her.

She capped off her expression with a gift of two tickets to their favourite sporting event.

Shelly practiced the Lord's admonition:

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27).

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14).

Shelly now walks in joy and freedom.

10. To Sacrifice Virginity for A Night of Passion.

Jason and Fran had been dating for several months and were seriously considering marriage.

They had both grown up with high Christian standards and a biblical understanding of God's moral law. One day Fran came home from a very trying day at the office. She was in tears. Jason stayed late at her apartment to comfort and lend support. But under the pressure of prolonged physical embrace, they succumbed to their passions.

They both knew the truth of Hebrews 13:4:

"Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

It was a long and sorrowful road back through repentance and forgiveness. How they wished they had waited.

Temptations come because there is a tempter, Satan committed to our defeat and failure as productive and fulfilled human beings. We trust identifying his tactics will help. Celebrate your singleness with hope and joy, knowing:

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).


Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.

Rev. Robert Tauber is a retired pastor and freelance writer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He is married to Janet. They have worked extensively with single adults during their years of ministry.

Originally published on, February 2005.




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