3 ways to be intentional with your singleness

July 14, 2021

I often joke that I force myself into people’s lives, but it’s not entirely a joke. I am intentional about developing, building, and maintaining relationships because we were made for community. God has always been in community with himself as the Trinity (Gen. 1:1, 26; John 1:1-2). And when he made man, it was not declared good until man had a helper of his own kind (Gen. 2:18). 

As a single woman, it can be tricky to figure out where I fit in. I don’t have a husband to help, but I do have a community, a household, that the Lord has placed me in — the church (1 Tim. 3:15). And I am called to be a helper in the midst of my brothers and sisters in Christ. If you find that the Lord has placed you in a similar season, I urge you to make the most of it. Here are several ways you can do that. 

Embrace solitude, not isolation

I am by myself a lot, sometimes on purpose and other times just by nature of being single. Because of the unique situation of being single in an isolated day and age, it’s important to recognize that there is a distinction between solitude and isolation. Solitude what Christ would model. He would go away in order to be by himself and pray (Mark 1:35), which is a good discipline to practice, single or not. Some call it a quiet time, but regardless of the name, it’s a time for worshiping and cultivating your fellowship with the Lord. It is a time for rest, repentance, regeneration, rejuvenation, and restoration.

Isolation, though, means staying away from others, and, likewise, accountability. If you’re isolated, you don’t have people around you to speak truth into your life or to confess sins to or to see your blind spots. You don’t have anyone to call you out and call you up, and it becomes easier to give into temptation. Proverbs 18:1 teaches that intentionally isolating yourself is out of step with sound judgement. 

Solitude is good if you use it like it’s intended, connecting with others and practicing other disciplines. Isolation, on the other hand, is bad because it can often lead you to fall prey to sin, even imperceptibly, and stay in it without turning back to God. 

A group of sheep is safer against a wolf than a lone sheep. One sheep, whether lost or wandering, is likely scared and vulnerable. But a group can at least provide cover. Yet, better still is when the shepherd is there! The good shepherd will protect the flock and will not flee (John 10:11-16). He goes after the one sheep in order to return it to the others and to safety (Luke 15:4-7). As the sheep, we need the shepherd, who meets with us in our solitude and keeps us from isolating from the flock to our harm. 

Serve others

Singleness is an incredible opportunity, though it may not seem like it at times. Paul elevated the goodness of such a season because single people don’t have the extra worries and divided interests that come with marriage (1 Cor. 7:32-35). Their time and talents can often be used at their own discretion to serve the Lord. So, it is the perfect season to intentionally go on mission. It doesn’t necessarily mean going overseas, although it is often easier for a single person to go to hard places than for a family. But we can always be on mission by serving others in our workplace, neighborhood, family, etc. 

There are many practical ways to do this. Check in on people, especially the marginalized, outcasts, and other singles that you know. I am able to give rides, sit, visit, meet for coffee at a moment’s notice, and host Bible studies or girls’ nights. I have time to plan and organize events. And I love meal trains. Cooking for one is very difficult, but I will jump at the opportunity to cook for others. I am also able to give more financially to the mission of God than my friends who are married with kids and have specific budget constraints.

Take advantage of the ability to spend time with people from all life stages as much as you can. If your friends’ kids play sports, you could go to the games; you get to spend time with the parents while supporting the kids, and they get to learn from you. I’ve taught Bible studies with teenagers and then sat alongside their parents as a peer in small group. I’ve picked kids up from school, attended kids’ birthday parties, and sat in hospital waiting rooms. I also love to spend time with my peers’ parents and glean their wisdom. 

All of these opportunities are gifts that end up blessing me as I seek to serve others. 

Tie yourself down to the local church

As a single person, it can often feel like you aren’t tied down to anything, especially if you have a strong desire to get married and have a family. One of the beautiful things about being a Christian is that you can be connected to a family: the church. I urge you to put down roots in your local church and choose to be tied down there — to the people you live around, work with, spend time with, and interact with regularly. A marriage covenant only lasts as long as one spouse’s earthly lifespan. But, the covenant friendship and familial relationships with other believers will last for eternity; they have become your redefined and forever family (Matt. 12:48-50).

There is good and important work to be done in your local church in order to build up the body of Christ. Serve in the church regularly. Serve others while among and beside them. Find a small group, and then find an even smaller group of the same sex. Christ had the 12 (Matt. 10:2-4; Luke 6:12-16), and brought the three (Peter, James, and John) in even closer. Read and study the Bible together, not just on Sundays. Make yourself known, and be open to being known by others for the sake of your spiritual growth. Find someone who is further along in their journey and learn from them. And never believe you don’t have anything to offer. Mentor someone. You are always one step ahead of and one step behind someone in life. 

The local church is your hub for accountability, community, and belonging. Prioritize your role in the family of believers as a brother or sister to others who, like you, were adopted by the Father to be Christ’s brother or sister (Rom. 8:29), through the finished work of Christ’s death and resurrection. 

In the midst of all of these good things, it’s right and important to set boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no. Your singleness is not an invitation for others to take advantage of you. You have human limitations and need the rest and space to have the kind of solitude before the Lord that fuels your service. Instead, your singleness is an invitation for God’s glory to be displayed as you point to the sufficiency of your Savior and the belonging of your forever family. 

Lieryn Barnett

Lieryn Barnett is a covenant member of Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is passionate about mental illness and biblical literacy. Lieryn has contributed articles to The Gospel Coalition and The Mighty, writing about her experiences with mental illness. She holds a Master of Science from UNC Greensboro … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24