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Won’t a celibate life make me miserable?

Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness (John 10:10). So, obeying his will on sex and relationships should not lead to a miserable life. We do, however, live in a very sexualised culture. A culture where the very notion of forgoing sexual relationships is considered at best strange, and at worst harmful. We must, therefore, honestly ask ourselves; when it comes to our views on sex and celibacy, are we being influenced by God’s Word, or by the prevailing view of our culture?

In the Scriptures, for example, the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul both give us a model of living unmarried lives to the glory of God. Paul does not strike us as a man who lacked intimacy, for example, he describes Timothy as his ‘true son in the faith’ (1 Timothy 1:2). The single life, therefore, need not lead to a life of loneliness. It can instead, be a life full of joy, strong friendships, and healthy participation in the Christian family. We have a number examples in the Bible of non-erotic intimacy, such as David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Jesus and John, Paul and Timothy. Although resisting temptation can be tough, the prospect of godly intimacy should inspire us to keep obeying Christ and wisely explore the intimate, non-erotic relationships that are available.

Jesus also tells us that some choose not to marry ‘for the sake of the Kingdom of God’ (Matthew 19:12). The unmarried state is also considered a ‘gift’ in 1 Corinthians 7:7. This gift, in and of itself, does not ensure that you will live a joy filled life. In the same way, marriage, in and of itself, does not ensure a joy filled life. What is important, however, is that this gift can be used in service of God. So, the best way to ensure that you are not miserable while living a single and chaste life is to use this gift in ‘undivided devotion to the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 7:35).

Resources for further study

Please note that any external resources below are intended to complement the main answer given above and may not entirely match TFT's position.

ERLC video: 'Is living out one's sexual desires necessary to living a happy life?'

Mike Pilavachi from Soul Survivor honestly sharing his experience of celibacy.