In God’s providence, I was single until the age of fifty-seven, when I married Robert Wolgemuth. I had fully expected to serve the Lord as a single woman for the rest of my life. During my twenties, I made seven commitments that proved to be a great source of grace and encouragement during that prolonged season of singleness.

Looking back on those years, I certainly did not fulfill these commitments perfectly. However, in aspiring to these commitments and in relying on God’s grace for the power to fulfill them, I was able to experience a sweet measure of spiritual abundance, freedom, and fruitfulness. I share them here in the hope that the same will be true for you.

I am committed to serve Christ with all my time, abilities, and energy.

This is the emphasis of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7. Paul addresses those God has gifted to be single. His words are challenging:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord (vv. 32–35).

In the margin of my Bible, I have written, “As a single woman, may I serve You, Jesus, with all of my body and spirit.” You see, no one who has been redeemed by Christ has the right to be footloose and fancy-free. Singleness, whether for a few years or a lifetime, is not a time to be without responsibility, but a time to serve Christ wholeheartedly, regardless of occupation.

One of my former pastors challenged the members of his church to “go for broke with God.” I like that. Total abandon to the will and work of God ought to characterize the Christian who is single.

Years ago, a Communist leader said, “We must train men and women who will devote to the Revolution not merely their spare evenings, but the whole of their lives.” The cause of Christ is far greater than any human revolution. The idea of an eight-hour workday with “the rest of the time for myself” ought to be foreign to the single Christian. Jesus wants nothing less than the whole of our lives.

I am committed to relinquish all my expectations of material and physical security.

All of us long for security, and God is often pleased to provide security far greater than our actual needs. But we must be willing to have the spirit of Christ, who replied to a would-be follower, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). I never want to become so secure—in a home, a job, a social group, or a geographic location—that I am not willing to move whenever and wherever God may direct. What a privilege it is to relinquish our claims on temporal security in order to follow Jesus and be eternally secure!

I am committed to develop personal discipline.

Christ is looking for disciples—those whose body, soul, and spirit are disciplined to forsake the world and follow Him. Physical discipline is necessary for effective spiritual service. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things …. I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25, 27).

Lack of moral discipline is one of the greatest disqualifiers of those who run the Christian race. A commitment to absolute moral purity is essential to the single Christian. I have observed that those who discipline themselves in such physical matters as eating and exercise are less subject to giving in to moral temptation.

We must also develop spiritual disciplines. Few Christians today are adequately disciplined in such things as prayer, Bible study, and Scripture memorization. Paul told Timothy to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

I am committed to relate to families.

Those singles whose lives are characterized by chronic loneliness probably have not discovered their place in the body of Christ. We are not alone. We are a part of and have a responsibility to the families in the body of Christ. Time spent with fami­lies has been one of the most valuable influences on my life. Wherever I live, I seek out families to love, serve, and worship with.

Commitment to families is a safeguard against selfishness. It provides practical preparation for marriage and parenting. We get firsthand exposure to the blessings of following God’s plan for the family and the consequences of disregarding it. Nothing will rid us of impractical or idealistic notions of marriage and parenting faster than ongoing involvement in real homes.

When singles are assimilated into families, everyone benefits. The single adult can have a strong spiritual influence on children that supplements the training their parents provide. Spiritually wise and mature couples can counsel and pray for the single. And singles can meet needs of parents, such as time alone without the children.

I am privileged to have “adopted” children and parents in every part of the country where I have lived. In the process of giving myself to these families, I have experienced God’s great ability to meet my emotional and spiritual needs.

I am committed to honor and care for my widowed mother.

God’s command to children to honor their parents has no expiration date. Whether or not we are married, as long as we have parents, God expects us to honor them. He has equipped them with wisdom and counsel, regardless of their spiritual condition. When single adults break ties with their parents to pursue absolute independence, they are deprived of great spiritual blessings and protection.

The Bible gives instruction regarding children’s responsibility to care for widowed parents (1 Timothy 5:4). The story of Ruth is a poignant illustration of a single woman’s commitment to care for her widowed mother-in-law. Ruth put Naomi’s future and interests ahead of her own. God not only used Ruth’s obedience to restore joy and healing to Naomi’s life, He also gave Ruth a wonderful husband and blessed the world with Jesus, a descendant of that marriage.

I am committed to give extravagantly rather than live extravagantly.

I don’t want things to have a grip on my life. And I don’t want to own anything that I would not readily give to Jesus, or to one of His children in need.

Mary was a single woman who loved Jesus deeply. The greatest expression of her love came when she anointed the feet of Jesus with a pound of costly ointment. Those who observed were indignant at her lavish worship. It was fanatical! Such a waste, they thought. But what could be more wasteful and ungrateful than to lavish such costly gifts on ourselves?

Giving is the greatest expression of genuine love. Learn to give lavishly. Learn to give every time God prompts your spirit with the need of another person. Our giving can never match that of Jesus: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

I am committed to pursue God’s will above all else.

If God has chosen me for a life of singleness, then I will delight in His goodness and His ability to meet all my needs.

Read the words of the prophet Isaiah to eunuchs—a term that includes those who have voluntarily foregone marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:12):

Thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 56:4–5).

The Psalmist extends both a promise and a warning to those who are lonely or lacking community: God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land” (Psalm 68:6).

If I find, as a single, that I am overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness, being cut off from “family relationships,” it is an indication that I am unwilling to let God be God in my life.

For whatever period of time I am single, by God’s grace I will be totally His in body, soul, and spirit. I will claim no time, aspirations, or interests of my own and will seek only to please Him. And as a single woman, I will pursue those same qualities that God values in a wife and mother—a gentle, quiet, serving, submissive, trusting spirit.

If God’s plan for me is to become a wife and mother, then I will wait patiently, without fretting, until God reveals the husband of His choice. In the meantime, however, marriage cannot be my pursuit. I must pursue Him (Psalm 62:5).


Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him. Her books have sold more than three million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world.