Married (or Single) and Being Devoted to God
Now in response to the matters you wrote about: "It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman." But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another sexually--except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say the following as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all people were just like me. But each has his own gift from God, one person in this way and another in that way. I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire. I command the married--not I, but the Lord--a wife is not to leave her husband. But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband--and a husband is not to leave his wife. But I (not the Lord) say to the rest: If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her. Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband. For the unbelieving husband is set apart for God by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband. Otherwise your children would be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife? However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter, but keeping God's commands does. Each person should remain in the life situation in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? It should not be a concern to you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity. For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each person should remain with God in whatever situation he was called.
- 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 (HCSB)
Paul begins by discussing marriage. He acknowledges that celibacy is good but recognizes that it’s not for everyone. He advises that marriage, fulfilling sexual desires in a morally sound manner, is acceptable. His pragmatic approach here doesn’t diminish the value of marriage but underscores it as a legitimate and holy way to avoid sexual immorality.
The apostle then discusses the situation of those already married, particularly mixed marriages between believers and unbelievers. His counsel, revolutionary for the time, states the believer should not seek a divorce if the unbelieving partner consents to stay. This teaching reflects a deep understanding for the sanctity of marriage. And the potential for a believer to influence their family for Christ.
Paul’s discussion on singleness and marriage reflects a broader principle: whatever one’s life situation, it is the context in which they are called to live out their commitment to the Lord. He emphasizes that each person’s state has its own advantages for serving God. His overarching message is that one’s marital or social status does not hinder their ability to live a life devoted to God.
Daily Life Application:
- Embrace Your Current State: Whether married or single, recognize your situation as an opportunity to serve God and live out your Christian faith.
- Maintain Commitment in Marriage: Understand and respect the sanctity of marriage, upholding it as a means of mutual support, love, and spiritual growth.
- Seek God in All Circumstances: Regardless of your social or marital status, focus on deepening your relationship with God and fulfilling His calling in your life.
Questions to Ponder:
- How can I better use my current life situation (single, married, etc.) as a platform for serving God and growing in my faith?
- In what ways can I strengthen my marriage or, if single, my relationships with others to reflect Christian principles and values?
- How does my current status provide unique opportunities for serving and honoring God?
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – The value of companionship, which can be reflected in a marriage relationship.
- Matthew 19:10-12 – Jesus’ teachings on marriage and celibacy, highlighting that each has its own place in God’s kingdom.
- Galatians 3:28 – The declaration of equality and unity in Christ, regardless of social status.
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Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.