Friday, March 20, 2009

Removing Distractions to Service

I Corinthians 7:25-35

Paul is very specific that he has no command from God concerning whether virgins are to marry or not. The preceding instructions are for those who are not virgins. He is going to give his opinion, as one who has earned the right to be heard by his faithful study and service.

"Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you." (I Corinthians 7:25-28)

We ought to be like Paul in being content in whatever state we are in. God has not commanded that we marry, nor has he forbidden it. Whatever our state, it has served God's purpose to this point. Whether married or not, we should not be trying to change the situation. If God wants the situation changed, he will show what he wants. It is not sin to marry, if one is free to do so, but it is not sin to stay single either, and there will be problems in a marriage. There are no perfect marriages. Good marriages accept the problems, and in love overlook them. Bad marriages dwell on the problems.

"But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.But I would have you without carefulness.

He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." (I Corinthians 7:29-35)

Paul's primary concern is that Christians be able to concentrate on serving God. Married people have a responsibility to a proper relationship with their spouse. When our relationship is not right to our spouse, our relationship with God is also hindered, as I Peter 3:7 tells us. A controlling husband or wife frequently demands attention and obedience that distracts from serving God, and causes conflict. I Corinthians 3:1-3 makes it clear that conflict between Christians demonstrates an unspiritual state, even when it is between husband and wife.

Unmarried people can be so caught up in sexual lust that they are distracted from serving God as well. Constant focus on sex, even in an effort to overcome it, such as what is portrayed in several books on getting victory over the sin only distract from serving God. Simply walking in the Spirit will keep us from falling into sin. Marrying may relieve that distraction for some. As a result, Paul gives tha following advice in I Timothy 5:14-15. "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan."

Because the time is so short, and "they neither marry or are given in marriage" in heaven, marriage, like other earthly things should not consume our attention. Matthew 6:33 describes where our focus should be. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Unspiritual people do not recognize how unimportant these things are. Which will least distract you from serving God is more important than whether you are married or not.

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