What is the big deal about marriage?
Before you consider hot marital topics such as divorce, you have to stop and look to see what God’s original design was. What was God thinking regarding marriage in the first place? In order to know that, you need to look at Genesis 1 through 3 to see what was the plan and what happened to it in the “Fall” of man and the subsequent “curse” on the original married couple to understand the predicament we are in today (see my post on Eph 5:21-33). When you only consider the world’s point of view or even limit your decisions to the situation you are facing, you can make some serious miscalculations that will affect your married life. Paul has some interesting concession here in this long passage that I won’t try to comment on but his heart is revealed to us, so that is where we will start. It is interesting that Paul directed by the Holy Spirit gives the advice to stay single “It is good for a man not to marry” when God speaks of Adam’s circumstance, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him”. How do we reconcile the two statements? When reading this passage remember the terror of the Roman empire and the immoral ways of the Greek culture as pertaining to Paul’s admonishments to the Christian family unit. We in the US are only just beginning to experience trouble for the Christian family in this current age where laws are challenging the sanctity of marriage and family.
7 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
17 Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
24 Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.
29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who made women and men to be together as one just as WE are one. I made men and women to be together so that only in marriage would they model for the world to see a picture of our unity in the Godhead. As I have transferred my Divine attributes to them both in different measures, together they are a picture of me to every generation. The strengths that each one has by their attributes compensate for the limitations of the other. I designed that men’s strength and women’s tenderness are both needed to raise a family to reflect me adequately to their children. One is not better than the other, both are needed and both reflect me. The list of my attributes divided between men and women is long and each of them I placed in men and women are valuable and necessary for the family to function properly. But life is not always about “living happily ever after” especially in tough times as you live as beacons of righteousness in this wicked world. Some of you will be torn between choosing loved ones or me and my work in the world.
I AM the God who knows and meets the needs of your human life. I love you and am a good God to fulfill them for you. But be careful not to let those human needs define you and dictate what your life is about. Life is more than just eating and pursuing personal gain. Life is more than getting married and having kids. If you are not careful, those needs can become the gods you serve replacing me in your life. Even your children and spouses can become gods where you no longer are concerned for my will in your life. I expect devotion to me. Let my blessings be my gracious gifts to you, but do not let those blessings rule your life and hinder my work through you. Remember, I AM a Jealous God and in some cases, I can remove those things that you allow to displace me in your life.
Serve Christ in whatever state you are in
God gave Eve to Adam from out of Adam’s own body and not from any of the “animals” that God had previously created. Adam needed to realize through his experience of loneliness that his dependency was to be upon God to meet his every need. Adam needed to see that in himself he was not complete. He needed God to make him a spouse so that only together in marriage, could they become a completed whole – picturing the completeness of the Godhead’s plurality (Elohim – plural form of God who claims to be one). Today, our real needs are met In Christ. This is why Paul is telling us here that he could remain single in devotion to the Lord and you can too. Paul was warning them of the persecution to come. Those who were single would fare better than those who had families. But not everyone has this special gift of contentment in singleness from God, nor is able to avoid temptation without having a wife. Paul allows marriage in this passage as long as they remained single hearted to the Lord. (Even some of the Apostles were married. Peter for one; because we know that he had a mother in law. Did that make him unqualified to serve; no.) Devotion while married is not only possible but expected. Paul says that whatever state we are in, we are to be devoted to Christ. What this looks like in each of our situations in this body is what Paul is talking about through this chapter. Bottom line: Serve the Lord in whatever state you are currently in and don’t look for ways to get out of it, but look for ways to improve it for the testimony of Christ in you.
I realize that I have not begun to touch on this subject enough, but for now, let’s keep moving.
More to come,