In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul addresses marriage and life situations. I have read these passages many times but as I read them this morning, I picked up on something very different about the heart behind it all. What Paul was trying to communicate the most was that because he was single, he was able to devote all his energy, time, and affections toward serving God. He recognized that not everyone can live that way in content singleness, so he was telling the church, it’s better that they get married than to try to abstain and obsess about wanting to get married, and it’s better that every man have a wife so he can be sexually fulfilled then to live life distracted by unmet sexual desire. He then addresses all the different life scenarios and he reminds married people that they have committed themselves so completely to their spouse that they are one, and therefore their bodies belong to each other. This scripture can easily be misinterpreted to sound abusive, but it’s actually the complete opposite when you look at it with it’s intended unity. We don’t demand from one another in marriage, we give ourselves to each other unselfishly in all areas of marriage. This is obviously the challenge as we all struggle with selfishness, but the heart behind all of it is that both partners are laying aside their selfishness to serve and love each other. This can only be done with a heart of unity. Paul also addresses spouses that have gotten saved, but their spouses were still unsaved. He encourages these spouses to hang on to their unsaved spouse as long as they are still happy to be married to them because their influence could end in the spouse’s salvation and it’s better for the stability of the kids. His point is that you shouldn’t divorce them just because they are unsaved, and it makes you unequally yoked. Instead, you should stay married, influence your spouse, and pray for their salvation. Paul encourages everyone else that rather than trying to seek out changes in our life situations, our pursuit for God should be our priority. He encourages single people to live in contentment with a desire to serve Christ as the primary desire, he encourages them not to obsess about getting married, but tells them if they end up finding someone they love, go ahead, and get married. The heart that I picked up on behind all of this was that we shouldn’t be focused on trying to get in or out of relationships. Our energy is best spent on serving God with a content heart, but since we are so relational, he set out the parameters and boundaries for all kinds of different life scenarios. Sometimes it feels like reading that passage is like walking through a minefield of “do and do not”, but the heart behind it all is that our passion and energy should be for serving God.

Leave a Reply