“But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
I Corinthians 7:32-35 NKJV
I happened on the “marriage chapter” of I Corinthians chapter 7, this morning. It was an affirmation for me, as this chapter had been of great comfort during my early walk with the Lord. Life has placed great stumbling blocks in my way, that had a profound effect on my life, on my future, and, to some degree, any hopes I could have had.
I remember my days at my former local church. I entered as new believer, fresh in salvation, and way out of my depth. I went through the foundations class with Pastor David, and learned some of the more rudimentary elements of my new found faith. After that class, I was sent to the singles Sunday school.
Little did I know, but I was being sent into a mixing pot, the place where it was hoped that singles would become couples, the foundation of church growth. From my perspective, though, it was a place where I could develop my skills and gifts, a launching pad, of sorts, for ministry.
God had given me a laser focus from the moment I walked down the aisle.
As I continued to attend, I became aware of the pressure present under the surface, on those who were unmarried. Marriage was elevated in that church, as it is in many baptistic, evangelical churches. I also learned why the motto was a family of friends, as there was much intermarriage amongst the families.
In the modern church, it can be difficult for the unmarried Christian, especially those like me who have no real desire to be matrimonially bound.
Baby dedications, weddings, and all the family based holidays were awkward, as I often felt like I didn’t belong.
In my unmarried state, I have pursued God, sought to glorify Him with undivided attention. Much of what I have accomplished would not have been possible had I taken a wife. Even what I do now, interceding and writing devotions, would be stymied if I also had to add being a husband and father.
God has given me a great gift, even though it is something that resulted from evil done to me. What was meant for evil God has used for good.
“Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.”
I Corinthians 7:5, 7 NKJV
Paul was my forerunner as an unmarried minister of the Gospel.
I view marriage as greatly important to the believer, as it offers an earth bound representation of God and Israel, and Jesus and His coming bride. When it is right, it is something to behold!
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.”
Proverbs 18:22 NKJV
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.”
Proverbs 31:10-12 NKJV
Fatherhood is essential, as the man is the leader and if he comes to Jesus, there is a high likelihood his children will too. Mothers have great influence on the spiritual lives of their children, as I am an example of this, having followed a praying mother into the war room of intercession.
Being unmarried in the body of Christ, I liken to being in special forces in the military. We travel light, and operate with stealth and great precision. Our efforts are concentrated and effective. Instead of an AR 10 chambered in Beowulf, I come with the word of God.
To the married Christians: do not pressure them to adhere to the calling that you have been given. Often those who have not married have good reasons, others are desiring marriage, but the right person has not arrived, as they are waiting on the Lord. They should be lauded for their patience.
To those who are unmarried. You are in a special position, as you can serve the Lord in ways that those who are the encumbered, cannot. You can pray more, you can serve more, and you can glorify the Kingdom of God in great ways.
“Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.”
I Corinthians 7:25-28 NKJV
Be not concerned about the state that’s you are in, as you were called to it. Serve from the position you are in. Striving after a position outside of you calling can be a waste of time, and render your ministry before the Lord ineffective.
“But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.”
I Corinthians 7:17, 20, 23-24 NKJV
Whether you are married or single, go and serve the Lord with all your heart, as the time is short and the evil one knows he has little time left.
Go and serve your King!