Paul seems to be fielding another question here in his initial response to the single ladies. Don’t you agree there is a definite bias here by Paul that being unmarried is the “better” option? Despite that, Paul wants to be clear that marriage is not a sin. That’s a good thing! Perhaps Paul didn’t understand going through the “fuss” of getting married when the end was near.
What seems to be most concerning to Paul is how we must divide our time if we’re married. God doesn’t get 100% of our devotion because we are called to love our spouses. While Paul doesn’t speak of it here, children are often born to married couples and the love and care of our offspring takes even more time away from God! But then, isn’t being a loving parent and raising children a way of serving God?
Looking back on my life, I can see too many examples of when God got my leftovers. Sometimes I would go days without talking to him. Can you relate? Thankfully that is my past! I can’t even fathom that separation now. I sometimes think I talk to Jesus all the time. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.” Other translations say, to pray continually, continuously, without ceasing, etc. I understand what that looks like now. It pretty much sums up my life. If I’m not talking to my husband or some other person and my thoughts are idle, I start talking to God.
Paul is also hinting at how short our time is here. In terms of “eternity” our lives are merely a blip in time. Even in Paul’s day, they expected Jesus to return any day. We are still waiting with great hope and anticipation today!
What troubles do you think Paul was referring to for couples marrying at that time? Might his warning still apply? I’ve seen many married couples struggle in their first couple years. Marriage takes work, commitment, patience, and unfailing love for another human being who might have a few faults or quirks. Couples need to grow together with the Lord in the center of things. That always makes for a stronger bond.
Paul says, “I want you to be free from the concerns of this life.” That’s very noble of him. We can be overcome by the concerns of this life. Pay attention to what’s in the news or not in the news and should be, and your joy can be zapped in a heartbeat. What was Paul’s solution?
Staying single. Paul said only then are you “devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit.” Staying single is not necessarily an option most of us choose. So we need to figure out a different way.
Like I said before, having God in the center of a marriage not only gives God more of your time, but it joins you more closely and intimately with your spouse. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve experienced a marriage without God in the center and now one where we both depend on God together. There is no comparison. Honoring God in our marriage is truly a worshipful experience.
Life will have troubles. Whether you’re married or single, I’m quite confident. Thankfully we have Jesus. In John 16:33, Jesus tells his disciples what to expect: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” I definitely take these words to heart and see them playing out in my life. There’s not much more to say!
Let’s pray …
Father God, you have overcome the world. Each day I marvel at how grateful I am to know that. As this world seems to be crumbling around me, I have no fear. I cling to the hope I have in you. I am wrapped up in your precious peace. Thank you for all your promises and for this life you have given me to live, however long or short. May I be focused on you as much as humanly possible. In Jesus’ name. Amen.