You know how people always say that God’s timing is perfect? It totally is. I felt bad about not finishing my Bible study yesterday, but when I went to finish it up this morning I realized that I needed it right then.
I let my emotions get the best of me this morning. Instead of yelling (which is kind of a win!) I just shut down. I got the things done that needed to be done to get everyone out the door, but I didn’t interact with them. After I got everything finished I sat down to my open Bible on the couch, and tried to finish up yesterdays Bible study. Yesterday, I was reading 1 Corinthians 7, which is mostly about marriage. Then this morning, my husband made me upset first thing…coincidence? I think not.
So a quick intro – in 1 Corinthians Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and addressing some issues they reached out to him about. The first thing he talks to them about in Chapter 7 is whether it is better for them to be celibate or not.
He tells husband and wives, “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5
This really stuck out to me, as a realization that the enemy is looking for those opportunities, the tiniest of cracks, to knock us off our game. We have to be aware of this and make sure we look at the bigger picture. I may not be able to control the fact that my husband and I will make each other upset from time to time, but I can stop and think about what is going on and pray that the Lord helps me forgive and move on quickly.
Paul is a single guy and that works for him. He admits that he is pretty sure being celibate is the easiest way to devote yourself to the Lord, since there are less distractions.
“I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
– 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
He makes sure we know that this isn’t a command from the Lord, but just Paul’s own observation, and honestly his recommendation. He does also say that if one “cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:9)
Some other interesting notes I gleaned from this chapter of 1 Corinthians are:
– Once you are married you should stay married (verses 10-11)
– If you marry an unbeliever you should stay married, because the unbelieving spouse (and children as well) are made holy by the believer (verses 13) but if the unbelieving spouse leaves, that’s okay to a certain extent (verse 15)
– The husband and wife have authority over each others bodies (verse 4)
– A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives (verse 39)
You may or may not have been aware of verse 39 already depending on your background, but this was the first time I had actually found it in print. After I read it, I remembered my dad telling me that according to the Catholic church, my grandmother was not married to my grandfather until her first husband passed away. My grandparents ended up having a vow renewal ceremony at that time, and that’s when the Catholic church first acknowledged their marriage (I was in high school).
I was also very moved by this verse:
“Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.” – 1 Corinthians 7:28
Something about reading this in my Bible just encourages me (which I know sounds backwards.) I think it encourages me because it admits that marriage isn’t easy and there are rough seasons. Marriage is so good and its a gift, and it should be treated as one – but to me this is just a reminder that rough times will come (we are told ahead of time to expect it) and if we can hold hands and battle through it together trusting in the Lord and seeking Him – we can overcome and come out victorious!
The main takeaway I got from this whole chapter is that Paul highly encourages the Corinthians (and us) to make sure and keep our eyes on the Prize.
“I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
– 1 Corinthians 7:35
I hope these notes are helpful to you, but I highly recommend you take out your Bible and read 1 Corinthians 7 for yourself. I would love to know what the Lord shares with you from this scripture!