Single or Married? - 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

Single or Married?

Our walk with Christ gets more difficult as this world fades. In today’s world, marriage is just something that we are told is flexible and can be temporary if we want. However, this is not what the Bible demonstrates. 

As a single Christian, there may be pressure to marry and there may be struggles when unmarried. However, there are struggles that occur even after marriage, and the struggles of being single don’t just disappear. Marriage can either complement or hinder your devotion to the Lord. 

As an unmarried Christian, how are you seeking God’s will in your life, and are you being a good steward of your current situation? 

1 Corinthians 7:25-40
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 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. 35 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.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
In this section, Paul focuses his attention on the unmarried. He says that Jesus did not provide specific teaching on this topic, so it is his judgment by the Lord’s mercy. He is not saying that being single is good or bad or being married is good or bad. He says that they are both good. Paul, being single, leaned toward the benefits of being single. But what he tells us is that we must consider the circumstances we are in and pay attention to God’s will in our lives. Today’s world is full of distress and change. 

For those that choose to marry, it is a guarantee that they will face increased difficulties. But this is expected because marriage is a union between two different people with differing personalities. There are challenges within a married life, but there are also challenges as a single Christian going through life. Each has its own challenges, but God has a plan and will prepare each of us for the life we are to live, whether is it to be single or share it with another person. Paul says that the Lord’s return is ever closer, and the current world is passing away. Our time is limited, and we must be good stewards of the time given to us, whether married or single. 

In today’s church, there seems to almost be an expectation that you must get married. There are so many families and married couples that it seems to be the norm. However, in this passage, Paul tells the unmarried that it is okay to not get married. There are struggles and difficulties that marriage and family bring. He tells the unmarried not to be anxious and that there are blessings and benefits of being single. However, he says that our time is short, and we must be attuned to the will of God in our lives. God wants to use us in our current state, and He will. But are we ready and willing to demonstrate undivided devotion to Him? 

Don’t look down on yourself if you are a single Christian. If marriage is what you desire, then prayerfully seek the will of God in your life. If you want to remain single, Paul says that it is a good thing if you want to dedicate your time to the Lord without the distractions of marriage. However, if you do marry, Paul reminds us that marriage is a binding relationship, and if one is considering marriage, it must be for the right reasons. We are to seek marriage with another believer and whether being a married couple compliments each other’s walk with Christ. 

As an unmarried Christian, do not be anxious about your marital status, but seek God’s will and allow Him to use you in your current state. Be open to God’s calling in your life. If you do decide to marry, ensure that Christ is the center and marriage is for the right reasons because Paul reminds us that it is a lifelong commitment to each other.
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