Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40
Observation: Paul talks about devotion to the Lord, and for those who aren’t yet married, he encourages them to remain unmarried and instead focus themselves on service to Christ. He also addresses some difficult situations in a marriage, such as what to do when one spouse isn’t a believer.
Application: Do you ever read the Bible and find yourself thinking things like:
- “This is super weird.”
- “I do NOT understand what’s happening right now.”
- “These people are crazy.”
- “SAY WHAT?!”
No, it’s just me? Oh okay, cool. (Awkward. Excuse me while I go find a hole to hide in.)
When I read these forty little verses, I have a lot of “what the heck?” and “is he serious right now?!” moments. There is a lot packed into them, and depending on where we’re at in life – single, engaged, married, anywhere in between – it can leave us with a whole host of feelings: overwhelmed, guilty, confused, and even overjoyed if we’re a commitment phobe.
But if we strip away all of the specifics of what Paul says, I think there’s one phrase to summarize this passage: uncommon devotion. Paul doesn’t encourage us to stay single for the sake of staying single; he encourages us to give up normal desires (like marriage and family) so we can be more fully devoted to Christ.
Is marriage wrong? Absolutely not! He talks about the sanctity of marriage in other places in the Bible. Is having a family wrong? Absolutely not! He gives us some advice and guidelines on raising a family later in the Bible, too.
What he’s saying is: Let your commitment to Christ compel you to be uncommonly devoted to him. Don’t conform to the structures and culture of this world. Don’t give in to your own desires. Instead, be willing to walk away from the ways of this world so you can humbly and confidently walk in the ways of Christ.
“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (verse 23)
What are you enslaved by? What stands between you and an uncommon commitment to Christ, the one who laid down his life to set you free from your sin? What habit do you need to release? What viewpoint do you need to let go of? What part of your life do you need to submit to Jesus?
When we are called as followers of Jesus, we’re called to be free. We’re called to love. We’re called to be humble and confident and set apart. But, we’re not called to be normal. We’re called to think differently, love more deeply, live radically. Our calling is higher.
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” – Mark 12:30
Let’s love the Lord with our all today – no matter what it takes.
Prayer: God, what holds me back from solitary devotion to you? I pray you’ll help me strip away everything else so I can more fully embrace what you’re called me to do and what you’ve called me to be. Amen.