My husband and I love sharing the story of our dating and engagement, but it isn’t a typical swoon-worthy tale loaded with hearts and butterflies. During our ten months of dating, we lived in different cities, carried full loads of class work as seminarians, and served on differing church staffs. Our schedules rarely coincided; when they did, the time we spent together was practical, intentional, and straightforward. Our three-month engagement held more of the same. Although we were in love and overjoyed to be marrying, there were ministry commitments to fulfill and seminary coursework to finish. Our relationship was a top priority, but it simply couldn’t be our only one or the most important.
- How does your responsibility to live on mission for God impact your top priorities or closest relationships with others?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 7:25-31 (ESV)
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.
- What specific advice did Paul give about the “betrothed” (vss. 25-27, 28)? His opinion on this topic included what qualifications?
- What was Paul’s warning concerning those who chose to marry (vs. 28)?
- Understanding that Paul was not encouraging married people to abandon their marriages, what was he getting at in verses 29-31?
- To what did Paul call the Corinthian Christians’ attention three times in this passage (vss. 26, 29, 31)?
- How does Paul’s reminder of the temporal nature of this world influence your thinking about your involvement in the world around you? What do your closest relationships and priorities reveal about your commitment to living out the gospel message?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul issued a trustworthy judgment regarding engagement, marriage, and singlehood. Laced throughout his advice is a firm nudge to consider something more pressing: living with a sense of urgency. Paul’s reminder of the temporal nature of this life is our cue to sharpen our focus. How we approach our relationships and interact with the world around us is important, especially in light of eternity. This doesn’t mean we abandon our relationships or fail to nurture them. But for those who choose to follow Christ, living wholeheartedly on mission for him comes first. Our time in this world is limited, and our devotion in serving the Lord must be shaped by this understanding.
- Ask God to reveal what most distracts you from pursuing Jesus and serving him.
- Pray that God would give you a sense of urgency as you live out the gospel in your relationships.