Content, Single or Married

Tim White

Should a Christian marry, or remain single? Although there are no scriptures that speak specifically about the question, there are some that can be broadened to reveal the principles God expects in seeking a mate:
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 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. 1 Corinthians 7:27-28.
Paul had previously told the Corinthians that he had no direct command from God on this topic, but he certainly had an opinion. Since the Holy Spirit directed him and preserved these verses to be in the Holy Word, we can assume that, although there is no direct command from God, there is some excellent advice here.

But the advice may not be as it first appears. It must align with the other passages relating to this.

I believe that Paul's message here aligns with several passages about the heart. Specifically, we must have the proper focus of the heart.

In Matthew 6:24-34, Jesus taught that there must be one master of our heart. If we choose God, we needn't worry about the other concerns that bother the rest of the world. Using the birds and the flowers as examples, He illustrated that if you stay focused on the important issue, God will supply the other needs as He sees fit, which is far better than we can plan:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:34).
Many singles that I counsel become obsessed with finding a mate. I, myself, was in that situation when serving on a Church staff. Other church members clearly communicated how better it would be if I had a good wife.

Such concern can become obsessive and oppressive. When it does, it obviously takes our focus off of "seeking first" God's will. We become committed to our will instead of His, and that is idolatry. God cannot honor that by blessing it.

I believe this was what Paul had in mind when he gave his advice. He was teaching contentment. "If you're single, be content so you can focus on what God wants in your life. If you're married, be content so you can honor God first with your life. But having a mate is not sinful."

Elsewhere he wrote, "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

A caring friend shared this truth with me when I was single and having a problem with it. It was no easy task to be content as a single preacher, and I had to depend upon the power of God to accomplish that in me. God was faithful and created contentment and peace in my heart.

Little did I know then that this made me more attractive and less "needy" in the eyes of the female friends I knew. But more importantly, it turned out for me that this was what God was waiting for; for me to be content with that phase of my journey so He could trust me with the next.

I have now been married for 32 years and still teach the importance of contentment. I do my best to practice it, but still have to depend on the power of God to do it in me. I have found that any and every virtue of God must flow from Him or it is contaminated before I can demonstrate it.

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Hardships  | Personal-Relationships

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Published 11-30-15