1 Corinthians 7:32-35
By Drew Zuverink
"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife - and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."
Paul cared so much for God and for people, and for the relationship between the two, that he was willing to warn the Corinthians of the potential for marriage to lead them further away from God. Paul is not condemning marriage as a bad thing, but he's also not saying that it comes without the potential to lead people away from God. A single person is more free to be devoted to God. If a service opportunity opened up, a single person is able to accept it without needing to check with their spouse. If a single person feels God calling them to another city, state or country, they are more free to obey than a married person would be. Marriage can be a blessing, even a spiritual blessing, but it can also be a hindrance to a persons spiritual devotion.
According to Paul there is a right way and a wrong way to live. The right way to live is in undivided devotion to the Lord. The wrong way to live is to be less devoted to the Lord because we are spreading our devotion out to too many things. If you think of our devotion as a pie, God ought to get the whole thing. This does not mean that God should get all of our thoughts, energy and time, and our families, friends and interests should get none of that. Because he is a good and gracious God, part of being devoted to him means loving our families well, spending time with our friends, and exploring and enjoying the goodness of his creation and human culture. The problem is when we make those things into idols by giving them too much of our devotion, thus, taking some away from God.
We live in a culture that is not devoted to the Lord. Even the Christian culture in America is not devoted to the Lord. God is getting a small slice of our devotion and we expect him to be ok with that. After all, isn't he happy that he gets a slice at all? Fewer and fewer Christians are reading scripture on a regular basis. Fewer and fewer Christians are attending church regularly. Most of the Christians who attend church do so only on Sunday morning. Service projects and outreach opportunities are harder and harder to find volunteers for. Youth pastors are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with sporting events. Overall, the trend in America is moving towards a less Christian, less churched, less mature and less devoted to God, population.
The frightening part is that this trend is speeding up, not slowing down. The pace of life is increasing. Today, people's interests are not only divided between God and spouse, now they are also divided between more and more entertainment, more technology, more hobbies, more work hours, more vacation, more clothes, more this and more that. For most people in America, life is getting faster and faster. There always seems to be something that we need to do, and if there isn't we are all too quick to fill our time with something fun. All the while, God seems to be getting a smaller and smaller portion of our lives.
We need a wake up call, and we need it now. If Paul warned single people that they might become less devoted to God if they marry, how might he warn us in our culture of speed today? And like Paul said in verse 35, none of this is aimed at restricting Christians from living a fulfilled life, this is all for our good. It is better to live a life of undivided devotion to the Lord. It is time for us to take a good, hard, look at ourselves and and give our devotion back to the Lord. It's not enough to just give God a slice of our life, he wants and deserves all of it. If, and only if, more Christians make this change, American culture has a chance of moving towards Christ. Re-devote yourselves to the Lord today.