Finding Fulfillment at Every Stage in Life
What is the biblical purpose of marriage?
- Marriage is God’s design.
- Marriage is symbolic of Christ’s relationship with the Church
- Marriage is responsible for producing a Goldy heritage
- Marriage partners are commanded to be productive and fruitful in the union
Our identity is given and defined by our place in God.
2 Cor. 5:17 is clear, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
1 Corinthians 5:1-2: “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, … You have become arrogant and have not mourned …”
1 Corinthians 6:12: “I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful. I have the freedom to do anything, but I won’t be controlled by anything.”
In this verse, he states the same thing in each phrase but with different words at the end for emphasis.
- Freedom is not always HELPFUL
- Freedom should not CONTROL us
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 he concludes by stating, “you don’t belong to yourselves? You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.”
God’s children must be known by their devotion and purity to him.
Two issues come clear: The believer’s body
- Is the temple of the Holy Spirit (Belongs to God)
- Cannot unite with an adulterer (Vessels of purity)
1 Corinthians 6:17,19, Paul makes a two fold declaration:
- 6:17: “flee sexual immorality” and instead,
- 6:20: “glorify God with your body.”
7:1-2, Paul advises, “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”
While some in Corinth were of the opinion that people needed to abstain from sex for purity reasons, Paul sets the record clear:
- Sex is okay, but fornication and adultery are NOT.
- Believers must take responsibility in stewarding their own bodies and sexuality.
- The believing spouse must remain faithful to their spouse.
Paul Observations on Relationships:
FIRST: Marriage and Singleness are both a GIFT from God
1 Corinthians 7:7-9 “each one has his own gift from God.” It is who we are in Christ that completes us.
7:8, Paul advices, “It is good for them if they remain even as I am.” He is quick to add, “if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
What is Paul really saying here:
- Believers need to take charge of their status.
- Being single is not inferior to being married.
- Believers have the power to manage their sexual desires.
“For I wish that all men were even as I myself” – As a single, Paul does not want to appear as if he was imposing this gift of singleness on others. Paul uses the word gift in the same way when he refers to spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12
However, he has some experiences to pass over:
- Paul sees each stage in life is a gift from God
- Paul does not see a believer being “gifted” for sexual immorality!
Remaining faithful in one’s marriage or single-hood is key to living a life that pleases God.
Christianity goes against common culture today that advocates for personal freedom and self indulgence. Christianity instead advocates for responsible choices. When Paul states that, “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” Victory comes by dealing with the desires of the flesh. Killing the desires of the flesh requires self-control that leads to the practice of faithfulness in marriage. Although, Paul presents marriage as the legitimate refuge from pressures of of the flesh, he warns against carefree living.
SECOND: Fulfillment as a single comes in finding one’s identity in Christ
1 Corinthians 7:25-28.
“Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress; that “it is good for a man to remain as he is”— “But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.”
While giving advice and principles for healthy Christian life:
- Paul tells the married to “remain faithful”
- Paul tells the unmarried to “remain as he is”
- Paul tells the virgins to “stay unmarried or get married“
- Paul warns of the “troubles” associated with each stage
THIRD: Unmarried believers have the potential to please God with less distraction
“But I want you to be without care (worry, concern, burden; free from concern). He who is UNMARRIED cares for the things of the Lord; how he may please the Lord. But he who is MARRIED cares about the things of the world; how he may please his wife.”
Paul is not putting restrictions but brings us to the realities of the responsibility that accompany every stage in life.
- Singles enjoy greater FREEDOM in serving God and mankind.
- Marriage comes with RESPONSIBILITY over self and family.
- Responsibilities in marriage have the potential to DISTRACT one from SERVING God.
Can Singles live a thriving and fulfilling life?
Prophetess Anna: Luke 2:36-37
Widows must choose to enjoy a life of unhindered devotion to God. Widows or widowers who allow grief to define them can easily miss the opportunity to truly live life the way God intended for them. Living with purpose requires that we move from heart-brake and loss, to a focused life of hope
Dorcas or Tabitha: Acts 9:36-43: Verse 36 she is referred to as “a disciple” or a follower of Christ. Dorcas was charitable; “always doing good and helping the poor.”
Phoebe: Romans 16:1 “servant” is diakonos, from which we get “deacon.”
Prophet Jeremiah: was asked not to marry or have sons or daughters (16:1-2).
One Bible commentary on the book of Jeremiah, adds, “Given the importance of children in that culture, this prohibition would have been startling to both the prophet and the people.”
Dealing with challenges of singleness
Today’s unmarried single is confronted by many challenges:
- Seeking to be Trusted not living with anxiety
- Set and Value your Boundaries
- Build FriendshipS not walls of loneliness
- Create Opportunities not difficulties:
- Choose CONTENTMENT and not dejection:
Bishop Philip Kitoto