MAINTAINING GOD’s INTENT For MARRIAGE(& Singleness)-VII—
(Making Marriage(& singleness) Worthy of its Creator)
For the first time, I saw a glimpse of just how Pharisaical I had been as a husband. I had not washed my bride with the water of God’s word. Rather, I had viciously attacked her in her weakness, using his word like a swift sword of justice. I also had downplayed my sin & excused my weaknesses.
Something finally clicked that night.
When Jesus teaches us how to love each other, he tells us to focus first on the sin in our own lives before moving too quickly to help others with theirs. He says, “First take the log out of your own eye, & then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Even if we think our spouse is 99% wrong, & we are only 1% wrong, we first should turn our energy & effort on our own sin — the sin closest to us, the sin we are responsible for.
I realized how ridiculous I was to poke at the speck in my wife’s eye with a plank sticking out of my face. I said to her, “All I’ve done is criticize & rebuke you. So, for the next year, I promise not to bring up any of your sins or faults. If you ask me a question, I will answer it honestly. But I will only initiate talking about my sin. For now, any sin I see in you, I will just pray about.”
I’ve made many promises in my life, & broken too many of them. But God helped me keep this one. My wife & I would get into an argument. As soon as I caught myself, I would shut my mouth & listen. I didn’t attack her. I would focus on receiving & embracing her correction.
It was hard. Often I was boiling inside. But when the conversation ended, I would go pray. I would start out complaining, telling God how he needed to change her. But eventually I would confess my own sin to him. Over time, I started to soften, break, & be humbled by how much God was constantly forgiving me. The radical mercy of Christ, flowing from the cross to me, began to change me as a husband.
It became easier to listen to my wife, easier to be compassionate, easier to admit my own faults. After weeks of this pattern, she rebuked me one day. I quickly admitted she was right. She stopped mid-sentence & said, “You know, this isn’t all your fault. I’ve sinned, too.”
It took more than a year, with counseling, to work through our baggage. But the tenor of our marriage changed over those months. For the first year or so, we had been in a race to defend ourselves & attack each other. We wanted to score the most points by landing the best rebuke. We wanted to win the argument.
Now, for the last fifteen years or so, we typically race to see who can repent first. Rather than rushing to the other person’s specks, we try to focus on our planks first. In the process, we have become more humble, because we are more conscious of our own brokenness & need for grace. We have become more gracious, because we are so much more aware of how much Christ is constantly forgiving us. We have become much more gentle, because we realize how tender it can be to get sin out of our own eye.
*God saved my marriage not by fixing my wife’s problems, but by helping me see my own & showing me mercy where I am wrong. After years of apologizing, extending grace, & learning, we now are far more likely to repent & forgive than to fight & scratch.
The above illustration is a quoted from ‘How God Saved My Marriage—One Formula for Fighting Better’ by Olan Stubbs, Aug. 14, 2017 at desringgod.org.
Olan Stubbs is director of Campus Outreach Birmingham, Alabama, at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. He is a husband & father of four. MAINTAINING GOD’s INTENT For MARRIAGE(& Singleness)-VII—
(Making Marriage(& singleness) Worthy of its Creator)
If we are careful to nurture God’s Intent in our marriages, then they will NOT end up ‘on the skids’ as do worldly marriages!
Paul answered the inquiries & clarified the concerns of the Corinthian Christians regarding marriage.
Christians maintain God’s intent/design for marriage.
How do/can Christian couples maintain God’s intent for marriage?
6 focal points for Christians regarding marriage.
We have found that Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...
1. His DIRECTIVES(:1)
2. His LIMITATIONs(:2)
3. His AFFECTION(:3)
4. His AUTHORITY(:4)
5. His COMMITMENT(:5-6)
6. His GIFTEDNESS(:7)
7—Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...His GOODNESS(:8)
:8—“But I say to the unmarried & to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;”
“Paul ‘probably’ does not have in mind the ‘never married’ since he addresses this group more specifically in 7:25-38.”—NAC Verse 34 refers to “virgins” as “the unmarried.”
However in contrast, technically “the term “unmarried”[can], of itself, refer to the unmarried in general, whether never married, divorced, or” widowed.—NAC
“whoever the unmarried are, they are not virgins. Verse 8 speaks to “the unmarried & to widows,” so we can conclude that the “unmarried are not widows.” “The term ‘unmarried’ indicates those who were previously married, but are not widows; people who are now single, but are not virgins.” “Therefore” the referent is to “a divorced woman.”—MNTC
*To me it seems that the group addressed as “unmarried” in :8 would probably refer to their non-virginal status, given that the “unmarried” are paired with the ‘widowed’—a group which is non-virginal. Both of these groups are ‘obviously’ & completely free to marry as if they had never been previously. To hold otherwise seems to contradict or at least muddle the following discussion addressed to the married(:10-16).
“Remaining even as I am”—Paul’s reference at this writing, most probably means that he himself is now single, having been married at an earlier time.
He reveals this seemingly because he himself ‘may have been’ married at some point but is not now married. “Ultimately we cannot know for sure”[NAC] regarding Paul’s past marital state.
BUT—“In Paul’s day, Jews considered marriage a duty, to the extent that a man reaching 20 years of age without marrying was considered to be in sin. Unmarried men were often considered excluded from heaven & not real men at all.”—David Guzik
Thus, a woman who is “unmarried”(due to divorce) or if “widowed”(due to death) is to seriously consider her current marital standing.
•She is to be settled in her ‘marital’ status before others. It is a part of her Christian witness.
Basically there are two choices thru which she will exemplify her convictions. Thru either a).--Remaining or b).--Remarriage(cf.-:9). Thus marriage is a Major Big Deal in God’s eyes!
Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, encourages both the divorced but “unmarried”, & the “widowed” but “unmarried” to “remain” in their current state of being either “unmarried” or “widowed.” One must keep in mind that for Paul, it is by his God-driven personal conviction that he himself neither seeks remarriage or marriage.
Paul will revisit the particular aspect of what he means by “remaining” in verses :17-24.
Paul has readily admitted that “each one has his own gift from God”(:7), thus recognizing & revealing that to remain unmarried for either the “divorced” or “widowed” depends upon each one’s individual conviction by the Holy Spirit. “Remaining” or not “remaining” in singleness is a personal conviction contrived by the Holy Spirit in the individual.
If “remaining” single interferes with God’s governance over their being single, then it is much “better” for them to remarry(:9) than to remain single...It is much better(honorable) for a person to maintain God’s governance over every aspect of their lives!
•Thus remarriage is a viable option for such people, so that God thru the Holy Spirit will be free to govern the person’s “self control”(including sexual drive).
•To resign one’s “self control” to solely natural/fleshly means is detrimental to one’s witness. Thus it is “better” to maintain God’s guidance rather than becoming disengaged from His guidance.
“God’s desire for those who are single is that they would remain celibate until they are married– but the reasons are not because sex is bad or evil, but because celibacy prior to marriage is what honors God...that is His plan for mankind...& that is because by God’s design, sexual activity is only encouraged within the lifelong commitment of marriage. Every true Christian has willfully & committedly placed themselves under God’s ownership. Therefore His plan takes priority.
For most Christians who are ‘single’—not by choice or by God’s giftedness, but by circumstance—remaining single ‘can/may’ be a tremendous struggle. Without the spiritual gift of celibacy, the emotional passion are very real, & the physical desire may be very strong. But what can you do if you find yourself in that position of burning with passion but being single?
Some suggestions follow:
The following four suggestions for dealing properly with ‘singleness’ are Adapted from: Tim Diack’s--‘When You Say, "I Do”’ @SermonCentral.com
First—Remember that you’ve been purchased by God. First & foremost you belong to Him. So let the desire of your heart be to honor God with all areas of your life.
Second—Remember that no temptation is unique to you alone. And when we are tempted, God will always provide His perfect, God-ordained direction(way out) for you to act upon!(1Cor. 10:13)
1Cor. 10:13—“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Be willing to look for God’s way out & then take it without hesitating—as Joseph did when he fled from Potiphar’s wife(Gen. 39:6-12).
Gen. 39:6-12—“Thus he[Potifer, a captain of Pharaoh’s guard] left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, & he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.[Potifer trusted Joseph with everything] Now Joseph was handsome in form & appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, & she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused & said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, & he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, & sin against God?” So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, & none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, & fled & ran outside.”
Third—Make it a matter of prayer. Share the struggle with God & ask for & wait for His help!
Fourth—Place a hedge around your relationships with members of the opposite sex...That is, do your best to avoid situations that encourage/foster temptation. In the book of Ephesians Paul reminds us that there should not even be a hint of sexual immorality in our lives. The truth is it’s a lot harder to give in to any temptation when you don’t put yourself in temptation’s way in the first place.”
Eph. 5:1-5—“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us & given Himself for us, an offering & a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication & all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ & God.”
“Unmarried”(See :11)—agamov—Adj.—1) Unmarried, unwedded, single. Strong—Unmarried. Used 4X.?From—A(as a negative particle)—&—gamov—of uncertain affinity; Nuptials[i.e., relating to marriage or weddings].
“And”—kai—Conjunction—1) And, also, even, indeed, but. Strong—apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative & sometimes also a cumulative force; And, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection(or composition) with other particles or small words.
“Widows”—chra—Noun Fem.—1) A widow; 2) metaph.--A city stripped of its inhabitants & riches is represented under the figure of a widow. Strong—A widow(as lacking a husband), literally or figuratively.?Feminine of a presumed derivative apparently from the base of—casma—through the idea of deficiency--A “chasm” or vacancy(impassable interval).
“Good”—kalov—Adj.—1) Beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable—1a) Beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent, 1b) Good, excellent in its nature & characteristics, & therefore well adapted to its ends—1b1) Genuine, approved, 1b2) Precious, 1b3) Joined to names of men designated by their office, competent, able, such as one ought to be, 1b4) Praiseworthy, noble, 1c) Beautiful by reason of purity of heart & life, & hence praiseworthy—1c1) Morally good, noble, 1d) Honorable, conferring honor, 1e) Affecting the mind agreeably, comforting & confirming. Kalov is a much higher word[than asteiov, or wraiov]. It means beautiful, physically or morally. It is, however, distinctly the beauty which comes from harmony, the beauty which arises from a symmetrical adjustment in right proportion, in other words, from the harmonious completeness of the object concerned. Strong—of uncertain affinity; properly--Beautiful, but chiefly figuratively--Good(literally or morally), i.e. Valuable or virtuous(for appearance or use, & thus distinguished from agayov, which is properly intrinsic).
“For Them”—autov—Pronoun—1) Himself, herself, themselves, itself; 2) He, she, it; 3) The same. Strong—from the particle au[perhaps akin to the base of ahr[air] through the idea of a baffling wind]--Backward; the reflexive pronoun--Self, used(alone or in the comparative eautou) of the third person , & (with the proper personal pronoun)of the other persons.
“If”(See :9)—ean—Conditional particle or Conjunction—1) If, in case. Strong—a conditional particle; In case that, provided, etc.; often used in connection with other particles to denote indefiniteness or uncertainty.?From—ei—a primary particle of conditionality; If, whether, that, etc.—&—an—a primary particle, denoting a supposition, wish, possibility or uncertainty.
“Remain”(See :11)—menw—Verb—1) To remain, abide—1a) in reference to place—1a1) To sojourn, tarry, 1a2) Not to depart—1a2a) To continue to be present, 1a2b) To be held, kept, continually, 1b) in reference to time—1b1) To continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure—1b1a) Of persons, to survive, live, 1c) in reference to state or condition—1c1) To remain as one, not to become another or different; 2) To wait for, await one. Strong—a primary verb; To stay(in a given place, state, relation or expectancy).
“Even as I am/As I am”—wv kagw——wv—Adverb—1) As, like, even as, etc. Strong—probably adverb of comparative from ov, h, o; Which how, i.e. In that manner(very variously used).—+—kagw kag-o’; OR--kai egw; also the dative case--kamoi kam-oy’; &--accusative case--kame kam-eh’—Conjunction—1) And I; 2) I also, I as well, I likewise, in like manner I; 3) Even I, this selfsame I. Strong—And(or also, even, etc.) I, (To)me.?From—kai—1) And, also, even, indeed, but. Strong—apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative & sometimes also a cumulative force; And, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection(or composition) with other particles or small words.—&—egw—Pronoun—1) I, me, my. Strong—a primary pronoun of the first person I(only expressed when emphatic).
1Cor. 7:29-35—“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, & those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. But I want you to be without care. 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. There is a difference between a wife & a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body & in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, & that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
Js. 1:27—“Pure & undefiled religion before God & the Father is this: to visit orphans & widows in their trouble, & to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
1Jn. 2:15-17—“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, & the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, & the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Mat. 5:48—“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
True Christians do not live by law, rule, or force against their will.
Christian ‘perfection’ is only experienced thru an abiding, personal, harmonious, relationship with God thru Christ Jesus. Freely & willingly we give ourselves to His desire.
Mat. 19:16-22—“Now behold, one came & said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father & your mother,’ &, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have & give to the poor, & you will have treasure in heaven; & come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Rom. 2:4—“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, & longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
Rom. 11:22—“Therefore consider the goodness & severity of God: on those who fell[Israel], severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”
Rom. 15:13-14—“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
2Cor. 6:14-18—“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial?[a name for Satan meaning ’worthless’ or ‘wicked’] Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons & daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
Gal. 5:22-25—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions & desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Eph. 5:8-11—“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, & truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”
2Thess. 1:11-12—“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, & fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness & the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, & you in Him, according to the grace of our God & the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Nahum 1:7—“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”
Heb. 13:20-21—“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever & ever. Amen.”
Ps. 100:1-5—<<A Psalm of Thanksgiving.>> “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, & not we ourselves; We are His people & the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, & bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
Lam. 3:25—“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.”
Chick-fil-A restaurant officially describes their Chick-fil-A ‘Chicken Sandwich’ as:
“A boneless breast of chicken seasoned to perfection, hand-breaded, pressure cooked in 100% refined peanut oil & served on a toasted, buttered bun with dill pickle chips.”
That ‘flagship’ sandwich has a ‘goodness’ about it which cannot be improved upon! I am consistently amazed at how perfectly tasty Chick-fil-A’s mere ‘chicken sandwich’ can be! It is so simple that it cannot have any part removed & maintain the same ‘goodness.’/His GOODNESS!
*Ps. 34:8—“Oh, taste & see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
?Is the focal point of your Marriage(or Singleness) upon God’s GOODNESS?
?Does your Marriage(or Singleness) Maintain God’s Intent??
‘How God Saved My Marriage—One Formula for Fighting Better’ by Olan Stubbs
Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...
7. His GOODNESS(:8)
1. His DIRECTIVES(:1)
2. His LIMITATION(:2)
3. His AFFECTION(:3)
4. His AUTHORITY(:4)
5. His COMMITMENT/Attention(:5-6)
6. His GIFTEDNESS(:7)
Pt# 7 only! presented 10/20/2019am to:
206 Storrs Ave. SW(SE Ave. A)
Carrabelle, FL 32322