May 21, 2023 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This page requires that you are logged in. Login and try this page again
Don’t have an account? Sign up ›
“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”—1 Corinthians 7:8–9 (ESV)
Keeping in line with today’s Scripture, I love how 1 Corinthians 7:7 (MSG) reads: “Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.” Here Paul is letting us Christians know that singleness is by no means commanded. However, we do have permission to walk out our faith as a single person.
Let’s address both sides of the fence—those desiring to remain single and those that do not.
For those who desire to remain single. If you have experienced negativity for this decision, stand firm. Despite what the culture and even some churches portray, singleness is not a dilemma that needs to be dealt with. Paul quite enjoyed his singleness, and so can you. It’s perfectly acceptable to be single. You’re not lacking or incomplete in your singleness. Marriage doesn’t equate to completeness. In reality, both singleness and marriage comes with challenges. The good news is the Lord gives us liberty to choose which path we’ll navigate. The single Christian has the luxury of time that married Christians aren’t always afforded. Enjoying undivided time with the Lord is an incredible blessing. This was Paul’s perspective on why it was so satisfying and spiritually fruitful to remain single. As we know, he accomplished great things in his singleness.
For those who don’t desire to remain single. As today’s verse indicates, if sexual self-control cannot be exercised, Paul advises, “they should marry.” Sexuality is one of the most hotly contested topics of our day. And as Christians, we know people are watching us. Unbelievers desperately want to know if we actually believe and follow God’s design for sex or if we’re just all talk. Does your devotion to the Lord override your desire for sex? Your body is a glorious temple for the Holy Spirit to abide (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Believers are called to flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22). Walking in celibacy before marriage can be one of the most powerful testimonies of your Christian faith as actions speak louder than words. If we long to be counter-cultural and reflect God’s heart to a lost and dying world, Christians are to practice self-control when it comes to their sexual desires. Sadly, we live in a sex-saturated, immoral, self-serving culture that promotes pleasure over principles. So, what Paul is saying is if sexual purity requires more self-control then you can genuinely handle then it’s better to get married.
Paul isn’t encouraging believers to rush into marriage just to meet their sexual desires. Seeking a spouse is a serious and holy endeavor. Amongst many other factors, we should seek to find a devoted Christian that loves God with their whole mind, soul, and strength and loves their neighbor as themselves. A marriage covenant is a forever commitment. We must look beyond the bedroom when seeking a godly spouse.
Pause: Meditate on Luke 6:46 (NIV): “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Reflect on the significance of your body being the temple—a dwelling place for God’s divine presence. Do you treat this truth as seriously as a first-century Christian would have? Does this Scripture shape and mold all that you think and do? Ask yourelf, “Do my actions and private thought life align with my professed beliefs?”
Practice: Write down your profession of faith in the area of sexuality. Then, over the next couple of weeks, take an honest evaluation of anything that contradicts those beliefs. Even assess the music, entertainment, and the friends you keep company with. If repentance is necessary, run to the Lord for forgiveness.
Pray: Dear Lord, help me to abide in the center of Your divine will. Give me a reverence and a renewed seriousness to treat my body as Your temple. Allow me to consistently seek Your direction, wisdom, and strength as I flee from passions and pursue righteousness. Amen.
Deb Marsalisi is an author, public speaker, mentor and Fire Inspector. She began her writing journey to make peace with her challenging past. It has provided her with an outlet for creative self-expression, and a healthy new perspective on life.
Through God’s amazing grace, she has learned to rejoice in life’s ups and downs, struggles and victories understanding they’ve been given so she can help and inspire others on their own journey of restoration. Her passion is to support others in emotional and spiritual habits that are truly life-changing. She spends her free time loving, encouraging and mentoring young women to grow in their relationship with Jesus. And she also enjoys cooking amazing meals for her friends and family.