Words of Faith 6-8-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Study in the Land of the Bible with Dr. and Mrs. Hoy. Two trips available –
December 26, 2017 to January 5, 2018
January 4-13, 2018
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1 Corinthians 7
 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.
Another reason that Paul had lifted the “single” state focused simply on the ability to be concerned about the things of the Lord. Without a spouse or children, it is easier to make the Lord first in one's life.
The biggest potential distraction from our love relationship with God is family. Even Abraham was tempted to love Isaac more than God, but he passed the test (Genesis 22). It is obvious that the single state has potentially fewer encumbrances and distractions than the married state, so it more easily facilitates a spirit of undivided devotion to the Lord.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His followers against letting the concerns of life distract them from devotion to God-- "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matt. 6:25-34).
Jesus commended the poor widow who gave all her material sustenance to God as an act of singular devotion (Mark 12:44). A married man or woman has a duty and concern for the well-being of his family. It becomes much more difficult to be detached and be responsible. The situation illustrates Paul's point that the single life with its greater simplicity in obligations allows a potentially greater commitment of time, resources, and self to the Lord than would be possible for a married person dutifully carrying out the marital and familial obligations attached to that state.
Today's society lifts up singleness for the same reason Paul did, but with a different motivation. Singleness in secular culture allows a person to be completely dedicated to career and self-fulfillment. The "bachelor life" can be completely self-absorbed. Marriage is often postponed because the encumbrances would distract from "life-goals" and material accumulation. Since sexual purity is not an issue in the secular world, these needs can be met casually in the style of "Sex in the City" and "Friends". This was not what Paul was commending.
We are called by God not to be conformed to the pattern of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-3). If God calls a person to singleness, it is not so that they can amass material possessions or worldly accolades but so that they can live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
So can we give undivided devotion to the Lord as married people? Paul thought it was much more difficult, and it probably it. But surely the call of God for a husband to love His wife as Christ loved the church, and for a wife to be in submission to her husband is part of "living in a right way".
There is an important warning imbedded here for the married. Those who are married must take all the more care not to put family before God. There is a huge temptation to worship "family". There is an enormous temptation to worship children these days. There is a temptation to steal time and money that belongs to the Lord and use it to meet society's standard for material goods, athletic achievement and academic "success."
We are absolutely called to nurture and disciple our children, but the greatest way that we can do that is by loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength! We do not nurture our children effectively by worshiping them or making them believe that the world revolves around them. Enormous care and protection can be afforded to our children but parents must also show children the example of trusting in the Lord for provision and protection.
Jesus knew this temptation very well and warned, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Of course, Jesus did not want his disciples to hate family; this would break the Law of God. But by comparison to our undivided devotion to God, our love of family should look like hate.
Father God, help me to see what a genuine walk with You should look like. Show me the path that will give undivided devotion to You and proper discipleship and nurture to those You entrust to me. Help me to be a steward of Your fall in my life. In Jesus' Name.