Being and Becoming Christian
One of my favorite quotes from the movie Princess Bride came from the Impressive Clergyman in all his regal clothing who said, “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” (Yes, I’m smiling even now.) The two people standing before him are not two people in love, but arch enemies. She wants someone else. He has trapped her into marrying him. Tru Wuv? I don’t think so.
We attended the marriage of a friend in a church that had great formality in presentation. When the priest came out dressed much like the clergyman in Princess Bride, (he even looked like him), I lean over to Randy and whispered, “Mawage…” We almost had to step out to regain control or ourselves. This was not a time for out of control giggling. (Smiling, again.)
Paul, has even better advice about marriage, that lines up with God’s Law and His best for us. He also has some advice for singles, too. Read, sorting out what the world says versus what God’s Word clearly states. We need to remember that God loved us first. We love him back. Then marriage, if that is what we choose follows our relationship with God first. If God is not in the center, then it is a much harder life to live.
1 Corinthians 7, The Message
To Be Married, to Be Single . . .
7 Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations?
2-6 Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.
7 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.
8-9 I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single.
10-11 And if you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command, not mine. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife.
12-14 For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God.
15-16 On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you’ve got to let him or her go. You don’t have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.
17 And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.
Points to ponder…
“God, not your marital status, defines your life.”
“Marriage is a decision to serve the other.”
Dear Heavenly Father, Strengthen our marriages and draw near to singles. We understand fully that You come first. Thank you for a saving relationship with you that is packed with the example of unconditional love. Thank you for loving us first so that we may love each other better. Show us how to love even more deeply each day. In Jesus Name, Amen