I guess being married or not married—or, as our culture has it, “in a relationship” or not—is a really, really big deal. It’s one of the first things we want to know about someone: Is he/she “in a relationship”? If you’re a follower of Jesus, you know that sex is for the marriage of one man and one woman and not outside the safety of that publicly promised covenant. But it’s still a big deal. It affects us deeply in all the dimensions of life: physically, emotionally, and socially.
. . . But Not the Biggest Deal!
The trouble is, it can become too big a deal. The really big deal is to love God. Each one of us is called to love God with every fiber of our being. So we must keep our “marital status” underneath our wholehearted discipleship, rather than letting it trump discipleship. What does your mind go to when you are just chilling? Is it the relationships question? Or is it the “how can I love God?” question? The latter is the main one!
Marriage: Sex in the Service of God
So here’s the thing: when the first man was given God’s parkland in Eden to care for (Gen. 2:15), God said it was not good that he was there on his own (Gen. 2:18). That didn’t mean he was lonely, but that he couldn’t do his job of looking after the garden all on his own. That’s why God gave him a “helper” to work alongside him. Marriage is given by God in order that together we may serve God. It’s outward looking—it’s not a discipleship-free zone in which we gaze soft-focus into one another’s eyes, but a relationship of love from which we look to love the people and the world God has made.
If you’re married, ask yourselves this question: how can we serve God in and through our marriage? There may be different kinds of answers. It’s children for many—and that’s what my next post will be about. A relationship of faithful love in which the husband loves his wife as Christ loves his church, and his wife respects and honors him as the church submits in love to Christ; something people see and that helps them catch a glimpse of a much bigger and better marriage.
Being a reliable social glue is the basic building block of society. But ask yourself that question again. Not “how can we enjoy marriage?” (though I hope you can!); but “how can we together serve God in our marriage?” It’s a game-changer question.
Not Married: Still in the Service of God
And if you’re not married, don’t mope; don’t let your unmarriedness dominate your life. It may be tough; it may be very, very tough; but get on with loving God in your unmarried state. Think how the condition you are in now enables you to love and serve Jesus now, and to promote his gospel. That too is a game-changer attitude.
We all start life unmarried. Half of us end life unmarried. Some of us never marry. Many times it can be tough and frustrating and disappointing. But when we look outward and resolve to love and serve the God who has loved us in Jesus, there is a core change of mindset.
And always hope
And always there is hope. If you are loyal and faithful to Jesus, your wedding day is still to come. That great day when the Lord Jesus consummates his marriage to his people. On that day all the longings of the human body and heart that may be partially fulfilled in a happy marriage will be gloriously fulfilled and surpassed in the eternal delight of Jesus in his bride, and his people in their Bridegroom. Keep your eyes on that day!