19 Aug Episode 9: Single or Married: Am I leading the life that God has assigned me?
August 19, 2020 | Susie Rock
Hey there, today we’re going to be talking about “Singleness and Marriage: Are you leading the life to which God has called you?” Sadly, so many women have some discontentment and uncertainty sitting in the hearts of their lives, and they’re always asking themselves, “Am I leading the life to which God has called me?” They want to honour and glorify God with their lives, but they’re not sure. They lack the confidence. When we raise this question against the topic of marriage and singleness, this anxiety shoots up through the roof.
1 Corinthians 7 gives clear directions for marriage and singleness. Many instructions are given- they’re very specific- and yet, the overall message, I believe, is a call to contentment. Paul gives very specific instructions, and married as well as single people should listen to those instructions. We should all be very familiar with 1 Corinthians 7. But in general, He’s calling us to contentment whether we are married, single, or betrothed. He even talks about people who are rejoicing and mourning, and he talks about bond-servants. All are called to contentment and to mission. We should heed these instructions whatever our situation might be. We are to be content, knowing that God has put us there.
For the sake of time, I’m not going to read all of chapter 7. I hope that if you’ve been following our daily recommended reading, you’ve already read the full thing. So please don’t mistake my pulling out certain verses as picking and choosing God’s word. All of God’s word is important. But, I’ve chosen a few verses because I see an overall theme coming out of those.
So, first of all, in verse 7, it says, I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. And in verse 8, he says, To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. And then in verse 17, he says, Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. If we continue on to verse 27, we read, Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. And of course, in verse 38, this is what we read: So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
What I’m hearing is a call to contentment in whatever situation you’re in. This means that if you are married, you should live as a married woman. Don’t live as if you’re still single. This should sadden us and concern us if we see married women making a habit of going on vacation regularly with their girlfriends and without their husband, when we see married women having separate bank accounts, when we see married women who do not want to follow the leadership of their husband, who are always complaining about their children. I’m asking, “Why did you get married?” But at the same time, this does not give you the freedom to say, “Okay, well, I’m not happy anymore, so I’m just going to choose not to be married anymore.” Very clearly, Paul has said that if you are married, do not seek to be free. Rather, if we’re finding ourselves in a state of discontentment in our marriage, we should be repenting, once again submitting to the rule and authority of God, and living within the boundaries that He’s given to us.
At the same time, if you are single, don’t live as if you are married. Meaning, don’t live as if you are weak and vulnerable and unable to cope without a man. Don’t put your life on hold until you have a husband, don’t be sexually active, and don’t rule out God’s rules for wives and mothers just because you aren’t one. They are still God’s rules, and we should still uphold them.
Regardless of whether we are married or single, we are called to contentment and being content in our situation. So whether we are married or single, our mission always remains the same: to glorify God by making disciples. Our situation will affect how we live it out. Some situations make it easier, and some situations make it harder, but our focus still is the same. Our focus should be living on mission, not changing our situation. Now, isn’t that an overarching problem? We are a discontented people; we are unhappy, we are always trying to change our situations. We always think that the grass is greener on the other side. If only we could grasp our mission as found in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations, it would help us so much more to be content on the path that God has given to us.
I’ll be the first to confess that there are times when I am not content. I feel sorry for myself, or I sulk, and I forget my mission because I’m so focused on my situation. Not necessarily about marriage, but just whatever difficult situation that I’m in, and I lose sight of my mission. That’s not good! The reality is that whether we’re married or single, our mission is the same. People are dying and going to hell while we’re sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, trying to make ourselves more content, and trying to have a better situation. The reality is that we need to get over ourselves so that we can continue to build God’s kingdom.
At the same time, having said this, I will once again say as I said a few weeks ago that it is not good to be alone. God has made us to be relational beings. Therefore, singleness should not equal aloneness. The single person should strive first and foremost to seek unity with Christ, and then secondly, unity within the body of Christ. Let’s not just pass judgment on one another, saying, “Well, it’s her fault,” or, “They’re not reaching out to me enough,” or whatever it might be. The reality is that we all need to learn and to commit to be better at loving on one another, and to promoting greater unity whether we are married, single, or widowed. Together, we want to be one in Christ. We want to be content in the situation that God has placed us in, because we are one in Him.
I do want to say that it is not a wrong desire to be married. God created marriage from the very beginning in Genesis. He designed marriage, and it’s a beautiful display of the gospel. The desire for marriage is not wrong in and of itself; it’s when it leads to discontentment that it becomes a problem. I totally understand the desire for marriage. I think most young girls- probably even young boys- they desire that for themselves. As a mom, I desire that for my children. I understand what it’s like to wonder, “What if it doesn’t happen?” It’s okay to take moments to reflect on that and maybe even to grieve it if it’s not been something that God has given to you at this point. And yet, we can never settle for discontentment, no matter the situation that we’re in.
I challenge all of us to take a daily assessment in this coming week and ask ourselves, “What’s my level of contentment today?” At the end of the day, mark it down: what’s your level of contentment? I think you’re going to start seeing patterns in your life. Maybe you are content. Praise the Lord. But if you’re living in a habit of discontentment, we need to confess that and once again choose to respond with contentment. Contentment in knowing that God is in control, He loves us, He’s placed us in this situation, He has a mission for us. That should be our focus: to glorify God by making disciples. Together, let’s recommit ourselves to contentment in whatever situation we find ourselves.
1. How does it affect your perspective, knowing that God has assigned your singleness or your marriage?
2. How are you living on mission for God, in your assignment of either singleness or marriage?
3. What characteristic of God, keeps you grounded in the challenged of either singleness or marriage?
4. Over the next week, keep a daily journal of your contentedness. Are you encouraged by your contentment, or do you need to repent of discontent? How can you continue or begin being content in your assignment?
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