1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife” (NIV).
Observation: Paul used a variety of metaphors to encourage us to be content in present circumstances so as to focus wholeheartedly on devotion to God. Whether always single or single again, whether slave or free, Paul asserted that we find ourselves in “the situation” (1 Cor. 7:24) God has called us to. As such we should be content and do all we can to devote ourselves to the Lord.
Application: Paul addressed the hope that we would become so consumed with the passionate pursuit of God that all other passions would be subsumed in that larger calling. The challenge for marrieds is, of course, that they by definition have divided loyalties. They must give their all to serving one another, as well as Christ. Paul’s language in verse 4 is interesting in its implications. By specifically referring to the wife’s and husband’s “bodies” belonging to one another, the application first evoked is sexual. When wedded, we are, with limited exceptions, to give ourselves wholly to one another.
Young newlyweds with raging hormones need no such instruction, but the realization soon sets in that life extends beyond the bedroom. A richness enters life as we learn to live out the fulness of our wedding vows: for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. Paul’s metaphor of bodies given to one another may aptly be applied to the church at large, too, and in that sense is not limited to marrieds.
How energetic am I in seeking to serve those in my local fellowship, and in the greater world around me? How much personal comfort am I willing to surrender for their good? How much time and money do I regularly give to bless others? To serve effectively as a dues-paying member of the body of Christ surely requires among other things that I make daily choices against immediate fulfillment of sensory pleasures. Can I imagine Christ as a couch potato spending evenings in front of a television?
In determined pursuit of serving others, I become more like Him. Married or single, slave or free, I have unlimited capacity to choose my pursuits. As He becomes to me the “main thing” regardless of my “situation,” I become like Him. I am the product of choices made daily as to how my time and money will be used. God, through Paul, urges me to make the same choice the Son has made: to surrender all in order to gain rewards of surpassing value.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask You today to bring Holy Spirit conviction to examine each decision I make as to how I invest my life. I want above everything for it to count in Your service.