My heart is on fire as I sing and imagine the words expressing Gods closeness and power – “Hold me close, let my arms surround you and you will fly like an Eagle – in the power of my love”.
“All these words are from Me to you today and those who follow your blog. My closeness through My Spirit in you is what makes all the difference – as you abide in Me I can abide in you – as you open your eyes and believe and trust, I am there in that power – The power of My love to help you to fly with wings like an Eagle – but that flying is not always spectacular – it is often very mundane, in the moments of frustration and disappointment, where the tasks I give you start to feel onerous – you need to keep trusting, To keep believing and in that moment I lift you from the mundane, from suffering, even boredom and you can fly with me – soaring on My power. That is what abiding in Me is like and my promise is if you abide in me so I will continue to abide in you.
We come now to a chapter in 1 Corinthians (ch 7), which deals with marriage. Now the circumstances of most of our readers are that much of what is said here may appear to be irrelevant to us at the present time in our lives. Yet the whole bible is written for us and there is always some relevance, so let’s see what we can hear Jesus saying to us from this chapter rather than just skipping through it.
Firstly we need to take into account the cultural circumstances prevailing there in that society. A society which was living focused on temple worship as their main source of “entertainment”. Part of that involved sexual practices and orgies. As Paul writes he is answering questions put to him, which have arisen in the new church. Presumably there was a reaction by some as they were saved, to abstain from sex and marriage as a demonstration of their new spirituality.
So Paul addresses those who are struggling with the whole question of singleness. If we stand back and allow the Lord to give the bigger picture to us on singleness we can learn a few things he is trying to express. Firstly, while some may be called to be single, to be able to serve the Lord, as he classes himself, there is no special merit in keeping oneself single. We have the example of the RC church who expect many to remain single if they wanted to serve the Lord. Clearly if one is not called to be single and gifted for it the door is open for all sorts of malpractices.
On the other hand if one finds oneself to be single there is also nothing wrong with it. Those who are single are equally loved by the Lord as those who are married. Widows also have the choice of marrying again or remaining single.
From this section and other parts of the word, marriage is a very important building block in God’s kingdom and therefore is often the focus of Satan’s attacks. The practical advice that Paul gives to spouses who are saved and their unbelieving partners is extremely valuable. Many a promising Christian life has been diverted by an unbelieving partner.
The passage in Ephesians 5 which draws the comparison of marriage to the relationship of the church with Jesus is extremely important. It shows how God has drawn a man and a woman together in a relationship which is especially intimate and points to the intimacy of their relationship with Jesus Himself. This is why a good marriage is actually such a strong witness to the power and love intimacy Jesus desires with His people.
But what about those who find themselves to be single for whatever reason? Do they miss out? I believe this is the absolute beauty of the gospel. Those who have no intimate partner have the most loving, most intimate partner in Jesus Himself. Throughout the OT you will remember how God called Himself the “Husband” of Israel and therefore felt the huge rejection very deeply when they turned away from Him to worship other gods.
In a similar vein, since God/ Jesus is not present physically here among us at the moment, when there are single people in our congregation, we are all called to be their physical comfort for them and for each other. I have experienced this in some most tender ways and praise the Lord that I can be part of His family with Him as the head and my brothers and sisters as my closest family.
I have to remind myself that while God is interested in having a deep personal relationship with me, He is nevertheless busy with a far greater program at he same time. Building a kingdom which will glorify Him. He wants us to to be growing in the micro-sphere of intimacy with Him as well as the macro-sphere of this glorious kingdom. The one flows into the other.
So I will continue to “abide in Him and trust His promise that He is abiding in me so that through the power of His love I can soar with wings as an eagle.