The passage we looked at tonight was 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. One clarification, one question.
1 – I made a comment last night when I was speaking about Chappo’s comments on 1 Corinthians 7 about Paul stating that marriage was a good option for those struggling with sex, not necessarily for companionship. This may have sounded like me saying that marriage isn’t for companionship also – I believe it is! (and so does Chappo I’m pretty sure). But part of being in God’s family is that strong companionship, friendship and relationships should also be found outside of a marriage relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Anyway, to say what I was saying better, you can read what Chappo was saying for yourself. He’s a wise man, he says some hard things, but they’re some good things. Read it here.
2 – A good question last night about contentment and singleness – how do you find it. One of my friends who’s a Godly guy gave me the answer I’ve pasted below. The Godliness & wisdom of this answer is astounding. If you’re interested, you can also listen to a talk from Jenny Salt (Australian who works at Sydney Missionary & Bible College) on Singleness here.
I’ve found that contentment is something that needs to be worked hard at (maybe a bit ‘same same but different’ as the way a couple need to constantly work at maintaining their marriage(??)). I see pursuing contentment very much as one of those ‘active’ things, not a passive thing that you just wait for it to happen to you.
For me, key has been constantly reminding myself (and thanking God) for his blessings and the many good things I do have. Ephesians 1:3 comes to mind. And aside from the spiritual, there’s other stuff like good health, being born in Australia rather than North Korea or the Sudan (I’m being serious here!), my friends and family, secure job and relative wealth etc.)
Philippians 4:12 has been a key verse for me that I think of often (meditate on … for want of a slightly better term) and use as a springboard for prayer:
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want…
… whether I’m married or single.
Pursuing contentment has taken much prayer over quite some time. I’ve worked hard at (and prayed for) establishing a large group of great friends, Christian and non-Christian. As a general rule I take every invite / opportunity I can to catch up with friends. My church community and bible study group are incredibly valuable to me.
I’ve also learned to enjoy my own company and taken up sports/hobbies I can enjoy doing solo.
I concentrate intently on rejoicing in the blessings that I have in Christ, the hope that awaits in heaven, and how the things I’m ‘missing out on’ in this life now pale in comparison to the greatness of what awaits in heaven.
Along the lines of 1 Corinthians 7:32, I try to make the most of the freedom I have to serve in God’s kingdom in ways I probably couldn’t if I was married and had a family – even if that just means I’ve got more time to go to meetings or can be more generous with my money than my married friends.