We all long to be fully loved by those who know us completely. Such love provides us with affirmation, confidence, and freedom to be ourselves. If we are known but not loved we feel devastated. If we are loved but not known we feel insecure. But if we are known and loved we are naturally compelled to return that love with all of our being!
The wonderful truth is that each one of us are completely known and fully loved. God loves us with that kind of love and – unlike any human who may both know and love us – will fulfill every promise He has made to us. He will never leave our side, even to go to work or the grocery store. And He is completely devoted to us!
When we grasp the depth and quality of God’s love for us, we are overwhelmed with amazement and joy. A deep love and devotion for Him fills our hearts. The Apostle John said it best when he wrote, “We love because He first loved us.”
The Apostle Paul had a concern for the Corinthian Christians that they would lose their deep love and devotion to Christ – a danger for every Christian in any time or place. He wrote to them, “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.”
One of the ways that “serpent” Satan seduces us away from a pure devotion to Christ is by distracting us with good and noble pursuits. Marriage is sometimes one of them. We can become so focused on the good aspects of getting married and having a family that we allow that desire and pursuit to distract us from focusing on and serving Jesus. We become more enamored by human love than by the love of our Bridegroom, Jesus.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul encouraged those who weren’t married to not marry. His compelling reason was that unmarried men and women are free from the distractions of a spouse to focus only on what pleases the Lord. Singles aren’t the only ones who can become more enamored with human love than with Christ’s love. Paul gave a clear warning that being married can distract from devotion to Jesus: “A married man is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— and his interests are divided” and “a married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.”
Paul made it clear he wasn’t prohibiting anyone from marrying, but rather asking them to carefully consider the benefits of remaining single: “Now I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but because of what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.”
Obviously God doesn’t call everyone to remain single. He most definitely has a purpose and plan for marriage, and there are many couples who form strong partnerships that are fully and effectively devoted to Christ. I was blessed to be raised by one of them!
But it is often a struggle. Spouses come with their own baggage and may not always be at the same place spiritually. People grow at different rates and in different ways. One spouse must sometimes wait on the other to be ready to move forward in what God is calling them to do. And when children enter the picture, the needs of a family loom larger than life sometimes. God still calls those who are married to be completely devoted to Him, even though the distractions and obstacles are often greater.
I’m not here to tell those who are single never to marry. God has a purpose and plan just for you, and He will show you in due time if you are to marry, and whom. But while you are single – whether that be for a season or life-long – He has told us through the Apostle Paul that you have a significant advantage by having fewer distractions in your complete devotion to Him. My simple reminder to you (and to me) is, don’t waste it!