When I began to read the selection for this week, I felt a little ill-equipped. I know the Lord called me to do this study, but I definitely did not feel like I could do it this week. As soon as I cleared my mind and pushed away the thoughts of inferiority, I saw how this passage was about so much more than my first impression.
1 Corinthians 7:1-19
This passage in Corinthians is Paul's reply to many questions posed to him by the church at Corinth. The culture surrounding this church was full of sexual temptation MUCH like the society that we face today.
Everywhere you look, it is easy to find temptation. Whether it is a click away on the Internet, a television commercial or a walk around the mall, sex is everywhere all the time. My heart hurts for the man of today. It has to be extremely difficult to constantly have to avert your eyes. It is hard for anyone to withstand these temptations when they feed normal and natural desires that God has built within all of us.
That is why God created marriage. That and to make us more holy.
I am definitely not trying to say that being single makes you any less of a person than someone who is married or vice versa. Each comes with it’s own advantages and disadvantages.
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. (1 Corinthians 7:17)
Both marriage and singleness are gifts from God. Both are valuable to accomplishing God’s purpose. The key is being content in where God has you for the moment. Whether you are a long-time believer who feels like you have been single for far too long or a new believer who is married to someone who believes differently than you, God has you in this place for a reason. Maybe you are the person who is going to impact your spouse for Christ. Maybe this time is when you are supposed to be drawing close to Christ more than ever so you can impact someone you have yet to meet. Maybe you are supposed to do a twelve-week study on the blog that you started for selfish reasons. God will always meet you exactly where you are and use that situation for His glory.
This chapter really felt like an extension of chapter four to me. We get to see Esther going before the king. We get to see the beginning of the plan to stand up to Haman. Then we once again see the pride and bitterness of Haman.
And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. (Esther 5:9)
Haman’s hatred for Mordecai is so intense that he cannot even enjoy the honor that has just been bestowed on him by dining with the king and Esther. He is so bitter that the very sight of Mordecai ruins his day.
Have you ever been so engrossed in despising someone that the very sight of them ruined your day? I’ll be completely honest with you and raise my hand at this point. I have held so much wrath in my heart for someone that I couldn’t even be in the same room as them. The only way I was able to rise above it was through the help of the Lord.
1. Set boundaries. Seek the Lord and His guidance when it comes to boundaries with the opposite sex. It is easy to say something, but it is a whole other thing to put it into practice. Set these boundaries and meditate upon them. Focus on them when the temptation comes.
2. Examine your heart for bitterness. In Hebrews 12:15 we are told that the “root of bitterness” will cause us to fall short of the grace of God. We do not want to hinder our relationship with the Lord because we are bitter towards someone else. That bitterness is doing nothing but causing us harm.
I feel like I end this way every week, but I really am enjoying doing this study. I hope you are gaining at least as much as I am from this experience.
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Next weeks readings are 1 Corinthians 7:20-40 and Esther 5.
Remember that you are not alone. God is always with you, and there is a community of people praying for you.