Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The False Cistern of Marriage and Family. Focus on Christ, not Marriage or Family

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

(1 Corinthians 7:28-31).

Many in the modern western Church place many false hopes and security in things that are good blessings, and therefore pervert the goodness of such blessings. One such thing is marriage and family.

There has been much talk in the Church about marriage. Christian marriage blogs focus on how married couples can improve the conjugal union between spouses, talking about all its joys, often in somewhat boastful ways. Other Christian blogs express speak of how lonely it is for a person, particularly, a woman to remain unmarried, and speak incessantly about its blessings, not just for women, for married persons generally.

Some express concern about how many young Christian women are not seeking to find a husband as indicated by how she works, as if it is because she is a "careerist", rather than it is because it is NOT up to her to pursue love, even for marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31).

Whatever the motive, this talk all effectively imply that a Christian, whether a man or woman, who is not married is not complete, less blessed, has a lesser calling than a married Christian, or will not achieve as much for Christ. Thus, such critics are making all kinds of false accusations or dissension, which cause nothing but vexation in the single Christian. This is a stumbling block to the Christian who is single, not because of a disrespect for marriage like that of the world, but because it is God's will for him or her to be single, either for that season, or for life.

Such people are effectively saying that Apostles Paul and Barnabas were not complete, or has a lesser calling than their married Christian counterparts, or achieved less for Christ. Nothing can be further from the truth! 

If anyone could say he has achieve the most for Christ, it would be Apostle Paul. Barnabas would probably come very close to Paul. God was faithful to them until the very end.

As honourable as it is to desire marriage and family (Hebrews 13:4), they are things which can and do most definitely become idols, in which one places one's hope in such things, rather than in God. This has certainly been the case in the modern western Church, in seeking to resist the culture which despises marriage, and even thinks it to be outdated. This is particularly the case when Christians emphasis the earthly 'benefits' of marriage, such as increased wealth, health and happiness, if these things do actually manifest.

While it is good to resist the culture and stand up for God's institution of marriage and family, it is critical that such things are not made out to be sources of security, in which one places one hope in. This is because Jesus Himself tells His followers not to trust in earthly things in Matthew 6:24-34. 

Many think that Jesus is only talk about mammon in Matthew 6:24-34. He is indeed talking about mammon, which is the spirit behind the desire to seek security in any earthly temporal thing. Indeed, one thing many people, including many Christians focus on is the material benefits of marriage, if it can actualise that is. Many single Christians covet married Christians for being able to have a "double-income". However, this covetousness is itself the love of mammon, being a lack of contentment, leading to the failure to trust in God to provide, the root of which is pride. As Hebrews 13:5 exhorts:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Jesus Himself also rebukes His followers to seek first the Kingdom of God, and tells them that all their needs will be provided by God:

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

(Matthew 6:30-34).

Many secular reports talk about how married people are happier than single people. However, such reports are rubbish and should be totally disregarded.

The single Christian should never ever ever ever be discomforted, or discouraged by such reports of hearing how one might be less happy than one's married Christian counterparts. This is because he or she has Christ and can therefore do much more for Christ in his or her calling, and focus on God, undistracted by the cares of the world, which are many:

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

(1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Nor should the married Christian gloat about how he or she is likely to be more happy, that is, happy in the earthly temporal sense than one's single Christian counterparts, as so many do.

This is because marriage and family are only earthly temporal things.  Christ, however, is eternal. Your marriage is not. Christ is forever faithful. Your spouse may not be faithful. Even if he or she is, he or she faces temptations to not be faithful. Christ is Almighty. Your spouse is not almighty and neither are you. Christ will reign forevermore. Your spouse will not reign forever more and either will you. Christ will live forever. You spouse will not live forever if he or she is not saved by the blood of Jesus.

Thus, the single Christian should not strive to be married, but seek God as to whether it is His will that the Christian man should seek to find a wife, and that a Christian woman should prepare herself to be given in marriage to her future husband. For it is the man, not the woman, who is to leave his parents and be one flesh with his wife (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31).

I exhort all single followers of Christ to focus on Christ, strive for Christ, not marriage and family. Strive for Christ who is eternal, Almighty, who lives forevermore, and who reigns forevermore.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).