March 6, Monday

markThe AMI QT Devotionals from March 6-12 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 20 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (ESV)

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. [1]

6Most cultures and people have a very high view of marriage.   In the movie Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise who plays the main character tells Renee Zellweger, “You complete me.”   I’ve come to realize that this is not just romantic sentiment, but it is something that is believed by many people: life is not complete and you are not a complete person until you have found a person for marriage.  In our generation of postponed marriage, divorce, and singleness, this societal expectation has become a great point of pain and anxiety.  Yet in this passage, Paul reminds us that the relationship between a man and a woman does not make a person complete.  I want you to consider these following points from Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:

  • Jesus, who was the most fully human person to have ever lived, never got married and He advocated the single life by teaching us marriage, as we know it in this age, is not the final destiny of any human (Mark 12:25).
  • The apostle Paul was one these men who was chosen to renounce marriage for the sake of the gospel, and there have been many other great men and women who have taken this path.

And there are several reasons why singleness is a celebrated status in the Scriptures.  The Bible celebrates celibacy because it offers opportunities for single-minded devotion to the ministry of Christ.  In addition, singleness is considered a gift from the Lord and marriage viewed as something of a concession for those who do not have the gift of singleness.

I believe that the renouncing of the right to marry is one of the greatest sacrifices that a  Christian can make.  Coming from the married perspective, I would say that it ranks a close second to sacrificing your physical life for the gospel.  And for me personally, I think I would rather give up my rights to live than give up my rights to have a wife and a family—clearly, I don’t have the gift of celibacy!  However, the benefits of singleness are not just for those called to a life of celibacy.  Everyone has periods of singleness in life and in those seasons, it’s important to give single-minded devotion and our full effort to serving the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, whether we are married or single, we know that we have been called to serve You.  We recognize the benefits of marriage but also realize its limitations.  In the same way, we recognize that singleness affords us an opportunity to serve You without the constraints of family responsibilities.  Either way, help us to make the most of our relational status, married or single, and to serve you accordingly.  Amen.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 7:1–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 17


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Mark 12:18-27(ESV): And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” 

Questions to Consider

  1. Why did the Sadducees propose such an outlandish scenario?
  2. What will be our marital status in heaven?
  3. What are the practical implications of our marriage status in heaven?

Notes

  1. The Sadducees were the liberal wing of Judaism and did not believe in the resurrection. As an argument against the Pharisees, who did believe in the resurrection, they commonly used arguments like this because the Pharisees believed that earthly relationships were binding in heaven.  Under Levitical law, brothers were held responsible for taking care of one another wives in the case of death before they could bear children.  This obviously would cause a huge problem in heaven if the same women was married to multiple brothers on earth!
  2. Jesus takes the Pharisee’s understanding of resurrection to a much higher level by teaching us that our earthly relationships are no longer binding in heaven, and there will be no marriage in the life to come.
  3. The practical implications of this doctrine is that everyone who is redeemed will only have a singular focus to their devotion and will fulfill their role as the bride of Christ for all eternity.

EVENING REFLECTION

Whether you are married or single, all people go through times of isolation and loneliness.   In the midst of those times, our future fellowship with Jesus can be a great source of hope and encouragement.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would be your constant companion and fill you with the assurance of God’s love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s