The Corinthian church was a mess. At least, that’s the common view. They were a church full of issues, including an issue of church discipline that they needed to deal with. After studying through 1 Corinthians 7 I give them credit for one thing. They had the courage to ask challenging questions. If they applied Paul’s answers, I’m sure they became less of a mess. My experience is that we don’t ask the questions because we think we already know the answers and we don’t want to apply them.
What is the cure for the mess? The cure is to have our focus on the right thing. I’ve been struggling with balance for several years. I’m thinking of putting up one of those white boards that are used in factories to record the number of days without an accident. Mine would be to record the number of days without falling. I have a set of balance exercises that I do and there is one that is particularly frustrating. I stand on one leg and swing the other leg back and forth. There are many keys to doing this successfully, but the one that is crucial is to find something to focus on. Shifting my focus for a second immediately leads to having to set the other foot down to keep from falling. When I think back on my many falls in most cases I can identify something that distracted me. I really can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
Life is full of distractions. Some lead to our falling physically and many others lead to our falling spiritually. Paul’s solution was to focus on the mission that God has given him. Paul’s mission was to take the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles. He evaluated every decision he made in the light of how it would affect his ability to carry out God’s mission in his life. Paul knows this is easier for him as a single person than it will be for someone who is married.
Singleness worked for Paul, but I’m very grateful for God’s gift of marriage. My wife and I have been married for over 45 years. Our love for God is one of the things that brought us together. Our love for God and our love for each other continue to hold us together. However, we are two very different people and we often have differing views of our mission and how best to carry it out. We find it easier to resolve these differences when we can agree on the mission, God’s purpose for our lives. When we have that common focal point, it is much easier to walk together. Our day to day routine is going to dramatically change over the next several months. I’m looking forward to the opportunity this will give us to work through what our lives will look like when things return to normal, to establish our next focal point.
For my grandchildren:
Keep your eyes on God to prevent falling.