Daily Devotionals

The Relationship Playbook: Week 1 - Thursday

I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Corinthians 7:35

During the summer of 2014, I spent two months in Romania. Part of the time I was in Romania, I worked with children at a school in a gypsy village. The majority of these children were taking care of themselves because their parents were away in other countries trying to earn money. As a result, these children were at risk of being abandoned. Before class began each day, the five and six-year-old girls loved to pick "flowers," which were actually weeds, in the grass by the school. One day, a little girl gave me a handful of the "flowers" she had just picked. I then took the "flowers" and gave them to a little girl at the camp. As soon as I gave them to her, she started going around the room, handing out flowers to everyone until she had her very last one. I was moved by that moment. Here was a very poor little girl, covered in dirt and wearing clothes filled with holes, joyfully giving away everything that she could with the gift she had been given. This little girl's generosity taught me something very important: we have the opportunity to use our gifts to impact others. Just like that little girl, you have been given gifts from God, even if those gifts seem like "weeds" to us, they are gifts. Are you single? The Bible teaches that singleness is a gift. Are you married? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a gift. The question is, how will we use these gifts?

The apostle Paul spent a lot of time talking about marriage and singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. In this chapter, Paul stated very clearly that marriage and singleness are both gifts. If possible, Paul stated, he believed that it was better for him to be single because singleness allowed Him to serve the Lord fully, undistracted. If, however, it is more distracting for someone to stay single, marriage is better. Either way, both marriage and singleness are gifts. In these particular verses, Paul encourages those who are single to use that gift as best as they can to honor and glorify God. For those who are married, he called them to honor God in their marriages. In both instances, the call is to honor God in whatever season readers find themselves in.

What season are you currently in? Are you single, hoping that God will provide for you a spouse? Are you married, wondering what kind of spouse God is calling you to be? My friend, turn to God. Seek to honor Him by using whatever gifts God has given you to the best of your ability.

Moving Toward Action

How has God gifted you? Do you have extra time on your hands to serve God? Go on a mission trip. Help out a friend in need. Spend an extended amount of time reading your Bible. Maybe you are a parent. You have an incredible time to impact your children for Christ. Are you married? Perhaps you can demonstrate your love for your spouse by serving them. Whatever gift you have been given, think of one thing you can do today to use your gifts to God's glory in whatever season you are in right now.

Going Deeper

Read 1 Corinthians 7:32-40 (NLT)

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin. But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry. So the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord. But in my opinion it would be better for her to stay single, and I think I am giving you counsel from God’s Spirit when I say this.