Read: 1Cor 7:1-40
I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor 7:35b
Paul here is answering questions from the church in Corinth and giving them some directions on living a godly life in an immoral culture. Corinth was known as a sexually promiscuous place, and those addictions and practices were making their way into the church. As the people of Corinth found Jesus, they brought their baggage with them.
Paul gives them good advice on keeping their hearts pure and their lives focused on God’s kingdom.
Today’s culture and the pervasiveness of pornography, sexual addiction, and promiscuity is not unlike the Corinth of Paul’s day. How do we live in a sexually charged world and not inappropriately express this powerful impulse placed within us by God?
Basically, Paul says if you can stay unmarried and not lust then do that… you will get more done for God, and save yourself the challenges of marriage. But he acknowledges that few can pull that off, so if you can’t not lust, get married and have lots of sex. (I like this guy!!!)
Paul basically acknowledges that we are all wired a little differently and that a one size fits all approach to this topic, and I would add many others, doesn’t work. The bottom line is that we need to “do what helps us serve the Lord best with as few distractions as possible.”
Immorality of any kind will distract us from the work God has for us, so if we find ourselves stuck in immoral patterns, (greed, lust, lying, gluttony, etc.) we must do what we must do to stop. In the case of lust… the solution is to get married (which does have it’s own distractions). Those distractions are less impacting than living in sexual sin.
I love Paul’s approach here. Use your brain, know yourself, give yourself to God’s work first, then make the best decisions you can for God’s sake. Not a brainless recipe, but an acknowledgment that each one of us is an unfinished piece of art and we get to participate in the shaping of our lives for God’s glory. How cool is that?
Jesus – please help me to live like you are coming back soon. Help me to give myself to doing whatever it takes to serve you best. Help me manage the impulses of this body and express them in ways that bring you honor. In your name I pray, amen.