Saturday, August 18, 2012

Content


Our contentment was never meant to be founded on our external circumstances, our contentment was always meant to be founded on our internal relationship with Jesus Christ.
-David Platt

Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.  I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.  But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.  This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
I want you to be free from anxieties.  The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.  But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.  I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.  But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.  So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

I Corinthians 7:25-38 (ESV)

The thought of being content in my singleness has been on my mind a lot lately.  I'm always hearing Christian married couples saying that God brought along the right person when they were content to be single and just rest in God's love.  The danger with being told this, is that then I try to acquire this contentedness so that then God will bring along the "right girl."  This is of course the wrong focus...

Before I left camp to come home I asked one of my roommates if he had any suggestions for a preacher whose sermons I could listen to.  He immediately suggested David Platt.  I thought, of course!  I read his book "Radical" and it was excellent!  So, when I got home I began listening to his sermons when I go for a run every other day.  This past week I listened to sermon by him, entitled "The Gospel and Singleness."  You may notice that my post below this provides the link for this sermon and a transcript. If my readers are anything like I am though, you probably didn't read it or listen to it, because it was so long.  So, I'd like to summarize some of the ideas he presented.

When I first read the title of the sermon, I was interested, but at the same time a little confused.  I thought, "How does the gospel relate to singleness?"  Well, after listening to the sermon, I realized the gospel directly affects the way singles are viewed.

In the Old Testament singleness/barrenness were considered a curse.  Think about Rachel, Sara, Hannah...all of them desperately wanted children because their barrenness was looked on as a negative thing.  Widows were encouraged to remarry as soon as possible.

The coming of Jesus changed everything, though.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Matthew 19:3-12 (ESV)

In this passage and 1 Cor. 7 we see this picture of singleness (or being a eunuch) being a good thing, because it is less distracting.

...what they’re saying when they talk about singleness being good, when we understand in the backdrop of the Old Testament, we realize that it is only good because Christ has made it good. Because of the coming of the Christ, because of the Gospel, He has completely turned upside down the whole picture. Entrance into the Kingdom of God is a spiritual entrance. It’s a spiritual birth, not physical birth. As a result, both marriage and singleness are very, very good things.
-David Platt

Another thing he talked about that really hit home with me is a view that has arisen from the content of I Cor. 7:7...here's what it says:

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. (ESV)

He argues that we often view this gift like we would any other Spiritual Gift.  For example, those who have the spiritual gift of singleness will be single forever, and they have the capacity to be content with being single.  This causes us to think that those who don't have the gift of singleness, but they are currently single will be given spiritual frustration because they are not using their gift of marriage.  David Platt argues that if you are single, you have the gift of singleness...if you are married, you have the gift of marriage.  Glorify God with your life regardless of where you are...

…the issue is not whether we’re married or single…the issue is whether we’re trusting in what God has for us right now…are we content where we are? Contentment is a deep trust in the sovereignty of God.
-David Platt

We as Christians should be content where we are, regardless of wether we're married or single.  Rest in the sovereignty of God...He knows what He's doing...He has not forgotten us...

1 comment:

PrincessR said...

Wow, ouch. Very good post. I am right there with you. Being single is a gift, I know, but sometimes it just hurts.

David Platt sounds really great! I haven't read anything of his, but have heard of several books by him. Although I don't listen to sermons much, I would love to hear him more.

God Bless!