“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not 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….Do not deprive one another except by agreement for a limited time that you may devote yourselves to prayer-but come together again…Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him…. (Remember), You were bought with a price…” 1 Cor 7:1-5; 17; 23
I think there is a key principle here that the Holy Spirit is saying: Live whole heartedly to God. The rest are details to be surrendered to….
If I look at the whole of Chapter 7 I see that there are statements about men, women, marriage, slave, and free. All these statements come as a corrective action to what was going on at the church at Corinth.
It probably started innocently enough as a reaction to the culture of the Corinthian community AND as a desire to be “set apart in holiness.” But it devolved into a set of rules and Biblical godliness suffered as a result.
Sex all over the town? Time to be an ascetic and stop all sex-even between husband and wife. Maybe abuse was going on, men treating women badly. Maybe other things: the letter to Corinth refers to some “out there” things later on. Whatever are the core issues, for sure the subject of sex can bring out the extremes. And with extremes, come speed bumps to stumble over.
Time for transparency: Sex is an issue I have had issues with all my life. Burn with passion? Boy, do I know that feeling. But now I am experiencing the other swing of the pendulum.
For younger guys, self-control is the need. For wives, the same (according to Paul in the scriptures). For older guys? Yep, self-control–but like me, maybe in the other direction of drive.
The point for me (and maybe others) is: How do I please God? Note that I am not referring to earning my salvation but the turning of my heart towards Him who Called me. Married men? Married Women? Unmarried? This is the cry to have: “I want to please You O God!!”
The gist of Chapter 7 on marriage and sexual relations is that in marriage, sex is to serve, not to be serviced. For the unmarried it is the same: Serve God, not yourself. In marriage “How do I serve my wife?” Or “how to I serve my husband?” There isn’t a rule here to follow except for following the principles of being a disciple.
I was bought with a price!! I would like to think I adhere to “my life is no longer my own.” In practice this is so far from the truth. It is why I must be ruthless and fierce with fighting the sin within, mortifying that wretched creature that I was set free from—and finding that it is still hard to run from.
“To the Cross I cling, the Blood that washes me clean.” Again and again, every day I must look to the Cross.
O God. Please do not let this journal entry be just a set of words, an assignment to be completed. I write this facing the man in the mirror. Deliver me, O God so that I may serve properly as a husband. Help those reading this begin to pray with a view of the mirror, man and women. I pray Father that I am NOT being self-serving-if I am, Holy Spirit make me see it. Marriage is a gift and I thank You for the gift You have given me, the best thing that has happened to me. Help others to see as sharply as I do about their spouse. AMEN