I want to write a bit about the calling to be single. I am so thankful that 1 Corinthians 7 talks about being single as well as those who are married, or widowed. Verse 17 says, “Each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.”
Verses 32-35 say: “IAn unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 3and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
I love the admonition: For unmarried men — Be concerned about the Lord’s affairs. For unmarried women – Be concerned about the Lord’s affairs. Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. I personally love that last phrase. And then for both groups, “that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” That is a beautiful calling if you ask me.
One last subject I want to address, something I had to deal with when leaving the Work, and then even more so when I eventually left the meetings altogether, is what I did with the new found freedom I had. As I was slowly discovering the Gospel of Grace, I became more and more aware that God was not judging me on my outward appearance but rather on my heart and its motives and desires. So, little by little I stepped into some of those new areas of freedom as far as my appearance went and it was so much fun and so liberating! I felt feminine and pretty as never before. I knew the group disapproved but, contrary to what they assumed, it was not an act of rebellion but an act of freedom.
In other areas of freedom, yes, I tried some previously “sinful” things but gradually, I came to the same conclusion that Paul did when he wrote, “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10: 23-24 in my NIV Bible, the heading over these verses is “The Believer’s Freedom”. Paul goes on to write “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That is grace; not manmade rules or living by the expectations of others but making all choices in light of whether or not it will be for the glory of God. That whole section in that chapter (verses 23-33) is so clear about this matter. “Why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience?”
Have I made some foolish choices and decisions since leaving the Work and leaving the fellowship? Of course. But leaving both of these were not among them. I am still a work in progress. Just this morning I was giving thanks to God for His forgiveness and mercy shown to me over and over again when I have been rebellious, foolish, stubborn, unkind, unloving, impatient, judgmental, critical and even cynical at times. For my lack of faith and trust in Him at times. But He has stood by me no matter what and been a very real Presence in my life and has assured me over and over again that I am not alone.
Praise be to Him forever and forever. Amen.