- 1 Cor. 5:1-11:16
In today's reading, Paul instructs the Corinthian Christians about a number of subjects, including holy living, dealing with sinful brethren, judging disputes, not suing one another, marriage, eating of meat that was sacrificed to idols, individual rights, preaching the gospel, and roles of men and women. For today's devotional, I want to focus on the teachings regarding marriage and divorce.
Consider these words:
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
(1 Cor. 7:10-11 NIV)
GOD's word contains a lot of information about marriage and divorce. Some of the teachings seem complicated and difficult to understand, but much of it is straight forward. The bottom line is this: GOD intends marriage to be a life-long commitment between a man and a woman. Sadly, in the United States today, about half of all marriages end in divorce. Think about this. That means one out of every two couples who marry end up divorcing, which is sinful and against GOD's will.
Why is divorce such a problem in our culture today? Let me suggest three reasons for you to think about:
- One or both spouses aren't fully committed to GOD at the time of the divorce. Life is hard, and sometimes bad things happen and married people can sometimes allow events of life to cause problems in their marriage. When this happens, if both spouses aren't 100% committed to obeying GOD, they start looking for a way out of the situation, which often results in divorce.
- Selfishness. Marriage is all about giving and serving your spouse. Any time one spouse begins thinking about what they can "get" from their husband or wife as opposed to what they can "give," the relationship is destined for trouble. And this is really hard to do. It's hard not to dwell on selfish thoughts, especially when you feel strongly about something you want your spouse to do or stop doing. But selfish thoughts are like a plague that swarms over your life until everything has been consumed and destroyed.
- One or both spouses have unhealthy input sources. We are a combination of the things we see, hear, read, and the people we associate with—in other words, we are a product of our environment. James 4:4 tells us that the world is at war with GOD—that the world and GOD are enemies. If we fill our minds with the wrong music, books, magazines, TV shows, Internet content, entertainment activities, or conversations from other people, then our minds are going to dwell on these things, and the result is going to be that our lives begin to look like the world rather than GOD. If we do this, our marriage will suffer and likely end in divorce.
Young people, marriage is a very serious decision and commitment, and GOD views it that way too. When we make a promise to our spouse that we will love them and stay with them until death separates us that is very serious. GOD doesn't give us a pass if, afterward, we discover that we've made a mistake. Remember these words from Ecclesiastes:
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.
(Eccl. 5:4-5 NIV)
As you are reading this, your family might have been through a difficult divorce. Perhaps your parents divorced when you were young. Know that GOD cares immensely about your pain. He is the only true source of comfort when we suffer. Parents aren't perfect and unfortunately we all make terrible mistakes and sin against GOD. Resolve not to make the same mistake. Don't divorce your spouse.