Staying Stag, pt 3
7. Be Available
1 Cor 7:28 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.
Paul reminds the single man who is not actively pursuing marriage to remember that it is not sin to alter his solitary state and get hitched. The unlikely heart-breaker, John Wesley (founder of Methodism in the 1700s) experienced, and inflicted, much heartache because of his misunderstanding of this principle. He made a vow of Jepthanian rashness to remain single in order to be whole-heartedly devoted to the Lord.
He couldn’t fathom how man could so overwork his heart to be able to love God and a woman. His love for a pretty sylph, Sophia Hopkey, caused him to flip-flop a bit on that commitment, and ended in a messy break-up that went to court and ended with Wesley sneaking out of America and slinking back to England, a shattered man.
Paul reminds bachelors that marriage is not sin, and that it’s ok to be available.
8. Be Undistracted
1 Cor 7:32-34 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.
This point sounds a bit schizophrenic on the heels of the last point, but it’s not. Paul is merely saying that, though it’s ok to be available for marriage, while one is single, there is a tremendous ministerial advantage to seize. The art of “checking in” is what newlywed husbands frequently falter on, much to their bride’s chagrin. If you are staying at work late, you need to check in with a phone call to let your wife know; if you feel called to join a missions trip, you need to get your wife on board (literally to join you on your voyage, or figuratively to support you in your absence). You are now a mixed doubles team, and communication is king.
Stags don’t check in. They are free to roam the planes and get stuck into ministry unfettered by the common courtesy of a phone call. Paul wants singles to savor their freedom to serve the Lord in an undistracted way. I.e. don’s spend your single life being professionally available. You end up smelling a tad desperate, and you squander the chance you have of harnessing your singleness for the Lord.
9. Be Committed
1 Cor 7:39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
Once you choose to be married, you need to get good at banishing any “second thoughts.” Married folks should never indulge in the pity party of “when I was single…” or “if I had married so-and-so” or even, “if I’m ever single again, I’ll…” This ambivalence toward their commitment is cancerous in a marriage. You are now one-flesh, for better or for worse, til death do you part. The marriage covenant is an unbreakable union in God’s eyes. You are now one-flesh.
Dating couples who are impatient to be married, remember marriage is like sky-diving, once you take the plunge there is no turning back, and if you’re not harnessed in properly things could end with a messy thud. So be committed.
There are more gems in this scratch patch apostolic dating advice, so if you spot any you’d like to share, use the comments section below. Please no personal adds