Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. – 1 Corinthians 6:12
We live in a society where we are free to do whatever is legal for the most part without any apparent consequences. Or so I thought. There’s more to think about when making life choices than whether or not what I’m doing is legal.
This past week I would’ve celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary. Wow! How the time has flown by. It got me to thinking about what Paul said about being free to do something doesn’t make it beneficial. It was permissible in Corinth to go out to eat some food and literally “get some” at the same spot. Sounds like today when people go out and “hook up,” not even looking for a meaningful encounter. So he was warning his fellow Christians in Corinth that just because you can eat doesn’t mean you should abuse food, and just because you can get sex when you want doesn’t mean you should abuse your body. There are implications bigger involved in these choices.
Just as back then, we live in a society where almost anything goes. For instance, I was free to marry but also free to get divorced when my husband and I couldn’t seem to see eye-to-eye. I am still free to make those choices in this country with few folks batting an eye. There might be some whispers, but there’s an attitude of “live and let live.” I can marry and divorce over and over again…at whim.
I don’t think I ever truly knew what I was getting into choosing to marry or choosing to divorce. I’ve been divorced longer than I was married. I’ve had a lot of time to stumble, fall, read, think, observe and grow on this subject…
When I got married I viewed it as a contract – once broken we’re done. I’ve since learned that my viewpoint was flawed. Therefore my marriage was doomed. Marriage is in fact a covenant. In the bigger sense, marriage reflects Jesus’ covenant with the church. What a privilege it is to be a part of something that represents such a wonderful relationship. I admire and am in awe of those who’ve been able to achieve longevity in marriage. I know that marriage takes commitment and hard work…At least the healthy ones. I’m sure there are some that by grace just pass the time. It’s definitely not something I take lightly. I don’t think I did to begin with. I was just immature and naïve.
What’s the difference between a contract and a covenant?
- A contract requires both parties to fulfill their commitment. If one party doesn’t the other is free from any obligation.
- A covenant requires both parties to fulfill their commitment whether or not the other does. Each remains obligated regardless of what the other does.
That’s a huge difference and carries a lot more weight for each person involved to consider. Will I do my part even if the other person fails to? Even those with the best intentions fall short. I know I’ve had a really hard time in the past doing what I’m supposed to do regardless of what others around me are doing. Knowing that, I’ve had to identify my core values and determine to stand on them even if I’m standing alone. I must do my part and what will allow me to sleep well at night recognizing that my conscience and my relationship with God are personal. I’m a work in progress.
Therefore, I must be careful about my choices and motives and the motives of others when it comes to choosing to marry again. I’ve submitted to God’s authority. Has he? God examines the heart – intentions and motives. So seeking His guidance is paramount in this type of decision.
So now knowing what I know – what’s involved, the eternal implications, and living with the consequences of my decision – I respond differently to suitors, proposals, hearing about upcoming marriages or divorce. Sure I can do whatever I want, but will I benefit from it? Would this be God’s choice for my life? I ask, “Is that really what you want to do?”
I chose to talk about marriage today because that was what was fresh on my mind. However, this isn’t the only freedom I have where I need to weigh my decisions more carefully. Time to ponder…
What else am I free to do that may not be beneficial for me? There is a freedom that we can enjoy due to God’s grace and mercy. However, I don’t want to be flip or complacent about it. It’s a freedom I don’t want to abuse just because everybody’s doing it; or there are no apparent immediate consequences. I’d be acting like the universal law of sowing and reaping does not exist (Galatians 6:7-9). “We are not punished FOR our sins, but BY our sins.” What am I doing or contemplating that will punish me emotionally, physically or spiritually? I can stop or avoid it through the strength of Christ.
I’m a part of something bigger than me. I truly appreciate that I’m forgiven not because of anything I’ve done or could do, but what Jesus did. Out of appreciation and love for the price paid for my freedom, I want to show it by being more careful. You know what they say? “When you know better, do better.” ❤