Free from Concern

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 

32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and 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. 35 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.

Rabbit vs. Turtle

         Which one do you think will win if turtle and rabbit compete in a race? Can you agree that a turtle can win if it competes against a rabbit? There’s a video circulated online where a rabbit and a turtle competed. The rabbit quickly hopped into the middle of the race; then, it was amused by cheering audience. The turtle was focused walking slowly to the Finish Line and won the race eventually.

         What can you learn from that reality? The rabbit has natural ability to move faster but most often confused by its surrounding. Similarly, many people have special talents, but they cannot beneficially use their abilities productively; they fail to reach their potentiality because of attractive concerns that distract them.

         Truly, many Christians have been attracted and amused by worldly things; they are enchanted and enticed by materialism. What happens? They missed the glorious blessings that the Lord has prepared for obedience. Evaluate your life as Christian: Are you productive and fruitful spiritually? Pray that you make disciple.

Christ told the parable of the farmer where seeds fell among thorns. In his explanation, he said in Mark 4:19-20, 19The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.

         If you plant fruit trees, you expect abundant harvest; you regularly prune unproductive branches. Similarly, God expects fruits from believers; he wisely prunes parts of us that are not productive so that we will be fruitful qualitatively. Spiritual fruits that Christ expects us to produce are disciples making disciples.

         This world is filled with so much concerns of life that can cause anyone to worry. Yet, Christ commanded us not to worry. Did he imply that worries hinder us from productiveness? Christ offers life in its fullness; but worries of life pollute our perspectives, and we fail to appreciate the great plan of the Lord for us.

         Worries of life confuse anyone. How can one ignore concerns of life? What had Apostle Paul advised for us to be free from concerns of life and not worried?

1.  Unworried

32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 

         The Lord’s affairs should be our top priority concern—how we can please him; but most often, worries and necessities in this life confuse personal priority.

Previously, Apostle Paul advised us to remain in a situation where God called us. Virgins are advised to remain as they are so that they will be spared and not face the many troubles that married people may worry in life. What else? The unmarried person can prioritize how to please the Lord. Have you asked? Why is it so important for believers to please the Lord? When we obey the Lord, it practically proves our love for him. Then, the Lord pours out his blessing for us.

         Married people have practical concerns—how to provide for the needs of their family, their children. An added concern is—how they could relate with their extended family—the relatives of their spouse. There’re unexpected problems of married people; they can be confused which one to prioritize—family or personal.

Monarchy or Wife

Have you heard about a prince? When he was not married yet, prodigally he explored his freedom. Then, his adventures had been limited after he got married; what else? His wife was not ready to be essential part of the monarchy.

So what happened? The prince was forced to choose if he should side with his wife or to promote the welfare or interest of the monarchy. Reflect on that?

If powerful people are not exempted from concerns of married life, what or who can help any ordinary person not to worry about concerns of married life?

Christ our Lord had admonished us in Matthew 6:31-34, 31Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

         The blue print and solution to worries is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. In simple language, we won’t worry about life. God gives all things we need for godly life. How’s that? We prioritize obedience to righteous instructions of the Lord; he provides for us. We’ve got joyful peace and no worry.

Why? Food, clothing and shelter are necessities for everyone. The basic necessities of married people increase as their family grow larger. Right? As the family grows in number, necessities will multiply. However, singles have lesser necessities. But since anyone has tendencies to worry, what can we do to avoid worries about basic necessities of life? What practical steps should we take?

Mission Offering

         A believer testified that formerly, she had been concerned about financial support. Her family was growing, and she had no idea how they could finance the studies of their children when they get to college. Then one day, she received a prayer letter from a missionary friend. The missionary was particularly asking for prayers for her financial support. What should a financially-stricken believer do?

         She regularly prayed for the missionary; she also set aside a fraction from her family budget and sent it to the missionary. What? She had financial shortage but still sent financial support to missionaries? How could she decide to do that?

Certainly, ordinary mindset can be puzzled with it. But here’s the result: Many years later, the believer was freed from worry about finances eventually. Their children enrolled and studied at prestigious universities of their choice.

         Have you discovered the blueprint of abundant blessings from the Lord? Now, prayerfully reflect on what Apostle Paul declared in Philippians 4:16-19,

16 You sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

         The Philippians sent support to the mission team of Apostle Paul; mission support is fragrant offering and acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God. Apostle Paul declared that mission support was credited to the account of the Philippians. What does he mean? Mission support is deposited or added to eternal treasures.

The statement, God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus, Apostle Paul implied that believers in the church of Philippi were ordinary people who were not rich by the standards of this world. And, God is pleased to supply their needs abundantly. Mission support is pleasing to God.

Prayerfully ask God to grant you godly wisdom and revelation. Challenge yourself. Financially support missionaries or mission works. God’s tithes belong to the church; you designate a portion of your offerings specifically to missions. Or, you may directly send mission supports to missionaries acquainted to you.

And surely, missionaries or workers in missions will diligently pray for you.

Most often, married people are anxious, concerned about financial matters. As the family multiplies, financial needs multiply; and it grows bigger as children grow bigger; food, clothing and other necessities increase. It is possible that right now, married people are thinking about what their family may eat later while the unmarried people may plan where they can serve the Lord in short-term mission.

2.  Unmarried

33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and 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. 

At Valentine Day, Social media are flooded with picture of activities or gifts. What is great gift for married person? Married people can be creative about gifts.

         Someone arranged ingredients of a delicacy; his wife was pleased. A wife is concerned how she can please her husband. Someone advised, “A happy wife has happy family.” Listen husbands: To have a happy family, do your best to make your wife happy. How is that? If a happy wife is the cook at home, she will certainly prepare tasty food. Inspired cook is the best ingredient of delicious food.

High Blood Pressure

         Some friends talked about food they cannot appreciate when they were younger. Someone said, “I don’t like beans. They give me high blood pressure.” Another person added, “For me, I don’t like Sayote. It also gives me high blood pressure!” The listener asked, “Why don’t you like beans and Sayote? They are delicious and nutritious!” The one who didn’t like beans said, “Why won’t I. Beans at breakfast; beans at lunch; beans at dinner.” The one who didn’t like Sayote exclaimed, “Same here! Sayote at breakfast; Sayote at lunch; Sayote at dinner. No other choice!” Well that’s extremely tough! Have you had similar experience?

         Married people are concerned how they prepare food that won’t make their spouse get high blood pressure; not only that, they’re also concerned about their family sustenance. In comparison, unmarried people have personal needs, but they are more concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how they can please him.

         Personally, let us reflect on what Jesus Christ declared in Luke 12:22-28,

22 “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 

         Anxiousness of life can divide attention. The Lord wants believers to obey him because he has already prepared the best life we can ever explore on earth. Pray for increase of faith to trust his promises with undivided devotion to God.

3.  Undivided

35 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.

Virgins are advised to remain in the situation when God called them; but if they choose, they may get married. Married people may face concerns of life that virgins can avoid. The unmarried people can prefer undivided devotion to God.

         It pleases the Lord to have undivided devotion to him. Does it please the Lord, if we also devote our time to him including activities, behavior or dreams?

         Let us seriously meditate on what Christ Jesus declared in Mark 10:27-30,

27“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 

Group Chat

         If you have Social Media account, you may have Group Chat also. Online communication devices can be effective means to reach out to long lost friends, relatives, classmates or acquaintances. Pray for divine appointments and perfect time to share with them the gospel of Christ. People in your Group Chat might be waiting to hear a specific message from God. So, be attentive to opportunities.

         Certainly, there will be relatives, friends, acquaintances who may not like to hear the gospel; and worst, they may even block your account. And you may feel sad to lose friends after you shared with them about God. Be encouraged! Christ declared that the reward of prioritizing him is multiplied hundred times as much as what you lost: homes, relatives—along with persecution—in this present age and in the age to come eternal life with God in heaven. Can you accept it?

Together let us meditate on what Apostle Peter declared in 2 Peter 1:1-4,

1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

         Everything we need for godly life had been delivered; so, how can we get them? Pray for increase of faith in Christ and wisdom to internalize his revelation. As we grow deeper in our knowledge of Christ, we commit undivided devotion to him; the Lord made it sure that everything we need for godly life is well provided.

Church leaders and many among us can readily testify about this reality. Ask them personally how they experience freedom from concerns of this world.

God offers solution to freedom from concerns. How? Prioritize obeying the Lord. How? Go and serve in missions or ministries; send mission supports; regularly pray for missionaries. Attend prayer meetings and share about your decision.

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