We understand worry and anxiety. Its part of the human condition in this broken world. You may have even woken up this morning with deep furrows of anxiety about the state of your life – and maybe God was lost somewhere in your worry. The Bible addresses worry many times, and the Apostle Paul brings it out here in our New Testament lesson for today.
Throughout the letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul dealt with several issues effecting the life and spiritual (even physical) health of the church. In chapter 7, he discusses the prospect of marriage for unmarried persons (sounds like Paul spoke at a lot of college campuses). He goes back and forth as if he has a daisy in his hand giving a pre-marital counsel of “she loves me, she loves me not” as he pulls petals off the flower.
Paul vacillates between whether to get married or not because he’s concerned for the larger issue of worry and anxiety. “I want all of you to be free from worry.” This, then, becomes a sage grid from which to make an important life decision: Does being unmarried create worry and anxiety within you, to the point that you can’t think about pleasing God? Then drop the long engagement and get married; or, put yourself out there to connect in a relationship. If not being married doesn’t cause you to worry, then stay in your current state and don’t pursue marriage. Use your station in life to serve God freely, liberated from the worry of caring for a spouse.
Pleasing and serving the Lord is Paul’s highest good. If we are in life circumstances which make it difficult for us to serve God, then we ought to work to change the situation so that we can focus better on Christ. This is one of the most simple and wise ways of making decisions for the Christian, and discerning God’s will.
God Almighty, you have brought me in safety to this new day. Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into worry – forgetting to please you in every way. Help me not be overcome by anxiety, and in all I do direct me to fulfilling of your purposes; through Jesus Christ, my Lord, along with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.