Reflecting on the previous post, I think a corrective, or perhaps an addendum is in order.
This world is cursed and fallen, and this curse affects us in all kinds of ways. Some women don’t have husbands, or husbands who are unbelievers. Some women are gravely ill for much of their lives. Some women married men who turned out to be wicked and divorced them, and wisely chose for various reasons to stay single after that. Some Christian women throughout history have been slaves in the houses of unbelievers. A great many situations have existed, and those situations always need to be taken into account.
Our goal in this life is not the achievement of particular goals, particular career or ministry success. Our goal is Christ, and our identity is Christ. Talking in that previous post about God’s design for husbands and wives, it is important to recognize that this is an ideal to strive for, but we must be realistic about the circumstances we all must find ourselves in, and accept them as from God. Our providential circumstances may prevent us from ever getting very close at all to the aforementioned ideal of a husband and wife mutually respecting each other, or of a wife being able to contribute a great deal to a husband’s earthly success. But our identity is not primarily as wives or as husbands, or even as men or women. Our primary identity is Christ, and our primary goal is becoming Christlike, and that can and does happen in any kind of circumstance God places us in.
I don’t wish to retract anything I wrote in that previous article, for I believe it is Biblical. But I also know that Paul told his followers in Corinth to be content where they were- if married, stay married. If single, stay single. Not that Paul is forbidding marriage to the single, or even necessary divorce, which he teaches in other places. But too often Christians have communicated the idea that the valuable Christian life can only be lived in a specific set of circumstances- in the Middle Ages, the best Christians were all single, and in the current age the best Christians are all married. But Paul speaks differently- Christians are seeking Christ in whatever circumstances they are in. You don’t need to change your marital status one way or the other to be pursuing Christlikeness- you can do that right where you are.
Part of seeking Christ means learning His law, and learning how He has made things, as guided by Scripture. The providential design for humanity is male and female, and maleness and femaleness are very good. But marriage is a temporary state. There will be no marriage in the resurrection. But there will be Christ in the resurrection, and above all and in all, regardless of our circumstances, He must be our identity and our goal.
One thought on “Christ our Identity, not our Marital Status”
To add some thoughts to your post, so much joy has been added to my state as a wife and mother, to the small place God has called me to fill, by remembering that I am not my husband’s servant, I am not my children’s servant, and I am not my boss’ servant. I am Christ’s servant, and it is He who has filled my life with good gifts. As I reflect on the good Christ has done for me, I am encouraged to do good for those God has placed in my life. I want to do good for my husband and not evil; I want to shower my children with good gifts, even if those good gifts are making them meals and cleaning their home. I am promised amazing rewards for faithfulness, and I know they don’t come until my work is done and I enter into my eternal rest. But what joy and dignity is added to the despised role of wife and mother when I understand that I am placed right where Christ would have me to be, and He sees every challenge and cares about me personally. I am not laboring away in drudgery and obscurity. I say with a joy filled heart along with Hagar, the ill-treated Egyptian slave, “Thou, God, seest me!”
I have come to see the truth of, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” The more I seek the good of my husband, the less I worry about how much he’s doing for me, the more I gain what I long for–to be valued and loved by my husband.
I am not an ill-treated slave, by the way. My children and husband shower me with gratefulness and they actively seek ways to lighten my load; but Satan is not absent, and he does tempt me with thoughts that would have me despise my life. He whispers in my ear terrible lies that I don’t matter and I’m failing, and I’m not getting enough “me time.” Those are just lies, though; and drawing close to Christ and learning His value of me (He loved me even unto death!) are the life giving truths of an abundant life this side of heaven.