21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”– Mark 2:21, 22 NIV
It’s that time again, the time when we make all those resolutions to do better and be better. The gyms will be full of those determined to slim down and/or bulk up. The sales of salads will probably be at their annual high. Some might even venture so far as to read a good book and do a daily good deed. The flames of love and hope are burning brightly. But then, a few weeks later, the moaning and the groaning will start. The weight is not coming off as the diet plan promised, the muscles aren’t noticeably bigger, they are just sore, I just haven’t had the time to finish that book and nobody even notices when I do a good deed. A few more weeks later and it’s “I weigh more than I did before I started.” (Believe me, I know that feeling). Those programs just don’t work for me. Why are these failures so prevalent? Because the flesh is strong and has strong desires that we, as humans, are not equipped to defeat. How many times did I eat things that weren’t on the diet? How many mornings did I sleep in rather than go to the gym or spend a few minutes reading that book? How many times did I fail to do a good deed to someone who was really in need and not a neighbor or a friend? The problem is that we are focused on externals rather than internals. The changes have to come from the inside out. To win the war, we have to lose the battle. We have to get to the point that we say to God, “I can’t but you can.” Allow God to make the internal changes and He will direct you in the externals. Otherwise, the patches tear off and the wineskins burst. Don’t gloss over the old self, get rid of it and start anew with Jesus.
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better. 39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.—1 Cor. 7:36-40 NIV
This is Paul’s warning against sex outside of marriage. In those times, most marriages were pre-arranged, so the person knew who they would be marrying. Therefore, Paul could make this warning specific to a particular person. In today’s world of dating, the warning would have to be generalized to mean any person with whom you are in any sort of social relationship. The couple, if they are unable to control themselves physically, should either stop the relationship or agree to get married and do so before the physical relationship leads both of them to sin. Either decision will keep us from doing the wrong thing. That does not mean that we rush into marriage just so we can have sex. There are “good” things and then there are “God” things. Search for and do the “God” thing, not the thing that feels good. Experience teaches us that if our marriage choices are not soaked in prayer, the end result can be disastrous. Once the marriage is consummated, praying together will keep the marriage together. Less than 1% of marriages where the couple pray together daily end in divorce.
If you make the decision to marry, then you are bound to each other “until death do us part”. Jesus set the example for us since He will never forsake the church
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.—Eph. 5:31-33 NIV