God has called us to live in peace.
—1 Corinthians 7:15
The world’s largest cathedral for almost a thousand years was the Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom). Built in AD 537, it still stands as a popular museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
One of the many mosaics adorning the hallways is a depiction of Empress Zoe from the 11th century. With her is a man, but his identity has apparently been changed. The name written in tiny tiles was edited. History records that Zoe was single until age 50 and then married. She was crowned Empress, but the relational strain at the helm of power led twice to marital breakdown.
Marriage is challenging. In 1 Corinthians 7:8 and 7:32 the apostle Paul states his preference for singleness. Yet he also describes the beauty of marriage as the closest picture we have of God’s covenant love for us (Ephesians 5:22-33). In today’s verses Paul gives advice to people who had become Christian and whose spouses were not (yet) believers. Rather than letting that difference be an excuse for divorce, Paul encouraged these Christians to remain married to their spouses. They had an opportunity to bring holiness into their marriages and possibly lead their spouses to salvation.
Let’s pray for peace, patience, and holy faithfulness for Christians whose spouses do not know the Lord. For Christian couples, let’s pray for love and submission that mirrors the attitude of Christ.
Faithful God, thank you for your self-sacrificing love in Jesus. May we reflect your love in all we do. For your glory, Amen.
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