Guest blog by Nathan Ghattas
There is an amazing learning curve I have witnessed that God has impressed upon this journey from singleness to married to married-with-children. As I am in the middle of the journey, I have noticed something of the stage I left and the stage I look forward to with reverent anticipation.
In the Christian walk, we have a constant balance of two gifts—freedom and accountability.
The more freedom we have, the harder it is to be held accountable; and the more we are held accountable, the more freedom we surrender.
In singleness, there is freedom: freedom of time, freedom to serve unfettered, and freedom to seemingly sin with less effect. Accountability is not inherent to the single life and must be sought out and procured intentionally.
In marriage, freedom of self is surrendered. Your time is not fully your own, you must consider another, but there is still freedom to act and serve as an individual. You can still serve together as one and separately. With this loss in freedom comes added sanctification (if heeded) through accountability. You have a permanent life partner, brother/sister in Christ who loves you and knows you intimately and so is able to speak into your life and lovingly confront your sin.
In parenthood, there is an even further loss of freedom as you must not only consider another but care, support, sustain, rear, and teach another. Their life depends on you. Almost all of your time that is not spent on necessary things will be spent on them, both out of obligation and desire. With the freedom lost in parenthood comes even greater accountability. As you raise children, they begin to emulate you. Everything you say and do is watched and repeated. Your children can quickly embody your own sin.
With each step further into the Christian family, there is a surrender of freedom and gift or responsibility of accountability. The accountability first of intentionality in singleness, visibility in marriage, and emulation in parenthood.
These balances of freedom and accountability are not exclusive to Christian marriage but are available in every Christian’s walk, whether married or single.
We all begin life as single non-believers. We have seemingly infinite freedom and no accountability to a “religion.” However, once we are saved and realize that our life in worldly freedom truly means eternal damnation, we are married to Christ. We do lose some freedom in the worldly sense, since we do not desire to sin against the Lover of our souls, but we gain supernatural accountability through the endowment of the Holy Spirit. Our God is constantly speaking into our lives, sanctifying us. As we walk further, we should live out the commandments to “make disciples.” As we do this and teach others to follow Christ more closely, we will have people looking to us as examples. While freedom is lost due to the time required for life-on-life true discipleship, we also once again face the accountability of emulation.
Therefore, both single, married, and married believers with children all can experience motivation in Christ in the command: “be fruitful and multiply.”
Grace and Peace