“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 7:17, ESV)
When I was saved in 1983, I knew there would be a host of changes in my life. I also knew they would be for the good. However, I did not know what they would entail. Change is not an easy thing. Yet it is something that we all encounter in life. But in particular, how does this work in a new believer’s life? So, when I was saved, things came to mind like these. What about my hobbies? Did they need to change? What about my occupation? Did it need to change? Do I need to quit my job and work for myself? Do I need to quit my job and enter Bible college and pursue full time ministry? These are not just questions for the new believer. They are all questions that will confront us as we go through our Christian experience.
Paul in writing to the church at Corinth has been addressing issues of change and covered some very specific issues that Christians may face. Chapter seven covers several of these. The first one was the issue of sexuality for the believer, namely that the believer was only to participate sexually within the boundaries of biblical marriage. Yet, for the single believer, he stated that it would be better for them to remain celibate by remaining unmarried. However, this was only if they were able to control their sexual desires. If not, they were to marry. Likewise, if they were married, the couple was not to abstain from their conjugal duty to one another except for a short time set aside for prayer.
Paul went on to tell them that married believers are to remain with their spouses even if the spouse was an unbeliever. The only way a believer could be set free from the marriage was if the unbelieving spouse separated from the believer.
Now we come to several more issues, but first Paul presents a huge principle that we need to properly understand. In this principle we see two parts that will guide believers as they address the possibility or need for change in their lives. First, he stated that believers should remain in the situations in which they were when the Lord saved them. He uses the example of circumcision and uncircumcision to make this point (v18-20). Then he wrote of the issue of occupation, referring to bondservants and freedmen (v21-24). We will cover these in more detail in the next devotions. For now, let us understand that Paul wrote this so that believers would understand that the place and situation where Lord saved them was the place and situation where they were to serve Him. Thus, they were not to fret over their situation and carry on with their mission in the church. The Lord called them just the way they were and it was not necessary to change these things in their lives.
Yet, there was second and very important part of this huge principle of change. It is that each believer was to live the life “to which God has called him.” The purpose of this life is to glorify God by accomplishing His purposes. God has called the believer to live on a higher plane, to live in victory over sin and to be a light in a darkened world. The believer was not to become entangled with the lures of the flesh and the world system. They would accomplish much by the power of God working in them by His Spirit, pursuing His righteousness, and accomplishing His glorious purposes. In doing so, there would be changes, changes for the good.