Know Your Calling
Lord, help me to be content within my calling.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 7:17–24
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Rejoice that Christ is in you and that you are called by God.
This digression from the main subjects in chapter 7 begins (17) and ends (24) with reminders that we are called by God—and this is repeated eight times in the passage. It makes a real difference regarding our circumstances and difficulties if we know that God has called each of us by name and that he has set the boundaries in whichever situation we find ourselves (Psa. 16:5,6). God’s calling is not reserved for missionaries or leaders alone. Every Christian is called by God when she or he receives Jesus and believes the Gospel. Very few of us today are called by God as slaves, but even back then, despite encouraging Corinthian slaves to become freed if offered (21), Paul’s overriding advice is that they should be content wherever God calls them (Phil. 4:12,13; 1 Tim. 6:6). Such contentment does not come from social or financial advancement but from knowing that the call of God is on our lives.
Some have tried to use these verses to dissuade people from seeking to better themselves in life. Paul, however, encourages slaves who can get freedom to do so—though he also wants to help the Corinthians to recognize the call of God in even the most difficult of conditions. In verse 24 he uses the phrase “responsible to God”—indicating that, one day at a time, the believer in troubled situations should seek to live before God as being responsible first to him, not pleasing others or themselves primarily. After battling a very painful medical condition for two decades, I can say that in some circumstances it is really hard to discern God’s call, but when we daily submit to his will, he will enable us to get through. We humbly place ourselves into his mighty, fatherly hands, knowing that he who calls us is faithful and will care for us.
Read Isaiah 43:1–7 and rejoice in what being called by God means when trouble comes.
Lord, teach me that social standing means nothing to You but that my heavenly standing means everything.
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