Obsessed with Change . . . and Why You Shouldn’t Be

This post is an excerpt from the study I am writing on the book of 1 Corinthians (coming to a blog near you in September 2012!). The Scripture in view is 1 Corinthians 7:17-24:

1 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. 18 Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called. (emphasis added)

These words were written to a group of people who were seeking to change their circumstances (specifically, their marital status) in order to acheive a deeper level of spirituality. Paul is basically telling them to stop it – to stay put in whatever situation God called them  unless and until God said to move.

Here’s the application for us . . .

 

It’s easy to become obsessed with change, isn’s it? Life can rapidly become a pursuit of one “status update” after another. We invest a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears into improving our financial status, social status, relationship status, intellectual status, athletic status, super-mom status, career status, and the list goes on. Up the ladder we climb seeking to “live our best life now,” convinced that we’ll be much better off at the top. As we do, there’s no shortage of “Christian” motivational speakers and life coaches cheering us on to “be all that we can be” by creating the life of our dreams . . . and it all sounds so right.

But what if it isn’t? What if God is totally unimpressed with our ladder climbing skills? What if our status here on earth is meaningless in heaven? What if our best life isn’t supposed to be lived now? What if pursuing the “life of our dreams” can actually rob us of a much better reward? In light of today’s passage, we don’t have to wonder about these things. Scripture is clear: change isn’t inherently bad, but an obsession with change is sin – our “dream life” can easily become an idol. We guard ourselves from this by understanding that earthly status of any kind is ultimately irrelevant to God. The value, significance, and meaning of our lives are determined by His call, not our living conditions or social clout. When we reject that, we ultimately reject the whole concept of grace.

It’s easy to be controlled by our “if onlys.” If only I had been raised in a Christian home . . . if only I had a husband who loves Jesus . . . if only I wasn’t stuck at home with kids every day . . .if only I weren’t sick all the time . . . if only I had more money . . . if only I could move back home . . . if only I had more Christian friends . . . if only I wasn’t stuck working 40 hours a week . . . if only I didn’t live in this tiny apartment . . . THEN  I could really be a passionate follower of Jesus. I could go on mission trips! I could give to ministries! I could host Bible studies! I could have longer quiet times! I could resist temptation more easily! I could practice hospitality more! Ever thought that way? I have!

We have to put an end to the “if onlys” and embrace the liberating truth that we do not have to seek the “ideal situation” in order to be all that God desires for us to be! We don’t have to create the “perfect” life to serve Him effectively! Sure, we are to flee sin and anything that encourages sin, but other than that we can stay right where we are with confidence that God can and will be glorified in and through our lives as long as we are seeking to honor and obey Him.

What we can’t see matters a whole lot more than what we can see. God cares a whole lot more about our hearts than He does about our habitat. Wherever you are, whatever you do, whoever you’re with – “remain with God” (v. 24) and rest in the beautiful reality that He remains with you.

 

Comments

  1. Marinating (and will be for a long time) on this post. 🙂

    So relevant — to put it mildly. XOXO, Ruth

  2. Beth Bailey says

    So good! Thanks for the encouragement. These are things I’ve been dealing with for awhile and have finally realized that if God called me to a position of being a special needs mom then He can use me in that capacity. We can’t wait for our circumstances to be perfect before we minister to others. Many times we are a more powerful witness of Christ because of what we are going through … because of our testimony of His love and grace right in the midst the storm. God may call us out but many times He calls us through! Thanks April 🙂

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