“Let each of you remain in the situation in which he was called.” (1 Cor. 7:20).
Let me share three principles from this passage:
1. God was at work in your life before you became a Christian.
God did not wait until you were fully committed to following Him before He began His work on you. He imparted you with your unique personality, aptitude, and interests even as a young child. Coming to Christ does not mean you have to lose or reshape your whole personality and interests. Granted, some aspects of your personality likely have to be further molded and shaped to make you more Christlike, but He doesn’t remove those things; He transforms them.
God gave me a strong sense of humor. That didn’t change when I committed myself to the lordship of Christ, but He did transform the sarcasm and jabs at people into something far more kind and gracious.
I think of men who were well suited for certain professions before coming to Christ, but once they came to Christ, those same skills were coupled with a spiritual gift to do effective work in their service for Christ. For example, one man in our church was a senior vice-president for one of the major oil companies. From a business standpoint, he had some serious leadership skills, and those same skills came out as he served on a key committee in the church. He obviously had the spiritual gift of administration. Others are gifted salesmen, and when they came to Christ, God used their skills of persuasion coupled with the gift of evangelism to lead others to Christ.
2. God can redeem and use any situation.
Coming to Christ is a radical transformation. We’re changed from the inside out. As Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17). That transformation, though, has to do with the removal of sin and the transformation of our inner character. God changes us completely, from the inside out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to change the externals: where we live, where we work, or who we live with. Moral and ethical matters are a part of the Christ-transformation, but the external things don’t necessarily have to change.
In fact, God can take your position and station in life and use you right where you are. You may be the only Christian where you work. You are around people your pastor may never meet, and God can use you to show Christ to your corner of the world.
3. Just be who God has made you to be.
That is not an argument to not grow and change. We should be ever going deeper in our walk with Christ, letting Him transform us more and more into Christlikeness, but …
Be the follower of Christ He wants you to be. We don’t need another Max Lucado or Tim Keller. We’ve already got them. If you’re a musician, we don’t need another Chris Tomlin. We’ve already got a Chris Tomlin.
Go ahead and imitate the character of someone you admire—even Paul encouraged that. “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1)—but don’t mimic their personality or style. Just. Be. You. You are going to touch some lives that these other “personalities” won’t.
The kingdom of God is rich as we shine the light of Christ in the situation we’ve been placed and let God’s love come through us.
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