In my recent reading through I Corinthians, I was struck by a phrase in chapter 7. Before considering the phrase, first a brief word about the context. People have come from all kinds of backgrounds into this newborn body of believers. Some were from a Jewish background, others Gentiles; some married and others single; some slaves and some free men. In response to a concern that perhaps one should seek to change their status in order to have a better standing in the body of Christ Paul writes:
“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (v. 17, NIV)
Reflecting on this verse, I found myself making an application, not about status in the body, but about different situations in life we all face at one time or another and in that situation to “live as a believer”. In each situation, whatever the challenge, living as one obeying God’s commands and trusting in God’s promises and sovereign purposes. Below I note briefly a few of these “situations” and a snippet of the Lord’s word to us in those situations.
- In a season of waiting for something to come to pass, when we’re prone to anxiousness and trying to make things happen in our own energy. Here I think of David’s testimony in this regard: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. “(Psalm 27:13, 14) In a season of waiting, rest in, trust in God’s provisions and purposes to come to pass in the “fullness of time” – “live as a believer”.
- In a team context, when we’re tempted to compare ourselves with others or compete with others for prominence. Here I think of Paul’s words to the Corinthian church: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—.” (I Cor. 12:12, 13a) In a team context affirm and be thankful for your own unique gifting and also do the same toward others, knowing we form one body in Christ – “live as a believer” in the nitty-gritty of team life.
- In a situation where we’re tempted to compromise our personal integrity in our words, our morality and/or in our handling of financial matters. Once again Paul’s words to the Corinthians as he receives a generous gift from them instructs us here – “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” (II Cor. 8:21). In the midst of seductive forces from the world, the flesh and the devil “live as a believer” – “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord”.
- In a season of change, when there are many uncertainties and we find ourselves anxious and trying to figure out how things will work out or come to pass. The hymn writer of “Be Still, My Soul” speaks words of assurance to us – “In every change He faithful will remain… To guide the future as He has the past.” In a season of change rest in these sure and unchanging promises – “live as a believer”.
Thankful for fellowship with you in the family of believers,
More about Ralph
We’ve been blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for 20 years. They tend to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel and encouragement.
Read more articles here: From the Pastor’s Pen.