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Daily Devotional | Circumstance and Calling

April was thrilled to announce her engagement. But later, she began to wonder if she should follow through with it. Her fiancé had a drinking problem and an increasing lack of interest in spiritual things. After prayer and reflection, she made the difficult decision to call off the wedding.

Believers in Corinth also had relationship concerns. Some who were unmarried wondered if they should marry or remain single. Others, whose conversion came after they had been married, wondered if they should divorce. Paul’s general counsel to both was not to act rashly but to consider both their context and their calling. Those who were single were not sinning if they married, but given the current circumstances in Corinth, it might be “good for them to remain unmarried” (vv. 8–9). Paul commanded the already married to be faithful to their marriage vows (vv. 10–11). He assured those whose conversion had come after they had already married that their union was holy in the eyes of God and urged them not to separate (vv. 12–14).

Always the biblical realist, Paul also acknowledged the impossibility of controlling the choices that others make. Despite a believer’s best efforts to remain in the relationship, some unbelieving spouses may choose to leave—Paul judges that in such cases, the believer “is not bound” (v. 15). When Paul says, “each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them,” he is not offering case law but laying down a general principle that will apply in a variety of contexts. Paul does not mean that no one should ever change. He counsels the Corinthians to consider biblical guidelines and employ common sense when making such decisions.

>> God was aware of the circumstances of your life when He called you to faith in Christ. Before you make a change, study the guidelines of His Word. Scripture will show you what needs to change. Then trust Him for the rest.

Pray with Us

Dear God, part of growing up is realizing that life is not as simple as it seemed when we were children. As we face complex situations, give us discernment and biblical insight so we can make decisions that honor You.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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