What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life?
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. 1 Corinthians 7:17
Years ago, when I was facing a significant career change, I went to a respected Christian elder, asking him this question: Does God have a specific plan for where I live and what job I take? This individual felt strongly that God did indeed have one wife, one college, one job, and one geographical location which I must correctly choose or risk being outside of God’s will.
Looking back, I don’t think that was the answer I truly needed, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. What I didn’t tell him was that I was struggling with addiction at the time and the potential career change was an attempt to run from my life problems. I thought moving away might provide me with the fresh start I felt I needed. What I needed wasn’t a new job or geographical location though. What I needed was to stop using drugs and to find recovery – wherever where I was.
When life eventually fell apart due to my addiction, I promised God I’d go be a missionary in Africa, if only he’d get me out of my mess. Again, God didn’t need me in Africa. He needed me to figure out how to follow him right where I was.
This seems to be the tone of Paul’s message in today’s passage. In it, he told the Corinthians that their station in life wasn’t all that important. The passage spoke to social status, but it’s applicable to our practical and vocational life choices as well. Paul was more concerned with how Christians lived than where they lived.
There’s a profound lesson here for us. We often turn to God for help with those big decisions in which we just don’t know what to do. Should I take this job or not? I’m not saying God doesn’t care about our career path, I’m just suggesting that he, like Paul, cares more about how we live than where we live.
If God commands me to be a missionary in Africa, I can and should go. I must, however, have an effective faith life and ministry here before I run off, taking my addiction with me to foreign soil. I need to learn to follow God in my day-to-day life. I must love him, abandon myself, obey him, and love my neighbors. Following God isn’t just about asking him where I should live. I must follow God in the small, mundane, everyday life decisions. Often, when I’m living in God’s day-to-day will, the answer to those big decisions becomes much more obvious.