“You are not your own;
you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
This week I have been preparing a sermon on 1 Corinthians chapters 7 & 8. As I started reading the content of chapter 7, I decided to look back into chapter 6 to see the context. As I did that I realised the apostle Paul was basing the material in chapter 7 on the statement of today’s verse.
Paul was telling the Christians that they did not own themselves if they were truly followers of Jesus. Jesus purchased His people at Golgotha, the hill outside the walled city of Jerusalem. We belong to Jesus because He purchased us through His death and resurrection.
Such a thought of being someone else’s possession can be distressing to those who do not walk with Jesus. They wish to be their own people and answer to no one. However, the Christian message is that God’s children belong to Him and therefore are under His leadership and they must desire His will to be done in their lives.
This idea that we belong to God can be a problem if God sees fit to allow suffering to come into our lives. Some people’s idea of what God is like has no place for God to have anything to do with the sorrow in their lives. They see God as some doting deity who is like a celestial Santa Claus who spreads cheer and blessing but never crosses the will of his children.
People with the idea of God as a celestial lackey or servant are making God in their image as much as those people who make a god from wood or some other material.
If trouble plagues you as a Christian it can help to recognize that your life is at God’s disposal. You are His property and He has the right to use you in any way He sees fit. We may feel great distress at the way God is allowing pain to enter our lives, but we need to remind ourselves we are here to serve God not to have God serve us.
If we are wise, we will recognize the suitable modesty we should have when seeking to understand God and His ways. The sooner we admit (Isaiah 55:8) God’s ways are not our ways the better, in coming to terms with suffering in life. No one is able to fully grasp all the ways that God leads His people. This is where faith comes into the picture. We must trust God when we do not understand Him. We must honour Him when we do not understand Him.
Can you do that with the pain you face each day? Do you really believe you have come to your Creator and bowed to His authority, to accept His rightful place in your life? Have you accepted His offer of forgiveness and eternal life? If you have, then you are now His child to be directed in this fallen world as He chooses. You are not your own, Jesus has purchased you at the cost of His sinless life. He has redeemed you and He will lead you through the suffering of time into eternity, into the world filled with peace, happiness, into His eternal presence.
Take your suffering a day at a time and call on the One Who has purchased you to make His presence known to you. Call on Him to lead you as your Good Shepherd. One day at a time with Jesus is better than a thousand without Him. He will lead you all the way home where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more.