While preparing a sermon on 1 Corinthians chapters 7 & 8 I started by reading the content of chapter 7 and 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 God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) 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.