“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”
1 Corinthians 7:17a
Reading this verse brings such encouragement to my heart. It is highlighting for me both the sovereignty of my God and the devotion to Him that is to characterize our lives.
We are to each “lead the life that the Lord has assigned” specifically to us. He arranges each member of His body exactly as He chooses, just as He has done for our physical body (1 Corinthians 12:18). So we each have our role to fill, the role of our God’s choosing, for which we are being equipped and made ready.
Fighting instead for the role we think is preferable, a role perhaps we’ve always desired, could cause us to miss out on the beautiful purposes God wants to accomplish through us, purposes which will fill our heart to overflowing with praise and wonder.
Surrender is difficult. It may hurt deeply. But it is beautiful. It is a brilliant display of trust in our God—in His wisdom, His sovereignty, His strength, His goodness, His love.
Delighting ourselves in Him each day, each moment, is key here. Because it is in the context of our relationship with Christ that He begins to reshape our heart and our dreams.
The past year has been filled with a lot of this reshaping for me. It seems the uprooting of my life when I moved has jogged something loose, and ever since then God has been slowing shifting my perspective, expanding my dreams and my view of what His future could hold for me. It’s fascinating to recognize this work in my heart, but it’s been hard to walk through at times. There were moments of struggle, of turmoil, of tears.
But once I surrendered those initial dreams over, I was able to see new ones develop. It wasn’t so much that I “gave up” on anything. I simply gave it to my God for safe-keeping, and I am trusting Him to fill me with joy, satisfaction, purpose, and hope—to fill me with Himself, so that I am free to enjoy Him fully in this abundant life.
Seeking to lead the life the Lord has assigned, we are also to lead the life “to which God has called [us].” It is a life of holiness. And while there will be moments of failure, this life is one in which we look to Christ and press on, endeavoring to finish our race well and to walk in His strength and righteousness.
The Bible is filled with Scriptures both challenging and encouraging us to walk this difficult, narrow path of righteousness, knowing that our prize is Christ Jesus who has ransomed us, and He is a greater treasure than any other we could find.
“As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ”
1 Peter 1:15, 18-19a
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
1 John 5:3-4
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
So let us walk with confidence in the life which our Lord has assigned, knowing that He establishes our steps (Psalm 37:23). Our Rock and Fortress, He will lead and guide us for His name’s sake, and He will accomplish His every purpose (Psalm 31:3, Isaiah 46:10). It is in His strength that we walk, holding fast to Him in trial and temptation, trusting that He will uphold us and enable us to follow and obey. In both portions of our focus verse, surrender is necessary. We must remain surrendered and allow God to reshape our heart as needed, and we must remain surrendered in obedient faith as we display our love for and devotion to the One who has died for us and made us His own.