Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 18, 2019
However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17 (NRSV)
I have a short daily commute that takes me on the same three city roads every morning. The sights are routine and predictable, comforting in their consistency. Yet one day I noticed the early stages of a new mural, bringing art and beauty to a neglected and otherwise unremarkable side of a building. As the floral arrangement slowly took shape, I eagerly anticipated the completion of the work. And while the art was lovely and inspiring, the part that caught my attention was a small bit of script added on the final day: “Bloom where you are planted.”
While I doubt the artist had St. Paul’s words in mind, I think this common phrase is in many ways a modern expression of Paul’s heart in 1 Corinthians 7. He was writing to a community that deeply wanted to follow Jesus, yet found themselves in all sorts of situations that made them unsure of how to do this faithfully. Should they divorce a non-believing spouse? Should they become Jewish if they were Greek? If they were Jewish should they hide it? If they were slaves how could they possibly walk in the freedom Christ promised to them?
To each of these, Paul in essence says, “Never underestimate the power of God to free you and give you the strength to flourish right where you find yourself.” So often we think God is over there, never right here. God can be encountered on a silent retreat, but not in the complexity and brokenness of my marriage. He can be encountered at church, but not in my cubicle. He is surely with the missionaries overseas, but life with my neighbors in community can’t possibly be just as likely of a place to encounter his Spirit.
If God is the primary source of your life and identity, you can live as a free woman or man in every moment of every day. This identity not only transcends the particularities of your life, it also transforms them. Rather than avoiding them, you are able to press in deeper to the seemingly routine and mundane parts of life, believing that they are pregnant with the potential for God’s presence. As the late pastor Eugene Peterson once said, “There is no place on earth without the potential for holiness, right where you are, with the people you are with.”
Instead of longing for a better job, a new city, or different relationships, press in deeper to the places God has called you, believing he is present and at work in your life right now, just as it is, and he longs to meet you there.
Father, give me the courage to seek you in the holy, ordinary moments of my daily life, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can your belief that God is present and at work in every area of life help to settle you and help you flourish and bloom, right where you are?
Press in deeper to the places God has called you, believing he is present and at work in your life right now. #wisdomhunters #content
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