Stay Put, Praise God—1 Corinthians 7:17-24

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Most, if not all, people experience a time in their lives when they can’t wait for time to move on. It might be the teenager who can’t wait to be eighteen and to leave home. Or the worker, who is bored with his job, who wants to move on. 

 

The college student in their third year of studying longs for the day to finally put her studying into practice. It could even be the older person, longing to die because they feel they have outlived their usefulness.

 

We humans have always had a hard time with being content in the circumstances that life has thrown at us. Over time, we’ve invented proverbs to remind ourselves to be content with our lives:

 

  • Accept the things you cannot change; change what you can.
  • If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
  • Bloom where you are planted.
  • A Yiddish proverb says, “If grandma had wheels, she’d be a trolleybus;” meaning, stop worrying about the “what-if’s” and focus on what you got.

 

In this chapter, we’ve seen Paul argue that single people should remain single, if they can do so in purity. We’ve also seen that he argues that married Christians should avoid divorce, and even to seek reconciliation with former spouses if they get a divorce. 

 

Some of the new Corinthian believers had spouses who didn’t believe, they wondered if they should divorce their unbelieving spouses. Paul says, “No.” Basically, his guiding principle is: “stay where you are.”

 

In verses 17-24, he stops to explain that principle and why it’s important. Notice that he repeats the principle, “Stay where you are,” three times—verses 17, 20, and 25. It’s like the slices of bread in a Big Mac! The meat in the passage is found in verses 18-19 and also verses 21-23. Continue reading