>> Sunday, May 15, 2011
In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul addresses believers who are married to unbelievers, and outlines a general rule that if the unbelieving spouse chooses to stay in the marriage, it would be good for the believer to stay, too. The unbeliever may be converted because of you. (1 Corinthians 7:16)
Just what does he mean by because of you, I wonder? Does it mean you are on a personal crusade to save your spouse? Does it mean that you will preach the Gospel to your spouse at every possible opportunity? Does it mean you will turn your house into a religious institution that coerces your spouse to either put up with Christianity or leave? No, it doesn’t mean any of these things.
It means simply what it says: … because of you … because of who you are, because of how you live, because of the way your faith affects everything you do, because of the way you carry on your life, because of the reality of Christ in your life. That’s it. No more; but certainly, no less. Paul is suggesting that living your life with a sense of purpose that comes from your faith in God is enough to convert someone.
It occurs to me that this could be applied to all believers in relation to life in the world among people with whom we work and associate who are not believers. General rule: Don’t leave the world. Stay in the world – in relationships with unbelievers – for the chance that someone may be converted because of you.
We are on a mission to live our lives according to God’s purposes. When we do that, we make possible an environment of change where a person who does not have a meaningful relationship with God might become curious about someone who does. There’s nothing complex or even premeditated about a because of you influence. This is a believer going about the process of believing.
“On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you've got to let him or her go. You don't have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.” I Cor. 7:15-16 (MSG)