Many will say that it's good, even essential, to improve your lot in life, even to the point of this becoming a kind of mantra in the country where you live - that this is what you can do, and even must do. You may have been taught this all of your life but does the Bible agree with this? NO, it says exactly the opposite, as our message from 1 CORINTHIANS 7:20-24 makes abundantly clear:
20 Let each one remain in the same calling (station or condition of life) in which he was called. And just in case we didn't get that, a few verses along Paul REPEATS it: 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state (station or condition of life) in which he was called (to come to Jesus).
It wouldn't be hard to see that God is stressing that being WITH HIM, as v. 24 says, is of far greater importance than trying to climb the ladder of success in life, seeking more income and better conditions. That may well cut right across a few of our long-held ideas I think. Matthew Henry says that, "Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, NOT what we are in the world." Oh, that is GOOD, that's so VERY GOOD!!
The 'condition' referred to above is meaning that which you were in, your position in life, WHEN CONVERTED. Paul makes but one concession to this. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. That is, don't seek to be free - changing your situation - even if you're a slave, BUT if this option becomes available, feel free to take it.
Meantime: 22 He who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. Some very powerful opposites there for us to get our head around - and into our lives!
There's one final injunction or command in this passage: 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. But rather as 22b has just said: Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (Is this why I chose to make (consider) myself Christ's slave (bondman, bond-slave) in 1999? No I more sought to pattern on the NT writers who all call themselve bond-slaves or bondmen or slaves or servants.)
And so to return to our Message Title: "Contentment" - that we may get to enjoy HIS Joy and Peacefulness in our lives. But another title could well have been, 'Why don't we actually READ what's the NT says so we truly KNOW how to live the way He tells us to!!.. instead of believing, following, and living the world's way.'
Love, grace, peace to all!