Our Calling, Signpost to Rendering an Acceptable Service to God – Serving God acceptably in your Calling.
Is rendering an acceptable service hinged on God’s calling upon our lives? Yes!
Imagine a scenario where you sent a child on an errand and that child ended up doing something different, though it’s a good thing. That good thing, nonetheless, will not bring real satisfaction to the one who sent him. It is considered unacceptable.
So is it with our calling to God. We are answerable for what we have been called to do and would give an account. Only those who operate in that calling would have rendered an acceptable service to God.
The question now is, how does one know what he has been called to do?
To answer that question is to try to give an elaborate explanation by examining various Bible versions of the book of 1 Corinthians 7:20, 23-24
The truth is, that our calling is not far from us. God does not call a man into something obscure, but into what has already been given to him from the beginning. Moses, for example, was called by God to deliver the Israelites from the land of bondage and to lead them into Canaan. But before this time, he has been exhibiting the traits of a deliverer. He loved justice and would fight to defend it. He proved it when he intervened for the Hebrew man in Egypt and mistakenly killed the offender. When he eventually escape from Egypt for fear of him being killed, he still showed up for the daughters of the priest of Midian at the well who some shepherd men were harrassing. He stood up for them and helped them water their flock, even though he was tired. The calling of God on him kept stalking him beyond his power. This means, all through his life, he was to live fulfilling that purpose.
There were possibly many other things Moses might have done at the background, but only those ones that ring in harmony to the calling of God on him was brought to the fore front and recognized to be written in God’s book. Moses was able to render an acceptable service to God because he lived and operated in that purpose as the primary assignment God gave to him. We all have a primary assignment. If Moses had forfeited his primary assignment for many other tremendous things outside this jurisdiction, he could have been busy doing what heaven was not looking for in him. Our service would only be acceptable when it is meeting divine prescription.
Therefore, rendering an acceptable service simply means living and walking in our calling.
Serving God Acceptable In Your Calling
From the story narrated above, we now understand that rendering an acceptable service to God goes beyond just doing what is right. But about doing the will and mind of God.
When God calls a man, he does so to fulfill a unique purpose that needs to be accomplished through that man. Not that that man in he entire world alone has such calling, but that man alone has a uniqueness in him to deliver or administer that purpose in a unique way that others cannot. That is why 1 Corinthians 12:5 says, “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.” So, each man has his own unique way of rendering service to God by operating in his calling.
Let’s take quite an elaborate look on understanding how operating in our calling makes our service acceptable to God by seeing various translations of 1 Corinthians 7:20,23-24
1 Corinthians 7:24 ERV
“Brothers and sisters, in your new life with God, each one of you should continue the way you were when God chose you.”
Some people are finding it difficult to know what it is they have been called to do because they are looking outside for their answer, when they are supposed to look inside. That verse above said, “…each one of you should continue the way you were when God chose you.”
God chose us the way we are so that we, in newness of life (the soul – spirit) might serve him ACCEPTABLY the way we are. Moses served God the way he was. He was a deliverer from the beginning. God didn’t change whom Moses was (the call) but gave him a rebirth to allow him operate according to the will of God.
Romans 8:29 KJV
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
English Standard Version
1 Corinthians 7:23-24 ESV
“You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.”
Condition is the way something is. That is, the state of a thing. Likening it to us, it is the way God has made or designed a man. Every man has its own condition, and was made in a certain way according to the purpose of God for that man. Salvation is not to change the condition in which we were made but to redeem our unregenerate soul so that we can once more serve God in our original state — as who we truly are. Therefore, let no man become a slave to man. When we start changing our state (condition) for another man’s or principle, we become useless to our calling.
Luke 1:74 KJV
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear”
GOD’S WORD Translation
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 GW
“Everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him when God called him. This is the guideline I use in every church. You were bought for a price. Don’t become anyone’s slaves. Brothers and sisters, you should remain in whatever circumstances you were in when God called you. God is with you in those circumstances.”
Because heaven has assigned a work to a man, heaven also stays with that man as long as he is willing to fulfill that purpose. God is with you in those circumstances. It doesn’t matter how tough the journey may seem, the Spirit of God will keep giving a confirmation, strength and fortitude to move on. We should aim to live the life that God has given us to live, knowing that he is with us in those circumstances.
Good News Translation
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 GNT
“Each of you should go on living according to the Lord’s gift to you, and as you were when God called you. This is the rule I teach in all the churches. God bought you for a price; so do not become slaves of people. My friends, each of you should remain in fellowship with God in the same condition that you were when you were called.”
God impacts us with some spiritual gifts according to his purpose, while not taking away our natural abilities. We are to use both to serve him acceptably.
It is good to emulate the people we consider great, but it is important we understand God’s unique calling for our own life and more so, the way he want us to operate in it. Like has been said, people may have similar or the same gifts but it is never administered exactly the same because we are all unique.
This translation says, “…according to the Lord’s gift to you…” Living according to men’s expectations will change that unique design God has given that man. Such person cannot serve God acceptably.
At salvation, the spirit of a man becomes enlightened once again and has ability to receive inspiration from the Almighty and grace to begin to operate according to do will and purpose of God that he has given to us from the beginning because “Ye are Christ’s workmanship…” Christ only changes our depraved nature due to the fallen Adam and modify some things in our lives that has become as a result of past habits of sinfulness, so that, once again, we can come alive and serve Him in newness of life (salvation). This is the freedom Christ is taking about.
John 8:32 KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
21st Century King James Version
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 KJ21
“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all churches. Ye are bought with a price; be ye not the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.”
The 21st Century King James Version says, “But as God has DISTRIBUTED to everyman, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk”
It is distributed. Everyone has a task to fulfill. His duty is to know what it is.
It is similar to how the American Standard Version puts it.
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 ASV
“Only, as the Lord hath distributed to each man, as God hath called each, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches. Ye were bought with a price; become not bondservants of men. Brethren, let each man, wherein he was called, therein abide with God.”
Ephesians 4:1-8,11-13 KJ21 says,
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Therefore He saith, “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” And He gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
Christian Standard Bible
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 CSB
“Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.”
This version puts it this way, “Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him.”
God want us to bring glory to his name from the same situation. Think about the blind man in John 9:2, the disciples of Jesus asked, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” But Jesus said, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. It has happened to him that way for one reason — God’s glory. Through Christ’s healing on that man, some onlookers and followers will believe on the Son of God. Heaven has fulfilled a purpose through this man’s situation
Are you created a male? Then that is the situation you have found yourself. It is not the making of man but God. You don’t need to turn yourself into a female with the conviction that you would serve God better. That would be unacceptable and damnable.We are to remain in the situation we have been called to serve. Click To Tweet
Contemporary English Version
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 CEV
“In every church I tell the people to stay as they were when the Lord Jesus chose them and God called them to be his own. Now I say the same thing to you. God paid a great price for you. So don’t become slaves of anyone else. Stay what you were when God chose you.”
The work of God need people that operate in their calling.
1 Corinthians 7:17,20,23-24 TLB
“But be sure in deciding these matters that you are living as God intended, marrying or not marrying in accordance with God’s direction and help, and accepting whatever situation God has put you into. This is my rule for all the churches. Usually a person should keep on with the work he was doing when God called him. You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him-be free now from all these earthly prides and fears. So, dear brothers, whatever situation a person is in when he becomes a Christian, let him stay there, for now the Lord is there to help him.”
Jesus didn’t say to Peter, Andrew, James and John, “Follow me, and I will make you butchers of men” when he was talking with fisher men. No! He called them to continue in the work of fishing. But this time, doing it his way through a rebirth. Fishing men into God’s kingdom.
New American Standard Bible
1 Corinthians 7:17,20,23-24 NASB95
“Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.”
This Bible translation stresses the importance of remaining in our original state with a ‘Must’
Our original state is Who we were. What we were. Why we were. Everything we were before sin came in. Christ saves us from sin to empower us in newness of life (salvation), to serve him with everything we were in him from the beginning.
New Century Version
1 Corinthians 7:17,23-24 NCV
“But in any case each one of you should continue to live the way God has given you to live-the way you were when God called you. This is a rule I make in all the churches. You all were bought at a great price, so do not become slaves of people. Brothers and sisters, each of you should stay as you were when you were called, and stay there with God.”
It is clearly articulated in verse 24. “Brothers and sisters, each of you should stay as you were when you were called, AND STAY THERE WITH GOD”
We are not called to serve man, but God, and so, we cannot change or adjust the purpose of our calling to please another man’s purpose, sentiment or tradition. We are to remain there with God who has given it to us. Whatever situation we find ourselves, we should not try to change it, but remain there with God. God is there with us.
New International Readers Version
1 Corinthians 7:17,20,23-24 NIrV
“But each believer should live in whatever situation the Lord has given them. Stay as you were when God chose you. That’s the rule all the churches must follow. Each of you should stay as you were when God chose you. Christ has paid the price for you. Don’t become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, each person is accountable to God. So each person should stay as they were when God chose them.”
“EACH PERSON IS ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD, SO (as a result) EACH PERSON SHOULD STAY AS THEY WERE WHEN GOD CHOSE THEM.”
It is possible for someone to try to prescribe a lifestyle for someone else which they think is more acceptable according to their own standard.
When Peter preached to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile in Acts chapter 10, the Jews at Jerusalem did not understand, and they opposed Peter because they were ignorant of Christ call to the Gentiles as well as the Jews because the Gentiles don’t behave like the Jews neither do the Jews behave like the Gentiles.
What makes us acceptable to God is our faith in him and obedience to his laws by regeneration, not observance of laws and traditions of men.
Romans 14:4 KJV
Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
The Passion Translation
1 Corinthians 7:17,20,23-24 TPT
“May all believers continue to live the wonderful lives God has called them to live, according to what he assigns for each person, for this is what I teach to believers everywhere. So everyone should continue to live faithful in the situation of life in which they were called to follow Jesus. Since a great price was paid for your redemption, stop having the mind-set of a slave. Brothers and sisters, we must remain in close communion with God, no matter what our situation was when we were first called to follow Jesus.”
It is a wonderful life. We live off that state of being wonderful when we try living another life.
In essence, we should remember that, in whatever situation God has called us to serve him, it is to bring glory to Him.
Christ don’t want us to confuse purpose with man’s requirements. Our identity to God has nothing to do with mans expectations or opinion of us, but in faithfully serving the One who has given us that identity, in obedience to his laws and commandments. We are to serve God according to his calling for us, and where we are at the present.
1 Corinthians 7:17,20,23-24 Voice
“So here is my instruction to all the churches: each must live with the gifts the Lord Jesus grants you and with the call God offers you. It is important for all people to live out faith in the circumstances they know. A high price has been paid for your freedom, so don’t devalue God’s investment by becoming a slave to people. My brothers and sisters, each of you should remain in whatever external circumstances you were in when God called you.”
There is no satisfaction or fulfilment in running another man’s race. “It is important for all people to live out faith (Faith life) in the circumstances they know.
Christ does not call us in obscurity but in the light of the things we already know, own or possess. We are therefore not to abandon what we know to look for the unknown, rather, we are to use same to serve Him in holiness and righteousness and bring light to those that are in the dark in these areas. That is the Faith life. Christ has made provisions enough to catered for the fulfilment of our purpose.
Have you been called to a life of singleness like Paul the Apostle? Do not desire to become married except you have not be called for that purpose.
Are you called as a Jew? Do not become a Gentile. Or were you called being a Gentile? Do not desire to become a Jew
For “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” (1 Cor. 7:19-20)
New King James Version
Colossians 3:8,10-11 NKJV
“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
The reason why we are to remain and operate in our calling is so that we all can come to the fullness of that perfection and unity in Christ. There should be no room for division among us even though we are all different from the others in gifts and calling. It is to foster love, appreciation, care and unity among believers. To perfect the body of Christ and see to the prosperity of every member.
Born in the Western part of Nigeria, is a teacher of God’s word and a promoter of purposeful living. She is on a mission to bring humanity closer to God through her inspired God-centered teachings, and help Christians live their lives in full for God’s glory