Who Is Really Free?

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God. (v. 24)

Christian mystic Julian of Norwich once said, “God walks among the pots and pans.” True faith is lived out in the ordinariness of life – at work and among our friends and in marriage. The Christians in Corinth had written Paul a letter containing questions about marriage. They wanted to know whether Christians could divorce and, if divorced, whether they should stay single or could remarry. Chapter 7 contains Paul’s answer to their questions.

He covers a great deal of ground. Still, he ends up stating two basic principles. The first is that we should remain in the state in which we find ourselves. That rule applied to everyone – both to Jew and to Gentile, both to slave and to free. Paul is not a fatalist here. However, the second principle is that if we can change our circumstances without disobeying God, he says, we can and should do so. It is not wrong to want to enjoy the best life has to offer.

But sometimes our circumstances can’t be changed. In the end our circumstances are always secondary. What matters more is our obedience to God. We should follow the advice St. Francis de Sales gave: Live for God right where we are – married or single – because God is there with us.


God, thank you for being with us right where we are, giving us grace to obey you. Amen.