You've Been Bought
1 Corinthians 7:22-24 (ESV)
22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers,[a] in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
You've Been Bought
We have all been there--lured by a slick ad campaign, claiming we can lose 20 pounds in 20 days, or land a promotion by Friday, only to be disappointed. If it were not for the micro-fine print that reads, "results not typical," we could surely claim false advertising.
Sometimes, well-meaning Christians, eager to get people to buy into Jesus, do a little over-selling of their own. They may claim that Jesus will rescue finances and relationships, bring physical healing, and turn frowns upside down. While it is true that he may do those things and more, one does not have to spend long looking at Jesus's closest followers to realize these results are not typical.
The truth is, when people come to Christ, their lives often gets harder, not easier (John 16:33). Now that's a hard sell! What Christians really should be "selling" is the problem of the human condition: we have all sinned and fallen short of God's righteous standard (Romans 3:23), and the debt we owe for our sin is death (Romans 6:23). Once the problem is understood, the solution is most welcome: For God so loved the world that he gave His Only Son so that whoever believes in him would not die, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
You see, the solution for humanity's problem is a gift, and the only buyer in this divine exchange is Jesus himself! There were no discounts at check-out either; the receipt was stamped, "PAID-IN-FULL!" His purchase? You and me, and all who would answer His call. Christ's call is not one to ignore or send to voicemail, yet no one should expect to hear him say they just won the lottery or got the promotion. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die" (The Cost of Discipleship). Ironically, that's where real life begins--and it can be experienced regardless of life circumstances.
So, if a person finds himself in difficult or lowly circumstances when Christ calls, he need not look for Jesus to remove him from those circumstances, rather, he can look to Jesus to be within them. On the other hand, if a person finds herself in pleasant or powerful circumstances when Christ calls, she should use her position to humbly serve God while adopting the view that her life is not her own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Brothers and sisters, it is important to know that Christ's call isn't "one and done," rather, it rings out to us daily. Each morning when we wake we have the choice to ignore or answer that call to die to our sinful natures and our rights to live as we please. May God give us the strength and courage to follow the example of the apostle Paul who said, "I die every day" (1 Corinthians 15:31). For the ones who have been bought, death, whether metaphorical or literal, is nothing to fear. Our Master is wholly good and holds resurrection power.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for paying the ultimate price to buy my freedom from the chains of sin and death. Thank you that no earthly comfort or reward could ever compare to what waits for me in eternity. By your grace, today, I am choosing to die to my own will and pride and live for you alone.