Missio on Calling (1 Corinthians 7:17-24): The Art of Compromise

I have often found myself striving – striving to be more, to do better, to live a more upright and righteous life. In the past, this striving has led to feelings of inadequacy that have proven destructive to myself and to my walk with the Lord.


So, what initially struck me about 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 was that God seems to be preaching against this destructive habit. He seems to be saying that, since He has called me His, I am called to rest in Him; knowing that I will never be good enough and that, in fact, I am most glorifying to Him when I am resting the most in Him.

But, as I think a little more deeply about this passage and how it may relate to my life as a believer, I understand it to apply more to how and where I live out my beliefs in the marketplace rather than when I’m off the clock.

Working on Capitol Hill has given me a window to see both the challenges and the excitement of living out my life as a Christian through my work. Politics, by nature, is a business of compromise. I think it is partly for this reason that the process of crafting and passing legislation that affects millions of people can be compared to sausage – you don’t want to know how it is made. The consequence of compromise is that you occasionally have to concede to arguments that are in opposition to your deeply held beliefs – sometimes in strong opposition. These factors all play into the challenging life of a Christian in the political world.

How, then, should Christians approach this work? The path of least resistance is to avoid it altogether! While this may sound cowardly or overreactive on paper, it’s actually quite understandable that some Christians might choose this route. After being in the business long enough and losing a few key political battles, one could easily conclude that the job is either not for them or worse: it’s inherently evil. Without a robust understanding of how God is redeeming the earth even today, this could seem quite overwhelming. It seems so much easier to simply return to one’s shell and avoid dealing with these issues head on.

The other path is to see your own role in God’s present-day redemption of our world and the people in it. It is to understand that our vocations, if they play some redemptive role, are not things to be thrown out when we become believers. We are not all called to become pastors or missionaries upon becoming a follower of Christ. But, we are called to work for His glorification in all that we do.

Because of this truth, believers can and should remain in the political field and work to do their best in Kingdom building work. They can do this while understanding that not every battle will be won, but that the Lord is sovereign over all, stripping us of any reason to be overwhelmed or to tuck tail and run.

It is when we understand the truth of walking with Christ in our vocations and in our lives that we can understand what it means to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16).


Logan Powell is a graduate of the 2015-2016 Capital Fellows Program.

Image: freeimages/Mike Johnson

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