“For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:16
Your mission is to live your life.
In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul addresses believers who are married to unbelievers, and outlines a general rule that if the unbelieving spouse chooses to stay in the marriage, it would be good for the believer to stay, too. He gives two reasons for this: First, the children will have a godly influence through the believing parent, and second, the unbeliever may be converted “because of you.” (1 Corinthians 7:16) (Exceptions to this rule would of course be situations of abuse and endangerment of a spouse or child.)
Just what does he mean by “because of you,” I wonder? Does it mean you are on a personal crusade to save your spouse? Does it mean that you will preach the Gospel to your spouse at every possible opportunity? Does it mean you will turn your house into a religious institution that coerces your spouse to either put up with Christianity or leave? No, it doesn’t mean any of these things.
It means simply what it says: “… because of you” — because of who you are, because of how you live, because of the way your faith affects everything you do, because of the way you carry on your life, because of the reality of Christ in your life. That’s it. No more; but certainly, no less. Paul is suggesting that living your life with a sense of purpose that comes from your faith in God is enough to convert someone.
It occurs to me that this could be applied to all believers in relation to life in the world among people with whom we work and associate who are not believers. General rule: Don’t leave the world. (Where would you go anyway?) Stay in the world — in relationships with unbelievers — for the chance that someone may be converted “because of you.”
We are not on a crusade; we are on a mission to live our lives according to God’s purposes. When we do that, we make possible an environment of change where a person who does not have a meaningful relationship with God might become curious about someone who does. “Because of you” is a statement of subtle influence, not coercion, and in the context of Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7, it is a steady influence over time, as would be implied by a marriage. There’s nothing complex or even premeditated about a “because of you” influence. This is a believer going about the process of believing; and this is an unbeliever going over their life with a microscope, observing the good, the bad, and the ugly. It does not matter if God is there.
Thought for the day: Don’t ever sell short what God can do “because of you.”
By John Fischer
Used by Permission