During this weeks reading, we have read through two of my favorite passages. Psalm 32 is probably my favorite psalm. David paints a very vivid picture of the weightiness of sin and guilt. I have to believe that we have all felt that weight he describes, and I hope we have all felt the relief that comes with forgiveness. Although I could go on and on about Psalm 32, I want us to focus in on my other favorite passage 1 Corinthians 9.
1 Corinthians 9 is loaded to say the least, but I want us to just take a moment and focus in on two main points. The first of these is covered in verses 19-23, where we have Paul saying that although he is free, he makes himself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. What does Paul mean by this? He fleshes it out a little, by saying I become a Jew for the Jews, and as one under the law for those under the law, and as not under the law for those not under the law, and for the weak I become weak. When we look at Paul and not just his words, but his examples throughout his life, I believe we can learn a lesson on how better to share the Gospel.
The first thing I think we can learn is that in order to “win” anyone, you must first know who you are talking to. Paul knew the culture he lived in and the people he was talking to. The question we must ask ourselves is: Do we know our culture and the people? What are the issues facing people around us? Are we not only knowledgeable, but are we actively doing anything with that knowledge? There are times when I find myself doing pretty well in these areas, but then I know there are also times when I become apathetic and don’t want to put in the hard work, and in those times I must bring myself to my favorite part of this chapter and that is verses 24-27.
This passage always appealed to me, probably due to it talking about athletics, but non-the-less it is powerful. Paul says, “So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control (or I pummel my body and make it a slave), so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Are we disciplining ourselves? Are we doing things with purpose?
Let us live our lives with purpose and discipline! Let us love God and love others, and how can we best do that? By getting to know God better, and getting to know and love other people, and sharing our love of God with them!