Wednesday, January 14, 2015

All Things to All Men

Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.  When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.  When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,[a] I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.  I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. 
1 Corinthians 9:19-23

     How do I apply Paul’s philosophy of becoming “all things to all men” to help some get to Christ?  I think it’s so important to show people who don’t know Christ and his love that we are all weak and we all make daily mistakes.  I don’t want to go around acting perfect and saintly when I know that I’m not.  Yes, I want to try hard and I want to be a good example and shine my light before men, but sometimes people need to know that I struggle too.  People need to know that sometimes I feel jealous or envious and it causes me to manipulate or try to control others.  They need to know that sometimes I turn to worldly things to try to make my problems “go away” only to make more for myself.  I sometimes watch and read things that have no value to me whatsoever, and am still trying to learn how to tell myself no.  I get grumpy and say some ugly things sometimes, and all I can do is ask for forgiveness….AGAIN.  I feel sorry for myself a lot, which causes me to dwell on it and make it all about me.  I tell myself I don’t want to be in the spotlight, yet feel hurt when no one notices what I did for them.  I tell little white lies and I twist the truth to save others and MYSELF from pain.  I’m sure I could go on and on. 
     The point is I sin every day.  I think some people who haven’t been saved think they can’t be because they aren’t ready to change their lives.  The truth is, I have to wake up every morning and ask for another chance.  I’ve been saved for over 20 years and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have to ask for forgiveness and for him to keep working on me.  I don’t want to display my sin to all men, and I try to live the best life I can.  But I need to be honest and tell them that I struggle with that side of me and that’s why I need Christ.  I can tell them that now that I have him, I feel it getting better.  I feel him working in my life and convicting me and telling me that I don’t have to do those same things to get results. 
     There is a better way…His way.  Slowly but surely I’m learning that as I trust him and follow his lead.  Denying myself and turning away from my human nature one trial at a time, I see his results and they are so much better.  I still slip up and try to control things and make a mess, and I need to be able to admit that; especially to those who are not a Christian or are a new brother or sister.  It’s so important that we encourage each other and sometimes that means admitting that we aren’t perfect and that we talk about our mistakes openly.  I want to be able to sit down and talk to a person and have them relate to me and let them know that I get them.  I just need to remember that after I've spilled my guts about all of my faults I let them know THIS is why I need Jesus!