Paul’s life was mission-driven, he knew who he was and what he supposed to do. He adjusted his lifestyle so as to accomplish the purpose that God had for his life. As an apostle, “a sent one”, his mission was to bring the gospel to as many as possible. He said, “ I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” In everything he did, he always evaluated his actions by the priority of the gospel. In what he shared, we may learn a good lesson about how to adjust our lifestyle to make the gospel a priority.
The first thing that Paul talked about, even earlier in the chapter, was to give up his rights. He was not a slave to anyone, but for the sake of the gospel, he made himself a servant to all, that he might win some of them. Serving others out of humility is a way to get to the hearts of others. A slave does not have any rights, his life is not his own and he is bought by his master. In the same way, in Christian servanthood we are to serve others as we serve Christ. When we do it to the least of them, we have done it to Jesus. To insist on our own freedom and rights can become a barrier to reaching others with the gospel.
Being a free man, a Roman citizen, a scholar of the Old Testament Law and a brilliant thinker and philosopher, Paul did not use all his qualifications when he relate to others. Many think that if we have a better education or background, then others would listen to what we have to say. The opposite, however, is true. Paul did not use any of his “qualifications” but humbled himself in associating with different people groups, religious groups and socioeconomic groups. He became all things to all people so that he might save some. People become receptive to what we have to say not because we are superior to them but because of their identification with us.
In all things, Paul exercised self-control. Like a runner who runs to win, like a boxer hitting his target, Paul did not run aimlessly nor did he beat the air. He disciplined his body to come under his control, lest he preached to others while he himself was disqualified. Disciplining the body and not come under its control is key in a lifestyle of the gospel. It is always inconvenient when we want to share Christ with others. Our own desires, needs and wants always become stumbling blocks as we live out our mission in life. Yielding to our bodies can make us totally ineffective in bringing the good news to others.
Is the gospel of Jesus Christ a priority in your life, do you live with the gospel in mind? Are you adjusting your lifestyle so as to become a gospel bearer or you are just following the desires of your flesh? God wants your life to be effective so that you are not disqualified in the end. Live the gospel now.
Ps 88:8-18 Neh 9:22-10:39 1 Cor 9:19-10:13 Prov 21:13