1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NASB): For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
I love this passage. Sacrificing, putting other people first is a demonstration of love, commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness to God. But the last thing I want to do is diminish the wonderful truth in this by watering down the Word of God, minimizing the law, by taking on the ways of the world in order to “prove” something. I don’t save people. Jesus does. But my life is a witness to what Christ has done in and for me, and that means I follow the whole Bible and do not take scripture out of context or reword it to fit something I want to do that does not line up with what God teaches me in His scripture. Either it’s all true as written, or none of it is true.
Neither do I recite it like a mantra or chant to bring about what I’m seeking. It is the Word of God, not to be treated irreverently. It is my guide in prayer, in action, in thought. It is truth that guides me. But I need to know it. Understand it from every angle possible. From history to linguistics to definitions. It is a life long study that must never stop because what is to be gained is endless. It is priceless.
I trust God to bring learned scripture to mind when temptation tries to lure me. He has promised to provide a way to stay out of sin. However, in order to avoid sin, I need to understand what sin is, and that is what the law is all about. Not knowing doesn’t make it right.
Notice Paul says he is free from all men. And then chooses to be a slave to all. My choice? To keep digging, growing daily in the Word in order to be fully convinced. To rejoice in the power of repentance and God’s forgiveness. Then, with the resulting understanding, to exercise the freedom Paul talks about. Freedom to be who God created me to be, in service to others in service to Him, by the fruit of His Spirit, not my own. (Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB): But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.)
The more I study, and the more I learn, the more in awe of God I am. We live in a world that needs to see all the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated. God’s people, his called out ones, His church, we have a big job in front of us. People are blinded by the half truths out there, they don’t really know what the true church is about. I wonder if it is because many in the church don’t know what church is really about.
I’m learning everyday how short I have fallen, and I believe in my heart I’m one of the people that “get it” as far as I’m been able to “get it” to this point in my life.
So I keep looking out for sin in my life. I keep repenting. I keep rejoicing in forgiveness, in God’s mercy and grace. And I pray to be shown those to whom I can demonstrate the truth of Christ, introducing them to a joy beyond compare, to accept Jesus by faith and join us in this incredible journey.