ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE
Draw me to your heart dear Lord. Guide my mind and use me for your glory and the welfare of others.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 9:19-27
Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Need for Self-Discipline
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink about what society values. Freedom or self-discipline?
Often the word ‘freedom’ is used as a contrast to rules and regulations. It was used like that in Corinth. Notice how Paul uses the idea of ‘freedom’ in verses 19 and 21. He makes it clear that although he is free (v 19), he is not free to do whatever he wants because he lives under Christ’s law. Verses 20 and 22 describe four groups of people. Can you see what they are? What does Paul do to become like each of them? He is talking about ways to make connections with them, while continuing to live under Christ’s law. Verses 19, 22 and 23 show us Paul’s reason for doing this: to win others for Jesus.
Paul goes on to explore the self-discipline required to preach the gospel while living a godly life (vs 24-27). He refers to athletes in training. He implies that the strict training needed is worth it when the athlete wins the race and is given a crown (v 25). What difference is there between the crown athletes are given, and the crown Christians are given at the end of the race (v 25)? In verses 26 and 27, he shows us the purpose of this self-discipline. In your own words, try to summarize what you think Paul is saying in these verses.
Reflect on ways that self-discipline can lead to freedom in your own life in Christ.
Lord Jesus, I daily need your help and grace. Infuse me with your enabling so I will be your authentic disciple.
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