Beliefs govern our character, character determines our behavior, and behavior reveals what is important. We all have things that are important our family, friends, community, retirement, health, helping others, politics, and many other things are important, but what is most important to you?
What are the most important things to you and why?
I’m sure these things were important to Paul too. But in 1 Corinthians 9 he is clear about what is most important to him. The Gospel.
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.
For Paul to be able to move from self-centered to Christ centered he needed to be others focused. Last week we discussed that others focused involved Find Commonalities with Others (8: 1-6,8); Cultivate Curiosity in Others (8: 7-11); and Journey with Others (8: 10-13). CLICK HERE For more information. Being others focused required Paul to look beyond his own tradition, heritage, habits, and personality.
What types of people are hard for you to connect with?
What could God be asking you to do to become all things to all men so that you may be able to reach some?
Paul new that he needed to be self-discipline to be able to be gospel centered. Self-discipline for the believer is called spiritual discipline. Spiritual discipline is making God’s word and Spirit the center of our life through reading, prayer, and practice. We should approach our spiritual discipline like an athlete prepares to win a race. Here is what Paul had to say about this.
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.
Self-discipline is hard for anyone, spiritual discipline is impossible without the Spirit dominating, motivating, and directing the individual.
What comes easy for you when seeking to be spiritually disciplined?
How can you encourage others to do the same?
- Be others focused, no matter who they are, with the intent of sharing the life transforming grace of God – believing that some will come to experiencing salvation through Christ.
- Make living out your salvation (internally, externally, and relationally) with Christ the motivation, goal, focus, and reason you’re living.
God, fill us with your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding so we may represent you well. Help us to sacrificially serve, unconditionally love, and be recklessly abandoned to you.