Live on Purpose
In 1 Corinthians 9 the Apostle Paul is writing to the church and sharing how he has chosen to surrender some of his rights, not out of some self-glorification but for Christ Jesus and His purposes. Paul argues that he deserves to be paid for his work among them (vv. 4, 8-12), and that he has a right to be married (vv.5-6). After passionately making his case for why he could enjoy several freedoms he tells his readers, "nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ" (v.12). Paul had the right and the freedom to do many things in his life, but he voluntarily puts those things aside in order to not present anything that would hinder someone from coming to understand the gospel of Jesus.
As he continues, he goes one step further and not only says that he doesn't want to be an obstacle to others but that when appropriate he will adapt his ways to his audience. To the Jews, who were under the law of God, he became as a Jew under the law (v.20). To those that didn't understand the Jewish law he wouldn't mention it to them (v.21). To those who were not proud or considered weak, he would become the same way (v.22). Paul is quite clear that his actual standing before God didn't change, but what was changing was the way in which he talked and acted among those that he wanted to share the Good News of Jesus with. He concludes, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings" (vv.22-23).
In the next part of the letter he says that he views himself like an athlete, training to win the prize and he gives this great line, "So I do not run aimlessly" (v.26). Every decision, every conversation, every right or freedom that he was presented with were answered purposefully. Paul's singular focus was on how more could hear about the Jesus that he knew and loved.
I wonder for you, when you got up this morning have you done everything purposefully as for Christ? If you had a busy schedule today, was it built intentionally or did you blindly follow your routine? If you weren't busy was it right for you to rest today, or should some of that have been given up in order to further a friendship and point that person to God? If you had class today, were your conversations purposeful to how you could honor Jesus through them?
What is something in your life that you feel you have a right to, but if given up it would make it easier for someone to come to know Jesus? Is there something that you say, do, watch, listen to that is actually keeping people from understanding the gospel? Is there anything that you do that presents a cultural barrier to someone understanding the good news of Jesus?
Paul wasn't saying that his life was always busy with no rest, or that he couldn't enjoy a movie, or that because he was worried about his convictions that he couldn't enjoy a dinner out with friends. What he did say was that he wanted as many people as possible to know Jesus and that any sacrifice to his personal freedoms were worth giving up in order to see that happen. Paul lived on purpose for Jesus. How can you you live more on purpose for Jesus in your life?