I like it when people like me.
I like affirmation. I like acknowledgement. I like acceptance.
But I’m no use as an instrument if all I’m interested in is favor in the eyes of others.
So the verse “all things to all people” is a verse that has caused a lot of personal turmoil for me. Initially, it seemed to me that Paul was bending over backwards just to be relevant to people.Paul, you’re saying that you compromised your identity, your religious and political beliefs, your personal freedoms in Christ just to bring the gospel to people?
But, I did some commentary footwork to find that Paul had boundaries.
He became weak to the weak. He “denied himself for their sakes…to gain their souls.”
But he did not “despise nor judge them…and was careful to lay no stumbling block in their way.”
I think that the “what” he did or did not do was significantly less important than the “why” he shared the gospel.
The focus was never inward — always upward.
The focus was not to be popular — but to gain souls.
When I find the courage to share my faith, I find myself caught up in the tension between being relevant and bringing the gospel in its purest form. My “self” wants to engage in the things they engage in, be witty and funny, use their vocabulary to attract attention to myself.
But the Spirit of Jesus who dwells in me yearns to use these things to draw my friends into a rich and relevant relationship with Himself.
I need the strength to be weak.
To be weak to my friends who are weak and who lack their understanding of You. To be weak to my tendency to just want my friends to like me. To be weak to remain weak. Would You be my strength?
I believe You will.