There is a major wrinkle in my application of those passages and the subsequent making a slave of myself. Some, make that more than some, of the people that I meet that are non-believers I don’t like very much. Yet there it is smack in the middle of 1 Corinthians 9, I am supposed to ignore my reaction to these folks and become their slave so that they can come to Christ.
Which brings me to the last paragraph in 1 Corinthians 9:19 – 23. My reactions to less than polite people requires the self-control to which Paul refers. He is describing an intentionality in his purpose, his choices. The purpose is to win people to Christ. To do so he makes his body a slave to his purpose, his intention.
So rather than trying to get back at those who are defaming him, he commands himself to not react and seeks to lead them to his Lord.
I have a long way to go in imitating Paul.