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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Two Modes of Slavery

I have often returned to 1 Corinthians 9:19 – 23 for a checkup.  Paul tells us there that in the process of doing all things – not some things, not a weekend or a seminar, or a part time volunteer in a ministry no, all – for the sake of the gospel; part of that process is to make himself a slave – he could have used the word servant, but no, he penned, “slave” – to those who do not know Christ.
Two Modes of Slavery
That passage has served to both challenge and rebuke me over and over again along with 2 Corinthians 5:11 – 21.  It reminds me that central to my every action should be the furtherance of the gospel.

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.