Daily Readings: Deuteronomy 3-4, 1 Corinthians 9
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 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. 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. 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.
1 Corinthians 9:19-22
This is the power of Christians who make a decision to be marketplace missionaries.
There are so many people out there in the world that are unaware that the God of all creation loves them individually and wants a relationship with them. So many people that do not fully understand the good news of the gospel that Jesus came to earth on our behalf and willingly paid a price that we could never pay so that we could be reconciled to our heavenly father.
The stumbling blocks in people’s lives that keep them from knowing God and embracing a relationship with him can come in many forms as Paul alluded to today. Just about any reason people have for feeling like “Jesus isn’t for them” gives us the opportunity to use our own testimony to bring people to Christ. There is power in relating on a human level and finding that you have more in common with another person than you originally realized. We all crave this connection and being understood.
Paul knew this.
Some people have too much guilt and shame in their life over actions from the past or actions they are currently engaged in. They cannot imagine a loving God would ever accept them. Fearlessly and authentically sharing challenges, mistakes, and sin issues you have also dealt with in your own life can have a powerful impact. We all crave authentic relationships and vulnerability but frequently don’t know we desire it until we see it modeled for us. This takes giving them the real version of your issues, and not just the polished up version that mainly deals with the saving grace with received from Jesus, but goes into very little depth on how far we had fallen. There is power in sharing the mess, in all of its messiness, and not just the “after picture”. Hearing how God worked in those areas can breathe new life into people who had previously believed the lie that they had already crossed too far over some imaginary line of no return.
Some people have overwhelming hurt in their life from a time where they felt that God abandoned them. It might have been something horrific that happened to them earlier in their life, a loss of a loved one, or something else that caused them say, “Why would a loving God…” This is such a tough place to be at, but one that most of us can relate to in some form or fashion. We have almost all been there at some point in our lives. One of the beautiful things that begins to happen when you live an openly Christian life is that you also begin to know the stories and testimonies of so many other people who also want to help others come to know Jesus. You may not personally be able to relate to someone’s specific story, but you can be there for them, truly listen and empathize, and get them connected to someone else who shares their story. There is power in realizing that other people have gone through what you are going through and that God helped them come out the other side.
Some people may have a distorted view of the gospel because of previous church experiences they had. They may have heard all forms of sermons about rules, regulations, and might have fallen into a belief system where all of your good works are on one side of that proverbial scale at the end of your life and every sin you have ever committed is stacked on the other. Hopefully your good outweighs the bad! Many have never heard the true message of grace. Many have never even heard the true gospel even though they grew up in church their entire lives. Again, many of us can relate to this and sharing your experience with someone else may just be the light bulb moment that they need.
As a marketplace missionary we have the amazing opportunity to be amongst people that have given up on “church” and also given up on Jesus without ever really knowing him. We have the opportunity to minister to people that would otherwise never be reached. So turn on your God radar today! For those that are filled with guilt and shame, share your guilt and shame. For those that hurt, share your hurts. For those that believe a warped version of faith, share with them the good news of the true gospel. Don’t be afraid to share every aspect of your life to reach someone.
If Christians collectively embraced the mindset that Paul had in 1 Corinthians 9:22 when he said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” imagine how many people would come to know Christ in our world!
Thought to ponder
What are powerful aspects of my own story that could relate to people who do not yet know Jesus? How can I look for more opportunities to “become all things to all people” so that I might introduce more people to Christ?