1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, non-religious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul urges the church in Corinth to follow him as he follows Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 9 he outlines ways in which we can all become like Jesus.
1. Serve as Jesus served
Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28), and similarly Paul voluntarily became a servant.
Christians interact with each other on the basis of relationship because we are family; the secular world interacts on the basis of respect. In the world, we have to earn the respect of others; Jesus, on the other hand, saw a need and met it. He saw a wound and healed it, not because of the merits of the person but because he was looking to give value instead of to receive it. If we want to be like Jesus, we must learn to serve and add value to those around us, without judging and evaluating them first.
2. Love as Jesus loved
Paul became a servant to all in order to reach as many as he could. This was based on Jesus’ character of loving all, including the people we do not know and the people we do not like. We are most like Jesus when we love everyone always.
Do you have a greater desire to connect with people or to correct people? Jesus does not seek to correct us first and then accept us. He accepts us right away--unconditionally-- and the truth of that acceptance changes us from the inside out.
3. Know who you are in Christ
Paul ministered to everybody but made sure that he did not forget who he was. Similarly, we must be secure in our identity in Christ.
4. Be In on Christ's Work
When we look at the world through the eyes of Jesus, our heart will break, and we will be moved. The Bible talks about how Jesus was moved with compassion when he looked at the people (Matthew 9:36). We must go beyond our respective bubbles and go out into the world as Jesus did.
Action Item: Look for ways that you can serve and love others better this week. Ask Jesus to empower you to follow his example.