"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Corinthians 9:19-22, Paul sought to become like several groups of people in order to win them to Christ, his mission. There are some human and wise limitations to becoming like others. How can we best follow Paul's example in order to reach our mission?
1 Corinthians 9:19-22 KJV
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
To put these verses of Scripture into perspective, Paul is simply stating that he is willing to do anything within the will and grace of God to reach out to the lost and dying. To get the gospel into some of these cultures and people, he had to place himself into some different situations and adapt to that culture. To many times today, before we reach out with the love of Christ, we want that person to fit into the culture identity that we are comfortable with. This is not what Christ was modeling with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Jesus went out of his way to interact with this woman who was both different in culture and a fornicator. I have touched on this in the previous posts, but our lecture gives us the best advice stating, “One important and early lesson of missiology is the goal to communicate effectively the message of the gospel, not convert people to one's culture.” Jesus had essentially ignored the cultural customs of the Jews in His day to cross over the boundaries in order that someone might believe and be saved. However, the results were not only her salvation, but an explosion of faith within that community.
When we are willing to cross cultural and racial boundaries for the sake of the gospel, God works miracles. The fruits of our labor are tremendous in eternal reward. Due to the type of dedication and work that this type of witnessing requires, many choose to forgo this route, even though it is what we are commanded to do as part of our faith. James 2:14-26 tells us how these types of works are necessary not only for our faith, but for the up building of God’s Kingdom. Who knows, the next person you witness to may go on to be the next Samaritan woman who runs into town to tell everyone of the gospel. That small work may have exponential results. God works in ways such as that and it results into an eternal impact. Although it is rewarding to be a servant in heart, it requires us to get some dirt on our hands. Going into the most gospel deprived places, even within the awesome U.S.A. can be a dirty job. You may encounter drug addicts who are diseased, homeless who haven’t washed, prostitutes, the dying, the hurting, foul-mouthed individuals, and even criminals. Serving those in need in these conditions does feel risky and uncomfortable, but God is with us each step of the way.
There are limits however that we must keep in mind. There must be personal (Titus 2:12), safety, and spiritual limits (1 John 2:15-27; Romans 12:2) that we must set ahead of time. As a lady, you may not feel comfortable going into a man’s area alone, in which case I do not blame you. As a believer, you should not be entering in establishments that promote sin and wrong conduct. Personally, you may not like going to speak to a family who have visible food on their furniture and roaches crawling before your eyes. I have personally seen all these things which is why I can speak from experience. There was one instance that I was alone at a home with a man who began to clearly show signs of both mental health and drug addiction. I tried my best to always remain near the door for safety and sanitation reasons. He was surely interested in showing me his old record collection of Elvis Presley and other oldies music, on record none the less. I said what I needed to, sowed that seed, and got out of there! We must remember to keep God’s Word in our hearts and share His compassion with others, even when it can cost us our comfort. This is the only way that the gospel will reach the ends of the earth.
 Grand Canyon University, “Global Christian Leadership” (lecture 8, Best Practices In Christian Leadership, Grand Canyon University, 2016). https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html