To the Jews I became like a Jew, . . . To those under the law I became like one under the law. (1 Cor. 9:20)
Expanded Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:20
I am not a big fan of rules or authority. There is a part of me that feels a thrill when breaking a rule and trying not to get caught. Growing up in the church, this attitude did not always go over well. The idea of “Sunday’s best” felt so legalistic to me, and I was always trying to dress down, not up. In high school, I was in a punk band and had a mohawk. One Sunday, I looked around and realized that my haircut was distracting to some in the congregation. While I thought it was ridiculous, at that moment, I cared more about the fact that I was distracting people from worshipping. I decided to lay down my right to have the haircut I wanted so I wouldn’t be a distraction anymore.
Paul went much farther than I did. When it was advantageous to the spread of the gospel, Paul lived by the laws of the Jews so as not to offend. He didn’t have to, but he preferred to obey antiquated laws that infringed on his rights rather than place any obstacle between the gospel and those he was sharing it with. Is your reticence to comply with a rule, tradition, or norm offending those around you? Does your behavior forward or hinder the gospel message?
For the sake of the gospel, consider nothing beneath you.
Aaron Wilkinson is the vice president of operations and enrollment at Wesley Seminary, a member of College Wesleyan Church (IN), and an employee resilience researcher.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.