Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Adapting Our Message Without Compromising

     One of the things we all have to learn in life is how to adapt gracefully to change.  As we all know, nothing stays the same forever.  I remember finding a Bible that my grandfather wrote in one Christmas long ago.  He told of how happy he was that the entire family was gathered together and wished that it could be this way forever.  How many of us have felt the same way when we are enjoying a special time?  Yet, sadly, we cannot stop the march of time.
Children grow up and begin their own journeys.  Friends move away or change in such a way that we hardly know them any more.  However, I love the attitude of the Apostle Paul.

     In his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul writes in I Corinthians 9:19-23:  “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

     Within this passage, we see a man who has learned to adapt himself but not compromise himself.  This is how we face change in life.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to become “all things to all people” for the purpose of winning them to Christ…not manipulation or any other motive.  Paul was well aware that situations, circumstances and people are ever changing.  Nevertheless, he was able to adapt without giving in or compromising his values.  That is the key for us as well.

     What has happened throughout the church today is that many have learned to compromise their belief system in order to avoid making waves.  This has diluted the message of the gospel rather than strengthened it.   Paul, on the other hand, adapted his message and lifestyle without giving up the Christian worldview in the process.  He was able to converse with the weak, other Jews, and Gentiles to name a few.  His flexibility to change was the result of His trust in God to fill his mouth with the right words at the right time.

     One of the key things that I believe Paul understood was that no one can change another person by a direct action on our part.  We can really only change ourselves.  It is even impossible to do that outside of Christ!  However, with the Holy Spirit residing in us, we are more than capable of demonstrating love and the fruits of great character that we otherwise would have trouble modeling to others.

     This much we know.  Change is inevitable in life, but how we respond to it is not.  When we are walking by God’s Spirit, we are able to adapt rather than compromise our beliefs.  Let us strive to become all things to all people that we might win them without losing any of the godly principles upon which our life is built.  This will bring glory and honor to God as we live this way.  Selah!

     Father, never let us compromise our beliefs and become like the world.  You have called us to walk in this world but not be a part of it.  May we have the right words to say and the right actions as we share with others the Good News of Jesus Christ.  May we never compromise for the sake of political correctness, but give us strength to stand for the truth in the face of change.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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