Each day, we are surrounded by people who are disconnected from Jesus. This means that if nothing changes, they will never live their life purpose and they will spend eternity separated from God. The Apostle Paul teaches us about meeting people where they are at, in order to help them get connected to Jesus in 1 Cor. 9:1923. Here are a few takeaways from these verses:
We can use our freedom to win souls v. 19 – Paul states that he chooses to be a “slave” to everyone for the sake of the gospel. What he means is that winning souls is so important, he will submit his life and actions to others in different ways so that he can win them to Jesus. His priority is saving souls over just getting and doing what he wants. This is a giving and unselfish love for others and their well-being.
We should meet people where they are at v. 20-22 – this is all about connecting with people in a way that makes sense to them. The message of the gospel is the same for all, but we can express it in a way that different types of people can receive. Jesus, Paul etc. shared the gospel in ways that people understood. Whether Jew, Gentile or the weak, Paul was committed to sharing the gospel by acting and speaking in ways that people could understand and relate.
Not everyone will respond positively v. 22 – even the great Apostle Paul recognized that even if he became all things to all men and used all possible means, that at the end, “some” might be saved. This means that we should not get discouraged or quit if people do not respond the way we want, especially the first time we reach out to them. The reality is that God does the saving! Coming to Jesus is often a process, so our job is just to share with people where they are at and trust God, that He will help people continue to move forward towards salvation.
There are effective and ineffective ways to share the gospel v. 24 – following these verses about saving souls, Paul speaks of running the race in a way “as to get the prize”. Many times, this verse is spoken of in terms of overall Christian discipleship, but it immediately follows verses on saving souls. Yes, it is our duty to live certain ways as Christian in our overall behaviors. It is also important that when it comes to soul winning, we are purposely growing in our ability to help others connect with Jesus. For our ongoing efforts, the greatest prize we can see from our serving is when a soul is added to God’s Kingdom.