19I am not anyone's slave. But I have become a slave to everyone, so I can win as many people as possible. 20When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. 21And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. 22When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. 23I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings.
A Race and a Fight
24 You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! 25 Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. 26I don't run without a goal. And I don't box by beating my fists in the air. 27I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won't lose out after telling the good news to others.
Paul is still thinking of those Corinthians – so proud of
- their rights as Christians,
- their superiority over lesser mortals,
- their freedom to do as they pleased.
He tackles the matter from another angle. Now he is saying, “You’ll never get the gospel across to others like that!” And, in very moving words, he shares with them something of his own experience.
- “Rights?” Get busy passing on the Gospel! (vv 15-18). He has just shown that he has at least as many “rights” as they have; but how much does he care (v 15)? What is he busy with instead?(vv 16,18)? Are you?
- “Superiority?” Get alongside your fellow Christian! (vv 19-23) Paul could easily have been “superior”—but what had he made himself (v 19)? Notice in verses 20-22 how he was willing to get alongside everyone just where they were. Are you?
- “Freedom?” Get yourselves under control! (vv 24-27). If you want to be of any use for the Lord in this life, you can’t afford to let your body’s demands get the upper hand. Who must be the boss (v 27)? Paul was working on it (v 25). Are you?
Lord, give me this same urgent longing to be tuned and ready to bring Christ to others. Amen.