There’s a quote that says, “I don’t know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” I think it could be easy to look at the first part of this passage and think that Paul is calling us to be people-pleasers, but there’s a difference between being a “poser” and living incarnationally.
Pray: Ask God to gently humble your heart and to reveal to you what areas of your life in which you’ve been refusing to live for Him.
Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Applications: Have you ever tried (successfully or not) to change yourself in order to fit in with a certain crowd? If you’re like the majority of people, you probably have at some point in your life, especially during adolescence. When we try to be “in” with a group of people, we’re doing it for ourselves, so that we can look good or be popular and well-liked. However, God calls us to live like others are living in order that He alone may be honored and glorified. Paul sets the example for us: he constantly goes out of his comfort zone and becomes like the people he is serving, so that he can love them by relating to them and understanding their lifestyles and perspectives. This isn’t an outdated concept by any means–God is calling you and me to love people all around us, whether we know them or not, by meeting them where they are, not by asking them to come to us.
Pray: Ask God to really speak to your heart and to show you who He wants you to minister to in your life, whether it is specific people or spheres of influence that He’s blessed you with. Ask Him to empower you to be more like them in order to show them the love of Christ.