Lesson Three: A Glimpse at Paul
What would you say is outside your comfort zone?
I teach high school. I am one of those strange people that is comfortable around many different types of people for that reason. I am actually outside my comfort zone when I am around upper class adults, probably because teaching school has not put me around many frequently.
Read these verses from one of my heroes Paul. I think he knew quite a bit about being outside his comfort zone.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
In verse 19, Paul says “I make myself a __________?
Wow, I do not like that. Why does he do this?
I am reading the book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. The author states, “There is no salvation without surrender. There is no life without death. There is no believing without committing.” A Christian life is one of constant sacrifice. I do not think many of us would rush to say, “Sign me up for that! I love giving up my rights and freedom!”
We love power and freedom. You may think that you do not, but hesitate for just a moment. What are some things that if asked, you would have a hard time giving up? Aren’t you entitled to some things? After school, I like to go to Sonic. It’s Happy Hour and drinks are all half price. After a day of teaching high school, I deserve something don’t I? There’s nothing wrong with this one small thing, but what can you think of that is actually much larger that if asked to give it up, you would struggle?
What about your time? Ouch. Building relationships with people takes time.
“I don’t have time for one more thing.” Your busyness with insignificant things is showing.
“When I get off work, I am exhausted.” Amazing how this feeling of exhaustion subsides if someone offers to buy you dinner or offers free concert tickets.
When looking at what Paul might be saying about relationships, notice some things that Paul does not say…
He is not in any way suggesting that he goes drinking with the boys, so to speak, in order to witness to them.
He does not endorse dating a non Christian. We are not to be yoked with unbelievers.
He does not mean that our Christian values should be compromised. We must draw the line when we realize that this relationship is negatively affecting our walk with Christ.
How do we be salt and light and not become like the world?
Read Galatians 4:12
Why does Paul want anyone to become like him? Is he being a little prideful? No. If I am truly a follower of Christ, then I want people to become like me.
Read I Corinthians 10:23-24.
Back to this idea of sacrifice….
Robert and I have explained to our daughters many times how important impressions are. We as Christians must weigh what we do with how it could look. I should not do anything that I realize would make a brother stumble. That is difficult. All rights and freedom would be gone if I did that.
So the Christian life looks and sounds like slaves being dragged through life singing the “Oh, E, Oh” lines from “The Wizard of Oz”?
Not hardly. My life is full and rich and I have been blessed beyond what I deserve. Many Sundays as we sing praises I cry because I am overwhelmed with it all.
Some blessings I enjoy…
A wonderful husband and family
A great job
A house and plenty to eat
Amazing friends that if you come after me, they are coming after you. Well, maybe not, but it sure sounds good. To my most recent criticism, one of my friends responded with, “Let me at her.”
A fantastic church
If all these were taken away, then what??
I’d have Jesus. He’s all I need. He’s the reason we build relationships with people that need to be loved by Him through us.
When or if these relationships end, and many times they do last for only a season, we hope we can say with Paul:
New International Version (NIV)
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
To end, how do we become all things to all people?
We must look for opportunities to go after people. This may mean attending a ballgame when you hate sports.
We may have to hang out with people who are not like us.
We may have to listen to topics that do not interest us.
We may have to spend some money in unintended ways.
It is not about us; it’s about God.
Discuss some ways that you can become what you need to be to build a relationship with a person God is laying on your heart. Also, consider ways that you will guard your heart and mind against things that might come your way that are not Christ like because of this relationship. How will you guard against stumbling?