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Moral standards are part of every community as a way to set a compass that enables control and regulation of human behavior in every society. Oftentimes, you will hear Christians talk about how one should dress, speak or things one should do or should not do. Some church institutions have dress codes or adopted practices that must be observed during worship all to the glory of God. However for many generations, that has separated, in a discriminatory way, members of the church and individuals who would otherwise be seeking God but already have a pre-conceived notion that Christians are judgemental therefore so must be their God.

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor 9:19-23 niv

The Apostle Paul shares with us the liberties into which he operates as a minister of the gospel in hopes that we may pattern ourselves after his example to share the blessings of the gospel which we have come to know and enjoy through Christ. The essence of coming to the revelational understanding of the gospel is for the man who has had such a grace to share it with another that this good news may spread like a wildfire. There is therefore no plagiarism that is in preaching the gospel because the revelation thereof comes from Christ alone and it is given to every member of his body in good measure and according to the particularity in their calling and their willingness. In simpler terms, Paul is saying to us that a mature believer should be able to understand first the kind of audience he is attempting to share the gospel with because many christians want to force their beliefs and doctrines on non-believers which only ends in strife.

It is important to observe your environment, the kind of people you work with, for example, are all part of the harvest (Matthew 9:35) and it becomes your responsibility to study their patterns, pay attention to their understanding and identify the best way to reach out to them without making them feel repulsed. In saying so, he warns us not to lose ourselves in these attempts and forgetting the sole purpose for which we are doing this to begin with, which is to preach Christ. As a mature Christian, understand that every place you are standing in, every person that you meet is an opportunity to share Christ. By understanding the people around you, which takes time, you will learn how to meet every person to their level. In doing so, you also know that it is imperative not to cause others around you to stumble. For example, you cannot teach a child that has just learnt how to walk from crawling, how to ride a bicycle. You know that it is dangerous for their undeveloped bones or stability so you wait until they are a little bit older and can maintain balance to ride a bicycle. The same applies to men new to the faith. Those undertaking the journey to seek more and grow, and those that have been on the very journey and have been tried in many ways although all matter to God the same. That, of course, gives you an even greater responsibility that as you try to reach one, you may not lose some and likewise as you win more, you do not lose yourself in the liberties given to you as a mature believer and minister of Christ.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24:27 niv

For the lovers of soccer, you all know that all the players train together but at the time of the game some are substitutes while others may start and finish the game while still in the field. As Paul closes his letter, he reminds us of the need for self-discipline as co-laborers with Christ. He contrasts it to a race whereby everyone runs but only one gets a prize but also points us to the peculiarity of the prize which we are rewarded with in this kind of labor. Therefore, it is important, as I mentioned above, that in winning some souls, we do not lose ourselves and be disqualified from what we have preached unto others. As a minister, it becomes a responsibility to not be found at fault although you are not laboring for the recognition of men but of God. It is worthwhile to remember that the brethren whom we attempt to minister to, are watching our every step. If we error, they may replicate and therefore disqualify themselves from receiving the reward that Paul is speaking of. Pattern yourself then in a way worth replicating, lest you cause them to stumble.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6 niv

Am I saying you should not dress in a particular way? Go to certain places or do certain things? It would be useless to impose to you such a request because I would be giving myself a task too great for me (Psalm 131:1). What I am saying is that if you have given full permission to the word of God, and the nature of Christ (through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us) has taken abode in the deepermost parts of your life – most of these things become a conviction rather than order. It is not about what you do for Him because we do not live under the law, which is religion, but what He does through and in us, that is salvation. When you operate from the realm of conviction, no one else needs to tell you what to do or not do because you are in tune with the Holy Spirit that guides you (John 7:38 , 14:38 ) showing you the way and you personally choose to walk in it. In my experience, men hardly go back to the things which they testify to have left from a place ofof conviction because it has settled in their new mind in Christ. The outward recognition might or might not come and that is well for it is the work of men, the sole focus for a co-laborer with Christ is the reward of the Lord himself.

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”

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