In Chapter 9, Paul discusses an important part of a gospel-led lifestyle, especially for long time believers. In addition to living righteously in God’s grace, we must live the gospel and spread it to others. He notes that both are as important.
I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! — 1 Corinthians 9:23
Before we evangelise and share God’s word with others, we must be living first. As living, breathing and walking testimonies of God’s love, our behaviour and attitude should showcase and even radiate goodness. This is something I have personally been trying to achieve: the people we interact with everyday (e.g. friends, family) should be able to differentiate us from non-believers. One of the most shameful things someone can inadvertently say is “What? You? You go to church?” as you reveal your beliefs after knowing someone for some time. Though this has not happened to me personally, I want my lifestyle to change in a way that people can sense that I am a follower of Jesus just by interacting with me.
However, with this being said, we must remain careful with our motives and humbly know that all the goodness and glory we exude comes directly from God. Paul says “I’d rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives.” He makes it extremely clear that his motives are to glorify God and if there is a shred of doubt about this, he would rather die to prove his loyalty to Him.
Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don’t even have to pay my expenses! — 1 Corinthians 9:18
Jesus died for the sins of man on the cross so that we could be cleansed and be saved from the damnation that our sins have placed us in. This is the gospel, meaning ‘good news’. We should readily preach God’s love to others and delight in doing it. Paul says that he finds so much pleasure in evangelism that he devotes his life to doing so and does not even expect to have the expenses repaid to him. In other words, he is willing to use his own time, money and strength to go out of his own way to share God’s word without expecting any of this given back to him, let alone a ‘salary’.
From these two verses, we can model our behaviour around the mentality that living the gospel and spreading the gospel should overlap. We should let the gospel be a part of our lives, and let our lives be a part of the gospel. We should speak of God’s goodness on an everyday basis, and share it to those around us. At the same time, our behaviour should be able to reflect on the goodness of God – before we even explicitly speak of God.
One of the largest obstacles between us and being able to be at one with the gospel is sin and temptation. In Chapter 10, Paul encourages us and gives us strength to know that, as hard as it sounds, we can, by the grace of God, live a righteous life that is free sin.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. — 1 Corinthians 10:13
We must have faith in God that whatever temptation and obstacles he has placed ahead of us, it is part of His plan in making us holy and strong followers. This particularly encouraging because when we’re faced with the temptation to sin, our minds often reason that it we are ‘too weak to resist’ and that results us in giving in. However, by recognising the fact that we will only face temptations that God knows we can endure, we can put our trust in God and ask for his strength when faced in the situation of temptation.