Going All In

chips“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-20

When a poker player believes he has the winning hand, he goes all-in; he bets all his cash and lays everything on the line. Today, I want to challenge us as believers in Christ, to go all-in for Jesus. Because when you go all-in for Jesus, you do so not only for Christ, but for the sake of those who do not yet know Him.

In the person of Jesus Christ, Paul believed that he had the winning hand in life. He was determined to go all-in for both the Gospel and his Master. In essence, Paul was saying, for the sake of the Gospel, “I will do anything, go anywhere, pay any price, and endure any cost.” But being all-in comes with a cost. There are some specific things we have to give up if we are going to be all-in for Christ and for others. One of the things we must be willing to give up is our personal preferences.

Look back at the passage again. When Paul says “though not being myself under the law,” he means that he was no longer under the ritual law. He understood that being right with God was about a relationship with Jesus and not merely abiding by ritual commands. Yet, Paul said, “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.” Whatever their ceremonial law dictated he was willing to do it. If they didn’t eat pork he didn’t eat pork.

Why did Paul do this? He didn’t do it to appease them or even to affirm what they believed. He did it in order to open a door of opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ. Paul never gave up his convictions, but he was willing to give up his preferences. What would the American church look like today if we all embraced this humbling mindset? Ask the Lord to open your eyes to preferences you need to let go of and give up. A life all-in for Jesus is by far the best life you could ever live.

–James Merritt

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