When we make a decision to follow God, we give him as much of ourselves as we know how. I know that many times I have said, “Lord, you can have all of me.” And I’m usually as genuine as I know how to be when I say that. But there is still the unexpected and the unknown.
The Bible tells us that when we choose to give ourselves to Jesus Christ, we start a process of change. We are “under new ownership” but the work has really only just begun as God starts “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). I used to work on a small construction crew, and many times we were asked to remodel people’s kitchens, bathrooms, etc. The thing is that many times the original construction was so bad that it was easier, safer and better just to completely tear out the existing structure and rebuild something new. Tinkering with the existing structure really wasn’t sufficient.
I know in my head that I’m not complete and that God in his love is tearing down what is not useful and building eternal things in me. Yet I’m consistently surprised when the Lord puts his finger on something in me that needs to change. And I’m consistently surprised that the change is not cosmetic but goes down to the structure of who I am, how I behave and how I see the world.
Most recently, the Lord has been convicting me about becoming “all things to all people” (I Corinthians 9:22). Having moved to another country, learned a new language, and adapted to a new culture and having experiencing the bumps and bruises that come with all that, I’ve started to feel like I’ve done enough changing and it’s time for people to “meet me halfway.” I’ve been digging in my heels, so to speak.
However, the Holy Spirit is convicting me that, in fact, I need to be willing to change more for the sake of sharing Jesus Christ with others. Part of the reason is that people see too much of me and not enough of Jesus. I bring too much of my culture, my ideas and my personality to the table, and that can overshadow or distort the message. I’m not actually sure where God will take me with this, but I’m praying for his help to lead me.
I Corinthians 9:19-23
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. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.