I’ve been a church goer for much of my life (since I was 4…36 years ago, or so!). I gave my life to Christ at a young age, but was rebellious as a teenager in to my young twenties. Thank God that He picked me up and rescued me! I don’t often look back, and when I do, it’s not with fondness at who I used to be. I look back to see what Christ has done, where I have been, and how He has done His work in my life. Father, thank you for saving me and changing me! I think, though, many Christians can come across as “holier than thou.” We look at “sinners” and pretend that, once we’re saved, (and may this serve as a fore warning to those with sensitive tastes: this needs to be said, and don’t read the book of Amos, you’ll get offended) the waste we produce no longer has an odor (take that as you will).
Loved ones, the Apostles John, Paul and Peter, and James and Jude, the brothers of Christ and elders in the church never wrote this way, Jesus never preached this way, and there are no superior members of the Kingdom. Jesus said, in fact, to be “a slave of all” if you’re to achieve greatness in the Kingdom. Have you forgotten where you’ve come from? Have you forgotten who you were before Jesus rescued you? Even if you’ve been in church your whole life, there’s not a single person who can claim to be a “good person” before Christ got to them. We are saved to bear the image of and to give glory to God. This serves as a testimony to God who desires that no one should be lost. You were also saved to lead people to the Savior. Leave your pride in the past, humble yourself before God, and proclaim His goodness to the lost.
1 Corinthians 9
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
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. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.