Thursday, 7 August 2014

That I Might Win Some

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with a man these days.  :-) His name is Paul.  I like spending time with him because we have a lot in common and we have great conversations.  He stimulates me spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and many times we don’t agree, especially when he says “this is just My opinion”.  I thank him for making that stipulation every time he does for then he liberates me to respond the same way.  :-) We have a healthy relationship now, but it was not always this way.

For a long time, even though I liked spending time with him, I hated some of the things he would say, and I would ignore him whenever he brought up certain topics, for we just did not see I-2-I neither eye-to-eye.  Hmmm.  Anyhoooo, I would just reject those conversations and move on to doing something else.  Then I experienced some deep life-changing encounters with life and the Lord Jesus Christ which broke me and the mold of my opinions and I could no longer ignore those topics I ignored before.  These encounters changed (and continue to change) my way of dealing with things (and people) that I either don’t like, or just don’t agree with, which have been enriching to say the least.

Lately the phrase “that I might win some” has been sticking to me like a fly following the food on my fork. ;-)  Thus I could not ignore it.  I took a long gander at I Corinthians 9 (you can read it for yourself of course) and this part of his discourse begins at verse 19, but the very words themselves are nestled in verse 22b “I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ].” Amplified Bible. Now I don’t like taking verses out of their contexts for doing so leaves them open for intentional and non-intentional misinterpretation and misapplication.  However, if you read the verses surrounding verse 22 you will see that my friend Paul is very clear about the meaning of this verse.

He is not saying that we become murderers to reach murderers, neither lawless to reach the lawless, evil to reach evil people, etc. but he’s teaching us one of the reasons why God calls and chooses His own to “suffer” in this life even though we have “everything we need” in Jesus Christ Who resides inside of us, and "in Whom we live and move and have our being"; And why some of us will be rich in this life and suffer “differently”; Why we are teleported to other continents to live among the natives ‘there’, all with Jesus Christ residing inside of us.  It is that we may “win some” for they will be able to observe our lives as we endure the same “difficulties” as they do, but holding onto Jesus Christ and being held by Jesus Christ.  Our going THROUGH difficulties and sometimes coming out on the other side victorious victims, and other times victorious victors, but always triumphant because of Jesus Christ who is able to keep us in the fire – before, during and after. 

Paul is teaching us that being a Christian does not exempt us from the difficulties of life that all people on the globe experience, but Christ is the PreservaTOR (spell check doesn’t like that word, but “preservative” is not for human designation/application, and it doesn’t mean the same thing in French.) keeping us from the inside from being annihilated by the difficulties we encounter.  “We BEcome that we may win some.”

What are you becoming?  What have you become because of all you have endured in life thus far?  Everything, and according to Romans 8:28 God means EVERYthing, has been an important ingredient of the beautiful ______ (you fill in the blank) you have become, and what you will be, for life is an evolution, not from apes and monkeys, but from the you of yesterday through the you of today, to the you of tomorrow.  Eternity.

Where were you when God created the heavens and the earth?  This is a question God asked Job when he had much to say about the tests and trials he endured up to the very skin on his body.  Where was I?  Only in the mind of God.  I had nothing to do with my parents coming together, but God did.  He saw everything, the good, the bad and the ugly.  And the impossible.  And still He continued.  God has designed for our lives to touch one another, to touch the lives of others, some we may meet face-to-face while others just through Facebook, etc.  But yet, because you were here and you cooperated with God for becoming who and what He thought of you (Jeremiah 29:11) becoming and doing in the earth, other people are being inspired to be all they can be, that which God designed for them to be.  So they may BEcome and thus win some. 

“He that winneth souls is wise” is the King James Version translation of this verse in Proverbs 11:30.  The soul is made up of the thoughts, affections, emotions, will, intentions, intellect, and intelligence and anyone who is a psychologist and psychiatrist, or a minister who counsels like a pastor, knows the challenge of trying to convince someone of thinking differently for positive change; one must use wisdom and patience to pass through all the hoops of the soul to help others “see the light”.  Heck, to see the light yourself.  LOL!!  But we all know the power of “show and tell” right?  It’s not enough to tell someone about how good the coconut cake tastes, but if you gave them a slice I’m sure you would win them over to it.  Thus the reason for what you are going through today, that you may win some.

The challenge for me has been that which I saw myself as, according to the models around me, and also my understanding and interpretation of what I “heard” and “saw” in my heart and imagination that I would be, and do – does not fit the original thoughts of God for me.  I’m just being honest.  Thus life has been a series of evolutions (going around in circles and cycles, but never being the same after each rotation) for the winning of my soul to the picture of God’s thoughts for my life.  Wonder Woman does it best for me. :-) My SHEro.  She finds an inconspicuous place and looks left and right to make sure no one can see her, and then she turns and turns and turns until she becomes the powerful woman she was born to be when on that “island” of women, before she took her first flight in that invisible plane to the land of uncivilized men.  LOL!!  And so God has brought me to a “remote” place like John’s Isle of Patmos where I turn, and turn, and turn (He turns me on the Potter’s wheel) until I become the one God has created me to be.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Life is a series of evolutions and revolutions from beginning to end.  Sometimes you have to revolt against sin, sometimes against the satan, sometimes against the pull of others, and sometimes against yourself.  But that’s fodder for another meal. :-)
I was created to “BEcome that I might win some” – to become what God designed for me to become.  Life is about discovering why the Lord created us and then cooperating with Him daily for the fulfillment of our purpose on earth; An adventure, a neverending story.  Many times we will have to cry out “uncle!” to the Lord depending on what He has created us to be and do, and whom He has created us to win and where, because many of us were not born where we will bloom, prosper, operate and die; for we do not belong to ourselves.  My friend Paul said it twice, and it was more than just his opinion:  “You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own].  So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” I Corinthians 6:20.  And 7:23 “You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]; then do not yield yourselves up to become [in your own estimation] slaves to men (including yourself) [but consider yourselves slaves to Christ].  Amplified Bible.  (Parentheses mine.)

I added “including yourself” to this second verse because I was a slave to my own purposes, desires, understanding, and will for myself.  I was a slave to my own emotions and dreams for my life, and I drove myself to pursue them as fast as I could because I knew how short life is, and can be.  I thanked God for breath and such, but I had a lot to do, in His name of course, yet I thought it was all on me.  I did not mind helping others along the way, and sometimes I lived to do just that, but I did not realize that I was created to BEcome what HE designed me to be for HIS glory, and thus it was up to Him, not me, HOW I would BEcome, WHERE, and WHO I would “win”.  But the first soul that I needed to win was my own.  I am not my own but I’ve been bought with a price, to make a positive difference in and for somebody else’s life.  But the first soul I must win, before this all ends, is my own.