Make It Personal Part 4
In personal witnessing I am a believer in what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:22 (KJV) “….I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” In other words he became one with those he was witnessing to. To the Jew as the Jew, to the weak as weak, he related parts of his life to become one with those he witnessed to so that he could win them to Jesus. He was willing to use anything in his arsenal if it meant a better chance of having the truth of the gospel received.
When I came to Jesus I was a hippy in mind, body and spirit. I looked the part, I had an afro my black friends would have been proud of, torn jeans, flannel shirt, beard. So when I became a new creature in Christ I wanted to shed the looks of the old man. Shave my beard, cut my hair, change my clothes.
One of the elders of my new found church pulled me aside and asked me if I wouldn’t mind not changing my appearance for the time being. He went on to explain that the hippies who at that time in history were everywhere ripe for the picking as many (like myself) were in search of a new life. We were a very spiritually minded people.
He went on to explain that it would make it easier for my hippy compatriots to relate to someone who not only came from their culture but looked the part hence helping to knock down any barriers that can arise when people don’t feel there is much in common with you.
If it would help I was willing and it was a good move. They came to me like bees on honey. I became ‘as all men that I might win some’ and there were many that came to the Lord because I stayed the same on the outside although my inside was brand new. They could relate to my appearance, drug taking experiences, music, philosophies that I was so familiar with as most of us hippies were in those days. Throw in being a Jew to a Jew and the Vietnam war I had quite a bit of territory covered and it bore fruit.
Yes, I did eventually shave my beard, cut my hair and found some pants that didn’t have rips in them plus shoes with the same color shoe laces but not until my ministry to the hippies finished.
I believe Paul himself was talking from experience when he addressed the Corinthians. Now I confess that I am not a bible scholar, expert or biblical historian. Nor do I pretend to know how the bible should be interpreted or applied in many situations, what to take literal or what is historical etc. All I know is that when I come across something that speaks to me I get excited.
So in relating to Paul’s goings on as brought out in the Book of Acts I may get a some details out of place or misinterpret his actions but I am sure if he were here he wouldn’t hold it against me because he would see that I am just as passionate about living for Jesus as he was.
Now Paul and another brother decide to take a big road trip to visit the already established churches in other parts of the world to encourage the brethren. Somewhere along the line they get into some strife because Paul couldn’t keep his mouth shut because when ever he had opportunity to tell his amazing personal testimony of how Jesus smacked him down, turned him around and made a believer out of the him who just that day was going to find some of these here Christian savages to persecute.
The Jews just couldn’t comprehend this Jesus fella so they took Paul and wanted beat him to a pulp. Paul decided to address the matter with his full version of His salvation story. This enraged the Jews even more and were intent on putting an end to this heresy. They passed him along to the next in charge and Paul talked those that had him bound into addressing yet another crowd. He spoke in Hebrew, right away those that understand stopped and listened. He got these Jews onside, at least temporarily.
I am starting to understand Paul’s thinking now. He was certainly out to save some and one of the some, was himself. After playing pass the parcel they then pawned Paul off to the next ruler to have him incarcerated. Again Paul tried to become one with the crowd. You see Paul was of the of the pharisees in his old life who were in opposition with the Sadducee’s. I don’t really understand who was what and why but Paul used this to get his once fellow pharisees onside. It worked as he caused a division between the two religious opponents. Sounded like there could have been a riot developing.
He was then passed on to a Roman centurion, Paul being a Roman and knowing Roman law he knew that he could stall for time to keep himself alive and not be thrown to the wolves by telling his captor that indeed he, Paul, was a Roman too. Knowing good and well that there was then another process to adhere too it bought him more time and hopefully a happy end to this ordeal.
Well it worked and Paul got to see the world as he was sent from place to place until eventually he was set free to fight another day.
How many believers he influenced on that trip I don’t really know but because Paul was willing to be made all things to all men he not only stayed alive but able to preach the gospel.
I guess what I am trying to say is this. If you want to soften a stranger’s heart, find what you have in common and use it. To the Jew as a Jew. It doesn’t mean instant success but it gives you more opportunity to get out the message.
It worked for Paul, it worked for me and I am sure it could work for you.
All things to all men.
Posted on May 10, 2013, in Faith and tagged belief, bible, christianity, commitment, discipleship, evangelize, faith, God, god's calling, insight, Jesus, life, obedience, outreach, personal witnessing, preaching, witnessing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.