Kindness is a great thing but why am I kind?' Correction is sometimes needed but why do we do it? Giving people room to be who they are is great but what is the motive.
Last night I watched two Ali vs Spinks fights on YouTube. The first fight was in February 1978 and the second was in September of that same year. Both fights were over an hour long from start to finish. Neither man was knocked out... they both went 15 rounds... the first fight Spinks won by decision and the second Ali won and regained the Heavyweight championship title. Both were brutal fights. Then I watched a few Tyson fight also. I watched them to study them and see what God would show me. This morning I am thinking of these passages.
"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. 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." - 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 ESV
"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, 'If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'
We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." - Galatians 2:11-21 ESV
Boxers may hate each other or respect each other but when they are in the ring they are there for a purpose. They are there to win. They train to win and study each other to win.
We win Christ. We want others to win Him also. That is our motive. It is not selfish or impersonal. It is the opposite of those things. It is love, mercy, justice and all the other attributes of God's character being worked in us and through us with grace and honor as our methods. Paul became a servant to people and went toe to toe with Peter because he was crucified with Christ and lived a life of different motives. Nullifying grace was not an option for him.
Paul did no random acts of kindness nor did he box the air. He loved on purpose and for a purpose.
You might be a gentle person or you might not be. Don't condemn yourself if you are not one. Learn from those who are and win Christ.
You might be tough or you might not be. Don't condemn yourself!
You might be kind or hospitable or giving or trusting... or you might not be in any given moment. Don't condemn yourself. Find God's mood. Find Christ in the finished work. Learn the scriptures. Be under a covering where you can train. Win Christ.
We agree quickly when conviction comes in and learn to adjust in grace. This adjustment is never a moral adjustment. It is always a grace adjustment. Our orientation is toward God, what He has done and what He wants to do in the lives of people.
This life has many seasons. There are some long hard woozy rounds we spent in the ring sometimes swaying a little but staying on our feet. If our motive is right we can live in Christ's victory and win each moment one by one. It might be a quick knockout or a victory by decision of the Judge of All Judges Himself. Some victories will not be seen until the end at the Bema seat (the reward ceremony for believers).
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV