I am one of the most inflexible people I know. When I do stretching I’m always the guy people laugh at who can’t reach past his knees when everyone else is touching their toes. I’ve always been this way, and from time to time I’ve tried to do some stretches to get better, but I’m mostly resigned to the fact that I will be inflexible for the rest of my life.
Thankfully for me when it comes to being a flexible Christian, it’s not about how far you can reach when you stretch. Rather it’s about your ability to remain faithful to God but flex in order to take the good news of Jesus to the people around you.
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul talks about his flexibility as a Christian. Paul was flexible enough to become like a Jew to the Jews, to become weak to win the weak. Famously he says, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”.
Paul did not compromise his faith to reach others, but he did not remain alien to the cultures he was ministering either. I’ve noticed as I work with an increasingly unchurched generation of young people the need for me to flex in my outlook so that to the high school student, I become like the high school student. This doesn’t mean I get acne and crushes on the pretty girls, but rather it means that I seek to understand their world view and culture in order that I can best shape the Gospel for them.
The same is true for my non-Christian friends, I do not adopt their values, that wouldn’t be flexibility, it would be weakness. Rather I seek to understand their culture and be flexible enough to allow it to influence the way I practice my ministry to them.
Christians have to be flexible if they want to win people to Christ. We have to be flexible because we are not like people who don’t know Jesus.
Our lives are so radically transformed by the Spirit that we are not like anyone else in this world. We must be flexible but always remain connected to the source.
Sadly many Christians often end up like me when I’m doing stretches, unable to bend past their knees and happy to let all those people they can’t reach slip away.
I pray that I would not be like this but would continue to work hard at being a flexible Christian for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings and see many people bought to a knowledge and love of Jesus.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church Doncaster