Summary: Some people refuse to adapt because they have never learned the secrets to godly change
Illustration:Vivian H., for 2 and a half years lived in a home without running water. She had to drive to a spring and load up five gallon jugs to haul back home. All the while there was a perfectly good well with a 600 gallon reservoir on her property. The water was there, she didn’t know it could be used. Adaptability is often for our own good.
1. Have you ever wondered why some people refuse to make any adjustments to changing situations?
It is not uncommon to hear people say,
“Why do we have to change? Why can’t we just do it the way we’ve always done it?” Paul knew how to make the necessary changes to enhance the success of his ministry.
The great apostle demonstrated adjustments in his methods to the Corinthians because he knew they were less philosophical than the Athenians and more commercially motivated.
Paul used a public approach in Athens but switched to a private ministry in Corinth. Adaptable people are flexible enough to consistently modify their approaches to suit new conditions.
Paul knew how to accommodate his agenda to appeal to the felt needs of every audience without compromising his principles.
Illustration:Some people will change when they see the light. Others change only when they feel the heat.
Ask the Lord to help you to follow Paul’s fine adaptable example.
2. Paul knew how to distinguish between essential and non-essentials. Many inflexible people cling to non-essential methods that may not best meet the needs of a particular audience, occasion or people group.
Ask God to give you wisdom, sensitivity and enabling to adapt your methods according to the need of the hour.
Quote:Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
3. Paul did not try to isolate himself from Aquila or Priscilla, Jews from Rome, while he was in a Greek town. It would have been easy for Paul to try to assume a new identity in Greek dominated Corinth. Paul remained true to his friends without becoming an isolationist or an assumer of a new identity.
Quote:Everybody thinks of changing Humanity and Nobody thinks of changing Himself.
Ask the Lord to help you balance your loyal friendships with your changing responsibilities.
4. Paul kept his message and ministry simply focused on Christ’s priorities. When we are concentrating on Christ’s priorities of evangelism, disciple-making and worship, we will have an easier time adapting these essentials to new people.
Trust the Lord to help you stay with Christ’s priorities so you are not stretched beyond your ability to adapt to changes.
5. Paul used his tent-making abilities to remain independent so he could be flexible with his approach to ministry. There are great advantages to a great work ethic.
We can be more flexible if we are willing to do whatever it takes to remain free to do and say and go wherever Christ calls us.
Be willing to make the necessary sacrifices so you can become more flexible with your schedule. If this is not possible, the same Pauline attitude should be ours.
Ask God to give you a greater measure of financial independence so you can exercise greater adaptability.
6. Paul found support from congenial co-laborers in the ministry. Ask the Lord to give you friends like Aquila and Priscilla who can help encourage you through a like-minded fellowship that fosters a spirit of flexibility, adaptability and change.
7. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, as it seemed needful. In Thessalonica, Paul only stayed for three weeks. Paul knew that worldly indifference was more difficult to overcome than the intellectual opposition of the Athenians.
More patience and prudence may require a longer stay with some people. The Corinthians were used to pleasure-seeking and sensual pleasures. In the capital Athens, he only remained for a few days.
Each town, people group and community will require a different approach and strategy. Ask the Lord to help you to remain flexible with the amount of time and effort that is required for each ministry to succeed. Some projects, plans and people demand more investment of our time than others.
8. Paul knew that he needed to adapt if he expected others to change. We cannot expect God to do new things unless we are willing to let Him do new things in and through us.
Ask the Lord to help you let Him work internal changes in you so external changes are facilitated. When the Corinthians saw that Paul was willing to learn about their problems and adapt his ministry approach, they eventually responded in a favorable way.
Conclusion:Everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.
Issac Newton, First Law of Motion.