Leader Devotion: Santiago, Chile

Student Leader Devotion

Use this devotion to deepen your personal understanding of the Scripture Focus on 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 for the Discipleship Lesson in the Missions Journey: Students unit on Santiago, Chile.

Take a moment to read 1 Corinthians 9:19–23. Have you read it? Good, read it one more time. Finished? OK, give it one more read. I’m serious, go ahead and read it a third time for good measure. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you finish, I promise. Now that you’ve read through three times, let’s talk about it.


First Corinthians 9:19–23 comes from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. As one of the largest and most important cities of its day, Corinth was subject to all the typical problems of a modern metropolis. People from all over the known world lived and did business in this prosperous city. This made for a luxurious, albeit confusing, place to live.

Paul writes to these Christians urging them to remain grounded in the gospel he first brought to them. He warns them of divisions created by charismatic leaders and backs up his own authority as one who has seen the risen Christ. He’s not just speaking from his own belief in right and wrong, but as one who has been empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the unabridged gospel with all people.

“Don’t let anything stand in your way to reach as many people as you can for the sake of the gospel.
Take a note from Paul’s book and re-evaluate your priorities in life.”



When a bunch of people from different backgrounds and faith traditions wind up living in one place, it can often be difficult to find your way. Mixing cultures can be a rich and rewarding experience, but it can also lead to a plurality of belief and places “truth” on a sliding scale. The Christians living in Corinth not only struggled to find their identity in a melting pot, but they also had to deal with the heavy weight of an oppressive imperial regime that squeezed them into certain civic duties many deemed questionable at best.

First Corinthians 9:19–23 showcases Paul’s own missionary strategy. He has set aside his own identity to reach as many people as he can for Christ. Paul doesn’t let his own agenda get in the way of God. He doesn’t have separate aspirations apart from God’s mission he’s trying to balance with his spiritual life. The Apostle Paul is 100 percent committed to the call of Christ on his life. He has come to understand that all the external trappings of social status, occupation, and even cultural heritage are secondary to one’s identity in Christ. The love of Jesus takes precedence! That’s the example Paul is setting for the folks living in Corinth during the first century and it’s the example he sets for us now living in the modern world.


Before you teach this Scripture to your students, it’s important that you have a firm grasp on the text yourself. Not just the historical context and theological significance (though those are good thing to know). I’m talking about connecting with this text in a truly personal way. What do Paul’s words say to you? How does it apply to your life?

Was there a sentence or phrase that stuck out to you during your reading? If so what was it? Why do you think it meant so much to you? Think about this for a second.

What have you let identify you up until this point? Are you so caught up in your title a church leader that you’ve forgotten about your primary identity as one who is a slave to the love of Jesus Christ? Don’t let anything stand in your way to reach as many people as you can for the sake of the gospel. Take a note from Paul’s book and re-evaluate your priorities in life. If you really do this, I promise you’ll be amazed at the ways God will use you.

By Zachariah Seanor, National WMU Student Consultant


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