These verses signify the required slaughter of my identity. In order to love others I must forsake certain freedoms that I now have. This is what it means to love sacrificially and to put others before self: forsaking who I "am" and becoming the person that people need me to be for them. I am to "become all things to all people." This means that I may have to give up certain things that I may enjoy or do things that I do not enjoy doing. This was a tremendous cut to my heart in regards to the youth group in which I help lead the jr. high guys. It's been difficult for me to totally connect with the guys because I simply do not enjoy most of the things that they enjoy such as: basketball, metal, hockey, piano, skateboarding, etc. There have also been times where the guys are just doing something goofy and I choose to just watch and not be involved because I consider it childish. I am so stuck up on myself, it just sickens me.
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 have come to realize that for me to truly show that I love these guys (and anyone else) I must become what they need me to be for them. This might mean doing something that I see as stupid, but that is not even intrinsically bad. I am quick to fall back in the rut of thinking that life is all about me when it's all about Him. He has called me to give of myself to others and take care of those who need me to be Christ for them. He is my identity.
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.