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. 1 Corinthians 9:22
Paul had found complete freedom in Christ, but although he understood and had the ability to live fully in that freedom, he restricted it at times, so that more souls may be reached and saved. He was under no illusion that his preaching and teaching would save everyone, but he intended to do whatever was necessary to save some.
It can be very difficult to share the message of the gospel with those who have completely different views or beliefs. It takes wisdom and understanding of another’s perspective in order to bring them to a place where they are open to hear what you have to say. When Paul preached to the Jews, he referred to the Torah. In Asia Minor, with Greco-Roman influence, he referred to the living God and the Creator. In Athens he quoted their own poets and referenced their alter to ‘The Unknown God’ to bring them the truth of the Lord of heaven and earth. The gospel that Paul preached never changed, just the way in which it was told.
Paul not only used this approach with unbelievers but with believers also. When he talks of ‘the weak’ in this verse, he is talking about Christians. The church at Corinth had a whole mix of converts from different backgrounds and Paul was sensitive to each one. We also need to be aware of the those who are new to the faith and finding their feet. We don’t bombard them with theology and expect them to understand all the lessons of scripture when they first begin to explore God’s word. In helping others to grow, be prepared to harness your freedom with love so that it does not become a stumbling block to them in any way, or cause them to struggle with their own faith.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30
We can be a tree of life to Christian and non-Christian alike but it takes wisdom and it takes understanding in each situation and every conversation.