For God and Neighbor

Pray:

God of grace and mercy, turn my heart from all that holds me back from the abundant life You offer.

 

Read: 1 CORINTHIANS 10:23-11:1

[23] “I have the right to do anything,” you say-but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”-but not everything is constructive. [24] No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. [25] Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, [26] for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” [27] If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. [28] But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. [29] I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? [30] If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? [31] So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. [32] Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- [33] even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. [1] Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

 

Reflect: How do your decisions affect others?

Although Paul has been discussing whether the Corinthian Christians should eat food sacrificed to idols, he has limited his discussion to one part of that issue: eating sacrificial meat within the precincts of pagan temples. In this final section, he deals with the other part of the issue: eating meat in other locations.

Eating meat sold in the market or served in a home is not sinful. It is joining in pagan acts of worship that is the problem; the food itself is not an issue. The Corinthian believers are not to be concerned about the source of their food since it ultimately originates with God, as Paul points out (26).

Yet Paul does not give these believers carte blanche for their behavior. Rather, he provides them with three guidelines for working out appropriate conduct in whatever situation they may find themselves: Seek to glorify God (31), seek the good of others (32,33) and, if you comply with the first two, then you may do what you like. Note that seeking the good of others does not necessarily equate to doing what others want, as Paul makes clear in verse 29. These guidelines set the believer free to enjoy God, love others and embrace life.

 

Apply:

Think of a situation in your life to which these three guidelines may be applied. How should you respond?

 

Pray:

Jesus, You who gave everything for me, my life is Yours. My everything is Yours.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union, scriptureunion.org