Bible Reference: 1 Corinthians 10:29-33
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 29 ….you may ask, must I be guided and limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why let someone spoil everything just because he thinks I am wrong? 31 Well, I’ll tell you why. It is because you must do everything for the glory of God, even your eating and drinking. 32 So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles or Christians. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do, not doing what I like or what is best for me but what is best for them, so that they may be saved.
OBSERVATION: So often we tend to get caught up in our own stand on something, that we fight for, act up, and run over people in order to achieve what we believe to be the ‘perfect way’ or even at times, the ‘only way’! God is teaching us, through His servant Paul, that in all things we are to aim for others to glorify Christ because of our impact on their lives. I believe that our mean, selfish attitudes will disappear when we interact with others using this principal! Meditate with me as we consider the impact this could have on our lives, and in our life.
APPLICATION: To a very large extent we tend to build our lives around people who please us; who does life ‘our way’; and who has everything that makes us happy. Paul had to address this in the Corinthian church, and I believe that his teaching is included in the Word of God, because we need to be reminded of this today also. We still live in an imperfect world, and we still have a need to get over our selfishness. In this particular chapter Paul was addressing the subject of some being convinced that they could not eat certain foods, while others were quite OK with that and saw nothing wrong with it, nor how it might affect their relationship with God. Paul’s conviction was that we should be careful to do what pleases God, not just ourselves. In fact Paul directed us to do only those things that will glorify God, and that opens a much wider spectrum of principles that we should follow, including why and how should do things. This is supported by the wide variety of principles and characteristics that Jesus taught and modeled throughout His earthly ministry, for He ate with sinners, boldly taught opposing Pharisees and loved those whom He came into contact with. But let’s take the example of food that Paul taught about in this chapter. This still exists today, because there are some who feel like there are certain foods that would defile their bodies, and some even feel that this is based on Biblical references – and therefore may displease God. I believe that we are being taught to make every effort to please God in our lives, which may mean that our own convictions may need adjusting at times. We should never create animosity with a Brother or Sister who is trying to please God through what they eat. Unfortunately, we sometimes become so wrapped up in the unimportant aspects of a Christian’s personal beliefs and practices, that we lose sight of glorifying God in the moment in which we find ourselves. Friends, rather than trying to force others to eat what we eat or not, we’ve totally missed the point if we haven’t challenged them, or helped them grow in their personal relationship with God. The time we spend with individuals, should help them in their relationship with God, or at least challenge them to consider their own lives in the light of eternity. We must be careful to help someone draw close to God, rather than becoming a stumbling block to the very people we feel led to help. As a child of God, our aim should always be to please Him through the way that we live, not by trying to be ‘God’. Our path to living like a child of the King is very clear in His Word, let’s learn to live like that and rub off on as many as we can. Maybe at that point we might have more impact on the unbeliever also, for we will truly imitate our loving Lord, and act more like He intended. It’s all about God friend, not our personal ideals.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for loving us in spite of our silly personal ideals. Thank You for speaking through Paul to redirect our attention towards You instead of trying to impose our imperfections onto others. May our daily goal always be to please You in all that we do and say. To be more like You and to draw closer to You in every way. You have taught us to love everyone and to encourage them instead of tearing down and destroying. May we be more like You every day, and may it be evident to all that we come into contact with, is my humble plea that I ask for myself and as I encourage my readers to do the same also. For I ask this in the loving and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!